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The Makeover of Matt Light
Adding character to a condo
Images of condo Even Matt Light's home cried out for a facelift

Matt Light's living room should be retired. With beige wall-to-wall carpeting, white walls, glass tabletops and dark, formal furniture, it's more like a doctor's waiting room than a happy space for a family.

Like many NFL families, Matt and Susie Light live divided lives. Uncertain whether Matt will sign with the New England Patriots after he plays out his contract, the Lights didn't want to invest heavily in Boston real estate. Instead, they settled on a roomy, but generic, condominium within a short drive of Gillette Stadium. Their hearts are still back in Ohio, where the couple owns a large home, and where most of their family still lives.

Still, says our expert, Boston interior designer Betsy Speert, a condominium can have character, one that reflects the lives lived within its walls.

"It's too old," Betsy proclaims on touring the Light's open-plan condo. While the layout works well—a combined dining-living room with a pass-through window into the kitchen and a sliding glass door onto an outdoor porch—the furniture, a matching "suite", is heavy. Hence, the "waiting room" look. They also accessorized the rooms with lots of family and wedding photos to remind them of home. All in glass frames.

"There's crystal everywhere," Betsy observes, pointing to glasstopped tables covered with photographs. "It's just not functional, plus it adds to the overall washed-out look of the room."

Betsy herself, who numbers members of the band Aerosmith among her clients, is anything but washed out. She loves to laugh out loud and can't resist teasing her new football client. "Forget the Barca-lounger," she chides as she and Matt tour Circle Furniture in Framingham. For Matt, it's like shopping with Auntie Mame. "People think of my design style as quirky," says Betsy, "but the truth is, I try to make each job a marriage between my style and my clients' needs."

Betsy decides the lack of function is the most glaring problem in the Lights' room. She will convert the photograph-laden buffet into a bar/serving area for when the couple entertains. She'll replace a sharpedged coffee table with one that's more "toddler" friendly for the couple's two-year-old. Most of all, Betsy wants to add color. "You're fun, you're fresh," she explains to the Lights while they select fabric at Circle Furniture. "We're going to give the place a youthful kick."

Later, Betsy will take Matt on a tour of one of her favorite stores for accessories, HomeGoods. She guides Matt through aisles of pillows, glassware and gourmet cookware. Looking for just the right art work for above the Light's mantle, Betsy considers—for just a moment—a print Matt has selected.

Looking from frame to football player, she smiles, pats him on the shoulder and announces, "Don't quit your day job"