Decorating a Family Trust Owned Property, Solving Problems Virtually by Ann McDonald, IIDA, NAPO

How We Decorate a Family Trust Owned Property over the Internet

Decorating a home is complicated enough. Add some storied family history, a new family member, a new board appointed trustee by way of Grandfather and the next generation with ideas of green vegan living in a changing environment and the mix can become toxic. What was once a lovely destination cabin on the remote plains of the middle west used for hunting and fishing is now the epicenter of Family Battle Chapter #13, all over a set of Quilts and the next phase of use: green living.

Log cabin ranch-style behind pines

Capable of destroying legacy and leaving shrapnel for generations, this simple plot is enacted hundreds of times over in varying degrees in board rooms and over skype calls in Small Family Foundations world wide every month. Does not matter if it’s the America’s version of the middle west or a Yurt in the middle of Turkey. Seriously. The issues are the same. Legacy intersects children with trustee and/or wife  and/or over authority and stuff. The story is as old as Abraham. Older actually… Enter the family decorator. Also known as mediator, psychologist, therapist, confidant, a skilled decorator can navigate the waters of family history with nuances that literally bind generations together instead of pull them apart. One or two paces removed from the emotion and will of those embroiled, a calm, methodical approach to space, use and what we call legacy design (creating space that endures for future use) can solve problems that on the face seem big but are in fact manageable.

All of history has something to do with space.

Even the devil was kicked out because he wanted the proverbial Master Bedroom.

So what is a Family to do? Decorate with a Present Future Mindset.

Decorate with a Present Future Mindset is more than just a fancy way to say “get real old guard, the future is here and you need to get on board”. It is actually a lovely mindset to live in and one that preserves the very thing that the generation at hand is entrusted with and by. How? Let me explain.

The Present Mindset part is dealing with the actual issue at hand. In this case, the place is old. It’s needs a refresh. Know also that in the process of that refresh, things have memories attached and they cannot just be trashed because they are old. So we find a way to integrate without dis-integrating the family peace.

Here is the Future Mindset. We use virtual tools to preserve that peace.

A little stage setting: Let’s name our proverbial fore-mentioned family hunting cabin Property #4, P4 for short. Once quite sufficient, P4 needs new heating and electrical. It also needs new bedding. Because the structure is not under Historical Designation thank the good and ever loving God, systems are updated by way of local contractor. All is good.

Now to the bedding. Things could get sticky…..but because P4 Owners log in below to their Private Couture Chateau Dashboard for Property P4, they don’t. Check design scheme, approve, click, pay, done. Next?

Login Couture Chateau
WAAAAAIT a minute, it can not be that easy. I have worked with Decorators before. It is nevaaaaa that easy.

Times have changed. So have we. At least at Couture Chateau we have.

Let’s do a quick walk through on the bedding issue.

At present, the quilts were brought over on the Mayflower or something like that. Whatever the case, the Quilts have memories attached that the Elder Generation cherishes. They matter. The problem? It’s time to replace them as the main source of bedding lest they disintegrate from overuse.

Vintage Thread And Pins In Sepia

Enter the family decorator Couture Chateau again. Crafting a virtual presentation for the re-design and preservation of the Quilts with video, audio and text, uploaded for all parties to engage by way of a private encoded Membership Dashboard for said family and said family advisers, we do a couple of critical things.

1. We eliminate travel costs, Board Meetings with cumbersome presentations, emotional and tired advisers and overseers who are really more concerned with where the Small Family Foundation is allocating funds this year than what the bedding is going to cost, look like and who it will offend in P4.

2. We save time. Lots of time.

3. We balance sensitivity to nuances in language (body and verbal) that betray generational differences, not heart differences, so often present in Board Room Presentations to Family Trusts over design of property and decorating of space. No explaining snap chat vs “you are not paying attention” when all the next gen is doing is taking notes on their tablet instead of on a legal pad in front of them.

4. We meet budgets. The payment link is right there. There is no guessing.


Sweeeeeet site says Granddaughter #4. She can access it via her phone at 3 am to check on the new proposal for bedding. Yolo. Hastag. Snapchat. etc.

That refrain is echo’d by Elder, Board Trustee and others but in their language.

We know, the heart beneath all parties is The Same. A heart for preservation of the past within reason, with feet in the future. That’s why we developed this system. To solve problems that aren’t really problems at all, just nuances.

Present Future Mindset. It has many levels, this is just one. Stay tuned for more! We are just getting started.

Until the next post, this is Ann McDonald

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”



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Ann McDonald

Author Ann McDonald

Ann McDonald designs interiors for discreet individuals + multiple property families organized by Family Office, Board or Trust. Her passion is to equip people to live, love and thrive in the holiness of the everyday.

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