I’ll start this post by confirming what some of you have guessed – yes, I am having a baby. We are literally on “baby watch” right now. At the time of writing this post, his due date is tomorrow. So fingers crossed, by the time you’re all reading this, we’re changing diapers and losing sleep.
But this is exactly the reason I needed to make our primary bedroom the cozy, fairytale of my dreams. I know a lot of people find joy in decorating a nursery. But as a self-preservation type 1 (IYKYK), the truth is he is going to be bunking with us for a while. And I’m going to be spending a lot of time in this room. The kid’s room will come later.
The bedroom started off as a whole different beast – the entrance to the room was through the kitchen (now our closet), and where the door is now, that used to be a closet.
We spent a lot of time tearing that part of the house up, moving things around, and crafting a better floor plan. All with the help of my dad, of course.
It gives me a great sense of accomplishment to look through old pictures of us working on this house. It also gives me momentary flashbacks of how miserable it was. It was so dirty, cold, and relentless. We’ve been working on this house since October 2018, and now that we’re finally reaching a point where we’ve touched every inch of the house (front bathroom reveal coming your way SOON), it’s almost stressful to look back at where we started, knowing how long it’s taken.
I’M NOT UNGRATEFUL, WE’RE SO LUCKY, I’M JUST TIRED. But let’s back up one last time before jumping to the reveal.
After demo and renovation, this is what it looked like:
I didn’t really have time or energy back then to “design” the space, so we just went white and neutral. It gets great morning light, but dark pretty much after 11 am, so I figured keeping it light and airy would help the space.
We styled it out for a Target post back in 2020, and I kept it pretty much set as it was for this shoot until we decided it was time to turn it into our (my) dream bedroom. It had some really cute elements like that custom headboard Emily Bowser and my brother made. And we really loved the functionality of the blackout Roman shades.
But as I really began to develop a sense of what I wanted this house to feel like, this room started feeling washed out and didn’t make me feel happy to be in. These past few years I’ve been heavily influenced by designers like Heidi Caillier, and trips to New Orleans, Guatemala, Italy, France, and Scotland.
During our Honeymoon, we stayed in a hotel in Sicily where the entire room had been a 17th-century ballroom, and it was muraled floor to ceiling (top right, second in). It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. These are a few of my less-than-professional iPhone pics of some of the spaces that made my jaw drop while traveling over the past few years. It’s all left me craving pattern, color, warmth, and a little bit of mood. So that’s the direction we went with this bedroom.
So much of this bedroom is “me” right now. I’m sure in a few years it will feel like a time capsule of where I was stylistically. But at the same time, I’m hoping that some of the features – like the block-painted wallpaper from Sandberg, or the elegant and simple walnut bed frame from Article – will stand against the trends of time.
I had really been hoping to photograph this room on a bright sunny day, so I could show you how pretty the dappled light is coming through our windows at 9 am. California had different plans, and even though every single other day the week of the shoot had been sunny and blue skies, this particular day was overcast. But Bowser (who was styling) was about to leave for Spain, and I was/am about to have a baby, so we decided to lean into the moody vibez and give you the dark, jewel-box version of this space.
Wallpapering the space had always been the vision. Choosing which wallpaper we’d commit to was the harder part, but we fell in love with this intricate pattern called Linnea (in “Midnight”) from Sandberg Wallpaper in Sweden, designed by Karolina Kroon. I loved the colors, and Macauley loved the depth the design of the paper had. The wallpaper is really the star of this room and sets the tone for every other piece we brought in. It’s beautifully block-printed with real paint, and even the wallpaper installers commented on how lovely it was to work with. His exact quote was “if you’re paying for wallpaper to be installed, it might as well be for something as nice as this.” I ended up color-matching the trim and ceiling color to one of leaf tones from the paper, for a unified look.
Next up were the bigger pieces of furniture in the room. With a baby on the way, and no magical addition of space to our home, it was important that every piece of furniture in the room function well. That’s why we chose the Linea bed, in Walnut, from Article.
Not only is it the perfect simple shape to both stand up against the wallpaper, while not adding more insanity to the space – it also has under-bed storage options, which we were desperate for. Under this king-size bed fit four freestanding drawers, which is now where we can store all our linens and towels. Freeing up much-needed space in the closet.
Our nightstands are second-hand Target pieces I found on eBay. I had been eyeing them for a while but waited too long to buy them in-store. I thought I was out of luck until I spent way too long one day deep-diving nightstands to try and find a dupe or something equally appealing. Lo and behold, someone was looking for a new home for the exact nightstands I’d been craving. I didn’t want all the furniture in the room to be matching tones of wood, so having black nightstands felt like the right move. And the gold hardware is perfect.
Now the hanging pendants were another saga, which had me searching up and down for what I had in mind. I wanted fabric shades so that in the event that our tectonic plates decide to boogy, I’m not scared of glass slamming into our walls and shattering. But I didn’t want white, which I felt would be too stark against the wallpaper. I really wanted a patterned pleated shade AND DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD THAT IS TO FIND? Especially when you aren’t able to spend $500+ per pendant? Impossible.
So I ended up making them myself – I found normal shades in a size I liked, fabric in a pattern I liked, and ordered four or five different hanging light kits off Amazon until I found one that worked with the shades I had. I then cut strips of bias tape from the fabric and spent a few hours gluing them onto the shades while I rewatched episodes of The Vampire Diaries – a very problematic show about teenage vampires that models extremely toxic relationship patterns and is wholly addicting.
My dad straight up said I had gone a little too far over the edge with this design choice when he helped me install them – and he’s helped me pull off most of my crazy ideas. So if you’re not into the extreme pattern on extreme pattern I promise you’re not alone. I followed up the pattern on pattern by hanging a tiny piece of art with more pattern in it that is completely embroidered. It’s on Macauley’s side of the bed, and he has feelings about it. They aren’t as positive as mine.
At this point, some of you may be saying “this is the most batsh*t bedroom I’ve ever seen, how does one get a single minute of peaceful sleep in here?” On the other hand, hopefully, a few of you are saying “I like someone who decorates their bedroom like it’s an extreme sport but also she’s a Victorian ghost.” But collectively you’re all probably wondering “…but where is the baby stuff?” We’ve decided to have none of it – if our child can’t survive on design alone, he isn’t meant for this world anyway.
This is a lie – we do have plenty of baby stuff. And maybe I’ll even show you some of it later in the post. But one thing we do have that is both baby-minded and aesthetically pleasing is our rocking chair.
This piece of furniture brings me nothing but absolute joy – it’s a Facebook Marketplace find from my first trimester (that time when you’re supposedly pregnant but there’s zero physical proof and you’re just looking for ways to validate yourself). This blessed mama was selling her gently used Pottery Barn glider for only $180 (for the chair AND ottoman)!!!!!!! I drove out to Riverside for this thing. The best part about it is that it’s all slipcovered. So I sourced a fabric I loved, found an upholsterer I could afford, shipped them the original slipcover and the new fabric, and had custom slipcovers made. It’s probably the fanciest thing I’ve ever done, and now when baby spits up all over this thing, I can toss one set of slipcovers in the washer and pop the others on.
I already spend a lot of time in this chair, it’s wildly comfortable. I’m typing this post as I sit in it right now, with a cat sleeping behind my head. Dreams really do come true.
Right next door, we added this giant standing mirror from Article. We decided that despite having one full-length mirror in our closet, having a second one so Macauley and I didn’t kill each other trying to both get ready at the same time didn’t sound like such a bad idea. And it kinda looks like its own giant piece of art.
While we’re here I’ll also address the window treatments. The Roman shades we had were amazing, but the color didn’t really fit with the overall vibe of the new room. Surprisingly, Macauley was super into the idea of these ready-made bamboo blinds (thanks Caitlin for the idea), because they let in really beautiful soft light. I like the fact that they bring in texture and warmth. But we also knew we needed to be able to really bring down the brightness in the room for future baby/parent napping. So we also hung up these blackout curtains from Target. They have a few really beautiful colors, they look like good heavy cotton or linen, and they truly are blackout. The only downside was they didn’t have a good hanging option, so I once again broke out my DIY fingers, and sewed in pintab tape on the back so that they could be hung from curtain rings. I think this really elevates them, and only took a few hours of work.
This might be my favorite photo from the entire shoot – it features the wallpaper, our perfect new rug (which is so soft and so affordable), a peek into our updated bathroom (which is color coordinated to the little flowers on the bedroom wallpaper), and a replica painting of a renaissance cat wearing a ruffle collar that Bowser bought me as a birthday present from the Long Beach flea market because I was too stupid to buy it for myself (I can’t believe I almost walked away from that piece). This photo embodies all the tones, patterns, and warmth I wanted this room to have from the start.
In case you’re curious, here’s a peek at the updated bathroom. You can go see what it originally looked like here, but suffice to say I was craving something warmer. Now it feels like it really flows into the bedroom, and I really appreciate that the paint color doesn’t look like unfinished drywall. I’ve always regretted not going with brass fixtures in here, and at least the warm dusty pink gives it a little bit of a softer feel, and takes the whole space even a few degrees further away from “modern.” I WILL HAVE NO MODERNITY.
We were able to keep our favorite Rose Bowl find in the room – our $300 solid wood dresser that would never be findable nor affordable nowadays. And thanks to our Article under bed storage, we were able to empty out a drawer in this dresser for baby clothes. We topped the dresser with a fun bead lamp from Soho Home, and a tiny oil painting on a tiny easel. Obviously. That lamp is easily accessible for soft lighting when needed during night feeds or future book readings.
Lastly, I swear I did not paint the TV room and the bedroom the same color – they’re sisters, not twins. But it does create a nice pathway throughout the whole back half of the house. You can peek at our new Article pullout sofa in the TV room, all ready for grandma sleepovers. It’s not the luscious velvet of our old sofa, but it’s just as pretty and far more practical for this stage of our life.
You can also spot our newest (soon to be second newest) addition – Shrimp! Her name is actually Lenin’s Tomb (any Clerks fans out there?…anyone??), but she responds to Lenin, Lenny, Shrimp, or any loud angry clapping while yelling the word “NO!” We found her living in the hood of my car back in May, at 8 weeks old with a majorly infected leg. And we thought, you know what sounds like the most reasonable decision in the world? Adding a third cat to our family as we get ready to add a newborn, and also spending $1500 at the vet on said new cat immediately. But she’s worth it – she’s the most loving, talkative, cuddly girl in the world.
Alright, let’s get into some before and afters!
And because I am benevolent, as promised, here are a few photos of what the room looks like on a normal day. I took these on my phone and I didn’t even make the bed…
We’ve got the rolling baby changing cart filled with all the baby accouterments.
My nightstand basket of medications, snacks, and tissues, along with a Hatch Baby (a very nice gift from a family member). And a bed filled with my six different pillows I currently need to sleep mildly good.
And over here we’ve got a rocking chair with the Boppy, a very sentimental quilt that looks like it has SEEN things, armrest covers (mostly to protect it from my cats), and my feeding/pumping rolling station – also filled with snacks.
That’s the reality folks. It’s not too bad, but I’m sure it will get worse! Until then, let’s remember her like this…