Studio Brunstrum

Boomer Lifestyle Biz With Angela Miles

October 10, 2017

Baby boomers are keeping interior designers busy with lifestyle updates these days! Why?

Photo Courtesy of Business First AM

Baby boomers are keeping interior designers busy with lifestyle updates these days! Why? I had a chance to discuss this booming niche market with Angela Miles of Business First AM on WYCC/PBS Chicago recently:


All Room Photos Courtesy of Sweet Peas Design/Photography by Werner Straube

Boomers first started reaching the standard retirement age of 65 just six years ago, which translates to a steady surge of empty nesters and retirees who are excited to make changes to their homes. They are ready for a new look, but they want to keep some of their much-loved furnishings, as in the project above, where we kept the existing traditional tables and artwork but incorporated new transitional elements, including the sofas and pillows, the hair-on-hide rug and accessories. We enjoy this kind of project so much – as it is a challenge to make existing pieces work within an updated color scheme and new furnishings, window treatments and artwork that resonate with people entering a new phase of life. It is more difficult than starting with a naked room or home.


We look at your space with “fresh eyes” and envision the possibilities, which can be hard to do when you have lived in your home for so many years. To makeover this traditional dining room, we started with the existing breakfront, table and the wood side chairs, and we re-purposed the rug from the family room. To that we added four upholstered chairs in two coordinating fabrics – a mushroom colored, quilted fabric and a tone-on-tone damask. We reupholstered the side chairs in a creamy camel fabric that we also used for the window panels. The ceiling was specialty painted in a warm milk-chocolate with a copper metallic finish, and to finish the look we added a 42-inch silk drum chandelier, a pair of abstract watercolors and ivory grass cloth wall coverings.


These clients loved the worn character of this delicate console table, but it was too short for the new sofas, so we added this pair of glass cylinder floor lamps with antique brass cores and bases to fill out and balance the space. The media center on the wall to the right is another existing piece that we blended with the new sectional, fireplace screen, rug, accessories and specialty painted wood paneling above the mantel.


After building an addition on their home with a more spacious master bedroom suite, these clients didn’t want to part with their existing furniture. We updated the statuesque four-poster bed with an ivory silk coverlet and bed skirt, and added throw pillows in colors inspired by their painting of cranes, which had been in storage for years. The woven blue Roman shade with butterscotch banding is another new touch that echoes the color of the painting.


Opposite the bed, we established a comfortable seating area for these same clients, using their existing chest and mirror as backdrop along the wall. The new, grayish-blue angled sectionals, silk shag rug and leather ottoman face the fireplace.

Maybe we should call these projects Boomer Updates!



Susan Brunstrum
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