In 2010, Minere Wall moved with her treasures and memories from a large house off Highland Road to an apartment at the St. James Place Retirement Community.
“After my husband died, I continued to live in my beautiful home for two years,” she said. “I needed a change. I wanted to do things. I wanted to be in everything.”
With the help of her daughter, Cynthia Nunez, of New Orleans, Wall completely redid a two-bedroom apartment at St. James Place and moved the best pieces from her collection of French antiques to her new home.
“My daughter helped me relocate all of my beautiful treasures,” she said.
And then Wall made the apartment her own.
She removed a wall between the kitchen and living room to create an open floor plan, replaced all of the flooring in the apartment with heart of pine and painted walls and doors a soft grayish green.
“This is a color I used in my other house,” Wall said. “I like everything one color. It makes it look bigger.”
She brought along the soft green draperies, shortening them for her new living room and master bedroom.
The kitchen got a complete makeover — Viking appliances, cypress cabinets and marble counters — even though Wall admitted it doesn’t get much use.
Wall, who worked for Ethyl Corp. for many years, was a gourmet cook.
“The first word I took out of the dictionary when I moved here is ‘cooking,’” she said. “We have two restaurants right here, and the food’s too good.”
She also renovated the bathroom, widening the doorways for handicapped access.
“But don’t think I am handicapped yet,” she said with a big smile.
The front door of the apartment opens to a hallway that leads to the living room-kitchen open space. A round French table and antique cane-back chairs divide the two areas.
The focal point of the living room is a 19th-century grand armoire from the south of France, which houses the television and offers storage space.
“I can’t stand clutter,” Wall said.
A comfortable sofa and two chairs covered in tapestry provide seating in the room around a high coffee table made from an early 19th-century side table with a painted base and natural top.
Tucked in the corner is one of Wall’s finest treasures, an olive jar, circa 1800, from Provence.
The living room opens to a balcony with iron garden furniture from Paris.
“I like the idea of an open balcony,” Wall said. “I like to look out. I can see when the postman comes down the street. I can see the wind blowing.”
To the right of the living room is the master bedroom with a very rare Louis XVI mirror with mercury glass in two pieces placed over a painted French dresser. A 19th-century pine bibliotheque with wire insets provides storage and conceals a television. The apartment also has a guest bedroom.
The home is filled with paintings collected over many trips to France. “I love France,” she said. “I used to go a couple of times a year.”
Wall said she gave herself two years to adapt to living in a retirement community but was settled in almost immediately. She plays poker twice a week, “with the ladies on Monday and the men on Friday,” she said. “I love the happy hour. I love being around everybody.”
She’s also a big dancer who regularly attends tea dances sponsored by BREC. “I do the old-fashioned jitterbug,” she said.
She enjoys bowling and recently joined a team. She plays bingo and participates in almost every activity St. James Place provides.