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Wait…What Is Happening In Our Main Bedroom?? A Pre-Reveal With A Lot Of Ranting Because Even Though It’s 2024 I’m Back To Ranting Like It’s 2011 :)

Some rooms are easier than others and y’all I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – BEDROOMS ARE THE EASIEST ROOMS TO DECORATE. Why? Because there is mostly one singular function (or two, LOL). You don’t need to worry as much about flow or multiple uses for multiple people (well, depending on your lifestyle, no judgment here!). Also, there is a clear focal point and most importantly – it’s where you can easily employ symmetry, flanking said focal point (so less decision and shopping time). But for whatever reason this bedroom has been HARD. It’s now done and if I could snap my fingers I’d change a few things, but I’ll get into that in the reveal post coming up. Today I’m going to remind you where we came from and how we got here before you see it all shot and wearing her fancy clothes. Also, I get candid about some $$$ stuff below so if that’s not your thing click away.

As a reminder, there is the original house from 1910 (the tall one) and then there is the 60s addition that was used mostly as a group home meeting space. We ended up adding 8 feet to that wing to fit what we wanted. Now I’m not sure I would have done that again – BOY can 8 feet be so expensive when you are talking roofing, foundation, HVAC, an additional electrical meter, and even a new dug-out basement to house the HVAC for this wing. ANYWAY, now that we have a spacious bed/bath and mudroom I’m of course psyched about it, but I will not be so cavalier next time to just “add on”. So our bedroom is in there 🙂

Here is how the house was laid out before our almost 3-year renovation:) For the sake of ease, picture where the brick patio was (on the right) being what we added on. I guess we were reacting to having a really nice sized spacious bedroom from the mountain house (where we lived and loved during lockdown). And as much as we tried and tried, Anne from ARCIFORM couldn’t fit what we were requesting in the square footage we had without greatly compromising the size, function, or flow of the rooms. Now that I think about it, our bathroom isn’t that big at all, the family room literally couldn’t be much smaller or we wouldn’t be able to fit a big sectional (the sole purpose of the room), so could our bedroom and mudroom have been smaller? I think so. But our rationale was that we were already spending so much money that to not get the rooms and space that we wanted felt NUTS. Like why go through this entire rather painful process and then afterward have regrets (and not be able to add on later, obviously)? That’s all to say that I’m glad we added on that 8′ to fit this room – NOW – but let’s just say next time we’ll think about it more as it likely added $75k to the whole already ludicrously high budget (and no, I still haven’t added it up). I find that I need years of perspective before I can crunch the numbers, which also allows the blog to create revenue from the content from the renovation which eases the pain of course.

For the Portland Project flip that I did with my brother, as you might have read here, I lost so much money. But after years of the posts being on the blog, accruing ad dollars, I think I might have actually made a little bit of $$. It’s a lot like Mr. Beast (wait, what??) where he spends like $100k on many of his individual videos with the hope that eventually the views will be there to profit. Content creation is a gamble, where you have to invest in the project to get the views, but the views are what pay for the project and if the views aren’t there then you lose so much money. So…ya, waiting is a healthier move (and I realize I’m very privileged to not have been forced to know by a dire financial situation – the sale of our LA house saved us financially). It’s also tricky when your job is like mine and some of the expenses can be written off – but only very specific things, some of it covered by partnerships that I hustled to pitch (and then some of it directly paid to vendors, etc). I wrote about the Portland $$$ I think 3 years after it was over, so maybe in 3 years I’ll come to terms with what this monster of a renovation costs – THAT WE ARE SO LUCKY TO DO AND LIVE IN. But no, not yet. I need more space from it, TBH, lest I should puke 🙂

This was how that wing looked before we renovated, BTW. It was super chopped up with a lot of temporary walls so the family that lived there before us could use the space.

This is where we landed with the layout for a million reasons. If I could go back in time I’d likely swap the mudroom and the bathroom, but I’m pretty sure we didn’t want our bathroom to be facing the backyard like that for more privacy (which is hilarious because it faces the entry now, LOL, with way more foot traffic). But now that the kids have to feed the pigs and alpacas twice a day in literal shit-covered boots, I’m glad that we have that mudroom there with the covered porch for their disgusting boots. In Oregon, I just wish we had a mudroom at every entrance (the kitchen is our everyday drop zone – not ideal).

The Construction Phase

ARCIFORM did such an incredible job, y’all. Jamie (that man in the overalls) has to know so much and have so much experience to execute a project of this scale so well (he’s been with them for over a decade). I truly marveled at how he seemed to know everything about all aspects of building a home. Anyway, we added a bunch of windows, a fireplace, skylights, and even an exit (didn’t need that).

We laid it out just like we did at the mountain house – bed facing the fireplace, with a TV above it this time (despite Orlando’s disgust – read that post here).

from: farmhouse update: the current state of our bedroom

We figured that we’d clad the fireplace in brick and paint it, similar to the original one in the living room. The windows are all white oak on the inside (aluminum clad on the exterior) from Sierra Pacific and ARCIFORM designed this pretty custom millwork for all the window and door trim. They are gorgeous. the floor is from Zena Forest Products (and they got so busy after this project so thank you all who supported them – way to help a small family-run business grow).

Move-In Day

We had like 15 minutes to shoot the whole house before the moving trucks loaded in so here I was. DAY ONE (that was 15 months ago, FYI). I had it painted white during construction because I didn’t have the creative bandwidth to design the room and I just wanted a blank slate. Creative bandwidth is a real thing BTW. it’s not just about time, it’s a specific part of your brain that gets tapped and depleted. When that happens you literally can’t force it. You just have to sit down, work on yourself, give yourself some time, and wait for it to come back.

Y’all, if I weren’t in the business of revealing idea-provoking, well-designed rooms with clear points of view I might have kept it white. I like a white bedroom and I really like my bedrooms to be simple and less “designed” (mostly because my life can feel chaotic and here I just want it calm and to send me to sleep). In short, I like bedrooms that are easy for your eye to understand (thus the symmetry). It can be perceived as boring for sure, and I like it more now painted, but for the record, a clean white bedroom isn’t the worst.

from: farmhouse update: on painting our fireplace (again)

We painted the fireplace Smoky Blue by Sherwin-Williams which ended up being too light and bright (but we loved the color enough to put on our stairs).

We brought in a lot of leftover furniture (and a new/old vintage lamp that still hasn’t landed anywhere). This is how we lived for 8 months or so. And no one died!

We had chosen this bed months before we moved in, from Maiden Home and admittedly I chose a too simple fabric for this room. I played it too safe (not to blame Brian but he might have encouraged me to be safe and he loved this gray). Lesson learned re Gray in Portland – just don’t do it. This bed is also really low – we had to add another mattress underneath ours. This low of a bed is fine in certain rooms with certain vibes, but with the fireplace being so tall it just felt so off balance. To fix it, we added a leftover king mattress underneath our mattress to raise it up a bit. Also, this is where Brian used to work out (thus the dumbells).

from: we painted our bedroom blue and here’s how i feel about it…

While I ordered a new bed (after apologizing profusing to Maiden Home because it was such a pretty bed) I decided we did, in fact, need to design this room to be really good, not just simple. So I painted it Debonaire from Sherwin-Williams (after so much debate). I had looked at no less than 30 blues and decided this one was it. Do I love the color? YES. Do I think it’s right in here, NOPE.

Wait, Why Doesn’t This Color Work In Here?

I think the depth of the color is too intense for the amount of natural light in here. I think had we not put in skylights it would be fine and feel like a cozy box. However, with the 4 windows and 4 skylights, it just feels like it should be lighter. The saying is right – paint light rooms light and dark rooms dark. But what about medium tones?? I thought I could paint a light room a medium color, but it gets so saturated and intense with all the natural light so I just wish I had gone lighter (but I LOVE this color and plan on using it again in rooms that are meant to be darker and cozy).

from: we painted our bedroom blue and here’s how i feel about it…

This week you are going to learn about the custom bed we made for another room, that landed here, and then you’ll see the first real reveal of the room without repainting it light (LOTS to talk about). And again it’s beautiful but just not 100% there yet. But isn’t that the “fun” of design? The journey? Ha. At least you can keep tweaking until you get it just right:)

*Pretty Photos by Katlin Green

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3 months ago

I’m decorating bedrooms with the ultimate in champagne problems – a lot of light!! Some colours look great, others just look strangely desaturated. So far, I really recommend F&B Cromarty which changes colour so beautifully depending on how warm the sun is (I’m in the UK so a lot of variation). It’s super calm and fresh, but looks great with pops of brighter or deeper colour. Don’t picture it in the Farmhouse, but a suggestion for anyone with the same issue!

3 months ago
Reply to  Em

I feel like Farrow and Ball is such a great choice in that it has so much pigment that lots of the colors work really well in shifting light. I haven’t used it yet, but perhaps in my small north east shifting light bedroom !

3 months ago
Reply to  Em

Thank you for sharing this! I’ve been eyeing Mizzle but now think I will sample Cromarty too. Trying to find the right mid-tone for our bedroom that also has moderate light and a northern climate (Minnesota). I don’t want to be too moody for summer or too faded in winter. The variation in light, by season and even throughout the day, is hard to manage without trial and error. Appreciating Emily’s journey north from Cali, and its gorgeous, steady light, as the choices are now much more relevant to me. Also helps explain the popularity of F&B in the north. Pigment is everything here.

3 months ago
Reply to  Michelle

Emily has used F&B paints and wallpapers in the past but I believe for this house she is using Sherwin-Williams exclusively due to a partnership.

3 months ago

I appreciate your honesty and willingness to correct mistakes. This is your job and despite my budget being 1/100th of yours, I LOVE these posts. You save me big mistakes by laying out yours and giving reasons why- It all helps focus my decisions b/c I don’t have the ability to repaint/redo everything. I don’t see it as privilege- it is your job and most of us in this country are able to change jobs if desired. So anyhow, thank you.

3 months ago
Reply to  Christina

Ditto! I appreciate the sensitivity to economic privilege as doing anything publicly that involves money brings on a certain pressure to acknowledge this. On the other hand it is 100% earned here. This is JOB and Emily and her team hustle every day. Living at work has its upsides but like everything, it has a cost too. And it’s obvious that managing the pressure to be perfect, or always right, or at least eternally grateful in defense against critics is part of the emotional work required to make a living online. It’s easy to feel envy and toss out “privileged” as an accusation but it’s a far cry from the privilege that is inherited, private and couldn’t be bothered to share. That topic aside, I love posts that remind me that it’s OK to learn. We can try a color and LEARN whether we like living with it. Sure some of us are still staring at learnings many years later, but I appreciate the “privilege” of reading about other people’s learnings as I contemplate my next attempt. Also “paint light rooms light and dark rooms dark” is a non-obvious aha moment to me. Thank you Emily. I appreciate the privilege… Read more »

Jesse S.
3 months ago

As always, I appreciate your vulnerability. Designing a room and paint is hard. Burnout after a build or renovation is hard. The financial stress is hard. Thanks for inspiring and keeping things real. I know the reveal will be beautiful tomorrow.

3 months ago

can’t wait to see the reveal for inspo! we’ve been in our house for four years and i cannot figure out the main bedroom. it’s a colonial style home from the 1950s but the previous owners remodeled and expanded the primary suite. it’s gorgeous with big windows (though north and east facing) and a vaulted ceiling but i think vaulted ceilings make it MUCH harder with bedroom furniture scale. i think picking a color is hard too (both with a vaulted ceiling) and the fact that most of the time you’re in the room it’s dark but i still want it to look good during the day.

3 months ago

I look forward to future post. I would love to learn more about paint color because I have never heard, “The saying is right – paint light rooms light and dark rooms dark.” If someone could take a deep dive on why this saying is true, I would love to read it.
I am also curious to know when the trend changed to make outlets and light switch covers pop against a wall vs. blend in. My natural instinct is to blend to cut down on visual clutter, especially in a bedroom. For example, I would have painted the heat registers in the ceiling so they blend in vs. leaving white to pop. I have seen black outlet covers on white walls as well on this site. The pop draws my eye to these many little pops around the room.

3 months ago
Reply to  MKK

What a great question. I wonder if it came along with the interior black windows trim trend? I honestly don’t know if it is a ‘trend’ as I still see lots of examples of making it blend. Is it me or do we live in a time of fewer rules? But it def seems new to me too and harkens back to old homes that drew attention to “modern” features like lighting and central heating with elaborate covers. Would love to see Emily and team’s take on when it’s right to do this and when it isn’t…. or maybe more softly when it works and when it doesn’t.

3 months ago
Reply to  MKK

Maybe time for a post from Orlando? He made helpful comments earlier re: her bedroom paint here plus he’s a spokesperson for Clare paint so he must know things;)

3 months ago

Emily, your readers come here for design inspiration and advice, but I think many of us also keep coming back to this blog each day for your honesty as well! You are open and relatable and I feel your dilemmas and regrets and celebrate your triumphs. I have a high ceilinged bedroom with a lot of natural light that I am terrified to take the palette anywhere beyond the BM Cloud White zone bc what colour can I put on a vaulted ceiling with so many shadows and reflections? I’ve really been waiting for this bedroom reveal and following along. Thank you sincerely for all these progress posts and for helping me understand how I might design a similar space! Excited for the reveal!

3 months ago

I honestly love these pre-reveal posts diving into the process. Life is meandering. Can’t wait to see how the room evolves!

3 months ago

Appreciate your honesty and being so open with the blog. I feel the paint is not right as well but I think it honestly does not look good with the wood tone. its way too cool and against the wood color and having a medium toned wood and medium toned paint also doesn’t provide enough contrast. Warmer and either light or very dark would work so much better with this wood.

3 months ago

am I the only one who loves larger bedside tables? Like a chest of drawers, 2 if they fit! Speaking of ‘ how you use a room ‘, I read a lot in bed so have a stack of books, glass of water or tea,, space for a Kleenex box, lamp, photo frame- those little ones would never work for me. Otherwise room looks great, of course.

3 months ago
Reply to  Emily

She used different nightstands in the Real Simple shoot last year:

3 months ago

Your doggies are sooo cute!!
I love seeing how the room has evolved and really appreciate that you share the process. As another commenter wrote, I don’t have the budget to fix my (many) design mistakes, so learning from you helps me make informed decisions and saves me so much money and time. Thank you so much, Emily!

3 months ago

I have the hardest time liking midtown paints. I’ve tried so many and have never once liked them in my space. Light or dark from now on. I’ve lost square footage with midtones!! 😂

3 months ago

It’s a hard one because you can see so much painted surface. But if you don’t enjoy the color it makes sense to change it. Can’t wait to see the update.

3 months ago

Why not put shades on the skylights and close them the times of the day that you feel too much bright light doesn’t work with the paint color? If it’s cozy at night, which is when you spend most time in the room, that would be an easier fix than a complete floor and ceiling repaint job!

3 months ago
Reply to  Marie

All the skylights already have VELUX blackout flat shades. You can see the tracks and shades in some of the pics above.

3 months ago

I’ve been waiting (like so many others!) for this room reveal! Bedrooms are easy in some regards but so hard in others! I hope you talk more about that door because I’ve wondered for ages why it was added on – easy access to the pool, I’ve assumed?

3 months ago

I’ve been waiting for this one as well. Just so curious what you’ve done since we last saw it, how you are liking it, and whether you will end up changing the paint. I think it looks really, really pretty as it is now. BUT, as a person who has changed paint colors before by just a few shades (doing it myself, fwiw) and gone from being okay with a color to LOVING it, I say change the paint if it will make you happier. It’s your job, it gives us the opportunity to learn and to prevent mistakes of our own, and you are going to be using that bedroom for a long time to come. You should love it as much as you possibly can.

3 months ago

I think the color might work well if the rug were darker to ground the room. Perhaps a dark blue Persian rug would work here as it would also provide some pattern.

3 months ago

I relate so much to this. Maybe bedrooms are easy overall, but I think doing my own bedroom is the hardest.
It’s really looking good, and I can’t wait to see the reveal(s)!

3 months ago

You already know what this room needs: one of your large print rugs, maybe layered over a larger jute/wool rug, lush velvet gold curtains, larger nightstands, and some bold pictures. Also, stop worrying about the lights-lol! Every room needs texture, layers, and color. Check BallardDesigns, Anthro. Raid your own stock, get rid of neutral neutrals. If you’re undecided about one of your rugs, do a mood board and see how it looks with your paint and your new headboard. You got this.

3 months ago

Hehe, I love you, interior design Mr. Beast.
My bedroom is a similar midtone blue, but it works because there are only two windows, on one side of the room. It deepens the room so prettily.

3 months ago

I’m grateful for your transparency about difficulties with light in Portland v. LA. Over a series of posts, you’ve shared your process (including the fails), and it’s been so helpful and clarifying for me. I’ve set up
homes for my family in three different countries, and each time, picking paint has been a Whole Thing. When we lived in China, we had a dozen sunny days a year. That’s it. So white looked dingy and a deep, saturated blue made our living space feel cosy. In Saudi Arabia, it was sunny all the time! But our house had tiny windows to keep the heat out. Again, white looked dingy. Now we live in green country in Oklahoma, and we’ve got dozens of trees surrounding our house. It feels like we live in a forest! But, again, choosing paint for dappled, diffused light is a challenge. Thanks for providing great guidance.

3 months ago

Couldn’t agree more with the community – it’s so helpful that you share the ‘beasts’ with the beauties; we all benefit from your trials and tribulations. Thank you.
I think you are right and you should try toning down the strength of colour for something less saturated and neutral. It’s possible that the blue with the yellow-toned floor leans a bit too primary colours but then I’m not a blues and greys lover.
It’s still a lovely room but could be even better.

🥰 Rusty
3 months ago

Really looking forward to the reveal.
We mere mortals can’t keep tweaking due to financial constraints, so it’s a lot more stressful at decision-making time.
Therefore, I live vicariously through your tweaking and re-tweaking process!🤣

3 months ago

We have a 10 X 11 bedroom with one wall of closet (next to the door to the hall) and nearly a full wall of a big window. I painted one wall (behind the bed) chocolate brown. In this room we have a queen size bed, a dresser, bedside table, desk, armoire and rolling cart filled with art supplies. Somehow it all fits and works but there isn’t much possibility for change. Not enough room to even change your mind.

3 months ago

The scale of some things seem a bit off given how large the space appears to me. I’m interested to see if that changes in the reveal. Love the blue though.