The Moment We’ve All Been Waiting For…

I found new nightstands! Finally. Yup, that took a while. Before I jump into the new, let’s go over this again. You might remember my old nightstands? They were about 16 inches too tall for my bed and belonged to my parents. I’d promised them I would eventually return the side tables and when they bought a new bed for their guest room, I knew it was time. Their new bed is the perfect height for these tall, dark, and handsome guys.

 

Left Nightstand | Land of Laurel

 

I’d been checking craigslist, yard sales, and estate sales for about 8 months now, searching for anything that I could substitute these guys for. I needed something about 20″ – 26″ high and no more than 24″ wide. The width was a major issue, as I truly only have 25″ on either side of my bed. Any nightstand wider than that simply wouldn’t fit in the room. The deeper, the nightstand, the better, as I am lacking in storage. I hoped for something with lots of drawers I could fill up. My love of symmetry demanded there be two identical ones. After months of looking, I finally landed on this somewhat promising looking ad:

 

Craigslist Nightstand Ad | Land of Laurel

 

The nightstands looked functional and the drawer was much needed, plus there were two of them and the price was decent. I didn’t love the color, but I figured I could always paint them green or white or blue. The fact that they only had one drawer, deterred me slightly, but I had yet to find anything else that would come close to fitting in my space. Plus, I could always stick a basket there and fill that up. I figured I might as well give it a try. I emailed the seller to see if he’d take $50 for both of them. He agreed to the price and I met him the next day with cash. When I took a look at the nightstands in person, I was disappointed. His measurements from the ad were completely wrong. The nightstands are 20 inches wide, 14″ deep, and 24.5″ high. It may seem like only a slight difference, but when you’re lacking storage and need incredibly functional nightstands, every inch counts! My plan to paint them would still work, however, the wood finish was in such good shape, I was hesitant to even do that!

 

I turned to the seller and told him that the nightstands were a lot smaller than what I was anticipating and I didn’t want them. He was surprised, but he really wanted to get rid of them. He offered me $40 for both. Now, a normal person would simply have walked away. They didn’t really fit my needs, right? I am not a normal person. This was such a deal! Two solid wood, matching nightstands in great shape with dovetail joints? This isn’t an everyday find. Maybe I’d learn to love them. At $20 each, they were significantly less expensive than anything else I’d see. Most people on craigslist were asking for $200 per nightstand. Way out of my budget. So what did I do?

 

I handed over two twenties and left with the nightstands of course.

 

I have no will power. None. At all. Whatsoever. Just ask that bar of chocolate in my kitchen… Oh wait. You can’t. I already ate it!

 

I brought the nightstands home and wiped them down with Honest Multi-Purpose spray. Once they were clean, I moved them into my room. I didn’t want to buy baskets for them just yet, so I filled the bottoms with what I had lots of: books. They looked… okay. Sigh. Not exactly the magical moment I was hoping for…

 

New Nightstands with Books | Land of Laurel

 

Even if that photo had been taken when the weather was sunny and the lighting cooperative, they general idea wouldn’t change much. The new nightstands just didn’t look right in the space. Dang! The books certainly were not helping. The color of the nightstands contrasted both from the red tone of the fir woodwork in the house and the espresso finish on my headboard. This was not good.

 

I tried one more time to make things look a bit better and filled the nightstands with blue and green books in tones similar to that in my bedding. This helped things, but honestly, the nightstands were still not doing it for me. Sure, the book storage was great and I could even slip my laptop in there among them, but I lost tons of storage overall and this just didn’t look great.

 

Nightstands with Blue Books | Land of Laurel

 

I was somewhat surprised that I had enough books in these color tones to fill the other nightstand. I have a lot of books. Possibly too many, but whatever, I love them. And I re-read them! Also does anyone else see a monster peeking up out of the floor in the shadow outline of the bottom of the nightstands in between the feet? Just the top of his head, two little ears sticking out?Just what I need, right? A monster hiding in my bedroom. As if I don’t already have enough stress dreams!

 

Nightstand with Green Books | Land of Laurel

 

Still this look… wasn’t working for me. I thought, maybe if I lived with them I’d learn to love them. So one month later here I am. What have I decided? Nothing. What have I created? A Pro/Con List.

 

New Nightstand Pros

  • They’re the right height for the bed, making turning on or off the light at night easy
  • They are wide enough to fit the space by the bed, but skinny enough to not overwhelm the space or make it look stuffed in
  • I can store books here!
  • I can paint them green or white
  • I have a great excuse to buy cute new pulls at Athropologie or the Alameda Flea Market

 

New Nightstand Cons

  • The wood tone is awful, but the finish is in such good shape, I’d feel guilty painting them
  • There is not enough storage
  • The drawer is too shallow to fit some of the taller things I’d like to store in it (like vitamins!)
  • I could fit wider nightstands for more storage
  • I don’t particularly like the curvy look

 

Conclusions? These nightstands work in some ways, but not others. If I didn’t need more storage they would be okay. I don’t love the look, so why keep them? I’ve already started looking for new ones on craigslist. I also have high hopes for a nice sunny spring day hitting up some Santa Cruz yard sales too. My Aunt Pat is the queen of Santa Cruz yard sales and we could make a fun day of it. If only it would stop raining!

 

Yay for mistakes! Someone told me once to be proud of your failures, because how else do you learn? In fact, she told me to yell it out. So, here it goes. I FAILED!! These nightstands were the wrong choice.

 

Moving on. What have I learned? Sometimes, you should just wait it out until you find something truly perfect for your space. Once I find new nightstands, I’ll sell these guys on craigslist and hopefully make a small profit. Someone else out there must be looking for matching nightstands right? Fingers crossed! It certainly has been a rough design rollercoaster in 2016. I’ll share some other not so great things I’ve bought recently later this week. Oops!

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Counting Sheep

I’ve been a vegetarian since I was eight years old. Both my parents eat meat, so my eating habits were my own decision. I’ve never slipped up and eaten that need-it-now hamburger or anything. Most people learn about this quickly once we become acquainted. People are always stunned to learn, however, that I have a leather jacket and leather shoes or admire a pair of deer antlers. Those people will probably be surprised about today’s post.

 

One of my favorite design elements growing up were the sheep skin rugs my parents kept in their family room. They usually were laid out on the sandstone hearth near the fireplace. I loved their texture and warmth. I would often sit on them or just stroke them. They were so soft, yet slightly scratchy. I adored them. When my grandmother passed away, a single sheep skin rug was left in the same pile of items I pulled my good friend Fred and many of my plants out of.  For a long time that sheepskin rug has laid by my side of the bed, creating a cozy place for me to put my feet when I finally drag myself out of bed in the mornings. You can see it peeking out in front of the rightstand here.

 

Garden Trellis Bedding | Land of Laurel

 

You may have noticed in this picture from my lamps post last week I added a couple more!

 

Gold Bedroom Lamps | Land of Laurel

 

At work, we spec a lot of Design Within Reach consoles and chairs. If you follow me on instagram you may have even seen some shots from an event DWR through for local designers celebrating the opening of their new Berkeley showroom. As a thank you for spec’ing many of their products, DWR sent our office a gift card for $250. As the most junior staff member of the interiors team, I was the last person who deserved the gift card, but I am lucky to have very kind co-workers! Plus, I live closest to DWR. I went in to the showroom in January to see what I could find. Now, DWR is not cheap. In fact, they are kind of crazy expensive. $250 wouldn’t get me any furniture item. But one thing they did have? Sheep skins. Really nice, luxurious sheep skins. I ended up throwing some cash of my own into the mix and getting three new sheepskins for my room. Now wherever I walk, it’s soft and cozy!

 

Sheepskin Rug | Land of Laurel

 

It really is like walking on a cloud! I placed the softest shaggiest one on my side of the bed, another on the opposite side, and one at the foot of the bed in front of my trunk. I’m a bit of a sucker of symmetry!

 

Sheepskin and Trunk in Bedroom | Land of Laurel

 

You guys, it is SO FLUFFY!! I love it. LOVE it! They make me want to lay on the ground and read a book. Or just pet them. Actually, I just want to rub my face on them. Is that weird? They are much more fluffy and larger than my hand-me-down rug. I was surprised by how soft they were. It’s really fantastic. I feel like my room is a little viking-esque now, but I’m okay with that. Warriors are always cool in my book. Plus I like helmets. The viking-decor is a quick little update, but it makes my room feel so cozy this winter. I mean, sure, yesterday it was 73 degrees in the Bay Area, but who doesn’t want to snuggle up to some animal fur in that kind of weather? That’s right, you want it! Does anyone else have a sheepskin rug they love? Or any non-Madonna-inspired viking gear?

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?