Monday, October 23, 2017

My New Bedroom

Before I get started with this post, which has been in draft for MONTHS, my good friend Joni of Cote de Texas posted a wonderful blog all about my apartment which includes this room, and the new media room/den/guest room. So, when you're done here - go over there, take a look around and say hello!

If you read my blog with any regularity you know that I change my mind about my personal interior design as often as some people change their underwear. (Not kidding, even a little bit!) When I moved into the new apartment last November, I quickly threw the bedroom together, spending most of my time and money on the living and dining rooms. Eventually, I knew that I would need to do something with the bedroom - but I honestly figured that I would have moved to another place before it really started to bug me. 

I was wrong.

Just to recap though, here's what the old bedroom looked like when I moved in: 


Now, this is what all of the apartments look like when you move in. Fresh carpet, paint, and mini-blinds. It's nothing fancy. But, it's in a FANTASTIC neighborhood, and I'm close to work, friends, and it feels safe. Which is important in a home, rental or otherwise.

At first, I really just loaded furniture into the space: 


It was fine, nothing really to jump up and down about. Even looking back at this photo I think to myself: "what the huh? What were you thinking Artie!?" The carpet drove me batty, and the posts on the four poster bed were much too short for it to look as sophisticated and lovely as I had wanted it to. 

The redecoration process started with getting a new bed, this time, no posts. The room was just not symmetrical or large enough to host a canopy bed. Something I knew to begin with, but paid no nevermind. Then I tore up the rug, and put down the same flooring as in the living room with another large seagrass rug. 

After that, I sort of stalled. Did I want to paint the walls? Did I want to fill them with artwork? The answer never really came to me until I found a 44-yard bolt of Valdese Weavers Mattress ticking for what I thought was an absolute bargain. My mind exploded with ideas, and I finally decided on upholstered walls. If I only knew then ... 

Here's the thing. I'm gonna level with you. And this is SUPER important, because I don't want you coming back to me telling me how big of a jerk I am because I made it look so easy. If you think that painting stripes level, plum, straight (whatever term you wanna use for RIGHT) on a wall is hard, try upholstering a wall in them. IT'S IMPOSSIBLE! Oh, and as if THAT isn't hard enough, the pattern run on the bolt was horizontal not vertical. Yep, I had to SEW the pieces together to get the full height to reach the ceiling from the floor. You ever sew stripes together to meet perfectly? Did you succeed? 

Cut back to me inventing cuss words

It was by far the most incredibly tedious thing I've ever done. ABSO-EFFIN-LUTELY! I must have stopped and started over a dozen times before I just settled on it being charming that the stripes didn't line up. It'd have that carnival fun house vibe, "Are these stripes crooked or am I having a stroke?" You know, that's the thing you don't see when you see all of these gorgeous rooms with their perfectly striped wallpapers and upholstered walls. Someone got paid SERIOUS MOO-LAH to put that shit beautiful fabric up there, and paying someone who does this for a living was not something I was willing to do in an apartment! (Que the choir: He's just a poor boy, from a poor family ...)

When I went back to look at all of these wonderful inspiration rooms I had saved with striped or upholstered walls, I started to see that they were filled with small faults, too! "Maybe I wasn't so crazy afterall," I thought, "maybe even when you spend THOUSANDS of dollars to have this professionally done, you can still have human error?"

At the end of all of it though, it wasn't half bad. Honestly, if I hadn't been drunk on wine when I tacked half of it up there, it'd probably look better than it does now ... (don't judge me ... it was the only way I was gonna NOT throw it all out in the middle of the street!)

Of course getting the fabric up was only half the battle. Then I spent hours, nay DAYS with a glue gun and ribbon finishing off the edges. WORST. JOB. EVER. INVENTED. And why in the hell is ribbon so expensive? 

But it's finished. So, without further ado ... here's the before and after...

I hope you don't stroke out! Proceed at your own risk. 
(Insert Waiver of Liability Here)

Before (again)

After

When I bought the bed, the headboard was upholstered in a sort of light cream linen. I reupholstered the headboard and wrapped the box spring in the same fabric as the walls to really give the space a more tailored look. I love the same fabric being used throughout the room, and the pop of those white velvet curtains against the chocolate brown. By the way, if you're looking to purchase the bed, I highly recommend going through Amazon. It's pretty inexpensive, AND FREE SHIPPING! Whoohoo!



A lot of people who have seen this room in person ask about the art. Why it's hung on the walls the way that it is, and whether or not I have intentions of adding more art to the gallery. The answer for both is simple: I don't know. When I finished the walls in this room, I struggled with whether or not to put art on them. After a little while though, I knew that all of the art I had stored needed a place to be seen, and these walls were just going to have to be the perfect space. (Whether they are, or not!) I really just let the art speak to me. It's hung low in some areas, high in others. Nothing really "goes" together, it's just an eclectic mix, which is why I think hanging it this way really works. 

The bedding is the same as the other bedding I had, but I went for the taupe version this time, instead of the blue. I also layered the suzani that I bleached onto the bed as well. Surely you all remember that I did that, right? Bleached the suzani? 

The Way Before, Before

In the old apartment, the suzani, as purchased in the standard black and red. I bleached it (on purpose) hoping that it would come out beautifully, and shockingly, IT DID! It's the most beautiful combination of tan/taupe now.

Before

After

Here, you can see that the carpet is no longer there, replaced by the wood laminate, topped with seagrass and a chocolate and cream dhurrie. What can I say, I got a little obsessed with the stripes. One of my favorite things in this room are the antique slipper chairs on either side of this dresser! I actually found these already upholstered in this chocolate and white ticking, and they worked beautifully against the wall here. One day I'm gonna have these babies recovered in something fabulous, but for now, they look like they belong.

More scattered and collected art here, along with the television. Now that I have a den with a television, this tv isn't really necessary. But, sometimes the dogs and I like to curl up under the covers and watch a good movie, so it'll stay, even it's only turned on once a month! 

 Before

After

I moved the bed over a bit, kept the table, and the lamps. The tiger velvet pillows and the antique suzani really help give this bed some interest, but I love the simplicity of this duvet cover and shams. The art on this side of the bed was purchased in Florida, original oil duck billed bird up top, and an antique post card of an alligator in the St. John's river on the bottom.

Blue and white doesn't play as big of a role as it once did, but I still have a few pieces scattered about in here. 

 Before


After


The same Chinese nesting tables are on this side of the bed, along with the lamps and my trifle dish filled with change. The art above is a watercolor from a Florida artist, purchased an art festival in Lewiston, NY; and the Bert and Ernie piece is a screenprint by an artist who works in movie parody. His stuff is hilarious! 

After

The mirror stayed. I love how much light is reflected from the windows in the front of the apartment. In front of it, a bench with French legs was slipcovered in the same stripe as the walls, headboard, and boxspring. It was finished with the chocolate brown ribbon trim that the walls were finished in. Beneath it (and atop it) design books found a new home, along with the Louis Vuitton valise, and some blue and white pieces.

After

After

The urn on top of the books is filled with coral, which I've been collecting for a bit. In fact, since these pictures were taken, I've added two new pieces. I may actually have a problem!

 Before

After

Here's a pretty big change. The bookcases are gone. They moved into the guest room for a little while, and then I eventually sold them to make way for the changes that occurred in there. The television still hangs here, this time on the wall, with the dresser beneath it. Two slipper chairs with white slipcovers flank the Empire dresser that was under the window. 

After

I love the plaster column capital on the dresser, which hides those television cords beautifully.

And now ... a few more shots:


I told you the blue and white was still around. I love this plate! The hand-painted chinoiserie side table is another favorite piece.


Arlo, looking in the mirror. (The apple doesn't fall far from the tree! HA!)


Louna, just wants to be left alone so she can watch Netflix. 


I have to say, I'm really happy with this space now. It feels "finished" and much more thoughtful than the old bedroom. Slowly but surely I'm sure I'll change my mind about how much I love it, but for now - it's probably my favorite room in the whole apartment - wonky stripes at all!

Hope you enjoyed the tour - now head over to Cote de Texas for more apartment pics! And, if you're here from Cote de Texas, welcome!


By the way - I've finally started working in my Cross Bottle Guy studio again, and I have 8 beautiful new pieces available on the Cross Bottle Guy website now. Run over there and take a look at the new loot!

22 comments:

  1. You are SO GIFTED! I loved Joni's piece on your work here and enjoyed looking at all the changes through your narrative. Such GOOD STUFF!!!

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  2. it's absolutely stunning. My mouth dropped. I hope you'll tell us how you hung the fabric....especially considering it's a rental.

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  3. Artie, as always I absolutely love seeing your transformations! Your bedroom is so beautiful. Its so you with a shot of Bruce Budd! Your after is jaw dropping, but don't sell your befores short!

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  4. OMG I only just noticed that the bed stripes line up with the wall stripes. You don't miss a detail.
    As I said on Cote de Texas, that was one tasteless, soulless, bland box of an apartment and you have turned it into a jewel box. Ugly bones are no longer an excuse. Your landlord should get tons of photos so that if you ever move out he can show people what the space is capable of.
    BTW, I've never seen art hung so low and it looks fantastic.

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  5. It is absolutely Effing FABULOUS! Joni's blog post was wonderful too as is yours and you have given me several clever and beautiful ideas for my home.

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  6. I think the art is hung perfectly. The entire room is lovely. Great job!

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  7. How did you bleach the suzani?

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  8. Just stunning - well done! You need your own show!

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  9. That's one gorgeous bedroom Artie! But one thing is confusing me. Are you supposed to change your underwear? ;]

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  10. I thought the before was pretty great; now it looks like a page out of Architectural Digest. Well done you!

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  11. Artie,

    Your apartment is stunning! I'm a new visitor to your blog via Joni, and I love what you did with your space - turning the blah, cookie-cutter space into something fabulous! I'm almost at a year in my very first house with my fiancé, and I cannot WAIT to start making it my own. Your space is an inspiration for sure.

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  12. Bravo, Artie! I already left several gushing comments on C de T, but I'm such a fan! You are such an inspiration, and I am taking notes from your playback as I work on my new, much smaller home. For one thing, most of my coffee table books are currently in storage along with my 1,800+ novels and non-fiction books; I previously had a small, completely bookshelf-lined library - now I have nowhere to put a single bookshelf :( But now I will be retrieving a lot of them and stacking them on and under a cane bench I have in my bedroom, as well as in other places around the house. I'm using more blue and white accent pieces. I'm thinking differently about art placement. I'm splurging on a couple of Scalamandre tiger pillows, haha! Your entire apartment is a gem, truly. So many unique touches. And the way you do things yourself, inexpensively - real people can relate to that! I do my own sewing and most other projects myself, too. I feel re-energized and ready to get back to work around here! Thank you, and keep it up!

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  13. Thank you, Joni, for introducing CdT followers to your talent. I just started following you after seeing Joni's post of your work and forwarded her post covering your apartment's transformation to friends who were also impressed. Your talent, not surprisingly, also extends to garden plantings. I had a look at your garden portfolio, enjoying many of your interesting and beautiful plant juxtapositions. Looking forward to more of your work, both inside and outside the home!

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  14. Artie, you are an incredible talent. I am sad that you have run out of rooms to transform because I absolutely look forward to seeing the amazing afters. Your attention to detail is inspiring. Thank you for sharing. - Kat

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  15. Spot on with what Joni wrote about you and your apartment transformation. I am always so impressed with your creativity. Kudos to you Artie because it is well deserved!!

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  16. Fascinating room Artie! What an amazing job on the stripes. I can't imagine upholstering a wall in stripes, much less using fabric that isn't "railroaded"! You are one tenacious fella!!! I like the art displays, they allow the bed to be the focal point. I must admit I covet your Scalamander pillows. When I saw a glimpse of your room on Instagram I wondered where you found a muted Suzani! I never would have been brave enough to bleach one. Amazing result. Each vignette is interesting, also personal; especially the mirror, upholstered French bench, books, urns with a touch of blue and white. Your work is layered, collected, warm inviting, I savor every creation.

    I've enjoyed your blog for a few years, I met you through Cote. You are not only a gifted designer of space, but of words. I laughed so much while reading this post. Not at you, with you. I could wander along this adventure, certainly feeling your pain, frustration, as well as determination. Beautifully written. Beautiful room.

    I haven't seen Joni's post yet - my next stop.

    Having upholstered walls before, next time you might try gimp trim, it's less expensive, also you can glue it with less burnt finger tips because it's thick.

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  17. I love it. Beautiful. I want to bleach a suzani! How did you do it?

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  18. OMG,This decor is so wonderful, it is to die for. Never have I seen, in my 78 years, a more handsome bedroom.LOVE!!!!!!! And your art display, PERFECT!

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  19. Artie,
    I first loved you when I found your bottles. They were a gift for my father who just passed away. I will keep them for myself now. Your emails were so kind.
    I had no idea back then how talented you are a talented decorator. I have been following your blog now for awhile and am constantly amazed by your designs, humble spirit, uniqueness. You inspire me to be a better person; I have no talents other than recognizing a genius when I see one. I wish you were close so you could help me and trying to imagine this ugly little house with your touch. Let me know if you would like to stay in my neighborhood for awhile. I have a really awful spare bedroom with a comfortable bed.

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  20. Oh my word- this bedroom is spectacular! I so admire your style and your attention to detail. I love your blog posts about how you cultivate your ideas and how you find inspiration. Your rooms are so warm, cozy, and elegant!! I like all the different textures you bring into a space, and all the blue & white pieces sprinkled throughout. I so admire your persistence to push forward and bring your ideas to life. It's just the push I need to make changes of my own. Thanks so much!!!!!!

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  21. You just keep getting better and better! As you know, I ADORE this room. It is so you and just perfect! xxoj.

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  22. Hi, Artie. I have just found you from Joni's blog entry about your dazzling new digs. Bravo! Loooove your bedroom and just wonder why you didn't upholster the bland white closet door to the right of the big mirror. Technically challenging (as if that would daunt you after all you have already achieved!) or aesthetically wrong? Bookmarking your blog and happy to have found you. Best wishes! DD

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