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Downsizing and Upgrading in the City

Throughout the late 90’s and well into the 2000’s, Boston’s familiar landscape always included a number of massive cranes, hard at work building or rebuilding part of the city so that more people could move there and enjoy everything the city had to offer.

When the economy crashed – or recessed, or whatever you want to call it – the cranes went south. Building projects were put on indefinite hold or abandoned altogether. New development in the city stalled as people held their breath and waited out the economic downturn.

If you look around now, you’ll see that the cranes have returned. Not only has development returned, but demand – especially for high-end luxury condos – is at an all-time high. People have money to spend again, and it’s not just one generation, but two who are doing exactly the same thing – moving to the city.

The younger generation – those in their 20s and 30s – have experienced what Alvin Toffler predicted in his book Future Shock, which is the transference of wealth from their parents’ generation to them. It’s no surprise that these young people are spending that money on Boston condos. Boston has the culture, the theaters, the sports, the night life, whatever it is they might be looking for. Add to that all of the families growing up in the cities and towns around Boston who brought their kids to the Hub over the years, and it’s no wonder those kids, taken in by Boston’s infectious energy, grew up wanting to be part of it.

The older generation has a different impetus for moving to the city. Some of them are empty-nesters, unhappy in a large empty home. When it’s time for a change, they’re downsizing and heading into Boston. Those who are tired of the Colonial look or the mansion look are seeking something sleek, shiny, and simple. Luxury condos are being built that are 4,000, 5,000, even 6,000 square feet. So people of means in the older generation are not sacrificing living space.

So how does all of this downsizing and upgrading relate to rugs? Well, many of these new luxury condos are blank canvases and need to be decorated. And as we always say, build the room from the rug up.

Many in the younger generation love the contemporary style, and since so many of them are developing an interest in art and design, they’re really artistically sensitive and color savvy. They’re also big embracers of technology, which allows them to do a lot of research and make a lot of choices before we ever meet them. They enjoy the unique and the special, and are less driven by price.

The older generation, surprisingly, also loves the contemporary style, but we find many of them have antique rugs that have been in their family for generations, and they want to use them in the condos on shiny concrete floors, so they seek out our expertise in how best to combine the old and the new, even if they’re in adjacent rooms. Of course, many older families still occupy Beacon Hill and other older neighborhoods, where the antique rugs are still dominant, and they have a real appreciation for the lost art of traditional rug-making.

With our locations in Salem, Back Bay, and shortly Framingham, we’re afforded a unique perspective on city rug buyers and suburban rug buyers, older generations and younger generations, older homes and slick new condos. And the things we learn can only help us better serve our customers.

Here a some examples of newly decorated urban homes.

Urban Interior by Kristine Mullaney Design

Courtesy of Kristine Mullaney Design

Urban Interior by Daher Interior Design

Courtesy of Daher Interior Design (Michael Lee, photographer)

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