I understand now that I could never, ever, make it as a professional interior decorator. Not even close. As much as I love the delicious process of making a new space feel all home-y and nest-like, I make a snail's crawl look like a sprint when it comes to deciding how to put a room together. How these TV designers decorate a space all at once is truly beyond me. My best efforts always seem to occur when I have taken the time, however long that is, to let the room evolve ever so slowly.
Such is the case when working on the Farmhouse's "spare" or guest bedroom.
It is a nice bedroom, generously sized with three south-facing sunny windows. The prior owners, thankfully, had foregone the dismal green-gray they'd painted the rest of the house and coated this room in a soft yellow. I will eventually repaint it, when I finally settle on one color out of the fifty-seven-eleven paint chips I have collected over the last 8 months, but for now, this will do quite nicely.
There is a nice big walk in closet at one end of the room, and another door that leads to a full bath, making it almost like another master suite, all private and cozy. The bed had been positioned against the long wall, cutting the room in half and making the side of the bed your main view as you entered the room.
Okay, confession here. I'm a bit (a lot actually), OCD when it comes to what you see when you first enter the room. Try it - go to any room of your home and look at the furniture arrangement as you walk in. Does it draw you in, welcome you, or cut you off with the back of a couch, or some piece of furniture that is placed awkwardly and obstructs your view or entrance to the room? Also, if I were to stand in a room and look towards the door of another room, that smaller, dooway view of the other room should also be something that attracts you - a beautiful feature that pulls you into the space, the vanity in a bathroom, the fireplace in the living room, an incredible china cabinet in the dining room. Whatever it is, it's likely to be the one feature that you spent the most money on when you either built the home, or decorated it, and it's got to suck you in, er... technically speaking.
This wasn't it, and let's not even talk about the circus striped awning shades on the windows which generally made me want to shake my head. Talk about a serious design fail.
Since my little sister was coming to Alaska to visit shortly after we moved in I had to set up the bed quickly and make it all pretty for her. Angie is the sweetest, dearest girl and she is not at all good about spoiling herself, so I was determined to give her a week in a girly girl room all her own.
What do you think, did I do it right?
We had a nice bed for her, but no headboard, so I dug through my pretty things and came up with several favorite old frames. Nothing in the frames, of course, but they were so lovely all by themselves. An old paper garland and a vintage postcard clipped to the raggedy hanging wire on one frame with a glittery clothes pin would be the only finishing touches my "headboard" would need.
Mr. Wonderful thought I was nuts, as usual, but he was content to let me amuse myself with my imaginary "headboard' so long as it did not become a trip to the furniture store for a "real" headboard.
And just who needs the furniture store when Pottery Barn delivers right to my doorstep?
Two mis-matched side tables would serve as nightstands and an old dresser with a pretty painted front would work to store her travel clothes in while she was here. After she left I would use this to hold my sewing supplies, since this lovely space was to be for sewing and knitting.
Years ago I had found two petite bedside lamps in my favorite green color. New linen shades would brighten them up, perfect for reading before falling fast asleep. A few pretty crocheted doilies scattered about, an elderly garage sale china vase, millinery flowers haphazardly dropped in each little opening, completed one nightstand, an old clock that was pretty, but did not work at all, on the other.
After all, who needs an alarm when one is visiting?
In addition to the bedside lamps I took an old hanging fixture that had been partially repurposed into a rather whimsical chandelier - embellishments and a cord cover to come at some future date, but for now I really like how it makes a pretty pattern on the walls and ceilings when it's lit up.
To dress the bed in girly style I pulled out nubbly linen sheets and a vintage chenille bedspread; a really thick old Bates with big, soft, fluffy, tufts. LOTS of throw pillows made with vintage fabrics, I mean I have a thing for pillows. Can you tell?
Old ticking would be repurposed into two ruffly pillow cases for the main sleeping pillows, and I couldn't resist putting this little gingerbread man, made out of a crumbling cutter quilt, to perch happily against the pillows too.
Now when you enter this room you are greeted by a real view and welcomed into the space a bit more than before. When I see this room I just want to stretch out on the bed and take an afternoon nap while the sunlight streams in. Or curl up in this chair and read or knit for hours.
The leftover furniture and orphan decor somehow felt just right when brought together. I also hauled out old dolls and vintage stuffed animals, sewing supplies, and forced Mr. Wonderful to swap out the builder's grade ceiling light with the dearest little crystal fixture that sent drops of sparkly light over the room. Yes, this was definitely a girl's space.
I think the only thing missing was a sign on the door: "No Boys Allowed."
Looking from the bed you have a view of the sewing area, closet and bath entry. If you were to open the door to the closet you would find it full of (mostly my) winter clothes, vintage drapery, and more than a few baskets of soft yarn.
I have enough yarn to make socks for the rest of my life... but that's another blog post.
The sewing space, consisting of a humble folding table, disguised by a fitted and gathered linen tablecloth made to cover its decidedly un-shabby chic form, an Anthropologie tablecloth draped catty corner on top, a really funky lamp that my hubby just FREAKED out when he saw how much I spent for it, a 60's era dress form, a scratch and dent shelving unit and a wonderful, but slightly wobbly, oak chair.
I think my dress form for needs a name, don't you?
... something romantic, but not silly. She sort of feels like she's somewhat of a practical girl, but perhaps dreams of calico dresses and straw hats. Ideas?
My much-loved Janome 6600 sits on the sewing table, along with the lamp hubby does not love. Can you belileve that he actually asked me to please take it back to the anitques store?
Obviously, he has no clue this lamp is perfect for the space, from its beat up lampshade, to the crystal droplets and finals.
Other than the lamp, I hadn't needed to purchase anything for the room up to this point. Except, well, I wanted something to store my fabric in, something out where I could see all the pretty fabric prints close at hand and not hidden away in the closet.
So I began hunting for just the right display, something with a darker stain to go with the dresser, and it had to fit on a small section of wall between two doors. AND... most importantly, not hideously expensive.
At one vintage store I found a perfect glass fronted showcase. Not too tall, just the right amount of storage, and made of quarter-sawn oak. A steal for $1,700.
[sigh] I continued my search.
This piece I found at a furniture store not a block from my home, stuck in a corner of the clearance section, next to a truly ugly camo print couch. It was sturdy, a bit tall, but the right width and stain color, and at $200 it was the right price.
The hepful sales lady offered that it had been broken in shipping and was repaired, but there were several un-lovely spots on the back as a result. Obviously, since the back would be, well, hidden from view, this did not bother me at all and I hauled it home...
... where it met with the approval of the Circus Bear and Aubrey Rose, my dearest bunny.
With the big pieces in the room and most of the soft furnishings in place, I needed something for the walls, and so headed back to my stash of lovely leftovers for wall decor.
Pretty pictures, some old... (I love this humble old painting)...
... and some new.
A shabby shelf, a few vintage fairy tale books, an ivy - green and living - but high up so the kitties won't chew on it!
An elderly frame, painted, with chicken wire inserted to make a pretty what-not board where I could clip photos, postcards or sewing notions I liked.
Another doll, this one new, but made from old fabrics and trims. She sits in front of a magnetic bulletin board made form an old ceiling tin. Yes, this hides the TV (can you tell?), which is so seldom used, but nice to have when guests come to stay.
An old hat on a shabby shelf on the wall next to the dress form...
.... a sweet burlap framed sentiment "LOVE" just above it on the wall.
Something else green and living, its tiny delicate leaves protected by a wire cloche from Truffles sharp teeth!
Another new/old item, this time a big quilting frame, padded with metal flowers for push pins. A perfect inspiration board for next to the sewing machine.
A favorite Etsy purchase, this lovely lingerie bag hangs on a rustic metal hook on the bathroom door.
It's just so pretty!
And the best accessory of all, a soft, warm kitty. In this case, the Bitty girl.