Sheets Search

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.

 

West Elm Duvet and Quilt | Land of Laurel

 

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!

 

  1. 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.

 

Target Threshold Organic Sheet Set | Land of Laurel
via

 

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!

 

Pottery Barn Marlo Organic Sheets | Land of Laurel
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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!

Coyuchi San Dollar Sheet Set | Land of Laurel
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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.

 

West Elm Mod Stripe Sheets | Land of Laurel
via

 

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?

 

Pottery Barn Loomis Stripe Sheets | Land of Laurel

 

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!

 

Bedroom Sheets | Land of Laurel

 

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!

 

New Sheets | Land of Laurel

 

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.

 

Bedroom Updates | Land of Laurel

 

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.

 

Stripes with Florals | Land of Laurel

 

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!

Glitzing Things Up with Gold

My goodness, it has been a while. Sorry, my friends! I’ve been having a crazy January! Lots of things going on personally and professionally. I’ve been falling into bed totally exhausted all month long. I have lots of blog posts planned though! Yay! Now I just need to write them… but I will! I will! I promise!

 

So, do you remember approximately 50 thousand years ago when I made over a nightstand for my friend Hannah? And I showed you all the prep process and never showed the final thing? I promise that I will – I just need to get myself into San Francisco in the daylight to style it and take some pictures… any day now…  Anyways, you may recall, that when I found that nightstand I also found some ceramic lamps. They were a hideous brown-purple color, but they had an excellent curvy shape that I knew would look fantastic in a different color.

 

Thrift Store Lamps and Nightstand

 

You may also recall that I already have two perfectly good matching lamps in my room. They are a bright apple green color and are Robert Abbey. Basically, they’re great, but they don’t actually function. They need to be rewired and I just don’t love them enough to get on that. I also think they need to be a different color. But because they’re so nice in the factory finish, I’m having difficulty getting myself to re-do them. I think I will eventually, but right now, I’m happy to tuck them away in the attic. Maybe they’ll have a new life in navy blue in my parent’s family room. Or maybe they’ll live in attics for ten years, because I am a hoarder at heart. 🙂

 

West Elm Bedding | Land of Laurel

 

Once I banished them, it was really time to get a hop on the thrifted lamps though. I got the lamps from where they’d been living (the corner of my bedroom!) and brought them outside to our courtyard to take inventory.  They were in pretty awesome shape considering their misfortunate coloring. The finish was still shiny and in good shape, they even worked when I plugged them into the outlet! Working lamps from the thrift store for 10 bucks each?! What is this victorious feeling? Thrift store success! Let me tell you, it’s a real high. 😉

 

Inventory of the Lamps

 

Now that I new these lamps did not even require re-wiring, this make over got super easy. All they needed was a quick coat of paint! We all know how much I love to paint. But what color should they be? My first thought was a nice dark green, since that was my go-to color for my bedroom in the beginning. But then my new bedding incorporates so much of my true life long love: the color red! I was in a bit of a conundrum. I like design conundrums though. I get to sit back and think about things for a little while. So after letting this cook on the back burner of my head for a bit, things became clear. Around this time I was also redoing my bathroom plant stand and then a little while later I stumbled upon my gold sequined pillows; things suddenly became very clear. Am I obsessed? I’m still undecided, but as I’m sure you’ve guessed, I decided to go with the gold again! Time to get cooking! I got out my trusty canvas painter’s cloth and began my prep work.

 

First  I taped off the electrical where the light bulb sits and then the plug itself. Because these were fully functioning lamps, I did NOT want to mess with these bits! Every thing else though? Go for the gold! I even decided to try spraying the brown cord. I figured the worst that could happen is it would flake off and I’d be left with a brown cord again. Since I intended to fully hide the cord, I couldn’t think of a reason to not give it a try.

 

Once things were taped off, I wiped down the entire lamp with liquid deglosser. I know a lot of people skip this step, but since I already have the liquid deglosser, I figure it can’t hurt. Once I’d checked that off the list it was time for my favorite part: paint!

 

Prepping the Lamps | Land of Laurel

 

When I spray paint, I like to look like a deranged college student/clown. I wear my hair up, I wear eye goggles, I wear an intense mask/respirator rated for spray painting. Spray paints still have VOCs. VOCs are terrible for you. It’s important to take safety precautions. This is another reason I always spray paint outside. May the internet forever treasure this photo of me. Also NESCAC represent!

 

Spray Paint Precautions | Land of Laurel

 

Once I’d donned my safety equipment, I grabbed my favorite primer and went to town.

 

Rustoleum Primer | Land of Laurel

 

After the first coat things were looking pretty rough. I always like to show you these in priming progress shots, because spray painting is all about thin coats! It doesn’t happen magically all of a sudden! It definitely takes patience and many coats to get a nice spray paint finish. I could definitely use more patience in this arena!

 

Priming the Lamps | Land of Laurel

 

You can see that everything totally looks crazy town for a minute or two. But, don’t worry! Another coat of primer and they start to look quite dashing! Now, at this point I always start to doubt myself. Do I really want to paint them a different color? White looks so good!! I think white is classic, elegant, just lovely. You know what white isn’t though? Me. White isn’t me. I don’t handle white things well… In fact, I usually destroy white things. You should see the mud stains I have on my formerly white jeans. I just can’t be trusted with white! But I do have an appreciation for all that class! If you look closely though, you can see that the original color peeking out under the priming job. It doesn’t matter, because what comes next is even better.

 

White Primed Lamps | Land of Laurel

 

To no one’s surprise but my own, I grabbed my favorite gold spray paint and had a little fun. The first coat went on and things were back to crazy town, but this was Vegas-crazy-town! Glitz! Glamour! Gold! Okay, I freely admit to being obsessed now… 😀

 

First Coat of Gold | Land of Laurel

 

After two more coats, my lamps looked fantastic! Everything I imagined when I saw them at the thrift store after work that first evening. This is the kind of thing I get excited about people, seeing my projects come to fruition. Even if it does take a century and a half for me to get it done. It’s better than chocolate cake. And I love chocolate cake.

 

I let the freshly painted lamps air out in the little shed off our house for three or four weeks. Because they were going into my bedroom I wanted them to have plenty of time to off gas. No one wants to smell spray paint when they’re going to sleep at night. Nuh-uh, no way. I am particularly sensitive to smells too. Another reason they sat out there for so long is that I got busy and forgot about them. But shhhh! The off-gassing is a much better (and very real) reason!

 

Once I brought them indoors I stripped the white lamp shades from my old lamps and plopped them on my new gold ones. Cue the excited squealing! I become about five years old when I am happy. It’s glorious if you enjoy small children. Once I had my lampshades on I placed the new lamps in the center of my nightstands and boy had the view changed. Goodbye apple green.

 

Green Lamps | Land of Laurel

 

Heellloooo gold!

 

Gold Lamps | Land of Laurel

 

Okay, maybe it’s a minor change. But whatever. My lamps are gold, people! I think the curvy shape is much more pleasing to the eye and the gold pops against the white shade similar to the gold sequined throw pillows against the white standards. While repetition isn’t a design requirement, it’s usually a good thing. Just like that things were coming together. My nightstands were looking better too. Just in time for me to get new ones… still need to find those!

 

On the left side of the bed (the unused side of the bed), I keep a picture of my dear friend Hannah and my grandmothers comb, brush, and mirror set. I love having the latter, it’s something I remember seeing every time I walked into her bedroom. Now it’s in mine. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, having little memories of my Oma scattered around my house makes me feel connected to her even though it’s been almost two years since she passed. That woman meant the world to me. And now I’m crying. Pheww. Deep breath and back to design. Since I never use this nightstand, it’s the perfect place to display things.

 

Left Nightstand | Land of Laurel

 

The other nightstand is a bit more functional. The rightstand usually has a glass of water, an empty tea mug, and receipts laying on it, but I decided to clean up a little for the internet. 🙂 I keep my journal either on top of the night stand or in one of the drawers. I like to write from bed, so it’s good to keep it handy. Writing in it calms me down and it’s a great de-stressor. Which makes this the perfect before bed activity. My plant addiction means I usually have a plant or two stuck somewhere on the nightstand as well. I have plans to go to IKEA later this week, I’ve already told my shopping companion to blindfold me past the garden section. I have literally no will power people! There’s usually a framed picture of my friend Claudia on here too… but it’s run off somewhere. I think it’s having a love affair with one of the pictures in the living room. Gosh, I wish Harry Potter was real.  🙂

 

You’ll see too that I have a small framed book above my lamp on this side. I’m experimenting with the idea of having these above the lamps… but I’m still not committed. What do you think? Good? Bad? Ugly? There’s so much wall space… matching mirrors would be great, but I don’t want plain ones or more IKEA. The idea of thrifting matching mirrors is a dream only, which leaves me with buying. Since mirrors get pricy quickly, I’d like to find another solution. I’ve been eyeing pinterest to see how others have managed this. No lightbulb moments yet! Unless – I go all out and hang plants from the ceiling in both corners… 😀 I like that idea!

 

Rightstand | Land of Laurel

 

Over all, I’m loving my new lamps. They actually work. Which is mind boggling. I can now get into bed after turning off the overhead lights without running into my trunk, tripping over piles of clothes, and falling on my face. It’s pretty life changing. I mean, I still usually stub my toe, but clumsy can’t be helped. Sometimes these little things make such a big difference though. Convenience is everything. Plus it’s much better reading light. And mood lighting. 😉

 

Now I still have quite a few things left to do in here, but I’m getting happier and happier about where it’s heading! You can see I finally hung some art in here too. Guess what? It’s more Oma memories. More on that soon! In other news, I want to buy a quilt. My new comforter is still too hot in this room. Dang insulation is doing it’s job too well!

 

Gold Bedroom Lamps | Land of Laurel

 

Can’t wait to tell you more about what’s going on in this space! Lots of exciting changes underfoot! Have you painted anything lately? Dealt with the empty space by your bedside table lamps? Give me your advice! How’s your January been? Can you believe it’s already February? How did this happen so quickly?

Scrappy Headboard

Hello everyone! Hope everyone has had a wonderful first couple weeks of January! I can’t believe how fast the month has been going. Please excuse my radio silence; I’ve been trying to re-find my footing post-holidays! It’s been a crazy few weeks. Crazy good for the most part. But now — on to the good stuff.

 

Because my bedroom is on the first floor of the house, people always place their coats and bags in there when we have a party or people over for dinner. I don’t mind at all – in fact, my inner show-off likes to have people parading through that room. Plus it means I really truly have to clean up in there on the reg. Which, for me, is a much needed incentive as I tend to let things (clothes) pile up. By far, what people comment on the most after going into my room is my headboard.

 

New Bedding | Land of Laurel

 

I built my headboard while I was home for the summer during college. I used entirely scrap wood my dad had piled up (maybe this piling is genetic?) in the garage. It was a great way to get rid of some of the left over wood in a fun and useful way. Plus, some of the scrap wood was high quality walnut or cherry. The kind of wood you don’t want to just lie around forever! While I’d seen others use scrap wood to make headboards, most people seemed to be trimming it in, laying it horizontally, or cutting it into the outline of a more traditional headboard. I hadn’t seen anyone really let the mismatched wood take the point of focus. I wanted the scrappiness of the wood to take center stage. I wanted it to be obvious that the wood was collected and different.

 

I started by going through the wood in my parents’ garage. I wanted pieces that not only differed from each other, but were also different lengths and widths. Most of all, I wanted wood boards that had character, that looked like they’d live an entire life as something else. I found what I could, but when I first started grabbing, I realized many were looking quite similar.  You can see here that several boards were about the same length and width. That wouldn’t do!

Pre-Cut Wood | Land of Laurel

 

Once I’d laid out all the planks I needed for my new headboard, I marched several to be cut. Some I wanted shorter, some I wanted to rip two or three inches off to make two boards and break up some of the monotony. The whole dream for this was variation, differences, a story. To do this, I enlisted the help of a table saw… And my father. At the time, he felt I wasn’t to be trusted alone with a table saw. Silly man, I may be ridiculously clumsy, but I’ve never seriously injured myself! At the time though, I appreciated the help. I marked exactly where I wanted each board width ripped and handed those off to him, while I used a chop saw to alter some of the lengths. You can see here, how uneven I wanted these cuts. The boards were not being ripped right down the middle!

 

Ripping Boards for a Headboard | Land of Laurel

 

Once we’d made all our cuts, the boards showed so much more variation! It was exactly like I’d pictured, everything different, each plank it’s own story. My clear favorite was – and is to this day – the wide grey board with a knot hole missing from it. That was the kind of character I was hoping for! Now it was just time to figure out what order they would rest in. Again, I wanted contrast, short next to long, wide next to skinny. There needed to be some flow as well and I made sure to pay some attention to symmetry. I wanted to make sure the headboard wasn’t tall on one end and short on the other!

 

Scrap Wood Headboard | Land of Laurel

 

Once my boards were all cut and an order had been decided upon, I numbered them all with a pencil and brought them inside. I lined them all up against a straight object (a window seat in this case), and began the process of fastening them all together. There are a variety of ways I could have done this, but the whole idea at the start of the project was to use only things left over from other projects. So I grabbed a two by four and cut it’s length to match the width of my headboard. I did this twice so I ended up with two matching two by fours.

 

Scrap Wood Lined Up | Land of Laurel

 

I wish I had more pictures, but I worked on this project so long ago, I didn’t take them with a blog in mind! These pictures were all taken with an old point and shoot camera too, so excuse the graininess! You’ll have to imagine this next part. I laid both of my two by fours horizontally, perpendicular to the planks of scrap wood. One board I placed close to the top and one closer to the bottom. Then I took a bunch of left over drywall screws, got out a drill, and drilled a screw through the two by fours and into the scrap wood over and over and over until each piece of scrap wood was held on by two screws. Once the whole thing was held together, I took my new (and heavy!) headboard back outside onto the sawhorses.

 

I wanted there to be variation and character in the planks, but this was, first and foremost, a headboard. Which meant it needed to be smooth, without splinters to catch on linens, hair, or my skin! I got out an electric sander and went to town! I evened out the wood board transitions and made sure nothing was left to catch on anything. After I finished this, I missed some of the natural scratches and lines on the boards though. What to do? How to fix this?

 

If you ever want to beat something up, this is the project for you, my friends. I took out a hammer and some nails and bolts and started going to town. I made little divots by laying the bolts and nails down on the boards and then hammering them. It was actually really fun! I’ve heard you can also use bicycle chains and pretty much anything else you have laying around to give wood some character.

 

Then, once my boards were nicely beaten up, it was time to stain! Still outside, I took out a can of dark mocha stain left over from another project (aka free!) and gave the entire thing two coats, waiting between coats as directed on the can. After I wiped down the second coat of stain I went back and dripped additional stain on a few places on the headboard. I was hoping to add a bit more personality to the wood in this way as well. The spots of extra stain became much darker and some combined to create organic shapes.

 

After the stain had dried, cured, and off-gassed outside for several days, I brought inside and leaned it up against my bed. My bed was a birthday gift when I was twelve. At the time, I was completely enamored, but several years later, I was over the cold, silver metal and modern look. It had come from IKEA and had held up well, but just wasn’t my style anymore. I tried to find a picture of it and I did manage to – the picture is just old and showcases my crazy high school bedroom in all it’s holiday finest! Bet you never thought you see something this exciting! Look at that plate holder turned CD rack, the headboard in the center of the room, the extreme mess… so glad I’ve grown up! Haha!

High School Bedroom | Land of Laurel

 

Anyways, the metal headboard? Out! The bed itself? Totally reuseable. In fact, I placed my new scrap wood headboard directly in front of the old metal one and held it in place with eye hooks and twist ties! Now, you can hardly tell the old metal bed lives underneath that gorgeous scrap wood headboard! Plus, my new West Elm bedspread hides all those metal bed legs. Bam! Whole new look! Cost? Absolutely free. Pretty good deal if you ask me!

 

Garden Trellis Bedding | Land of Laurel

 

Have you made a headboard before? Or repurposed scrap wood to make something new and unexpected? It was a fun challenge to make something like this for absolutely nothing!

Bedding Basics

So when we left my bedroom a few days ago, we were at not terrible, but could use some improvement, no? The room was slowly climbing its way up the meh scale and I was fighting tooth and claw to bring it down off that scale and on to the glam/fabulous/happy/beautiful scale. The scale so exciting I couldn’t even pick an adjective. That scale. That’s the scale I wanted my bedroom on. I wanted to walk in my room and exclaim, “Oh my gosh! It’s so pretty/beautiful/fun/happy/ecstatic/glam/gold/colorful/rainbowsandunicorns!”

 

But before I get to that point, I have a little work cut out for me. Which, you know, I kind of love. So, whatever. Bring it!

 

This is where I was at when we left off. Sad, sad bedding, “decorative” lamps, my lovely trunk, my homemade wooden headboard, and failed experiments in hanging art from nails left over from the room’s previous resident. The whole thing was basically shouting, “Help us! Save us! Floop is a mad man! Help us! Save us! Floop is a mad man!” Except replace “Floop” with “Laurel.” And I’ll give you ten bucks if you know what that referenced. Just kidding. I don’t have any money to give away to the internet. It’s Spy Kids. That gem of a movie. Antonio Banderas at his finest. Yum. Yum. Yum… I’m sorry, was I supposed to be talking about my bedroom? Wait… I think I’m still on track… 😉

 

Bedroom Moved In | Land of Laurel

 

Look at that sad, sad bed, though. So sad, right? So, so so SAD. Makes you sad, just thinking about how sad that bed is? THAT’S HOW I FEEL TOO. What makes beds less sad? And maybe — if you get it right — even makes a bed happy? You know what would make it instantly better? An adorable tortoise shell kitty cat named Malary. And euro-size pillows. Both of them together you ask? I deliver.

 

Malary on the Trunk | Land of Laurel

 

The euros are from IKEA (I have an addiction and IKEA is only 15 minutes away, somebody save me!). I love that the euros give the bed some much needed height and boost the bedding into a snazzier realm, but that granny smith apple green? Nah uh. Not happening. I hate it! It’s similar in color to the lamps though, so I don’t think it looks terrible, I just want something in the bedding to coordinate with it too. For now though, they were on super-sale and it works. It’s a small change from the picture above, but it adds a lot, in my opinion. I’m all about the tiny tweaks!

 

The euros are IKEA’s down version and my goodness did they stink when I first bought them! Like a gross stink that smelled like dust and dead things and really, really old people and a non mildewy mildew. I washed them, dried them, and then hung them outside to get some sun and fresh air for a week, twice. Yes, that’s right, I washed them, dried them, and hung them outside for a week a second time. So basically I bought these pillows and then waited two and a half weeks before throwing them onto my bed. That is a form of torture for me. Having something so close, yet so stinky far. Plus euros are so soft to lean against, they make reading in bed ever so lovely!

 

If you don’t have euros (I’m talking to you, every single male out there), go buy some. Maybe not from IKEA, but buy some nice down euros because they make your bed look like it put on pants this morning. Which is good in the long run, since people are usually a bit weirded out by those who run around all day without any pants on. I mean, seriously, you do not want your bed to be that person inanimate object.

 

See what the cat does for the bed in the picture above though? Instantly adorable! Malary loves modeling for me, mice toys, and that bed. And the trunk too. It’s a good perch from which she can sit and stare at me. Not that she doesn’t already have about half a million places to sit while staring at things….

 

Malary at the Window | Land of Laurel

 

Such a fluffy kitty! I love her like the child I don’t plan on having for another ten years (Did you see that mom? Ten years! Just hold your horses, okay?). Moving on from my gorgeous fifteen year old cat, that I am mildly obsessed with and cuddle & spoon with all night long…

 

My room needs a bit more help in the bedding department. I used to buy bedding for model homes for a living so this is a concern I am quite accustomed to. The bedding can’t just be anything, though. It needs excitement and personality. You know what gives a space instant personality? Throw pillows, that’s what! Glorious, fantastic throw pillows. And guess what? Throw pillows are easy to find. Yay!

 

While strolling through Target — desperately attempting to not buy anything other than the socks I came for (yeah right, like that’s ever happened in the history of Target) —  I stumbled upon these gold sequin throw pillows and just about died! They’re gold! And sequined! Everything my bedazzling-obsessed thirteen year old self wanted in life! Plus, since I’m going for the gold and all, I knew they were basically required to come home with me. I bought only one at first (stupidly!), and went back the next week for another because the first was so lonely! Now they are sitting my bed, a pair of gorgeous twins, jazzing things up, and giving me the good ole “come hither” look that fits in just right in a bedroom. 😉 I always was a sucker for sequins!

 

Gold Sequin Throw Pillows | Land of Laurel

 

Doesn’t that elevate the space so much more? It’s all, “Helllooo! The party has arrived!” and I’m over here like, “I love you, gold sequin pillows! Stay with me for eternity! Never ever leave! Marry me and we can have gold, sequined babies!” We may or may not be having an affair. I may or may not want it to last forever.

 

The throw pillows make this bedding almost okay. But who wants to stop at “almost okay”? Not me! It is time for new bedding!!!! So desperately time. Luckily, my new duvet and euro covers came in the mail! They’re here and I’m going to tell you all the reasons I love them even more than the throw pillows (I’m such a cheater!) later next week. It’s so fantastically mind-blowingly beautiful. Did I mention I love it? I mean, there are still many things to do, but I have some good changes coming up. Like lamps that actually turn on. That would be nice, I think, yes?

Building a Bedroom

When you live with roommates your bedroom is an all-purpose everything space. It’s the room where you sleep, of course, but it’s also your (private) living space, your office, your studio, your library, your everything. It’s the one room where you can escape and be alone. Not that it’s something you need frequently, but if you’re anything like me, it’s just nice– upon occasion– to escape from everyone else. But also, sometimes you have to finish that email to your boss and your roommate is watching some sporting event on TV and throwing popcorn at you. And you need to get out of there. Sometimes that happens too! Hypothetically, of course! 😉

 

Regardless, one of the most difficult design challenges is a multi-purpose bedroom. And although I’ve talked about how my big bathroom and it’s lovely clawfoot tub sold me on this house, my bedroom was on the opposite end of the spectrum.

 

My bedroom is definitely on the smaller side. It’s much smaller than my childhood bedroom and pretty much every other bedroom I’ve ever had. The room comes in at about 9′ by 11′ which is, by no means, tiny. It only becomes slightly hard to work with when you have as many books as I do (ALL of the books!). Before I first moved in, I walked through the house with the boys and took a bunch of photos with my phone. I was looking at this empty slate:

 

First Look at the Bedroom | Land of Laurel

 

This iPhone shot was of the first thing you saw when you walked into what is now my room. My iPhone decided to make the walls a terrible yellow color in this picture when they are really painted a soft, celery green (my phone is a terrible artist, truly, it has no idea what it’s doing). The mattress on the floor was my roommate’s and he planned on getting rid of it. I was actually glad it was there, because it allowed me to get some perspective on how my own bed would fit into the room. You’ll see there is only about two feet on either side of the mattress. The mattress takes up about three-fifths to two-thirds of the length of the room. So just over the majority of it.

When you turn around and faced the direction you just came from you saw the door to the closet on the left and the door to the rest of the house on the right. The door into  the room opens to a mini-hallway, directly opposite to the bathroom door, the hall then opens up four feet later into the kitchen. It’s a perfect configuration, because you cannot see into my room or into the bathroom unless you are coming down the mini-hallway. And since the only things opening off the hallway are my bedroom, my bathroom, and the hall closet (which I’ve completely commandeered as my own), I can leave all the doors open and still have privacy. Being that Malary insists on having full access to wherever I am at all times, I pretty much always leave those doors wide open.

 

Bedroom at Move In | Land of Laurel

 

If you then turned once again, you got the same door to the rest of the house and the view out the second window in this room… which is of a ladder. Time for curtains!

 

View Out the Window | Land of Laurel

 

Now, this room has only one shortcoming: it’s size. There are so many great things about it, I didn’t even care about that tiny issue (hahahhahaha so pun-ny!). The closet is huge and stretches back along the length of the room, holding all of my clothes so I don’t even need a dresser. And thank goodness for that, since there is no way I could fit a dresser into this room without losing the bookshelf. And #priorities, because that bookshelf is all I love in life. The house has wonderful wood floors and craftsman-style trim. The woodwork in the house is just gorgeous. I believe it’s fir, though I’m not positive. So many great things!

 

After I looked over my pictures and told the guys I’d move in, I immediately started thinking about how I’d fit my things into the space. For instance, unless I want my queen sized bed pushed up against a wall (something I abhor!), the bed would need to be on the wall beneath the high window, directly across from the entry door to the bedroom. Not ideal, but not a tragedy. My nightstands would have to be tiny to fit into the remaining space. What about the rest of my things? I had to place a desk and a bookshelf into the room as well. Lucky for me, it ended up being a perfect fit!

 

I moved in with the bed I’ve had since I was twelve years old. It’s from IKEA and I thought it was so amazing when I was in middle school… now I kind of hate it, which is why I built a wooden headboard for it. Now, you don’t even know the IKEA bed frame exists and I kind of love it. But then again, I might be getting a little bored of it… I have ideas, people, and they won’t go away! Anyways, this bed, plus old nightstands on short-term loan from my parents (gah! They already want them back!), plus my new trunk created this view when I walked into my room. Helloooo bedroom, may I sleep here tonight?

 

Bedroom Moved In | Land of Laurel

 

It’s pretty decent, okay looking. Far from terrible you might even say, if you were feeling generous. The nightstands are a bit too tall for the bed (unless I add a boxspring). But since I need to return the them to my parents, I’m on the hunt for new ones anyways. The bedding is boring at best. But look at that lovely patina-ed trunk! I love him so much! Currently, he is still empty, but that will change just as soon as I get a chance to actually organize some of my things and stop getting sick every two weeks. Give me a break winter!!! There are some nasty colds going around my office. I get paranoid about it now, ever since I got obsessed with Fear the Walking Dead earlier this year. Help!

 

My lamps I got for free while at my old job, they don’t actually work… yes I am the person with “decorative” lamps. That’s why they were free! I have big plans on re-wiring them. I also have big plans to replace them with something else and then use these elsewhere. Regardless of what I do, I have BIG plans! I do like the shape of these lamps though, it’s fun and different. Plus, I was looking for lamps online for a project at work the other day and I found these exact guys! They are Robert Abbey and I found them on on the Lamps Plus website retailing for about $250. I’d link to it, but I couldn’t find them again. Maybe they’ve since been discontinued? Pretty sweet deal considering I got them for free! In fact, I’m thinking about contacting the manufacturer and seeing if they have a warranty. The only piece that seems to be an issue is the dimmer. I can get lightbulbs to work for just a second, then they go out. So close! Dealing with these is definitely on my to-do list. Ignore the picture frame on the wall. It’s for experimental purposes on an existing nail left over from the previous resident. I need to hang my actual art still… along with about ten billion other things.

 

So that’s the view, the pretty view, when you walk into the room. The not so pretty view? My desk of chaos and doom. It’s become a catch all for everything I drop when I come into the room. And it holds all my office supplies. And random clothes I don’t feel like putting away. It’s another furniture piece I got from my parents and is barely holding itself together. When I moved here, I found out the desk is actually not connected to itself any more. It’s literally just a bunch of pieces all balancing on each other waiting for me to place something breakable and valuable on it so it can fall to the ground and shatter everything. It’s out to get me! Vengeance for moving it. Or something equally poetic.

 

I hung up six square bulletin boards above the desk with grand plans to make something wonderful and thoughtful and inspiring and chock full of memories. Instead I have a big ole pile of bleh. I need to work on that! The art piece was a birthday gift from my Aunt Pat and the lamp came from the dump pile after my Oma passed away. I still haven’t decided if I love it.  It’s interesting, but it’s too big for that location. Maybe it should go live in the attic? But having task light when I’m working there is mighty helpful… Maybe something wall mounted? The desk could use some repair, organizing, a plant or two, and a ceramic animal. Oh, and a magic fairy to prevent me from every dropping random everythings on it each time I walk into the room. The desk fits this corner perfectly because you can sit at it and still have the closet door opened. Score! Somethings do work out in the end.

 

Desk of Doom | Land of Laurel

 

On the other side of the door to the room, some real magic happened. My bookshelf fit perfectly. Down to the quarter inch. Like the moving fairy came and blessed this space as the spot for storing books. It could not have been any tighter. I know design blogs have tried to convince the world that bookshelves are only supposed to have, like, three books per shelf and all, but you know what? That’s not my life. I LOVE books. I LOVE to read. I NEED ALL THE SHELVES. For books! Like they were intended to be used! In fact, some of those books are doubled up. The whole bookshelf does need some arranging. And I need to get the random pile of things to frame off the top of it, but at least I’m putting it to work! One definite item on the to-do list is getting that secured to the wall. Earthquake preparedness, y’all!

 

In front of it and the window sits one of my two parlor palms. The plant is pretty happy there. It looks nice and lush in real life. It makes me wiggle with happiness that I actually am able to keep something like this alive! Both the plant and the basket are from IKEA.

 

Very Full Bookshelf | Land of Laurel

 

Here’s a wider shot so you can see how both of the spaces work together on either side of the door into the room.

 

The Not So Nice Side | Land of Laurel

 

Mini-in-bedroom-office on one side, library on the other. Entry door in the middle. I need more room. Or just more closets. That would be great. Another three closets please! Can you order closets on Amazon? If only… Eek! That reminds me I need to do more Christmas shopping! Has anyone actually finished that?

 

So that’s the beginning and the now of my bedroom. It’s got places to go with this room. Far places. It needs to evolve further and look better. Luckily, I’ve got a plan. I always have a plan. What’s exactly is on the checklist for this room? Take a look:

 

The Bedroom:

  • New curtains
  • New nightstands… Gotta return the loaners from my parents and get something a bit wider.
  • New bedding  I ordered this from West Elm in all it’s colorful glory!
  • Rug? Maybe… I kind of love the sheep skin, maybe layer a sisal beneath it?
  • Straighten up and organize the desk area
  • New desk lighting? Something wall-mounted would save much needed desk space…
  • Create a fun, colorful, and inspiring bulletin board
  • Organize my bookshelf
  • Somehow fit even more book storage (Hi, my name is Laurel and I am book addict.)
  • Secure the bookshelf to the wall so I am not crushed by books in the eminent San Francisco area earthquake.
  • Integrate more plants! (Hi, my name is Laurel and I am also a house plant addict.)
  • Frame and hang art on the walls. Picture frame rail? Gallery wall? Simple, single frame?
  • Re-wire or replace lamps  I have new ones ready to go!
  • Add bench by bed? Again a big maybe…
  • Organize closet and laundry system
  • Find place to store as of yet un-framed art
  • Organize and store arts/crafts supplies better
  • Fill up the trunk in an organized and useful manner!

 

So! Lots to do! Lots of plans! Lots of excitement! Heck, I love a list just as much as Young House Love and mine is not even one-quarter of the length of theirs! Maybe that’s why I love it? Regardless, lots of ideas! Now, who wants to help me paint and glue things? That desk is killing me!

 

Do you have a to-do list for the design of your spaces? Have a bedroom that needs a little help? Have furniture on loan from family member who are now asking for it back? Ahhhh, new nightstands where in the world are you???