I closed on my home one year ago today. A happy milestone, to be sure, but I remember the day being clouded by so much uncertainty.
The pandemic was just beginning to become catastrophic here in the US. On the day of my closing, I signed my documents behind a plexiglass wall, sliding papers back and forth to the agent through a little paper-sized slot. We were both masked and gloved up, of course, but I remember being tremendously anxious because I forgot to bring my own pen. I left the closing feeling a whirlwind of emotions: guilty pride for securing what I considered to be my dream home during a pandemic that left so many people struggling, regret for feeling as though my timing couldn’t have been any worse, and loneliness for the sheer fact that…well…I felt alone amidst the socially distant nature of it all.
I don’t bring any of this up to trigger COVID-19 memories that we all continue to struggle with or to paint a woeful picture of this objectively joyous memory. I bring it up to underscore how much my life and perceptions have changed since then–for the better! The pandemic was responsible for just one of many sources of my anxiety at the time. The irony of it all, however, is that the generally unsettled decision of purchasing this home one year ago has been responsible for more healing, growth, and self-discovery than I ever anticipated. This couldn’t be made more evident by how happy this primary bedroom makeover makes me feel. Design really is healing, folks (side tab: if you haven’t watched Ilse Crawford’s episode of Abstract on Netflix, please do! It really emphasizes the healing qualities of design).
If you read my introductory article about this project, you might recall that I planned for my primary bedroom makeover to mitigate my anxiety through the calming process of designing and crafting it, the intent of creating a space that helps me establish a routine, and by manifesting a space that reflects some of the anxiety that I’ve confronted and largely overcome during the last year. Let’s break this reveal down accordingly, shall we?! WE SHALL.
DESIGNING AND CRAFTING A TAILORED SPACE
Headboard (DIY by Malcolm) | Sconce)| Footed Planter (similar) | Sewing table (antique)
The redesign of this room became a DIY extravaganza and I couldn’t be happier about it! I’m usually of the mindset that if I can’t find an object or design element that exists in the world (or within my price range), that I’ll just try to make it myself. I won’t lie… I’m not always successful in this department… but it’s always worth a try! In the case of my DIY reeded headboard/shelf/wainscoting moment, I’d say that I feel fairly successful and VERY pleased. This reeded wood detail is definitely en vogue at the moment and is often used these days for wall treatments, furniture elements, and cabinet details throughout the design-o-sphere. I often talk about how I like my design plans to feel on-trend, but not trendy, and I think this hits the nail on the head (SPEAKING OF HITTING NAILS ON THEIR HEADS, would anyone be interested in a dedicated DIY tutorial on how exactly this wall came to be? I’d spell it out here for ya, but it would double the length of this already-lengthy reveal. Let me know!).
The marble ledge/shelf and brass rod details add touches of sophistication, function, and timelessness that I think fit right into the vintage style of my home. Those small details also make the feature wall stand apart from the trend in a way that feels unique, but also timely. This feature wall took quite a bit of troubleshooting and rethinking, but I’m a better designer for it!
Planter (similar)| Bedspread | Sheets | Throw Pillow | Side Table (DIY by Malcolm)
On the topic of creating things from scratch… would you believe that I made this side table myself? Believe it! I had a difficult time finding a side table that felt appropriate opposite my grandmother’s vintage sewing table on the other side of the bed, so I took matters into my own hands. I combined a marble lazy susan (it still spins!), a brass tray from Ikea, a marble utensil holder from Target, and a metal pipe/pipe fittings to create this custom piece. This piece was definitely a learning experience (the whole thing could DEFINITELY be more stable as it is pretty top heavy), but I loved taking a chance to create something for me, by me. And it’s quite pretty… if I do say so myself. You can check out this feature on Domino for a more in-depth story about this piece!
I LOVE THIS SCREENPRINT by Stamp & Repeat, who I found on Instagram a few months ago. First of all, this piece helped to define the color story for this entire room. Moreover, there is so much power in this piece… the subject feels both strong and extremely vulnerable… both masculine and feminine… which is a dichotomy that isn’t often idealized or celebrated in the Black community. When curating art for this space, it was important for me to surround myself with Black art and Black stories, and this piece certainly made for a good starting point.
Rug | Bench | Throw Blanket (similar)
While we’re here… can we talk about my new bed and linens for a second? FIRST OFF. THIS BED. FROM TUFT & NEEDLE. This was my first time ordering a mattress from an online retailer, and I may never go to a Mattress Warehouse ever again.
It was tremendously easy to order, deliver, and install (although difficult to get up the stairs on my own… I’d recommend not being too impatient to wait for a friend to help and suffering solo like I did). The mattress is super comfortable and even looks chic when it’s nakey. I ordered a queen-sized metal base, box foundation, and Mint mattress with antimicrobial protection.
OK. GET INTO THIS DUSTY MAUVE MOMENT WITH ME, PLEASE. I have to admit, I had a hard time finding bed linens for this space that felt complimentary, intentional, and warm. White felt too stark. Darker options felt too saturated. Most patterns competed with the reeded wood detail at the head of the bed. But then, I thought back to my mood board and remembered this little vase from Lulu and Georgia and the reasons I chose mauve as an aspirational accent color.
The mauve color of the bedspread complements the green tones in the Lulu & Georgia rug at the foot of the bed, adds a touch of warmth to an otherwise fairly neutral room, and brings a “feminine” touch to the space that feels appropriate amidst some of the more “masculine” components of the space (I hate gendering design elements, but sometimes these terms do help us identify contrast and juxtaposition). More than any of that, however, I believe it helps to elevate the bedroom and bring it to a slightly unexpected place, which I love. I opted for a king-size comforter so that it would luxuriously cascade off of the bed. I added a black quilt from Target to peek through and ground the bedscape to speak to the darker elements on either side of the room (the curtains and the closet), and a subtly patterned sheet set from Target to bring just a slight touch of visual contrast to the linear nature of the reeded wall treatment. A marigold, corduroy throw pillow from Schoolhouse speaks to the brassy elements throughout the room and adds a nice warm complement to the color of the comforter.
I love the photo above for a few reasons. First, because it shows most of the elements in the room beautifully speaking together in one shot (the black closet doors in the background. Various brassy elements doing their brassy thing. The punch of the mauve bedscape in the reflection. The branches that I awkwardly cut from a tree on the side of a local road). Secondly, because Keyanna (Yes, that Keyanna:)) did such an amazing job shooting this space, it reminds me of the beautiful shoot day we spent together shooting the space. Also, because I love how my oversized mirror from Rejuvenation is framed by AWESOME drapery from Everhem! It’s giving me the [admittedly specific] boutiquey, handsome clothier vibe that I wanted this space to embody.
I’m going to brag on Everhem for a minute. In true Malcolm fashion, I had an extremely specific vision for the window treatments in this room. I wanted a brass curtain rod that would span the entire length of the window wall to reflect the brass rod that sits atop the reeded wood wall. I chatted with Everhem about the vision, and they were able to create a completely custom solution that shipped quickly, was packed complete with installation instructions, and was easy to hang (with help!). The charcoal panels speak to the dark closets on the other side of the room to balance out the darker elements of the space.
Pillow (similar) | Vase (similar) | Dresser (similar)
In the photo above, you can see how the extension of the rod into the wall creates a custom and unique feature in this space. I was greatly inspired by hospitality design for this project, and this little detail feels like it belongs in a boutique hotel. And that makes my heart sing. Also! This shot also highlights the most important aspect of this room makeover: the fact that it’s helping me establish a strong routine in my day-to-day life.
Armchair | Picture Light | Abstract Art (similar) | Bud Vase (similar)
I’ve recently started reading more regularly (“Untamed” by Glennon Doyle is currently on the docket) and I’ve been trying to journal fairly regularly to help mitigate my anxiety. It was important for me to establish a seating area in my bedroom to make these parts of my daily routine more feasible and inviting, and this armchair from Article makes it easy to fall comfortably into that routine. This area also created a perfect opportunity for a mini gallery wall, allowing for an eclectic group of frames that adds a touch of the “collected and classic” vibe that I’m perpetually striving for in my home. I added a picture light to the gallery wall for some downward nighttime lighting (since I’m usually reading directly before bedtime), and I love that centering it in the middle of the display is an unexpected placement of a classic form of lighting. I paid special attention to the lighting throughout the room, making sure to use accent lighting at different heights and strengths to cater to various vibes. This picture light creates a distinct reading area, the overhead ceiling fan/light from Schoolhouse lights up the entire room, and asymmetrical lights from Schoolhouse on either side of the bed make it possible to read in bed if that’s where the day takes me.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s important for me to spend most of my time in a space that speaks to Black art and Black stories. Back in 1863, the land that I currently live on was Freedman’s Village: a collection of houses meant to accommodate freed slaves that had traveled north in hopes of finding work and opportunity, but its creation had less to do with helping Black people integrate into free society and more to do with segregation. Nonetheless, Black Americans began a new phase of life, and built a unique and thriving community for schools, hospitals, churches, and social services. The illustration in the upper right corner of the photo above shows the village, and it reminds me daily that I live on land that was historically a thriving community of Black power, sacrifice, innovation, and magic. As Black American lives are too frequently viewed as a threat and taken from us too soon (news about Daunte Wright’s murder in Minnesota is breaking as I write this), it’s important for me to be reminded of the sacrifices that allow me to have the opportunities that I have, continue the legacy of my ancestors, and even own this house.
Speaking of 1863–the vintage valet stand in the photo above happens to have been made in that SAME YEAR! Just kidding. I don’t actually know when this was built (but it is indeed vintage, from this Etsy shop!). It just felt like a good segue to move on to the WARDROBE OF MY DREAMS–the main component of this room that is helping me underscore and emphasize routine-building behaviors.
PHEW. Ya’ll. This closet has been a journey eight months in the making. This closet makeover was the very first thing that I conceptualized upon buying this house, and I’m happy to say that it has exceeded my expectations. Before this process started, I had a conversation with a friend about how I wanted my closet to feel like a high-end, boutiquey (I’m using that word a lot, huh?) clothing store. She may or may not have thought that I was being a tad bit extra, but I stuck to my guns and made it come true! This closet zone has truly become the anchor of my day–starting with pulling my clothes off of my valet, and ending with throwing those same clothes into my laundry basket from Rejuvenation that fits so perfectly into the closet. Maintaining a routine is the primary way that I mitigate my anxiety, so this was an extremely important project to get just right.
The choice to go with black closet doors was a touggghhhh one, but one that I don’t regret for a second! Not only do they match the doors I’ve painted throughout the rest of my home, but they also provide an authentic impact in the room that just feels like me. More than that, I love how the tone of the black doors is mirrored across the room with the charcoal window drapery from Everhem. When I’m standing in the room, it feels like I’m enveloped in a warm symphony of saturations (YES, I’m making that a thing. Kudos if you know the reference). I found vintage doorknobs from Community Forklift in Maryland that match the door hardware on the front door of my house, so I enthusiastically purchased them and rushed home to remove the new handles that I purchased initially to install these beauties.
The buildout of the closet was fairly expensive, so I opted for low-end fixtures to outfit (pun fully intended) the inside of the wardrobe. The hanging rod is an upside-down curtain rod from Target, the pull-out storage units are all Ikea Pax storage systems that I manipulated for my purposes, and all of the side shelving was built by yours truly.
As someone who irons his clothes daily, a little ironing storage section was a must-have for my closet. I designed the closet to have a dedicated space to hang my ironing board and sit my iron for easy access during my nightly routine. There is A LOT of tea to be spilled about the details of this closet makeover, but I’m thinking about saving that for a dedicated article so that I can give you the juicy, in-depth, DIY story. How does that sound?
REFLECTING ON THE JOURNEY
There’s something about this room makeover that feels like the perfect embodiment of the last year of my life. There were some hiccups along the way, more than a few introspective realizations about my relationships with myself and others, and an inspiring conclusion that makes me excited about what’s next (*cough*BATHROOMRENO*cough*). I brought the journey back to my foundation by incorporating family heirloom pieces, focusing on Black stories, and tapping into new design sensibilities and interests that I didn’t know existed. And we’re just getting started!
Excited to chat with you about this room, and to share more details about the DIY projects that I created for it! Also, bonus points if you can count how many times I moved the throw blanket around the room during this photoshoot.
Team EHD here just to say…HAPPY BIRTHDAY MALCOLM!!! We hope it’s a great one and we can’t get enough of your beautiful bedroom! xx
*Design by Malcolm Simmons
**Photos by Keyanna Bowen
OMG Malcolm, that DIY table is AMAZING! (I mean so is the whole room and so is the whole post, but I’m like extra extra excited about the table.) FYI right now the link to the specific Domino write-up doesn’t work for me (in London, in case it affects redirects or something). Feel free to delete/edit this once it’s fixed.
Our doesn’t work for me either (I’m in the US), and I’m so eager to read more about it!
That was my favorite thing in the bedroom, so I did a search with “Malcolm Simmons Domino tray” and got it: https://www.domino.com/content/ikea-tray-nightstand-hack/
Thanks, Virginia! Yes, the link is now fixed–please check it out!
Happy birthday, Malcolm! This was a great read. It’s an absolutely beautiful room (I love the colors and textures), Malcolm’s voice is thoughtful and funny, really nice to read, and Keyanna’s pictures are perfect. Very much looking forward to the next pieces—please do tell us more about the headboard, the closet, and the bathroom!
Thank you so much!! Full DIY posts coming your way.
Yes please DIY tutorial on the headboard!!
Wow, this is just gorgeous! I’ve been following the progress of various elements of this on Malcolm’s Instagram but seeing the full reveal still has some surprises. I’m usually baffled by Americans’ obsession with brass but this is just right. I love the rail on the marble shelf at the top of the headboard, and the size and placement of the brass thin-framed mirror is just perfect, it’s barely noticeable being almost hidden by the curtains, so subtle.
Overall this is everything I love about Malcolm’s style. It’s warm, gentlemanly and a little bit different, with an attention to detail that is perfectly judged and unfussy. A rich baritone of a style. And Malcolm, I also love your writing style. More please!
American here. (Total guess but,) I wonder if the obsession with brass comes from so many of us living in mid-century built homes (building surged after WWII for returning war veterans) & (I think) brass is a typical mid-century finish.
Ah, very interesting! Thanks 🙂
The use of brass her is spot on. Also, why does no one do these little ledges above wainscotting and paneling anymore? It’s _such_ a good idea, and for more than just the dining room. He’s making *me* want paneling in my bedroom which is a 180 from anything I’ve felt before, lol.
Haha! Do it!!!
Thank you so much!! I always love chatting with you on IG about projects!
Gosh, such a beautiful room. Heart eyes!!!
Thank you so much!
I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS!! MORE MALCOLM, PLEASE!!!
YOU GOT IT!!
This was a great post to wake up to today!
I’m so glad! 🙂
Wow! Wow wow wow! The effect of the curtain wall with the handsome mirror really dresses up what was previously a boring white wall. I love that you balanced the closet doors with the curtains and tied the curtain rail in with the picture rail. You nailed that high end boutique, for sure! And heck yes, a tutorial on your picture rail pony wall, please.
Thank you! Balance was definitely key here!
what a HANDSOME space. tailored and chic. well done!
Thank you so much!
Oh my gosh. I wish I could copy and paste this into my house. 🙂
I wish you could too!
This is such a beautiful space! I would LOVE a DIY post for the headboard.
Thank you! DIY post coming atcha 🙂
Each and every part of this room is gorgeous. WOW!! I am particularly blown away by the color aspect of the design, the mauve and black/charcoal. The pictures were pristine, and your writing brought out your choices in the process so clearly. Everything you said about this room made the visuals so much more meaningful. Can’t wait for a whole article about your closet. Thank you, Malcolm!!
[ PS, to the editors: Quick question about the photography credit for Keyanna. Did she change her surname from Bowen (as appears on her Instagram and elsewhere) to Brown (as appears just above)? I assume you’ve credited her properly, but it popped out at me so thought I would ask.]
Nope, my last name is still Bowen 🙂
Good, I’m glad the editors fixed it. When they first published the piece, they had your surname listed as Brown (maybe an autocorrect problem?)… I was like, hmm, that doesn’t look right! 🙂 But back to the topic at hand: Gorgeous photos!!
You’re too kind! Thank you so much!
Keyanna crushed it! 🙂
I love how this came out!!! The marble shelf on the reed wall is such a nice sneaky feature. Also, I’m curious – is that Article chair a good reading chair?
Looking forward to seeing all the details on the closet – and the bathroom! Basically excited for your whole house!
Thank you so much!
I like the chair for reading. It is so comfy.
BEAUTIFUL. Simply Beautiful. I would love to see the DIYs. Great job & happy birthday Malcolm.
Thank you so much!
My favorite element in this room is the “marble ledge/shelf and brass rod detail”. All the details are in sync and harmonious but that marriage of marble and brass takes the room over the top. And I would love a tutorial for the closet. Thank you for today’s visual treat🙂 Finally, happy birthday!
Thank you so much!! A tutorial is coming your way 🙂
What a gorgeous room! Really lovely.
Wow. Cool. Congratulations.
Regards from Switzerland.
Seriously soooooo good! I love it all!!!
Me too! 🙂
So many WOW moments – but that wardrobe is spectacular! And I am definitely going to start using the phrase “en vogue” on a daily basis! Thanks for the tour.
Thank you! I love how the closet turned out.
WOW this room is stunning Malcolm! A beautiful room with a beautiful story. The writing, photography, DIY, and styling are all outstanding. Thanks EHD for featuring this and thank you Malcolm for sharing! I would love to know more about the closet, like how you planned how to use the space – sounds like you were quite clever in keeping costs down inside while keeping the feel high-end.
Happy birthday! 🌟
Aw, thank you so much! Planning a dedicated closet article as we speak.
This is gorgeous. I love Malcolm’s writing and thoughtful design process— more Malcolm please!
Stunning!! One of my favorite reveals as of late…the textures, the MAUVE!!, the beautifully executed DIY. It’s gorgeous!
You’re too kind!! 🙂
That closet is everything! I am also 100% into the dusty mauve moment with you – no convincing necessary. Such a fun reveal!
Yes, I am so impressed with the closet organization and the creative budget solutions. A brass curtain rod from Target turned upside down – genius! Fabulous room, Malcolm.
Haha I’m glad you’re with me!
The design is gorgeous, but it’s your voice (and honest vulnerability) I can’t get enough of. Can’t wait to see what you do next — and yes please to a head board tutorial!!
Thank you so much!!
Wow! this is just BEAUTIFUL! love the color choices you made. that mauve is purrrrrrfect. we have the same color duvet color and it makes me so happy! whew! that feature wall is amazing! the picture light in the middle of the gallery wall was a unique and cool spot to put it. great job all around!
Yes! Glad you got the duvet before it sold out!
WOW this is stunning. And you totally nailed the boutiquey clothing store vibe. Amazing room inspiration. Thank you for your work.
Thanks! Haha I had a VERY specific vision.
This is gorgeous. I want that side table! And the brass railing on the bedframe is perfection
Chef’s kiss!!! Just beautiful from every angle. Completely inspired by this color palette too. Happy birthday and thank you for sharing your stunning space!
Thank you so much!
I loved this so much! That is one gorgeous bedroom, Malcolm!! I can’t wait to read about how the closet came together.
Happy birthday!! And I have to say this might be my favorite ever bedroom 😍 LOVE the pink and the black combo. Would gladly read every detail about your headboard and closet DIYs!!!
Thank you so much! DIY tutorials coming atcha!
This entire space is full of wonderful surprises. The headboard wall. The sewing table. The art. The mirror and curtains. The old rose linens. The closets!!! I love everything about this space and so glad to wake up to this post today. The writing is very bit as good as the finished space.
Thank you so much! That means a lot. 🙂
THIS ROOM AND THIS POST ARE STUNNING
THANK YOU SO MUCH
Ok I am obsessed with this room reveal. So much to unpack but the star is definitely that closet which is really giving me some ideas for our master that has two smaller closets beside each other. The closets are wider then the doors and I’m always reaching into the side blind trying to find stuff. A dedicated post on this closet would be amazing! Making me think it would be more functional in my space to make the two into one big closet and remove the strip of drywall and separation wall between them and do new doors. I absolutely love the vintage hardware you used. It really glams up the black paint. You really achieved that high end boutique look you were going for! Congratulations.
Christina, pleeeease take this the way it’s intended, as a gentle reminder that “master” bedroom is now generally referred to as primary or main bedroom.
Thanks for the reminder Rusty, I’m appalled that it seems multiple people downvoted your comment?!!
Thanks Sarah. There’s a group of bullies that target me, but I’ll still speak the truth and stand for change.
You’re too kind, Christina! Thank you so much.
Malcolm, STUNNING work, perfectly executed. I can’t get over how amazing the closet looks. It elevates the room, and if I hadn’t read the post, I would have thought it was original to the house because it is so well done.
Thank you so much, Allison!
Wow this room is STUNNING! It feels so well balanced without coming across as contrived.
That was my goal!! So glad you like it, Emma.
Wow this is GORGEOUS. I would love to read full posts on the DIYs and the closet build!
Thanks, Lara! You got it!
gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. that wardrobe is so beautiful. the mixture of antiques and fresher, newer elements like the bedding is such a perfect mix. amazing room!!!
Thank you so much, Maria!
Why was the vent to the left of the bed closed off?
It wasn’t! We just photoshopped it out. Hehe.
Wow, wow, WOW! Malcolm, this space is so handsome and elegant – it’s such a dream. That closet! That MAUVE! It’s all hugely inspiring. Thank you for sharing this room with us!
Thanks, Julia!! Glad you feel inspired.
MALCOLM! This is exquisite. It just feels so effortless somehow, as if you cleared the way for this room to become what it was always meant to be, instead of imposing a design on it. And please, please, please give us a tutorial for that incredible headboard.
Aw, thank you so much, Eliot!
Gotta have more details on how you did the walk treatment! So unique!
Malcolm, WOW! What a fantastic space. Bookmarking to read and gaze at again. Beautiful photos, Keyanna. Thank you for sharing this. 😭
Thank you! Was truly an honor shooting for Malcolm <3
Wow wow wow! This feels so fresh and NEW — the colors, the headboard, the drapery around the mirror moment. It’s all beautiful and innovative and I LOVE IT.
But, I really came here to say PLEASE do a tutorial on the headboard. I need it! I want all the details!
Wow! Wow! What a beautiful bedroom! The closet in black looks amazing. Yes to all the future DIY posts!
You got it!! Thank you!
Wow! This is stunning, truly! I definitely want to know more about the wardrobe. Happy Bit Malcolm! Love your style.
Thank you so much!
This is gorgeous. Every bit of it. And yes, please do share the DIY for the headboard!
Aw, thanks, Hillary! DIY posts coming your way. 🙂
Incredible. Love everything about this room I want to move in. People often talk about high low design but this embodies it. I’ve clicked through on more links than any other story ever. I want everything- the color of that bedspread? Swoon. And already sold out. Tears. Pleeeaaassee give us the DIY on the shelf/ headboard. The brass and marble accents are everything. Your side table made my jaw drop. I was searching for the link until I read that you made it. Cannot believe what it is comprised of. Yes, to details on that please can’t find it on Domino. And we also need the details on the closet. I never thought I’d be in love with hinges but yours are amazing. Fabulous job, Malcolm, thank you for sharing.
Thanks, Kimberly!! The link to Domino is fixed now, so please check it out!
Stunning! Classic, calming, and beautiful.
WHAT. THAT CLOSET????!!!! I just made my husband build a roughly 5,000 piece custom Pax wardrobe in our Baltimore row home and as someone who recently experienced a “dream closet” experience I am FLOORED. Your closet looks so high end – so inspiring! I am in love with the door knobs and the color and the LITTLE DOORS ABOVE THE BIG DOORS. I am screaming in type, I know but wow – this is one of the very best makeovers I have seen on this website! Congratulations!
Haha thanks, Bekah! You’re too kind!
Great, great job! Love everything about this. Truly a labor of love.
It sure is! Thank you, Heidi!