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Design

Malcolm’s Bedroom Intro: How He Plans to Mitigate Anxiety Through Design

It definitely goes without saying at this point… but 2020. Phew. The last year has been tough for just about all of us. And for me personally–a Black and gay man living with challenging anxiety in today’s America–things have been difficult in particularly nuanced ways. But! It’s a new year! And while we’re still feeling a lot of lingering DRAMA, the new year presents a great opportunity to reflect and shift focus (while remaining socially responsible as long as it’s appropriate). 

Throughout my life, design has both mitigated and underscored my anxiety. On one hand, there is something wildly therapeutic about the design process. Problem-solving, backward thinking, hands-on production, and satisfying results all lend themselves well to positive and productive trains of thought. On the other hand (and very ironically, in my case), being a design thinker tends to cultivate seemingly endless possibilities, which happens to be one of the overarching features of my anxiety. Perhaps that’s why I’ve always been drawn to design…? At any rate, during quarantine, I’ve made it a priority to give greater voice to the former. Renovating my home–currently my main bedroom–has become a source of calm through the process of designing/crafting it, the intent of creating a space that helps me establish a routine, and as a reflection of some of the anxiety that I’ve confronted and largely overcome over the last year.

Process and Production

Over time and through a lot of introspection (particularly during this crazy era of more-than-usual alone time), I’ve learned that my anxiety grows exponentially if not directed into some positive action. Idle hands are the devil’s playground! Consequently, I paint a lot of doors. I shine a lot of hardware. I stare blankly into rooms and let my overactive mind run wild in productive directions instead of letting it ruminate over negative thoughts (for both myself and clients), and now I’m setting my sights on my primary bedroom.

Here’s what I am starting with:

This, by far, is the biggest bedroom I’ve ever had the privilege of having to myself. It’s the perfect space to establish distinct zones in, and if you read my deck series, you’ll know how much I appreciate good zonage. I love the little alcove where you see the bed frame above (fun fact: I haven’t owned a headboard my entire adult life, mostly because I’m all about interesting DIY headboard solutions…I’m also all about foreshadowing ;)). The room gets the BEST natural light in the afternoons/evenings, and I have some great window treatment ideas for the window wall!

I have a graphic design background, and I’ve always drawn inspiration from the intersection of graphic design and interior design (continually learning about environmental graphic design has always been a passion of mine). Along that vein, I’ve looked to hospitality design as a main source of inspiration for this project. My goal is to create a space that is soothing, handsome, and genuinely feels like a staycation every day and night. A space that is on-trend, but not trendy. Classic, but not stuffy. Traditional, but unique. Will this be a study in oxymorons? Probably. But I’m up for the challenge. Let’s dive into some inspiration:

photo by heidi’s bridge | design by jersey ice cream co
photo by dylan james | design by builder collective | styling by northcote stylist

The idea of a “no-headboard” headboard has sent me on a WILD DIY journey that I am veeerrryyyy excited to share with you. Interested in a dedicated article about it? Let me know!

Establishing Routine

I’ve found that establishing a consistent routine has been a crucial way for me to keep my anxiety at bay–the biggest of which is my nightly “pre-bed” routine. One could argue that I spend…entirely too much time…getting ready for bed, but it’s my favorite part of the day! I’m unashamed! I pick out my clothes for the next day, iron them, and gingerly put them on display so that they’re ready for me in the morning (that’s all step one. Step two involves a lot of grooming products that I recommended in my holiday gift guide, which I recommend checking out. It’s good year-round!). As such, redesigning this closet to be conducive to my lifestyle has become my NUMBER ONE PRIORITY IN LIFE.

The previous homeowners built this contraption inside the existing closet. Hey, if it worked for them, it worked for them. No judgment, as One Direction’s Niall Horan famously sings. For me, though, there is a TON of wasted space on either side of the closet, and there is a real opportunity to create a showstopper that’ll make my nights end better, and my days start better.

Here is the general concept for the exterior of the closet, which I conceptualized back in March 2020 before I even moved into this house:

And here is the inspiration that sparked this journey. I mean. What more could you ask for? 

photo by kristofer johnson | design by claes dalén and johan pråmell | styled by anna leena leino karlsson | via residence magazine

I’m being VERY mindful about balance in this bedroom. A balanced design will help to underscore and reinforce a balanced daily mindset. I asked Emily for some advice about the balance of the space, and she had some SUPER helpful feedback that helped me refine my plans:

From Emily: “I would make sure to choose a black that has an undertone that is interesting to give it some movement. I.e. blue or green (still black, but not stark black. It seems the one you are inspired by has some blue in it as well). Could you do window treatments in a tone? Even a grey? I think the wood will help but yeah, I understand your concern about the balance and I totally agree. I think one of the reasons it works in your inspo picture is because the whole room is dark, not just the closets so it feels seamless. I think finding some inspiration photos of a closet that is really dark when the rest of the room is light will help you make that decision. I just fear that if the closet is black and the rest of the room is light that the closet is all you’ll see visually.”

As expected, she had great feedback! The closet doors will be very saturated, so I’ll make sure to mirror their blackness with dark window treatments on the opposite side of the room, while introducing lighter elements (natural wood tones and metallic accents) throughout the space to create a nicely balanced symphony of saturations (I won’t lie…I’m very proud of the alliteration there. “Symphony of Saturations” might be the name of my eventual memoir).

photo by ragnar ómarsson | design by joanna lavén | via pufik homes

While this closet system isn’t black, this space is great study in how color consistency makes the oversized closet feel seamlessly incorporated with the rest of the room.

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | design by shaun crha | from: how this designer built a beautiful modern traditional guest home for his dad to age in place

Here, black lighting accents and black-and-white photography help to make the dark built-ins feel fully intentional. I’ll be writing a dedicated article about this closet remodel that will include some fun, easy, and inexpensive DIY solutions for a reach-in closet! Stay tuned! I’m excited!

Moreover, as I mentioned earlier, it’ll be important for me to establish zones in this space to underscore and emphasize routine-building behaviors. The closet in and of itself will be a dedicated zone in which I start and end my days, but I’m also planning to establish a little seating area (for journaling! I’ve only recently gotten into journaling and it is quite possibly the most therapeutic way that I’ve found to mitigate my anxiety), and a sumptuous space for my bed (duh). Here is the general layout that I’m planning…but I do have one question for you. Should the bed be centered on the overall width of the room, or be centered within the bed alcove? See below for a look at an overhead view of both options.

I’m leaning toward centering the bed on the overall wall (and not the alcove) because it feels more symmetrical overall, and allows for plenty of space to navigate the closet area, but I do see the appeal in centering it within its nook. What do you think?

Focusing on Small (But Impactful) Details

“They” say that one of the most powerful ways to feel emotionally and mentally strong is by practicing gratitude, but I don’t think that I realized the true power of gratitude until this last year. I’m grateful for this home. I’m grateful for my amazing family and friends. I’m grateful for my health, and for having a reliable job in the midst of a global pandemic. And not least of all, I’m grateful for this platform that allows me to share, inspire, and communicate with such an amazing community.

As such, I shared more ideas with Emily for this bedroom makeover, and she had some CLUTCH input. For example, if you look at the design plan below, you’ll see a vintage sewing desk on the right side of the bed. It belonged to my aunt, then my grandmother, then my mother, and now it’s mine and I love it with my entire existence and feel very compelled to use it as a nightstand. However, I’ve had difficulty matching it with an appropriately-sized nightstand for the other side of the bed and lighting that feels balanced with both “nightstands” in tandem. 

Emily had some great suggestions, including incorporating lighting that makes the smaller nightstand feel less tenuous:

From Emily: “While I love that smaller accent table, I fear that it doesn’t balance out the sewing desk enough, but it might if you have a different lamp on that table than on the desk (something lower and more chunky?). The lamp feels too big for that table and because of its shape might feel a little vulnerable and tenuous if that makes ANY sense. Regarding bed linens. If you want some interest/contrast go with a pinstripe or a subtle windowpane, and a bed blanket that has some color, pattern, or texture.” 

Again, great advice, but I expected nothing less! I revised the plan (below) to reflect some of her awesome feedback:

Also… I generally can’t believe that I’m getting feedback from EMILY HENDERSON ABOUT DESIGN IDEAS. What is life? Gratitude. Gratitude is life.

The past year has forced me to grow up more than ever before, so it feels poetic that this bedroom is shaping up to be the most “grown-up” space I’ve ever created for myself. If you’ve made it this far (writing in brevity has never been my strong suit), I hope you don’t mind taking this strangely introspective and emotional journey with me. I’m certainly no expert on anxiety (and would never claim to be), but I’ve definitely learned a lot about how it affects me–and productive ways to mitigate it through design–during this unexpectedly wild time that we’re living in.


Comments? Questions? What have you learned about yourself in the last year? Sound off below! I’m excited for the dialogue.

Opener Image Credit: via Life House Hotels

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Cassandra
7 months ago

I love the focus on “zoning”. It is such a simple and effective way to approach that ensures you end up with the right scale and function. Cant wait to see more 🙂

7 months ago
Reply to  Cassandra

Thanks, Cassandra!!

Leila
7 months ago

Maybe your sewing desk could be used for a separate focal point/zone rather than a bedside table so you don’t need to worry about balancing it? With a cute chair, a laptop and a brass in-tray it’d be a nice tiny desk. Or a dressing table?

That closet is scary. I’m glad you’re going to do it up!

Rusty
7 months ago
Reply to  Leila

That’s a great idea!

Eve
7 months ago
Reply to  Leila

I had the same thought about the sewing table-it reads more desk to me. Desk zone!

7 months ago
Reply to  Leila

Great ideas!! Thanks, Leila!

Lori S H
7 months ago

I can’t wait to see this space unfold. I love the dark closet. I too am curious if you could find a different space for the desk in the room? Could it serve as a writing desk between your two windows? I love the whole story around it, but it seems that the proportion will be very difficult to make work with your other side table. Just a thought… As far as what I’ve learned about myself this year, I have learned that I am happy with less stuff. Not being able to run to stores on a whim, has made me realize I don’t need as many “things”.

Cynthia
7 months ago
Reply to  Lori S H

I had the same thought about the putting the sewing desk between the windows & centering the bed on the niche. All the inspiration is beautiful, looking forward to see what you do. And yes to the headboard post!

Vicki Williams
7 months ago
Reply to  Cynthia

But then to me the rug needs then to be centered on the bed. Will there be enough space to get in the closets if bed is centered in alcove? I would want more space to get in and out and work there as he does, I think. I do like the idea of the “desk” between the windows. Looking again what if the bed is between window? Without knowing dimensions it’s hard to know for sure . Sure he will figure it out however.

Nina
7 months ago

I think centering on the room looks nice from above, but centering on the alcove might feel more natural when you are actually in the room…then again if you have asymmetrical night stands, centering on the room gives the sewing table a bit more breathing space. Probably you will try out both and see which one you like best? :p anyway I love the ideas you have and you seem to have a great approach! So looking forward to seeing the results 🙂

Kate
7 months ago
Reply to  Nina

Absolutely! The nice thing about this decision is that it’s relatively easy to try it both ways and see what you like best since you’re just shifting furniture a few feet.

7 months ago
Reply to  Nina

Yes to all of this! Thanks, Nina.

Lisa
7 months ago

SO HAPPY to have you back, Malcom! I always really enjoy your articles and thoughtful designs and this was no exception! 🙂 Your bedroom sounds and already looks (those floors! the windows!) dreamy so I’m excited to see where you go with this! I’m really loving your focus and using the space for you and your mental health and I would definitely love a post about non-headboard-headboards!!!

Lisa
7 months ago
Reply to  Lisa

Oh forgot to say: I’d also go for centering the bed on the overall wall at least from above it looks somehow more logical to me (?) and as you said it’ll also give you the most functuality with access to your closet – unless maybe you were planning to do a big mural on the nook wall then I think it could look a little odd to have the bed be off-centre to that but even then I’m sure it could be made to look intentional with a cool lamp or plant to the side or someting – I’m sure you’ll figure it out! And if in doubt, at least beds are easy to move around to try things out 😉

7 months ago
Reply to  Lisa

Great suggestions, Lisa! Thank you so much!

V
7 months ago

Oooo, I like this. This is going to be good and excited for you, Malcolm!

I vote for centering the bed in the room, and for the first mood board, the one with the more colorful (dhurrie?) rug.

7 months ago
Reply to  V

Thanks, V!

Hannah
7 months ago

I love the pieces you’ve chosen. I agree, though, that the sewing table would look lovely between or under a window. Would you consider getting rid of the armchair? In my experience, no one is ever, ever going to sit there, and instead it will become a magnet for clothes and misc. clutter. If it were gone, you could move the sewing table under that window farthest from the bed.

7 months ago
Reply to  Hannah

Great feedback! Thanks!

Herselfindublin
7 months ago

I’ve been following Malcolm’s progress on this on Instagram and it’s great to see where it started as I know how far it’s already come (also, feel very “in in the know” – it already looks amazing even though it’s not finished yet). I personally like a bit of asymmetry, I think it adds character, so putting the bed centred on the room will make it nicely off-centre in the alcove and give more room for the sewing desk. Also yes, it will give more space in between the bed and the closet, which I think will make the whole room feel more spacious both to look at and to do your thing in. I love that gorgeous sewing desk, even more so for its personal history, and I think will work perfectly at the closet side of the bed. However I don’t like either of the table options for the other side. I think you need something with more visual weight, like a wooden nightstand with long legs and one or two drawers at the top. I also much prefer lamps to sconces and two lamps the same will help unite the two different “nightstands”. Very excited to see… Read more »

Herselfindublin
7 months ago

Actually, I think a dining-style chair, that has a “dense” back could also work as a nightstand on the opposite side of the bed to the sewing desk.

7 months ago

Thanks for the feedback, and for always following along!!

Leigh H
7 months ago

So fun! Love your ideas and your posts. YES to a DIY headboard / no headboard post! Totally understand the anxiety thing, sending you happy design anxiety free days ahead!

7 months ago
Reply to  Leigh H

Thanks, Leigh!

KMR
7 months ago

I love your sewing table and dresser. They are beautiful pieces to start the design with. My gut impression is to center the bed in the alcove…but if you use the sewing table on one side it might make more sense to have the bed centered on the overall width of the room. If there is space, I also think it is worth trying out the sewing table between the windows. It’s going to be beautiful no matter what–I’m already getting peaceful vibes!

7 months ago
Reply to  KMR

Great feedback! Thank you!

Alyssa
7 months ago

I really loved your words about design being therapeutic, you perfectly incapsulated why I love it so much!

7 months ago
Reply to  Alyssa

Thanks, Alyssa!

Katy
7 months ago

Just a head’s up that you credited the photo with the wood ledge-wall wrong. It’s BuildHER collective, not Builder Collective. It would also be great to link directly to where that photo came from so we could see more of the room, or just the instagram photo it came from so we can learn more, like sources if they’re available.

J R
7 months ago

Everything looks great, and I can’t wati to see how it turns out!

I prefer version 1, but maybe with the side table from version 2? The chair in v1 is gorgeous! I also agree that centering to the room and having easier access to the closets will likely make more sense, but probably eaiser to make that call once the furniture is in.

Amanda
7 months ago

Can’t wait to see what direction this goes in! Love Malcolm’s voice!

7 months ago
Reply to  Amanda

Thank you!

Rusty
7 months ago

MALCOLM!!! 👑 Wow! Gratitude, journalling, alliteration (honestly, as an ex-English teacher, it’s wonderful to read such a well written post to perfection and not only including, but noting, the alliteration!), bursting with excitement and humble … all at the same time! Resounding in resolute, razzle-dazzling refurbishment or a remarkable residence. Hehehe.☺ I think different bedside tables are better than matchy-matchy any day! I agree that the weight of the other one needs to balance out the sewing machine and maybe a heavy-based lamp would help, but … does it have to be a lamp? What about a sculptural piece?? If you went with sconces, then a sculpture would provide the balance. I’m with you on the journalling to deal with anxxiety. I’ve been journalling since Jan 1 2019 and will not think of going to bed until I’ve got the day out of my system! This can take quite a while, since my days are mashed full of stress, aggression and discontent as I live day-by-day with my ex; likely until mid-May. It’s awful. Today has been horrendous and included having to urgently take my scruffy dawg to the vet due to an infection (Wot the hell?! How? Where? When?)… Read more »

Cris S.
7 months ago
Reply to  Rusty

You can make it Rusty! Have you thought about making a ‘Christmas chain’ with one link for every day until the end of May? You take one link off when each day is done (or begins). I’ve always loved being able to see time passing visually. This will be a distant memory soon!

Rusty
7 months ago
Reply to  Cris S.

Oh, Cris! It really has been such an awful day.
Thank you so much for your kindness.
My eyes are ‘leaking’ now.
My scruffy’ll be okay, but trying to care for her (there’s a lot to do) amidst the aggression, has me unable to eat tonight.

This, too, shall come to pass, but man, it’s tough.
Writing my journal is kind of checking off each day as it passes and the chain is a great idea, but it’d be destroyed to get at me, so I keep things private, to myself and hidden away.
Your kindness touched me, truly, thank you. xx 😔

Cris S.
7 months ago
Reply to  Rusty

I have no words for having to live with that kind of animosity. I’m so sorry. Lots of good thoughts to you and your scruffy from Chicago. Hugs.

Rusty
7 months ago
Reply to  Cris S.

Thank you.
This, too, shall come to pass.❤

Caity
7 months ago
Reply to  Rusty

I do worry about you Rusty! It sounds so unhealthy there, I really hope you can get out and be safe. Is there truly no escape until May? We are rooting for you!!!!

Rachel
7 months ago
Reply to  Rusty

Ahhh rusty…I feel you. One of my cats died only a few months after I ran away from my ex and it was awful, especially because I’d had to leave her behind. My two kitties I’ve still got have been in and out of the vet a lot lately as well and it’s always terrifying when our fur babies are unwell. My heart and prayers go out to you. You’ve got this.

7 months ago
Reply to  Rusty

Wow! Thanks for the kind words, Rusty! That really means a lot!

And I’m sorry that you’re in a toxic situation, that can’t feel good. Hoping that May comes quickly!

7 months ago

Could you share the source for the bench in version 2? Thanks!

Camille Richard
7 months ago

I love the idea of creating a space that is emotionally functional and chic. I really enjoyed this article and Emily’s input. Needing to stay busy to stave off anxiety is something I fully relate with. I can’t wait to see the space come together!!

7 months ago

Thanks, Camille!

KellyJo
7 months ago

Malcolm, please do an article on beds without headboards. I am in my late forties and have never had a headboard. There are so many creative ways to have a bed feel finished without a headboard!

I love your voice and your vision and cannot wait to see what comes next and the reasoning behind how you decided to design your bedroom.

7 months ago
Reply to  KellyJo

Thanks, Kelly! More to come!

Remington
7 months ago

I have that exact etsy print in my living room! Great choice, love it so much. I prefer bedroom layout two. It looks odd from above, but I think probably will be the more balanced choice. Also, I’m team headboard all the way. We lived without one for years and eventually the wall behind it gets similarly grimy to a staircase. I think it picks up oil from the pillowcases and you inevitably touch it a lot. No-headboard makes things feel very informal and remind me of college. Very excited for the black bedroom. Will you use a matte paint or one that has higher gloss?

Lori
7 months ago

I really like where you landed with this! I especially like how you made the two bedside lights “speak” to each other and balanced their visual weight. I also use a vintage desk as a bedside table, and it’s nice to have the space to put a bunch of books and a drink while I’m lounging. I also prefer the bed where it is rather than centered between the windows– I prefer to be able to see outside when I’m relaxing in bed, you know? I currently have my bed between the windows because there’s no other way it’ll fit in the room, and it just doesn’t feel right to me. The only thing I would change is that looking at the layout from above, the size of the rug feels really off to me. I think it either needs to be larger, so the front legs of the armchair fully sit on it (plus the location of the rug seam seems (ha!) a little odd when you look into the room from the doorway. Or I could see doing two rugs, one fully under the bed & bench and giving your feet something warm to land on in the… Read more »

7 months ago
Reply to  Lori

This is all amazing feedback. Thank you so much, Lori!

jenn
7 months ago

I love this, Malcolm, especially as I’ve watched your bedroom evolve on IG. As someone else with anxiety, you really distilled why I’m so specific about my nighttime routine. I “go to bed” around 9, but I do my skincare routine, brush teeth, get comfy, and then read until my husband comes to bed. It really does prepare me to sleep, and I also cannot relax if my room is busy or messy. You’ve inspired me to look at my bedroom a bit differently to see how I can make it work for us. We moved just over a year ago, and so far, it’s fine but not quite there yet. Looking forward to more!

7 months ago
Reply to  jenn

Thanks, Jenn, for sharing some of your story and for the feedback!

arti
7 months ago

Love the “feel” of the space. I think an interesting upholstered stool underneath the sewing desk would add some great purposeful interest.

Also- as to ‘balance’ will the desk be on the side with the closet? If so- I think that that side of the room might feel a bit weightier. Maybe you could add a more high impact “nightstand” on the other side? A side dining chair like DWR’s ‘Salt’ chair in light grey.

What I’ve learned through the pandemic? Offer yourself and those around you way more grace than you normally would. Also to ask “Is this REALLY that much of a big deal?”…most of the time, it’s not. AND my collection of sweatshirts was not bought in vein.

Also- I strayed away from Emily’s blog for a few years- but what’s brought me back of late is the diversity of voices on here. As a BIPOC reader- it makes me so happy.

7 months ago
Reply to  arti

Happy to hear all of this, Arti! Thanks for the feedback and for reading.

Margaret
7 months ago

Just in case this helps the other anxious insomniacs among us: I put myself to sleep almost every night by mentally redesigning/organizing places I’ve lived in the past, or imagined I did. Somehow it is very soothing–lacks the urgency and fears and commitment (and fear of commitment) of doing something IRL It’s helped a lot the last four years.
And Rusty, thinking about you.

Rusty
7 months ago
Reply to  Margaret

Thank you, Margaret. xx

I like your idea. I’ve never been into ‘counting sheep’. 🐑🐑🐑
I’ve been pre-sleep dreaming about how I’m going to revamp my little house once he’s gone.
Sooooo many ideas. It keeps my hopes alight.🤗
Arlyn has a post about sage green today, so thamy current dreaming for repainting my kitchen cupboards.

7 months ago
Reply to  Margaret

Such a good tip!

MKK
7 months ago

Look forward to the end result. I also wonder if the desk would be better by window with an interesting chair that can be used with the desk or off to the side.
Decisions, decisions…

Maria
7 months ago

Oh goodness, I cannot wait for the closet post!! Very happy that the bedroom is being designed with your needs in mind (I too have an elaborate nighttime routine so I get this). Love the inspiration pics plus evolving design, it’s broken down really helpfully.

Amy Dagnall
7 months ago

Malcolm, I just started following Emily on facebook. I’m an older lady, with no design experience. Reading your words was like being in someone else’s head! I liked you right away, so it was a nice place to be, thank goodness!
Watching your thought process unfold was amazing. Seeing Emily’s feedback and your modifications was such an interesting aspect, too.
This entire article would no only be a great template for other rooms, but would translate into an amazing tv show for “viewers” like me.
You’re onto something here, Malcolm. You could work with the homeowner and get in their heads then work with them to create their floor plan and their visual boards of products, then have a guest designer (unless Emily has all that extra time!) give input while you help them modify their choices.
I would watch that show!
I can’t wait to see your bedroom design unfold Malcolm!
And, yes, I’d like to follow a no headboard thread!
I’m following you, friend!

7 months ago
Reply to  Amy Dagnall

That’s….an excellent idea. If this ever happens, definitely crediting you, Amy!

patty
7 months ago

I’d like to compliment your writing. It was a pleasure to read.

7 months ago
Reply to  patty

Aw, thanks, Patty. 🙂

SJ
7 months ago

Love the centered on the wall VS centered in the alcove placement. Humans crave symmetry to help with anxiety, and that plans is much more symmetrical overall.
In Fen Shui tenets, that headboard is not solid, so it will not be supportive enough. “Things” ( ideas, dreams, etc) can go through the slats, so if it were my room, I’d swap that out. If you don’t follow FS, then no worries.
That closet will be killer! We have a closet project coming up this year and I can’t WAIT to put my obsessively organized DIY stamp on it.
Enjoy the process of doing this room-looking forward to seeing it all come together!

7 months ago
Reply to  SJ

I had no idea about that Fen Shui point! Good to know. Thank you so much for sharing and reading!

Kelly
7 months ago

Love the dark closet!! Can’t wait to see the whole room 🙂

Jenms
7 months ago

Definitely more of this, please!!

Sarah
7 months ago

I don’t share your love for closets or ironing but can’t wait to see what you do! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the heirloom desk you are incorporating into the space.

7 months ago
Reply to  Sarah

Thanks, Sarah!!

Lindsay
7 months ago

I love this post, and I love seeing transparency re: anxiety and mental health. Can’t wait to see how it turns out! And I agree wi to centering the bed on the whole wall

Roberta Davis
7 months ago

Malcom, I can so relate to what you’re saying here! I too studied graphic design (also architecture, but no degree) and finally interior design. I’m not sure if I experience anxiety over design (I certainly do over other things, though), but I definitely spend so much time thinking about it, imagining endless solutions to design problems around my house, etc. I think your ritual of getting ready for bed and the next day is lovely! (Do you ever end up staying awake most of the night thinking and rethinking the smallest details of a design?) I agree with you that centering the bed on the entire wall is a good idea, to give you room to maneuver at the closet, and because I think it will seem more balanced when you step into the room. And you are so lucky to get Emily’s input on your designs! Your room will be gorgeous, just like your deck. Regarding a sense of well-being and joy, I found that yoga (particularly Iyengar yoga) has helped me a lot. The philosophy and also just doing the practice (especially head stands and shoulder stands- inverted poses) bring peace, joy and an overall sense of well-being.… Read more »

Molly
7 months ago
Reply to  Roberta Davis

Please share the yoga teacher’s info! Sunday class sounds really nice.

Roberta Davis
7 months ago
Reply to  Molly

Molly, send me an email at robertamdavis@yahoo.com and I will get you connected with Shaw, the owner, at Seattle Iyengar Yoga. I can also give you more info about the class. Or send a friend request to Roberta Duffy Davis on Facebook or a message to me on Messenger. The Sunday class is 9:00- 10:30 Pacific time.

7 months ago
Reply to  Roberta Davis

Thanks for sharing, Roberta, and for the feedback!

Roberta Davis
7 months ago

You’re welcome. Love seeing your projects here, and looking forward to more from you!

Irene
7 months ago

I’m excited by your goal “to create a space that … feels like a staycation.” That echoes what Emily said recently about “maybe we should all be designing our home to be our own retreat”, and Ajai writing that she feels like she and her husband are on an exotic vacation when they sit at their bar. I saw even more “vacation” comments when I clicked on the Shaun Crha photo to read the article about his casita. I absolutely love this concept. Now for something mundane: where do you store your iron and ironing board (I see it in the background of one of your photos)? Back when I worked and had to iron, I always did it in one weekly session, but if I did it nightly the stuff would have to be easier to get out and put up than it is in the closet of my “junk room”. Any of you journalers have privacy plans for your writings? I’m 67; and after a health scare in September one of the first things I did when I came home from the hospital was shred old letters, “morning pages” and even gratitude journals, so my kids and other… Read more »

Rusty
7 months ago
Reply to  Irene

Irene,
My journal is on my tablet. It’s locked and has a backup…because I want to keep it. (It’s also evidence in case something “happens” to me re: DV. My brother knows how to get in).
Can’t help with the deleting set up.
Maybe ask a teen how to do it? Like, ask a random question about nothing specific?
I’ve even found that googling can tell you how to set it up sometimes?
Good luck… I can understand your motivation.

Rachel
7 months ago
Reply to  Rusty

I had mine hidden and locked on my computer. You could only access it through the commands so it didn’t show up as a file on my computer at all and then you had to enter the password to get into it.

7 months ago
Reply to  Irene

Thank you for sharing your story, Irene!

And don’t worry, I have a storage solution for my iron and ironing board all worked out in my closet! More info sooooon

Melly
7 months ago

Even though you talk about anxiety, I feel a sense of calmness in your writing style/tone. 🙂 SOOO excited to read more about your room and the reach-in closets. Already super inspired by the inspo pics!

7 months ago

Omg Malcolm what a beautiful space and what a special way to honor your needs! I have loved seeing you build those dramatic closet doors and the wall treatment. So excited to see what you bring to it next!

7 months ago

Thanks Yael!! Thank you for always supporting! 🙂

Karyn
7 months ago

What a thoughtful design update to your bedroom! And thank you for being so open about your anxiety. It is one of those things that is so hard to be open about but so easy to keep hidden. My son suffers from severe anxiety and as a parent, we try to help in whatever way we can. Your story is comforting and helpful. Great job Malcolm!!

7 months ago
Reply to  Karyn

Aw, thank you, Karyn!

It’s definitely easy to keep it hidden—I hid it for most of my life. I’m happy that you’re there for your son, and happy that I was able to help!

Hayley
7 months ago

I think I’d centre the bed on the whole room, just so you have more space in front of the closet. I personally hate sliding / bifold doors, so I’d rather have a “real” door and that needs space. But you do you!

7 months ago
Reply to  Hayley

No sliding doors here! Definitely using “real” doors. 🙂

Thanks for the feedback!

Lia
7 months ago

That sewing desk is filling my heart – I love that you are including this so much.

Karyn
7 months ago

Also, why not use the sewing table next to your chair, so you don’t have to balance the nightstands as much? With a floor lamp or small lamp on it for light?

hickenack
7 months ago

I say “centered in the alcove” for matching bedside tables but “centered in the room” for non-matching.

Also, I had that exact sewing table (with a slightly valuable German-built Lady Kenmore machine inside) which I just sold last year and lemme tell ya, it makes a terrible writing desk. But the MCM lines are sooo pretty!

7 months ago
Reply to  hickenack

It’s the prettiest desk!

JP
7 months ago

I can’t wait to see how the your vision for this room turns out! And definitely looking forward to some good closet DIYs, mine needs some big help.

7 months ago
Reply to  JP

Thanks, JP!

Eliot
7 months ago

GIVE US THE HEADBOARD TUTORIAL. Please. Seriously, I think we got a preview of it… somewhere? Maybe in one of the trend roundups a couple of weeks ago? Anyway, I’m dying to see the whole thing, and I love a DIY tutorial, even when–usually–the odds of my attempting the project are quite low. A gal can dream of being competent!

Judy
7 months ago
Reply to  Eliot

@malcolmsimmons on instagram. He has a story highlight of the process!

7 months ago
Reply to  Eliot

You got it!

As Judy mentioned, a lot of details are saved on my highlight reel on Insta!

Vanessa G Parscale
7 months ago

I’m DYING for a post about how to turn a ho hum closet like that into the built in look you’re proposing – mostly because I’ve been wondering this a lot myself!

7 months ago

You got it! Writing it as we speak! 🙂

tricia
7 months ago

I agree w your inclination to center on the overall wall and not the alcove. These design plans look stellar, Malcolm! That closet is going to be *gasp*.

7 months ago
Reply to  tricia

Haha thank youuuu

June
7 months ago

I would also love a post about headboard-less beds!

7 months ago
Reply to  June

You got it!

Michelle
7 months ago

I love the development of this design, I can’t wait to see more!

7 months ago
Reply to  Michelle

Thanks, Michelle!

DW
7 months ago

Love that you’re including this family piece in your bedroom – especially love it as a nightstand. I don’t care for either side table b/c they skew the symmetry. What about a wall-hung unit w/ a drawer (or open ‘slot’) that mimics the left side only of the sewing desk – positioned at the same height as the sewing desk, & in a similarly dark stained wood. I, too, agree w/ the person who commented that your writing comes across as very soothing & calm.

7 months ago
Reply to  DW

Greatttt feedback. Thank you so much!

Donna
7 months ago

This was such a pleasurable read, Malcolm – I didn’t want it to end. I echo what Rusty said about the writing – no need to say it again as she said it so well.

For what it’s worth, (from a fellow Graphic Designer) I like the bed centered on the room and you’ve already solved the balance challenge with the desk and the smaller nightstand. I want to put a spot of the closet color on the smaller nightstand – sculpture, box, or maybe even paint the nightstand. And maybe a spot of the closet color in the art above the bed (if you put art there) I love the placement of the 4 pieces of framed art in version one and how they tie together the asymmetry. Interestingly, my style is similar to yours, perhaps it’s the linear/color graphic training. However, I do struggle with the spatial arrangements!

And yes, gratitude.

7 months ago
Reply to  Donna

Aw, thank you so much, Donna. Such kind words.

Agreed about the bedroom centered on the room, and great suggestion about spreading dark accents throughout the space.

Graphic designers, unite! 🙂

Nicole Kuch
7 months ago

I loved this post!!! I feel like I know you, and am so excited to see your room. Well done!!!

7 months ago
Reply to  Nicole Kuch

I’m an open book! Thanks, Nicole!

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