5 Minute Cat Haven

Remember that time I found cherry crates at a fruit stand on the side of 101? And it was pretty much the most exciting thing ever? I took them home and filled them with magazines and placed them under the glass top of the coffee and side tables in my living room. They looked pretty awesome and helped prevent incredibly clumsy people like myself from running into the glass table top so frequently. As they were sitting there I soon realized I wasn’t the only one who loved the crates. Malary could frequently be found sitting in them, on top of the magazines, or stretching out resting her paws on the crates. She seemed to prefer the coffee table crates and occasionally surprised visitors with her presence.

 

Cherry Crates Under Coffee Table | Land of Laurel

 

Well, lately, I’ve been trying to purge all the excess crap I have in my life. I took two laundry baskets full of clothes to Goodwill; I organized my bathroom medicine cabinet and under-sink cabinet, tossing the excess products I no longer use; I organized my shoe/jackets closet, got rid of several coats and pairs of shoes; and I went through my magazines tossing everything I no longer wanted (don’t worry, I kept every issue of House Beautiful).

 

I used four of these cherry crates in my living room. Two under the coffee table and one under each side table. One side table is sitting below the ivy plant in the middle of the photo above. I ended up tossing every single magazine I had in that crate. I have no idea why I’ve held on to so many magazines, I never flip through the non-house/home related ones.

 

Anyways, I was left with an empty crate! Now… I just love my cat. I know, I know, I’m a cat-lady, but whatever. #catladyandproud I decided that in this little tucked away crate I could make Malary a little spot of her own.

 

I hopped over to IKEA in Emeryville (holla ten minute drive! #entirereasonImovedhere) intending to buy two small throw pillows or a stand bed pillow to stick into the crate. Well, IKEA doesn’t sell standard pillowcases by themselves from most of their bedding lines. You can get the plain solid color ones, but that seemed too plebeian for my little kitty queen. I looked through the throw pillows and almost sprang for two of the faux sheep skin ones, but then I stumbled upon the red version of this guy, the Annbritt pillow. Apparently this is from the winter collection and they’re no longer shown online. IKEA still had a whole bunch of these sweater pillows in grey, cream, and red. Of course, I had to go for the red. The funky dimensions (approximately 15×30″) made it a perfect fit for the wooden crates. I was a little nervous Malary would be off put by the buttons, but I decided to go for it anyways. And at $13 buckaroos, really, how could I not?

 

I brought the pillow home and immediately stuck it into the empty crate. I sprinkled it with cat nip to get Malary’s attention right before snapping this picture.

 

5 Minute Cat Bed | Land of Laurel

 

The cat nip worked pretty much instantly, because as soon as I snapped that last picture, Malary was all, “Hmmm, excuse me, what are this?”

 

Malary's Cat Bed | Land of Laurel

 

After she spent a few minutes exploring the new bed, I stuck it back on the shelf on the side table. She hopped on in and pretty much hasn’t left it since. Although she normally spends most of her mornings napping on the back of the couch by the big windows, the last couple of days I’ve found her curled up down here.

 

Sleeping Cat in Bed | Land of Laurel

 

It’s pretty freaking cute, y’all. And I’m not just talking about the cat. This is a pretty attractive cat bed in my opinion. The crate? Vintage and cool, textural with the wood. The pillow? Happy, bright, red, and the sweater texture is just so cozy! By tucking it under the side table, not only is it more isolated and cave-like for Malary, it also doesn’t scream “CAT BED!!” to anyone hanging out in this room. By placing it beneath a glass top, I can also stalk my cat while she’s sleeping. Yes I am a complete creeper, but she’s just so cute!

 

Hidden Cat Bed | Land of Laurel

 

Ignore the bits of pollen the ivy decided to dump all over the table. Thanks!

 

Eventually she clued up to my cat-stalking and gave me her pissed off face.

 

Malary | Land of Laurel

 

…so I had to stop watching her curled up on her new cat bed. She is the boss after all…

 

 

 

 

 

Just kidding! She then started cleaning herself and it was ADORABLE.

 

Cat Tongue | Land of Laurel

 

I mean, seriously, can you believe this little girl is sixteen years old?! She is still my cute baby girl. Gah!

 

Cat Bed | Land of Laurel

 

Okay, okay, enough fan-girling over my cat. I told you I was a #catladyandproud, right? Who else out there is a self admitting cat lady? Made any cat beds lately? Or found one that fit in with your home decor?

 

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Other Design Fails

Guess what guys? It’s Christmas. Yup, Christmas! You thought Christmas was in December? Nope. You’ve maybe heard of Christmas in July? Also wrong! It’s Christmas right now, today. Still confused? Here’s the 411.

 

When I moved into my house in Berkeley, I bought a lot of my existing furnishings and bedding with the idea of slowly updating a lot of it. It soon became clear that this might need to happen sooner rather than later for my bedding. Why? My comforter, barely warm enough during California winters in other rooms I’ve slept in, was excruciatingly hot in this 10 year old, properly insulated home. I woke up sweating almost every night and this was with the window left open in winter! Time for a change!

 

I went to IKEA and bought a new down comforter, one of their “coolest” models. This is it, I thought. This comforter weighs one third of my old one. It will be so much cooler. I will no longer get sweaty. I will sleep blissfully. Like an angel. This was right around when I bought my new West Elm duvet cover. I had high hopes for my new bedroom look!

 

A few nights in, I realized, although this new comforter was significantly cooler than my original one, it wasn’t cool enough. At all. I like to sleep snuggled up in warm bedding in a cool room and this was just too hot, even with the window open! Maybe I’m wearing the wrong pajamas, I thought. I tried long pants, I wore no pants, I tried tank tops. I wore just underwear, I tried nightgowns, I wore leggings, I wore REI moisture-wicking base layers. Nothing worked. Okay, fine, I thought, I can come up with another solution, this is so much better than having the opposite problem. And I’ve lived through that too. 

 

I started looking for quilts. A thin quilt would surely be cool enough! Now, I just need to find one in a great green color to match everything else in my room. Months past… I looked on every site and in every store I could think of. I found… nothing in green. Eventually, I stumbled on this quilt from West Elm. It didn’t come in green. At this point, I was sleep deprived from being too warm. I started to care less about green. I started to rely on my primitive lizard brain. My primitive lizard brain likes the color red. So does my frontal lobe, actually, but my frontal lobe is much better about regulating the amount of red. It’s good at mixing red with neutrals. My lizard brain doesn’t give a flying @!$&. My lizard brain wanted to sleep in a cool environment and not wake up sweating.

 

Then the quilt went on sale. My lizard brain just loves a good sale. It was definitely in control when I hopped on those nightstands I posted about Monday like they were big, juicy, lizard-food bugs. What happened next? I’m sure you can guess. I bought the quilt in the paprika color and the matching standard shams. When these came in the mail, I love them. They’re a beautiful red, my absolute favorite shade of red! I was excited. These will look fantastic, I thought.

 

Then I washed them and made up my bed…

 

West Elm Duvet and Quilt | Land of Laurel

 

Merry Christmas! Don’t you just love decorating with red and green? OOPS.

 

I’d convinced myself before pushing the “Place Order” button, that the red quilt would look fine in my bedroom. After all, the duvet had plenty of red in it!  In reality? Happy Christmas. My pale green walls, green throw, and even the floral duvet met up with the red quilt and started celebrating the birth of Jesus. Throw in some gold sequined throw pillows and you’ve really got a Christmas party! Doggoneit. Switching up the nightstands with the blue and green books was also an attempt to help with my new holiday inspired space.

 

Nightstands and Red Quilt | Land of Laurel

 

 

… it didn’t really help much.

 

The red completely dominated the other colors in my duvet. The shades of white, blue, green– they all disappeared. All I see now is red. And it’s not because I’m angry. Let’s call this learning. Let’s call this evolving.

 

Even Malary wasn’t happy with the new look.

 

New Bedding | Land of Laurel

 

Here’s the thing though, the quilt did solve some of my problems. It is the perfect weight. I am no longer super hot at night. I can even sleep with the window closed now! I don’t wake up all hot and sweaty. I no longer sing Nelly’s Hot in Herre at 2:00am. My roommates are much appreciative! So in some ways, this quilt is the best thing ever! Now, if only I had bought it in that pretty Natural/Flax color rather than Paprika… But, I am no good at keeping light neutrals, oh, how should I say it? Light and neutral. They usually become spotted and dark. Quickly. Nope, white and lights don’t mix well with clumsy ole me! Slate might have worked… but it was so dark!

 

So what am I going to do? Live with it for now. Maybe switch up the shams and get some different throw pillows. Or! Move to a place with a guest bedroom and split up the bedding, since I love them both so dearly. That’s not happening anytime soon though… And I do love throw pillows. Until I move forward with a new plan, I’ll just be over here celebrating Christmas. All day. Everyday. Good thing I love holidays!! I would like a design win though… I’m over failing!

Flower Power

My new bedding arrived and is kicking it on my bed. That’s right. It’s here!! I spent a good, long time looking at this duvet cover on West Elm’s website before biting the bullet. Somethings I can buy on a whim, somethings I need to fully digest before I splurge. Bedding in my room would set the entire context for the space. It would be a huge design element. The design element in my room, actually. Because you walk into my room and stare straight at my bed, the linens covering said bed are the only thing you see. So not only did they need to make an impression, but they needed to strike the right balance between harmonizing with rest of my things and creating excitement. Because my walls are a warm, pale green I wanted to go darker. I feel like most blog pictures have white bedding and white walls and white curtains. That’s just not me. I love color, I love boldness, I love excitement!

 

I bought the plain white bedding I have on my bed currently from IKEA when I was in college. I thought it would be light, clean, easy to wash. Little did I know that I am no good at keeping white, white. The bedding stayed on my bed in my parents house while I lived in Boston. When I got home it was covered in stains. Thanks, family. After I lived with it for a few weeks, I realized it just made me feel like a slob. I drink a lot of tea and I drink a lot of tea in bed. I also spill a lot of tea on things. Tea stains on my white bedding? You betcha. It just had to go. It didn’t look terrible. In fact, no one could actually notice it. But I new it was there. I knew that the duvet cover faced the direction it did so that little stain was down against the sheets, I knew the throw at the end of the bed was so folded to hide the chocolate stain from that ice cream sundae I ate in bed. I can hide these things from others, but not myself, and I was over it.

 

Gold Sequin Throw Pillows | Land of Laurel

 

Having tried the whole white linens thing and had it fail for my personal lifestyle, I knew what my criteria for new bedding should look like. First, something dark in color. Second, something with pattern. I wanted something with green to go with my room and something that would mesh well with gold accents. In particular, I wanted something that had multiple shades of green, but incorporated a few other colors which would allow for more interest in the room. I don’t have any grey tones in my home, so it needed to be warm colors and not cool. My wooden headboard is pretty dark, so the bedding needed to be light enough to pop against the dark, wood tones. Lastly, I wanted to be excited about it! I wanted to look at my bed and think, “Wow!”

 

So after months of looking at the Garden Trellis bedding at West Elm, it went on sale, and I bit the bullet. I bought the duvet cover and three euro pillow cases. This bedding just fits all my categories. Dark enough to hide a tiny tea stain, but light enough to pop against my headboard. Colorful! The bedding uses three shades of green, so pretty much anything green I already had would it go with it. Plus, the bedding has liberal dashes of two different reds (my absolute favorite color!), bits of baby blue, and splashes of white. This allows me to branch out from my palette of greens with a good direction. I always recommend finding something to set the tone of a room — a painting, a scarf, bedding, a throw pillow– anything that allows you to pull colors from it and use it as a basis of color design. This bedding is my basis of design for this room. It’s exciting and fun and encourages me to bring in splashes of other colors. It’s red and green and doesn’t scream “Christmas!” that in and of itself is a small miracle! This bedding is backed by a really warm neutral tone that falls somewhere in between grey and brown. It might lean slightly more grey, but just barely. It is basically perfect and checked every item off my list. Plus, I kind of love the floral! It’s more feminine than I would normally go, but it’s kind of a spunky feminine with a sassy flair. It’s not your mother’s floral.

 

Garden Trellis Bedding | Land of Laurel

 

Isn’t it just smashing? I absolutely love it. I adore the splashes of red. I makes me what to incorporate more reds in the room. Yay! Now, I still need to get on and hang some real art on these walls and find some storage for my books, but It finally feels like I’m getting somewhere! Like this room is actually going places. Places I want to go! Did it take me six months? Yes. But who is counting? It’s the destination, not the journey right?

 

New Bedding | Land of Laurel

 

One other thing I did that was a little crazy? I bought the duvet cover in a king size. My bed is a queen. They still had queen size in stock when I ordered, but I decided to try something a little insane. My old white duvet didn’t cover the metal legs of the bed. Not that they were terrible or anything, but I wanted something longer. Something that would not only cover the metal legs of the bed frame I’m not crazy about. Plus, since my room is small, I take full advantage of that under-bed space for piles of random, unorganized crap storage. To take the photo above I had to move some of my things out from under the bed so it looked clean. In reality, there are things down there I don’t want to have to stuff into my closet every time someone comes to visit. So I did the unthinkable. I bought a king sized duvet for my queen bed. Which meant I also had to buy a new comforter. Oops. Look how it turned out, though! It’s perfect. It just barely touches the floor. It looks great. It hides all the things I have stored beneath the bed. You don’t even know they’re under there! It’s really fantastic. If you have similar under-bed storage issues, I highly recommend giving upsizing your comforter a try.

 

Garden Trellis Bedding | Land of Laurel

 

My room is starting to blossom! It’s making me excited and happy. This bedding is kicking my butt into gear. I’ve been brainstorming ideas on how to transform my room into a colorful garden oasis. The solution? Way more plants! I love how my parlor palm is sneaking its way into that shot above. Very jungle-y. My constant issue with book storage is, of course, still in the back of my mind. But, I’ve already made progress on #OperationNoMoreDecorativeLamps. Can’t wait to show you how that’s looking! Until then I’ll just keep staring at my bed like a love sick puppy, ok? Adding a little bit of flower power has totally spiced up this bedroom.