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Jess’ Closet Progress Week One – We Have A Pattern Idea, People!

This post will likely be the closest thing to my personal diary that I ever put on the internet (and I literally wrote about being single and depressed during the holidays during quarantine). I am slightly terrified that after seeing these “patterns” or “drawings” that I “created,” I will be immediately kicked out of the design community forever. Not that I thought I would only come up with masterpieces but I had higher hopes for my work. Showing them feels super vulnerable since they came physically from my right hand (FYI I’m right-handed) but the creative process is bad until it’s good right? RIGHT? The good news is that by the end you will see what I plan to paint in my DIY closet makeover and I’m really pumped about it. Ok, let’s remind you of what the space looks like…

Here she is in her current state. The shelves my dad built have been made (as you know) but I still need to sand and stain them which will happen this weekend since I am currently out of town:) A lot of you suggested I get hooks to hang my ladder and drying rack. Unfortunately, I need to lean a couple more things behind those two main pieces so they won’t actually be against the wall. But don’t worry, my curtain will cover everything and having those things on the floor doesn’t bother me. Now let me remind you of my paint plan…

As you can see from this graphic, I’m only painting the pattern above the trim. It’s going to be so much easier and most of the bottom will be covered by the curtain on this side and my clothes on the other. No point in wasting time, right? My one-month deadline is coming in hot!

Ok now, let’s get vulnerable…

This was my first attempt at doodling. I wasn’t trying to put any pressure on myself but I truly hated allll of it. I quickly started to doubt if I possessed even an ounce of creativity in my head. Then I decided to get out the watercolors.

I liked the idea of doing a really simple color block as the base under whatever pattern I came up with…but my watercolor palette was very limited (aka had none of the colors I wanted) and even with the paint totally dry, I couldn’t layer new colors on top. Maybe that’s something I used to know when I was young but my knowledge was now nonexistent and my patience ran out. So back to the pencil I went.

Here I made a rough template of the four walls and then photocopied a handful to try out different patterns. These would not have gone altogether FYI. I just did something different on each “wall” to see if I maybe liked any of them. I DID NOT. Maybe if I had the right colors to play with that would’ve helped but I still was NOT happy and again, defeated. Then I remembered how much I liked the walls in a room I stayed in at the Freehand New York. They were just simple line drawings on the walls and it looks awesome. So then I tried this…

The idea was to paint each wall a different but complementary color and then essentially have a single line make its way through each wall in a fun way. The paper on the left was a little too much. Ha. Then the one on the right is better but would need A LOT of editing. This was just the first draft.

But then an idea came to me! I’d seen morse code art and thought that would look so cool and could have a ton of meaning for me. I immediately thought of coding out my mom’s name and a sweet card she wrote me years ago. I love the idea of feeling her the moment I walk into my front door (and maybe forget that there’s a toilet staring at me dead in the eyes). I also think this closet is a perfect place for this design because not only did she love to dress up but some of my favorite pieces of hers are stored in there. For some context for those that may not know, my mom passed away 11 years ago. This probably makes more sense with that info:)

Anyway, this drawing of my mom’s card in Morse code looks comically horrible since I did it pretty fast, but I think it will look really cool when it’s carefully done and properly measured all out. Plus the “style” is totally in line with my love of shapes and goes perfectly with the rest of my apartment’s design.

So that’s the idea! I might play with scale and still might color block the walls to make it a little more joyful because that’s what it’s supposed to represent to me. It’ll be like my own little secret whenever I look up at it:)

Oh, I actually have another update!

Cafe Curtain Rod | Pinch Rings

I decided that as much as I wanted to have the rod attached to the bottom of the top shelf, it was going to leave a little gap between the side of the curtain and the wall. NO thank you. So I happened upon this cafe curtain rod from Rejuvenation. It was only $50 and could be cut to size! I paid for it with my own money and also bought 12 of the unlacquered brass version of those curtain pinch rings. All in all, after tax and shipping, it came out just over $100. I will be making two little holes in the trim but they can be easily patched and since this whole thing is custom I am happy to leave it for future tenants.

Semi-Sheer Linen Drape | Dark Linen Curtain

So now that I have the rod I need a curtain! I told my dad I was planning to go to my favorite fabric store and get one made when he asked why I wouldn’t just get a readymade curtain panel and get it hemmed. Great question dad. It hadn’t crossed my mind. Why do I always make things way more complicated than they have to be????? Now that I had a much smarter plan, I found these two blue linen curtain panels that should be wide enough so I only need one. The space is 52″ wide. I like the idea of the lighter blue but not sure quite yet. Next update hopefully I’ll have the answer.

Thanks for enduring my middle school-level drawings. I hope we are all impressed by the end result. GULP.

Love you, mean it.

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20 days ago

Jess, I love how this story perfectly captures the flow of the creative process. At first, there’s wild optimism and plenty of positive vibes as we’re sure that our project will take off. Then, the tedious part: we put pencil to paper – or paintbrush to palette – and realize, shoot, this is hard. We start firing crumpled drafts toward the wastebasket, confidence crashes, and often we are very, very tempted to give up. But. If we do the hard work of staying with the process and allow our minds to continue to play with ideas, almost always, something beautiful happens. We stumble onto an idea so clean, so elegant, so perfect for our purposes that it takes our breath away. That, my friend, is the power of pure creativity and it was a joy to read how it happened for you. Can’t wait to see your mom’s Morse code moment take shape. <3

I’m so excited to see how this turns out. i can’t remember if i commented on the last post about this, but i wanted to say, it’s amazing how much storage you’re able to squeeze out of that little indented wall. also, love the cafe curtain rod. good luck! also, i have to say this on every post with your dad involved. i’m STILL obsessed with the wraparound wall bench from your last apartment.

Amy in VT
20 days ago

I have that curtain rod and those clips (fyi to other readers — the rod is $50 for the base price for the shortest sizes; longer ones cost more since it’s all one piece and not adjustable). These are beautiful but the clips DO NOT HOLD, so if I were you, Jess, I would consider tacking them down with some thread like I eventually will. Every time I try to open this little curtain I have hanging on it, the curtain comes off the clips in several places. And the clips are hard to get back on once they are on the rod. Basically, I try to touch it as little as humanly possible and still sometimes I walk by that room and look in and the curtain is hanging half off. Be prepared!

Mary Evers
20 days ago
Reply to  Amy in VT

Amy & Jess,
FYI…Amy is correct. Be prepared to stitch the clips to your curtains. I ordered the same ones for a long curtain & a short cafe curtain. They don’t stay clipped.

20 days ago
Reply to  Amy in VT

Came here to say this as well. I have them and love them, with caveats. I use them on lightweight linen pinch pleat cafe curtains in my bedroom. So I do open/close them regularly. My advice is to not use a heavy linen, especially given the length of your curtains. And you may have to sew them in place – I think the pinch pleats on mine give them more to grip, but it sounds like trying to just clip them to a panel will likely not work. Also do not try to install with the beautiful but hilarious brass screws they send. Way too soft to hold or even withstand the installation!

20 days ago
Reply to  Grace

And meant to say, love this whole design and concept, Jess!

20 days ago
Reply to  Amy in VT

Since enough people have trouble with these clips, you can save yourself money and bother by getting inexpensive key rings to sew onto the curtain. I bought simple 4 for a dollar quarter sized rings (they come in many sized) and sprayed them the “color” I was looking for.

Cris S.
20 days ago
Reply to  Amy in VT

I really appreciate you saying this – I was literally going to order these today, but I do need them to work and not fall all over. I’ve got the rod, but I’ll look elsewhere for rings. I’m okay with sewing the curtain to real rings. Thank you!

20 days ago

Jess I absolutely love the design you settled on. It is unique to you, has deep personal meaning and will look awesome when done! That’s design/styling at its best right? Also, it’s inspiring for the rest of us. Looking fwd to further updates and especially the big reveal at the end!

20 days ago

This Morse code idea is amazing! Two kinds of beautiful: visually and emotionally. And for what it’s worth, I majored in painting, and your sketches look exactly like every sketch I have ever done. They’re sketches!! They’re supposed to be rough! They serve the same purpose as outlining a ten page paper in bullet points: a way to think out loud and give yourself something to react to. Are my reactions almost always ‘ugh god no’ to my sketches? Yes, yes they are. But not because of any lack of talent. Every wrong line you draw gives you more information about where you want the right line. Give yourself permission to be wrong sometimes, and you’ll be shocked how right it ends up feeling! This is going to look fabulous.

20 days ago
Reply to  Meredith

“Every wrong line you draw gives you more information about where you want the right line.”

Love this.

20 days ago

LOVE the morse code idea. Pretty obsessed with it, in fact. It’s so thoughtful and wonderful. Super looking forward to seeing what it looks like! Thanks for walking us through your process. Very inspiring 🙂

20 days ago

I love the creative process and completely understand how meaningful it will be to have a sweet reminder of your mom with you in this way. Very touching. And it looks cool.

20 days ago

You’ve captured the creative process really well. No need to gulp. It’s great!

Julia Sugarbaker
20 days ago

Middle-school sketchbook or …. Junior Sol Lewitt?? 🙂

Roberta Davis
20 days ago

I love the idea of a secret message from your mom! Then you will get a warm hug every time you walk through! Also think having the rod go to the walls instead of on the front of the shelf is a good idea! Have fun!

20 days ago

As someone who has also lost a parent (dad), the Morse code inspiration brought tears to my eyes! What a beautiful sentiment that will only be made more beautiful with colors!

20 days ago

This is an awesome post! I love seeing your design processes — and I’m totally going to steal your curvy-line-runs-across-multiple-walls idea 🙂

🥰 Rusty
20 days ago

Ooooh, Jess!🤗
I LOVE your Morse Code creation. 💞
My mum died when I was 27, so I feel you.

How wonderful and meaningful to create a beautiful and artistic moment as you enter your home.
(Kinda still don’t get why the toilet can be seen? Door? Another curtain?)

Are you going to just do black on white, or colours???

20 days ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

In her last post she noted that the door stays open so that she can get the natural light from the bathroom window into that hallway. It’s the ‘rather have light and see the toilet’ choice over the ‘can’t see the toilet but can’t see anything else either’ option.

20 days ago
Reply to  Jen

I would move heaven and earth to replace the door with one with a frosted window so I could have light but also not see the toilet from the front door.

🥰 Rusty
20 days ago
Reply to  Jen

Aaah, I remember now. Thanx.

I agree with hickenack….I’d do frosted glass too!

20 days ago

Love the morse code message. Can not wait to see it when it is finish!

20 days ago

Beautiful sentiment with your design. I love how it’s very intentional to start your moment into your home with that nod to your mother.

emily jane
20 days ago

absolutely LOVE where you landed with the Morse code pattern connecting you to your Mom…

Vicki Williams
20 days ago

Why not use just basic clips that match the rod. Cheap from target or wherever. I use the everywhere and they never fail.

Vicki Williams
20 days ago

Oh love the process and what you are doing. Actually loved the simple lines but the coded message is so wonderful in meaning and hugs from your Mom. Great project!

20 days ago

Having your Mom’s words surrounding you in “secret” code every time you walk through or past your closet is a creative, beautiful and loving design idea – so inspired! 🙂 Your design sketches and process is (as multiple commentors earlier wrote) is typical of most artists, they are just rough sketches trying out ideas quickly, or even not so quickly 🙂 as often the process takes time. Also, please understand this, when creating art (which you are doing – it’s a mural) there is often an “ugly” period when you question what you are doing, where it is going, is it a mistake, is it a disaster, is it trash? Best to keep on persevering, maybe set it aside for a day or two (or even years!) and let your subconscious mull things over. Maybe show the work and talk to an artist friend or creative person about what challenges you are having, take photos (look at the photos in black & white) can be helpful in resolving issues. I have experienced most of these, and helped a fellow painter with these ideas, we talk often talk about painting’s challenges. Jess, you are doing a GREAT job with your design,… Read more »

20 days ago

Maybe I’m just suuuuper pregnant, but this made me tear up. What a lovely sentiment and cool design solution you’ve arrived at. Can’t wait to see the continued progression!

Mara Pitcher
20 days ago

Absolutely love everything about this! What a cool idea for a custom hand painted pattern with so much meaning behind it. Thank you so much for sharing your creative process and the special story of this design with us. Cannot wait to see your design unfold. So excited for your space!

20 days ago

You could use a sheet for the curtain….in whatever blue shade you want… easily available and less expensive than curtain panels usually!

19 days ago

Creating takes so much bravery.

I CRACKED up at this as a fellow single woman lol
(and I literally wrote about being single and depressed during the holidays during quarantine).

Lastly, how fitting that you are choosing to create something with meaning! Isn’t that the best art?

19 days ago

I think the morse code idea looks so elegant and cool, and the secret behind the design was lovely. So weird how creativity just comes after awhile when you put energy in. Story as old as time to us all:)

19 days ago

I loved this whole post. Comments included. Great job. Can’t wait to see the completed project.

19 days ago

Love how we saw the process, love the morse code idea, love the curtain rod. This is fun!

Joyce Garrity
19 days ago

also love the morse code. I got a rod from amazon that was half the price, same look, and it will usually be covered anyway. and I got ikea clips which are great, also have Ritz clips available at fabric stores.
you also can use iron on tape to hem your curtain( I do 2 rows .

19 days ago

Thank you for sharing your drawings! There’s just something so soothing about hand drawings. I LOVE them, even when they aren’t “good.” Thank you for getting vulnerable with us! (“Show is your insides” she says creepily, lol.) And yes, the Morse Code is going to slay. Love a Bunge collab!

19 days ago

Great post, great work, all of it. But I just came to say that when you’re doing a curtain on a regular window, the width of fabric would be 2 or 2.5 times the width of the curtain rod. When the curtains are closed, you still need that generosity of fabric or it looks cheap and not like an actual grown up’s house. Yours isn’t a window I know so you mightn’t need the full multiplier, but I would still go for the two 53” panels (or something equally full) and when you’re getting them hemmed, get them sewn together as well. Easy! Best of luck

19 days ago

Jess consider having your Dad line the lower portion of your closet with peg board. You can paint it the same color and find a ton of simple to fun colored hooks on Amazon.
I did this in my pantry on two walls and love it.

18 days ago

I love this project and where you ended up with it (so far). It’s meaningful and personal and cool.

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