2015-05-08 / Front Page

Taking the madness out of moving

By Warren Hughes

Katherine Anderson’s Team: Marian Soule, office manager; Katherine J. Anderson, owner; Jane Hearn, benchmade cabinetry and move coordinator; and Sarah Roddey, designer. Katherine Anderson’s Team: Marian Soule, office manager; Katherine J. Anderson, owner; Jane Hearn, benchmade cabinetry and move coordinator; and Sarah Roddey, designer. Moving is one of life’s most stressful events, especially when it involves a lifetime of accumulations.

Katherine J. Anderson, well-known Columbia interior designer, is known for being like a favorite daughter in navigating the process. Whether it is choosing items to keep for a smaller dwelling or determining the motif for a larger new one, Anderson and her team are known for making the process seamless.

Talking about how the service has become a special niche, Anderson said, “I started getting involved when I witnessed a friend’s chaos during a move. This is something I can do for people, I thought. I’m really good at being bossy,” she laughed, although her organizational skills have now become legendary among her clients.

“Once a decision is made to move, people start fretting about the process and can easily become frantic and overwhelmed,” she said. “I started moving people when I realized how complicated it is and how hard it is to pack things up properly, then how to unpack them. They need somebody to be calm and collected and know what is going to happen next. I tell people I am going be like your daughter and help you decide what you definitely want to keep and what is disposable. People also know they can trust me. I am not going to tell their friends or acquaintances how packed the pantry was or how cluttered the cupboard,” she said.

To start the process, Anderson first meets with a potential client, maybe as long as two months before the actual move.

“I like to establish rapport,” she said. “I don’t want to remind someone unpleasantly of a former sister-in-law.”

Together, she and the client decide what is going to be kept and what is going to be discarded.

“There are layers of possessions,” she noted. “There are wonderful things to be treasured and retained; other layers are found to be not useful to the new space and then there is the accumulated junk to be discarded. We talk about what is to be kept. Then I inventory and photograph the items, return to the office and produce an architectural plan of what will go where. Nothing is carved in stone, however, and a final plan is approved in a subsequent meeting. That way, on moving day, we know exactly where things go.

“I also tell people that if they really love something, we are going to find a way to keep it and will find a special place for it.” However, she added, with a chuckle, “We are not going to keep Junior’s third grade art project from 50 years ago. We are also not going to keep Cool Whip containers, old issues of National Geographic, or the set of Encyclopedia Britannica that nobody will ever use again. We will also get rid of the wrapping paper, the string and rubber bands, the empty department store boxes, and clothes no longer worn.” Yet, Anderson advocates keeping furniture or collectables that are dear and that preserve the sense of a beloved home. “I am a sentimental person myself,” she said.

She also likes to help clients meet new needs by using something they already have. “Recently, someone discarded a king-sized bed and chose instead to use a gorgeous antique double bed inherited from a grandmother.

“If there is a prized set of family china, we may decide to keep several place settings to be used and store the remainder. I would rather someone enjoy the china than give it to a relative who does not appreciate it. We can also make decisions about beloved collections. You keep the Faberg√© eggs that have significance but may part with the ones of lesser value,” she said.

Anderson and her team are also careful with valuable possessions destined for elsewhere. Somewhat knowledgeable about antiques and art herself, she consults with appraisers if she has a question about an item’s precise worth. When there is an excess of furniture, which is often the case, Anderson may arrange for items to be placed with an antique auction gallery or a consignment store.

Then on moving day, Anderson and her experienced team are adept in implementing the plan in an efficient and orderly manner. Her staff includes Jane Hearn, custom furniture maker and move coordinator; Sarah Roddey, designer; and Marian Soule, office manager. She also has a retinue of other helpers as needed. She contracts with Palmetto Specialty Transfer of Columbia for the actual moving of the heavy items, she said, for the firm’s proven reliability, reputation and professionalism.

Once the turn-key move is complete, clients have burst into tears of relief on entering the new home with the realization that everything is done and in place— from paintings hung, beds made, favorite objects situated, refrigerator stocked, and the cabinet and chest contents organized.

Anderson has a bachelor’s degree in art studio with a concentration in commercial design from the University of South Carolina. She also has a B.A. in music from Mary Baldwin College. She has been chosen “Best in Columbia” in polling by local media, including best commercial designer for 2015 in Columbia Metropolitan magazine.

For information, contact Katherine J. Anderson Design/ Interiors, 2701 Rosewood Dr., Columbia, S.C. 29205, ph. 803- 931-8877, email Katherine@kjainteriors.com, website www.kjainteriors.com.

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