This month we speak to Kym Lackmann, director of LUXE domain Pty Ltd, a specialist business helping people achieve their luxury downsizing dreams through advice and design services.
Tying into our George + Powlett residences which have attracted interest from downsizers, we hear from Kym about the process she takes with clients and what constitutes modern downsizing.
What encompasses ‘luxury’ downsizing?
At LUXE domain Pty Ltd we adopted the term ‘luxury downsizing’ because we felt the term ‘downsizing’ had a slightly negative connotation. By using this term we also wanted to articulate both the interior design and the organisational aspects of this unique service. Essentially, we assist our clients in creating a timeless and sophisticated home lifestyle that they might have been yearning for years.
For our clients, luxury might mean finally having the beautiful furniture and fabrics they’ve been craving but just hadn’t had the time, nor the where with all to source, or conversely it could simply be having the ability to clear out all the old furniture and related bits and pieces and pare down to a simpler existence, with modern furniture.
Through your work, what have you found most downsizers are looking for?
To start, most of our clients are wanting to relieve the burden of all the maintenance and security costs of running a large family home. They’re also looking forward to travelling more and being able to ‘lock up and leave’, which an apartment space or a townhouse would allow them to do. Other clients, particularly older ones, are looking to be in a building which they’ll be co-habiting with likeminded people. Beyond these criteria, clients are looking for an efficient home with modern amenities which reflects a narrative of their lives.
Their new interior spaces need to comfortably cater for their hobbies and passions, and should be versatile enough for them to be able to entertain at a moment’s notice (especially if they have family and friends likely to drop in) and to accommodate grandchildren for sleep overs. We find that even when clients have purchased an apartment they worry how their bits and pieces will ‘work’ in the sleek finishes of a new apartment. One of our main priorities is to design around the items our clients are passionate about because these will not only ‘ground’ the new interiors but they will inform them as well. It’s important for the new interior spaces to have some reference (even if only minor) or essence of the former family home.
Many of our clients own considerable collections, whether they be of art, antiques or sporting memorabilia and consequently they’re interested in apartment spaces that will give them the opportunity to display them properly. Apartments with more wall spaces are very appealing as are those with cellaring for wine collections.
Even though ‘space’ often is decreasing when downsizing, is there anything that people are gaining?
Yes, indeed. Believe it or not many of the apartments we help our clients move into have excellent cupboard and wardrobes spaces. Often large old family homes don’t have well thought out storage, simply because it wasn’t a priority when they were built. Purchasers of newer apartments are also gaining modern amenities, particularly kitchens and bathrooms, and opulent finishes.
From a psychological view, clients who downsize have the opportunity to go through everything they own and to identify which of their belongings are of very real value to them. In the past they might have held onto items because they felt they had to…the burden of guilt. Having gone through this cathartic process they’re able to move forward feeling a lot more in control and with a definite ‘pep in their step’!
For older female clients, they often gain a real sense of security when moving into an apartment building and they appreciate the assistance offered by the concierge desk if there’s one in the building.
What age are people starting to downsize today? Have you noticed this is older or younger than before?
With the advent of Marie Kondo and smaller apartment spaces for the younger demographic you will find that there are some 35 year olds who are downsizing to a more streamlined life. However, our clients tend to be 55 years old and older and they’re in the process of selling the family home and are looking for a simplified, more modern, way of living.
Why are high end apartments popular with downsizers?
Well, this is what they’ve worked so hard for! And, really, this is the beginning of the most important phase of their lives – this is when they can have what they want and do exactly what they want to do.
For many that means finally being able to devote more time to enjoying themselves, such as boating, golf, tennis, or bridge. Others may devote more time to philanthropic causes. And of course, for most, it’s being able to spend time with grandchildren.
As mentioned before, the level of amenity and security is very important to purchasers of high end apartments, plus they want their home to be appealing to their grown children and friends so that they will continue to visit regularly. It’s about being readily available, in the know and feeling relevant.
It is not unusual for some clients to sell or get rid of just about every piece of furniture they own simply because they want to start afresh and not have their new interiors being dictated by tradition or inheritance.