I grew up in the same house almost my entire life. It’s the only house I ever remember living in. My parents bought it when I was one and a half and they still live in that house today. I had a bedroom in the center of the house with no outside windows except for a skylight, which sounds a lot drearier than it was in reality. My room was always light and bright and I never had to close the curtains to change. My room was right next to the bathroom which had been redone in the 1950s. It was all green and black tile with floral wallpaper and an old sink. There was even some neon orange accent tile that some previous owner then painted black, but by the time I was in middle school the black paint was chipping in a few places exposing the orange. There was this great vintage mirrored medicine cabinet in that bathroom. It may have been original to the house. It had a lovely arched top and two hinged, adjustable wings which was just perfect for checking out your hair before the middle school dance. I loved that medicine cabinet! It was so great for looking at your hair from all the angles, because it had two hinged, mirrored sides.Continue reading “Installing a Vintage Medicine Cabinet”
When I first toured Berrybrier with my realtor back in the beginning of July I was convinced the bathroom just needed a quick coat of paint and some cleaning. What’s a kind way to say that was really freaking idiotic? However you decide to phrase it, I was stupid and the bathroom needs to be gutted. Doesn’t everyone love an unanticipated multi-thousand dollar side project? Oh joy!
But let’s be real, this bathroom is BAD. It’s gross and there is a rot problem as things are not properly water proofed. Now I was hoping this was just dirty. It’s not. Enjoy this blurry picture of the wood tub surround. Doesn’t that just make you want to take a leisurely bath? Mmmm mmm good!
The bathroom is right off the kitchen and is the primary bathroom not only for all three bedrooms to bathe in, but also for visitors to use. Storage in this bathroom is a bit questionable. The previous owners added this IKEA cabinet to the corner here, but it overlaps the door trim and is not really the right style. The bathroom vanity cabinet is a beautiful antiqued mirror, but it’s beat up and gross inside. There is an extension cord running from the light fixture to power two little plugs on either side of the mirror, which seams super safe. Not! Oh! And the best part? The little floating vanity covered in the same sheet vinyl as the floor! On the bright side, this bathroom does have a wired light fixture and switch!
So as you can see, pretty much every finish in the space needs to be changed, but more importantly, the layout needs to be changed. See the toilet? To get to that you have to turn sideways and scootch past 12″ of space between the sink and tub. It’s great! The tub – while exceedingly comfortable – is way too big for the small room. The bathroom is only 54″ wide and about 8 feet long. It was actually elongated by about 12″ in order to fit that tub in at some point. Which is why you see the soffit in the first picture above the mirror. The tub is so large you can basically take a poop while showering things are so crammed together!
So, everything needs to be changed. Let’s start with the layout. The soffit is like that because when they moved the wall, they just cut off the wall. Which doesn’t really work structurally. The wall needs to be reframed at it’s original location reducing the depth of the bathroom by about one foot, but the half bath on the other side will get just a bit wider. The bathing part needs to be rotated 90° and put against the back wall. Because the bathroom is only about 54″ wide, a tub won’t really fit, so I will be putting in a 48″wide shower. If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to steal a little bit of the extra room besides the shower for little cubbies to hold rolled towels. The sink and the toilet will be relocated on the same wall as the sink closer to the entry to the room. That will provide a nice circulation path along the exterior wall with the window. I’ll add wood shelves above the toilet for additional storage. Can you envision that? Here, let me help. Excuse the dimensions, I had to get it all on plan to show my plumber.
Now that I’m committed to moving forward, I’ve decided to dive in head and heart. Which means I’m now really excited! What’s a designer’s dream? Getting to do everything they want without any one holding them back. Now, I can’t go crazy, since I do not have unlimited funds. My funds are incredibly limited, but I can use these limited funds to have some fun. I wanted the bathroom to be classic, yet dynamic. In character with the early 1900s house, yet with modern conveniences and style.
If you know me, you know I love green. It’s classic, yet very in right now. Green is a wonderful color that speaks to the nature of the lush surroundings of the Pacific Northwest. My bedding is green and floral, I often wear green, and I’m pretty much planning on painting everything in this house green. So prepare yourselves! Dark green looks amazing with gold and we all know that’s one of my favorite materials too. What can I say? I’m predictable. Plus, you know I’m going to try to create another bathroom jungle, right?
I was very inspired by Dana’s bathroom and loved the 2″ black hex floor tile. I spent a lot of time thinking that’s what I should do at Berrybrier with black grout that would hide grime. But, my dear cousin Mary very kindly pointed out that black shows soap scum and dirt easily. I started to rethink this plan, though I still think it looks amazing.
I still wanted to do a hex mosaic though since it’s classic and looks amazing! I found inspiration everywhere I went, like random apartment stoops.
And then I thought, well, I’m a designer, I should do something ultra designer-y, like this:
Then I realized I have to get this bathroom done before 2020 and I really don’t have a lot of time to wait for custom colored tile nor the time to hand-lay a complicated pattern. So I did some soul searching and decided to go more classic. I found this at Home Depot and placed my order. Simple, classic, black and white daisy.
For the bath fixtures, a coworker let me know we get a lip smacking good designer deal from Delta. I picked out their Cassidy collection for a vintage inspired, modern look in their Champagne Bronze finish (which is gold). A modern white toilet and pedestal sink will be a nice change from the pink throne too! Dark green walls in Benjamin Moore’s 1498 Forest Floor will add drama. Vintage picture frames and dark stained shelves with black brackets will look classic. Pretty soon, my design palette came together and I was ready to go!
Demo starts this weekend and the electrician and plumber come next week! I’ll be showering at my cousin Kristen’s next week. Thank god for local family! The only sad part of the renovation is the bathroom walls will no longer match my toothpaste! 😂
Have you ever renovated a bathroom by yourself? Am I crazy to hope to get it completed in just a couple of weeks?! Wish me luuuck! I will need it!
I have a goal and a plan and I’m ready for action! This is the final push to get the entry whipped into shape! I have a Galentine’s Day Party planned for all the ladies in my life the weekend of the 11th. My goal is to finally complete the entry way so I can decorate it up for the party! I have some cute heart ornaments that just need a place to be hung.
So, why is it the final push? Because I’ve been secretly working on this for months, slowly chipping away at the mess that this area was when we moved in! If you recall, it looked like this to start:
And when you first opened the front door you looked in at this:
Whew! What a hot mess it was when we arrived! The entry’s one redeeming feature (besides the coat closet) is the little nook right next to the door. This is a great place for us to stash all our shoes and jackets when we first come home. Of course… is started out as a whole lot of nothing!
Well, nothing, but an electrical panel, a light switch, and a heating vent. Lot’s of mechanical stuff going on in this spot! You may remember my original plan for this area. It included the following items, some of which are now complete:
Get seating for putting on/taking off shoes
sole or buffet for mail/purses
- Hang art/
- Paint back wall to hide electrical box better?
- Organize closet
Since October – when I came up with this plan of attack – I’ve been slowly getting ‘er done! First I got to work hanging a big old heavy mirror I got for free from work several years ago when it was delivered with a hefty scratch. I bought this 50 lb drywall anchor set from Home Depot for a few beans.
Once I marked my location (I was hanging the mirror high with the plan to eventually put a console table beneath it), hanging the mirror was really easy. I simply tapped the plastic anchor in with a nail first, then screwed it the remainder of the way into the wall.
The two other pieces in the kit – a screw and a picture holder, fit into one another, and were then screwed into the plastic piece. Easy as pie.
You know what was not easy? Lifting the heavy mirror up and hooking the wire onto the picture hook. Boy! That mirror was heavy! I enlisted the assistance of both my parents who happened to be visiting that weekend. By the time we hung the mirror, I’d also bought an ottoman! It was an impulse buy one morning on the bus. I only semi-regretted it after. And by semi-regretted I mean I realized it was definitely not my favorite option, but it was cheap. I looked it up to link to it in this post and found out it’s now available in cream! Ugh. Cream would have been a great option. Instead I ended up with the cherry red. When I bought it, the ottoman was only available in red or black leather. I have an intense dislike of black leather furniture unless it’s on task chairs, so I went with the red option. I may reupholster it with some extra fabric I got for free from work. We’ll see… For now, let’s concentrate on the positives of this ottoman. A) I got it for a heavily discounted price. B) It opens up and becomes a huge storage ottoman! C) It’s deep enough to provide seating space while still being tucked under a shallow table, so I don’t need to drag it out to open it.
Being quite the spend-it-all-at-once-er I also bought an indoor/outdoor rug at about the same time. I picked one that was made of polypropylene because it would hide the dirt and I could take it in the backyard and hose it off if it got really dirty. The rug itself is also heavily textured with the heathered dark parts of the rug being flatwoven and about 1/8″ below the height of the light part of the rug design. I wanted something that would make the silly transition between the sheet vinyl and LVT floors less obvious. The sheet vinyl part of the entry is 4′ x 7′ and rug I bought was 3′-9″ by 5′-8″ so it covers almost the entire entry area. Then on an IKEA trip I stumbled upon some welcome mats. Most of the mats at the store said “Welcome” in English, but I spotted one that said “Willkommen” which is the German translation. Being the Germanophile I am, I snapped it up instantly and stood over my cart like a mama dog protecting her babies. I took it home and paired it with the larger black and white rug for a modern look. Having this mat inside helps keep things even cleaner, especially since we do not have any outdoor overhang! Jacks was so excited about the rug, he even posed with it for Instagram (yes this was 3 months ago).
With the hanging of the mirror and the purchase of the rugs and ottoman, this entry had a completely different look and feel. Thank goodness! It wasn’t done yet – no there was lots left to do – but, progress had been made and the space was starting to feel like home. Plus I finally had a place to store my shoes (the ottoman!) and a place to sit while putting on my shoes (the ottoman!). No more hopping around on one foot like a clumsy flamingo!
Now that my clumsy flamingo days were over, I also wanted a place to hang my purse and any wet coats (have you heard that it rains here in Portland, OR?). I inherited some pretty reclaimed wood planks from a friend a while back. I pulled one out that looked to be about the right size; its gorgeously beat up and has some paint still staining it. I love old wood (wink wink! No, gross! Bad joke! I take it back.). Then I picked up some of these painted square tile hooks from World Market.
I laid them out on top of the wood plank on my dining table and spaced them out until they were even to the eye, before marking their location with a pen. Then I drilled shallow holes in the wood to allow for the screws.
I finished it off by screwing the hooks onto the board. (Is it just me or did that sound dirty too?)
I finished it off (oh my god, why does this sound so bad?!) by drilling holes at the middle of each end of the board and taking two 2″ screws to fasten it into the studs in the entry. The coatrack looks cute and holds my purse quite nicely!
Now, why stop there when there’s so much more to do in this room?! If you scroll all the way up to the first picture in this post, you’ll see a weird box on the wall. What is it? I have no idea. Why is it there? To annoy me. How do I fix it? Classic answer: a gallery wall.
Boom! A few pieces of art and now that box isn’t quite so obvious. Here is my map of England, a fun and funky art piece my Aunt Pat found, and a print I bought at a Museum in Milan. This entry has so many walls, I still need to add art to several spots! This is a good start though. Overall, I’m feeling good, because this entry is looking so much nicer!
A vast improvement over the before, I just have to say!
Oh! That before picture makes me realize another couple of quick updates. See that ugly carpet sticking out under the door? Ripped out. Goodbye gross! The cheap mirror on the closet door didn’t even last through the first week in the Duplex. There are some things I can’t change – the yellow brown moldings, the door, etc, but in a rental, sometimes you gotta take what you can get! What’s on the horizon for this space? Lot’s of final touches, but first, a custom console. You may have seen this sneakpeek pic on Instagram a few weeks ago when I was test fitting my furniture build:
I’m still working on the final touches of that piece, but the goal is to knock that out this week and begin accessorizing and putting more art up next weekend. Wish me luck!
Do you have anything you’re working on that has a fast approaching deadline? Does that make you panic? Or work harder? Or both?! Let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments!
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had a great holiday and got a chance to relax and spend time with family and friends! I spent my break at my parents house eating way too many waffles and drinking hot buttered rum. Lots of hot buttered rum! While I was down in the Bay Area, I also installed a project for a private client of mine. We’re about 95% done with their home and once we finish I can’t wait to go down and photograph the project to share here on the blog. It’s always such fun seeing things come to life from idea to specs to reality! Back home I’ve just been sorting through things trying to purge some of my belongings and trying to find a place for the too many books I accidentally bought at the local used bookstore in my parents’ town.
Speaking of bookshelves, back when I shared how I style my bookshelves full of books I mentioned I’d share my downstairs bookshelf, which, though it has many books, definitely holds a lot more “things” too! This bookshelf is a hand-me-down from my parents which my mother surprised me with when I moved to Berkeley. It needs refinishing and I’ll probably paint it black when I finally get around to painting all the things I want to paint black like my china-cabinet-turned-pantry and dining table. For now though, the bookshelf is a rusty brown shade that I rather dislike. Styled full of pretty things, however, it’s not so bad!
The bookshelf sits tucked in the corner of the main living area next to the dining table and slider door. It fits this spot pretty perfectly and gives this spot some definition and meaning!
These days, Finley the Fig Tree hangs out in front of the slider about 3 feet in front of the bookshelf. She tends to hide the bookshelf from view a little bit, but it was the only place to put her!
Anyways, this bookshelf is more styled than my stuffed-with-books shelf upstairs. This shelf holds all my pretty vintage books, too many of which I bought only because they looked nice (Shhh! Let me have my addiction!). It also holds my collection of German steins (somewhat touristy in taste) as well as a few plants (see above about addictions) and knick knacks.
I can rarely let a surface stay empty so I nabbed a picnic basket I had to sit on top of the shelf and flanked it with two plants. I’d rather these plants live in a different color container, but these were already planted, so I stuck with what I had. Below that, a vintage collection of children’s stories is propped up with inexpensive candlesticks. On the eye level shelf is my collection of steins which I frequently pick up a flea markets and garage sales. I’ve always got an eye out for them. They usually have some sort of interesting pastoral or forrest scene both painted and embossed on them so they’re textural as well as colorful! Below the collection is a shelf with a few stacks of books, a heavy goat bookend I got from my Oma and a Burros Tail succulent I picked up on my birthday last year at a greenhouse in Half Moon Bay.
You’ll notice that these objects are all fairly symmetrical and centered on the shelves. This is very me. I love symmetry! If this shelf was located somewhere else I’d probably use less symmetry to keep things more interesting. Because this is a one-off bookshelf off-centered in a corner, a
little lot of symmetry keeps things more orderly.
A lot of my viney plants ended up on this bookshelf. I’ve helped them grow in and around the things on the shelves and they don’t seem to mind sprucing things up a bit! This shelf below is my favorite. The plant really took off and loves that I’ve wound it around the items on the several shelves! Plus I love the stacks of red and blue books with little car on one stack and small box on the other. The car is actually a Christmas ornament my mother gave me, it’s a little truck of fruit though so I keep it out all year round. The box is also from my Oma and is full of little labeled rocks she picked up around Europe in the 1980s.
Below this shelf are just rows of books – tall ones on the bottom, short ones on the shelf above that. This photo made me realize that last shelf was put on crooked and has been crooked for nearly seven months. Whoops!
So that is how this bookshelf is looking! Still holds a lot of books, more so than a lot of styled shelves on the internet, but holds a lot of less practical things as well! Hope that inspires you to straighten up your shelves and make them look nice too.
Happy New Year! Also, shout out to Steve!
Happy Monday! I cannot believe it’s December! How did this happen? It’s insane. December means I’ve officially lived in Portland for four months. It definitely feels like I moved yesterday! However, four months seems to be about the amount of time it takes me to bring a room together because the living room is finally in a good place. It’s been all over the place since we moved here, but has always seemed un-finished slightly sad, now things are beginning to look more permanent!
Do you remember when I moved in and it looked like this? A pile of boxes, some old IKEA furniture, and my plants scattered over every surface. It was right as we were moving in and the space was in the midst of being cleaned, cleaned, cleaned!
Eventually it began to slowly transform as we settled into the Duplex and started to get more organized. The room became a place holder for mix-matched furniture and art we already owned.
But it still didn’t feel quite right. Things needed adjustments. We didn’t have a sofa (because I couldn’t quite find the perfect one at the perfect price), the faux cowhide rug wasn’t very cozy, and the furniture arrangement needed tweaking to create a more conversation oriented layout. Still, it wasn’t bad, just temporary. Things were looking so much better than when we first moved in!
Well things have continued to move around and now this space actually feels like a comfortable place to hang out! The biggest change, however, came from another room in the house! Remember the rug I bought right after ripping out the carpet and painting the subfloor in the bonus room? It’s a great Moroccan Inspired white and charcoal 8’x10′ rug that’s oh so soft and cozy! We loved it in here, but it was a tad large for the space (which I knew when I bought it) and it seemed sad to waste such a lovely rug on a space we hardly used.
It lived up there for about a week and a half until I decided we needed to really rearrange. The next Saturday I rolled up the rug and dragged it downstairs (literally). That day I also finally decided I wasn’t going to buy a sofa for the Duplex. This place is a transitionary home and I’d rather buy a sofa for the Portland home I decide to live in more permanently when my lease here is up in June. Since I am not going to buy a sofa, it made sense for my roommate’s futon to take on that roll downstairs. So that needed to change locations as well! Down the stairs it went (I moved this by myself and nearly died when it decided to try to take me with it when I was sliding it down the staircase). I continued moving furniture around. The bench that served as primary seating before? Poof! Up into the bonus room it went. I tried the rug a couple of ways before sliding it into it’s final position and plopping the furniture back down. I also grabbed a canvas drop cloth I had in the garage and draped it over the purple futon to brighten it up. The black mud cloth stayed and popped more against it’s new white backdrop! The rest of the furniture in the room stayed and just got moved around a little bit. The entire space feels so much brighter and cleaner now! Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty to do, but this finally feels like a good space!
Moving the rug and the futon downstairs was a huge change for the better! The room feels so much cozier and put together and a million other things. The only thing I really want to switch out now is the TV console, which I’d love to replace with an old dresser. Other than that, everything is here to stay! Luckily, even though I bought the rug for upstairs, it fits perfectly down in here! I laid it about 10″ from the window wall (to clear space for the heater vent that’s behind the sofa) and it ends with just enough room for the stools to slide out when you’re sitting at the counter. Jackson has taken over the old cherry-crate-turned-cat-bed I made Malary back in Berkeley. I placed it over in this corner to help fill in the space by the snake plant and pantry cabinet and it has become his new favorite place to sleep.
I promise he’s not as crosseyed as this photo makes him look. He’s quickly become part of our home and absolutely dotes on Malary – following her around constantly – which annoys her to no end!
Most everything in the room is repurposed from before, but I did buy a few things in the last few weeks. The fiddle leaf fig tree came home after my last Home Depot trip. It’s hanging out in front of the fixed panel on the slider door for now and I’m hoping to give it a nice long life. We only have eastern and northern light in this house, which I’m hoping is enough for it to thrive. I’ve decided it’s large enough to deserve a name, so I’m calling her Finley. This spot is bright in the morning through early afternoon, but doesn’t get any of the hot evening sun. In fact after 2pm or so this room is a little dim. Anyone else have a fiddle leaf fig? Let me know your tricks for keeping it alive! I’ve wanted one for ages and when I stumbled upon this nice tall one, I jumped on her! The deer head is also new – an impulse buy from Cost Plus World Market. I kind of love it! It’s green and red and gold; my favorite colors!
This room feels so much nicer these days and we’re using it so much more. Before it was definitely a transitionary space both in look and use. We mostly passed through here on the way to our bedrooms. We’d rarely hang out down here since there was no where cozy to lounge. Now with the futon and the comfy rug, it’s just as likely you’ll find us laying on one as the other! I swear this rug is so fluffy underfoot you just want to stick your face on it!
It’s a far cry from where we started right?
The space is transformed and now it’s perfect for board game nights and curling up with popcorn to watch a movie. It’s cozy for winter and winters last a long time in Portland! Plus I just can’t get enough of that deer head.
Have you switched up a room with the simple addition of a new rug lately? It’s such a quick change and yet it can make the whole space feel completely different! I’ve been designing lots of custom rugs lately and they’ve been on my mind! I want to get around to writing a “what to look for in a rug” post soon. For now, you’ll find me curled up with a blanket and two sleepy cats on the futon (as I am right now). 🙂
So before I talk all about my new home, the Duplex, I want to wrap up the one room I felt looked totally finished at the Berkeley Bungalow. No, it wasn’t my bedroom. It was the bathroom. The room that felt totally me. The room where the art was hung. Oh wait — you don’t remember the art being hung? Let me fill you in.
Remember how the bathroom looked when I first moved in? Gorgeous, but it needed a few finishing touches to bring it to life. Boy do I miss that house. The Duplex needs… let’s just say… a little more work. The Berkeley Bungalow’s bathroom got a shower curtain and plant stand with a peace lily to start.
The space worked. The litter box did the room no favors. Overall it was not a bad start. But let’s take a look at how things were right before I moved out…
Painting the plant stand was the first step towards creating a plan for the room. I decided to embrace the gold I’d accidentally incorporated with the Target shower curtain. I then later switched out the old vinyl shower curtain liners with some healthier, washable polyester ones. I searched for storage and ended up with some clear glass jars. Finally I added some plants and painted some IKEA pots to make the space a little bathroom jungle. The finishing touches involved adding art and a full length mirror!
I switched things up and moved my jewelry into the bedroom, freeing up one corner for yet another plant. Yay! This guy does well in low light and humid conditions. Perfect for a bathroom! The framed art above I bought in Milan in 2013 and popped into an IKEA frame. It’s Gerolamo Induno’s 1862 Forebodings. I really liked the piece in person and bought the print at the museum store. It depicts a girl sitting on a bed starting to either get ready for the day or ready for bed. It seemed fitting for the room where I do just that!
The other side of the room got a full length mirror from IKEA which I really wanted to paint gold (of course!), but never got around to it. A hanging IKEA planter from the towel rack incorporated yet another plant and I added a vintage 1950’s tourism poster of Berlin above the plant stand and towel rack to call this side of the space done!
This room was always bright and sunny. The natural daylight made even the toilet look cute. The plants I put on top might have helped a bit though too.
On the counters, I switched out the wooden soap holder for a red ceramic one I picked up for a few bucks at Target. The red tied into the red on the tub and added some contrast with the glass jars I’d bought at World Market.
The space finally came together and I was sad to leave it. The bathrooms at the Duplex leave much to be desired. But I’ve long since gotten used to the idea that the Berkeley Bungalow might be the nicest house I’ll ever live in. So instead of dwelling on the idea of cleaning my sheet vinyl floors again (do they ever get clean?!), I’ll just day dream of baths in this room. Heck! I’d pay rent just to live in this bathroom!
How’d I do on the list I made for this space? Pretty decent, I think!
Find the perfect glass storage jars Add a piece of furniture to place a glass of water or a book on when I take a bath New shower curtain Necklace holder Soap dish
- Moved it into my bedroom
Better jewelry storage, perhaps building an earring holder?? Add some plants in small pots on top of the toilet back Paint the plant stand gold to go with the shower curtain
- Somethings aren’t meant to be
find a better way to hide the kitty litter box Organize the vanity cabinet to better contain everything I hide away down there Hang art Even more plants?! Take so many bubble baths!
So, that there’s the end, folks. That’s the last Berkeley Bungalow post. Now we’re in Portland. Home of the endless options for delicious food. I’ll shock you with the comparison of this room to my new bathrooms and start listing ideas of how to spruce those guys up soon! Get ready for some to do lists and painting shenanigans!
Some people spend their free time dreaming of vacations and planning their futures, I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about sheets. My patterned bed sheets had finally had enough. They’d given up, they’d ripped, they’d torn, they’d stained. It was the end. They knew it. Malary knew it. I was in denial, but deep down, I still knew it. What I could not find though was the perfect sheets for my bed! Bring on the bloodhounds, because this was about to get serious. I needed new sheets and I was going to find some good ones. You can see my old sheets here, both before and after I got my quilt. They were part of this collection from the Target Threshold line about a year ago. They’ve since discontinued the pattern, but the new patterns are pretty cute! I love that blue geo.
I was tempted to go with one of the new patterns from the same line, but they just weren’t right. Plus, I’d really only had my sheets from this line for one year and they’d already ripped along a couple seams and they were worn and stained on the fitted sheet where I slept. Not a gross, unidentifiable stain or anything. But there was kind of an outline of my body, probably from sweat and oil and the fact that I sleep in exactly the same place every night. The sheets also felt different in this spot. They pilled a little bit and were not as crisp feeling as the rest of the sheets. You couldn’t tell any of this unless you were actively making the bed up, so it wasn’t overt in the least, but I knew about it. Is this too much information? I just wanted y’all to be totally informed about the quality of these sheets. My verdict? They did not last as long as I’d expected. Nosiree!
My problem when I’m looking for things for my home is my vivid imagination. Usually, before I even start searching, I know exactly what the item I want looks like. Vividly, from the scale of the pattern, to the exact shade (in this case) of green. Obviously, this makes things tricky as I don’t have a line of sheets I’ve designed, and thus cannot pluck my imagined sheet set from my imagination and wrap them over my bed. Maybe one day. But now? I am stuck on the search and have to find a compromise.
I think that there are a range of compromises. When anyone is looking to buy anything, I think it is best to go in with a set of guidelines, a list of must haves. These are the things you cannot, will not, compromise on. For my search for the perfect sheets my must have list looked like this:
- Organic, I believe in organic cotton, because I am going to sleep on these sheets for 8+ hours every night for as long as they’ll last, and I simply do not want any residue of pesticides that close to my skin for that length of time. If I could, every piece of linen or clothing item I bought would be organic and colored with natural dyes. Since this is not feasible (budget, style, etc) for me at this point in my life, I have to pick and choose. For me, sheets are a priority and organic sheets are easy to find!
- Patterned, some people love the look of simple, clean, all white bedding with the only accent or color coming from a pillow or throw blanket, but not me! I love pattern and color and mixing the two. Since my bedding is made up of a busy, multi-colored, large scale patterned duvet and euros; a dark red quilt with simple square stitching; simple, white standard shams; and gold sequined throw pillows, I wanted to balance the solids with another pattern. The patterning, however, needed to be dual color and pretty small scaled in order to not compete with the rest of the fabrics.
- Queen-sized, there are always some concessions to be made, but for sheets, size is not one of them!
- 50% or more white in the patterning, so much of my bedding is saturated in color, there is only mild contrast with my dark headboard and furnishings. I wanted my sheets to help lighten the bedding and room.
- Green, I knew exactly what shade of green I wanted my sheets to be. That perfect green- somewhere between yellow, lime, and split pea soup- was the same green found in the greenery in my floral my duvet cover.
Little did I know, but in this situation, one of my “must” haves simply had to drop out. The sheets I found, though, still take the cake! Here are several I seriously considered, just in case any of you are on the hunt for sheets!
- The first sheets I looked at were again from the Target Threshold Organic Sheet Set line. But, the plain white was the only one that would really work with the rest of my bedding and that felt too boring to me. Plus, for the reasons described above, I was a little skeptical of their quality.
2. I fell pretty hard for these Pottery Barn Marlo Organic Sheets when I first saw them over a year ago. The pattern is wonderful and small enough in scale to not compete with most other patterns. Having grown up in a Spanish style home, the Spanish/Moroccan influence in the pattern appeals to me. The dual-color palette was precisely what I was looking for, but it wasn’t green and I worried the pattern was still too large against my floral duvet cover. Still, in another world, I’d go for these in a heartbeat!
3. I knew Coyuchi organic cotton sheets were the height of luxury. West Elm even sells a sheet set from their line! These Sand Dollar Printed Sheets were the right scale and they even came in green, but the sand dollars don’t really fit in with my floral bedspread and the green wasn’t the exact right shade I wanted. Plus the $298.00 price tag for the queen sized set threw me a bit. That was way over my limited budget. I did love many of the other sheets Coyuchi sells though. Each and every single one is organic!
4. My search continued and after looking at many more patterned sheets, I looked for something more simple and found these Organic Mod Stripe Sheets at West Elm. I focused on the more neutral Belgian Flax color at first, before realizing I much preferred the Light Pool color. The dual-color pattern was precisely 50% white, like I was looking for and it was simple and small enough in scale to not compete with my duvet. But they did not come in any shade of green! The horizontal striping was interesting since sheets tend to come in vertical stripes.
5. I loved these Loomis Stripe Organic Sheets from Pottery Barn on first sight. The two colored stripe provided interest and allowed most of the sheet to be white. They contained the perfect shade of green I was so desperately searching for, but also a navy. I adored them, but did I really want to add another color to my already colorful room?
Can you guess which of the five I ended up springing for? Or which point I had concede on?
Prices lowered on one of the sets and the sale helped me snag those sheets for $69. Not cheap, but not as expensive as they could have gone for. As soon as they arrived at my door, I washed and dried them, and threw them on my bed. Instantly cute! Instantly more finished. Instantly tied in with all the other color!
Yup, that’s right! I went with the unexpected and choose the Organic Mod Stripe Sheets from West Elm. Blue, not green! A real curve ball (from my perspective at least!). It was actually a bit of a gamble, because I hoped (but wasn’t sure) that the “Light Pool” color of the sheets was the same aqua color in the little blue flowers on my duvet and euros. When the sheets arrived I heaved a big sigh of relief, they were a match!
That’s one of the best things about this duvet, it works in a few hues from several different colors (red, green, pink, aqua), allowing it to coordinate with nearly everything. It’s really very fortunate and makes me love the modern floral even more! You might also note the flowers on my nightstand. They were a cute birthday gift from my friend Hannah, the vase I inherited from my Oma, but how perfectly do they go with my bedding! Same aqua! Same red! Same pink! Totally perfect. Sigh… it’s the little things in life that make me smile.
So there you have it. A couple months search, some compromises, and a win-win situation. I love the sheets, they help tie everything (including the red quilt ) together. I finally feel like this year long hunt for bedding can come to a close. The new sheets and the switching out the standard shams from the red quilted ones back to my original white shams, make the red quilt feel far less out of place. Now everything coordinates and I can sleep easy. Whew.
Plus, I’ve totally proved that stripes go with florals! Just match the colors and you’re golden. Hooray! Any one else looking for new sheets? Coordinating patterns? Maybe I should take my stripes/florals and apply it to fashion. That would be an outfit!
After my grandmother passed away in 2014, I was handed down many things. Plants, a wooden stool, suitcases, a sheepskin rug. I love having these little bits and pieces of her scattered around my home, reminding me of her on a daily basis. A few things are still finding their places in my home. Recently, two more found their new purpose!
Among my Oma’s things were many handkerchiefs. Back in the days before waste was normal and tossing 150 pieces of paper in the landfill every time you had a cold became completely acceptable, everyone used handkerchiefs! Now among the everyday handkerchiefs my Oma had several decorative handkerchiefs that were probably never used. Two were rather fun and festive and lucky for me, those are the two that I was given!
I bought some square, white IKEA picture frames and popped the handkerchiefs behind the glass. One of them was actually a little small, so I ended up taping it to a piece of white paper first. Here they are in all their glory!
I decided to hang both of them in my bedroom on the wall parallel to the length of my bed. They both have blue, white, and red hues in their imagery so it ties in with my bedding fairly well.
The handkerchief on the right is pretty great; it’s all about travel! I could totally see something like this in a nursery, but since that’s like ten plus years out, let’s not even go there. For now, we’ll call it “fun” and not “child-like,” mmkay? It’s Bon Voyage theme always makes me smile. My Oma loved to travel. She visited so many places in this world, something I’ve always loved to do as well.
Shall we get a little bit closer? Yes, that is my reflection in the glass of the picture frame. Realizing now, that although the images from the airlines are multi-directional, I’ve hung this handkerchief upside-down if you take a closer look at that plane. Whatever. Let’s call it charming and pretend it’s emulating that scene from Flight, which is my favorite movie to watch before traveling anywhere. The little Bon Voyage marches around all four sides of the handkerchief, but I framed it to just show the one so the sizing would be more similar to that of the other handkerchief (which was significantly smaller).
The other handkerchief is equally, if not more, representative of my Oma. It’s Struwwelpeter! Every German’s favorite stories from her childhood. The book is a collection of cautionary tales for children written in 1845 about the importance of cutting your hair & nails, not playing with matches, not sucking your thumb, etc. In basically every single story the child is either killed or mutilated after not listening to his or her parents. They’re fabulous! I mean, I probably wouldn’t read them to a child, like they were originally intended, but you know, next time you need scary stories to read around a camp fire, this is perfect! You can find the illustrated German version here for an idea of the tales. Or see Dwight Schrute from The Office reference it here as well as the English translation. I love these stories! I know it’s crazy and they’re violent and awful, but I find them some what hilarious and oh so mid-1800s German!
My favorite story, about Harriet who was told not to play with matches, is — unfortunately– not depicted. Regardless, I the handkerchief reminds me of my childhood afternoons reading with my grandmother. Here’s a closer look at the handkerchief.
Now, before I go on, I must note that I do not condone or promote anything from these collection of tales. They were written over 150 years ago. They are violent and occasionally racist. They should not be taken at face value, but rather studied and viewed as stories and imagery of historical interest only. I have a Bachelor’s in German Studies from Tufts University and my studies into German culture lead to my fascination with these tales, as well as my personal family history. They are in no way politically correct.
The two handkerchiefs remind me of my ancestry and my Oma. I love the idea of framing fabric, especially as both handkerchiefs were creased from laying folded in a drawer for years and years. I could have ironed them out, but some how, I felt they added to the story of these handkerchiefs. So up they went in my bedroom. Memories on the wall, reminding me of my past, present, and future.
Have you ever framed a piece of fabric that reminds you of someone? I thought these were just too beautiful to leave in a drawer!