Hi, I’m back with another Londo Lodge update! I’ve been madly plugging away at getting my bedrooms ready for guests the past few months and now I’ve finished almost all of them (I have three done and I’m figuring out the design of the fourth as we speak!). One of my favorite rooms in the house is the large guest bedroom upstairs. The downstairs of my house has relatively low ceilings, about eight feet high. That’s a pretty typical ceiling height but because so much of the downstairs space is connected, the ceiling can feel a little low. The second floor of the home, however, has really lovely high ceilings so the rooms feel so much airier and more spacious.
My house is at the northern end of the fire scar from the Railroad Fire which decimated a huge portion of this area in 2017. I have mixed feelings about living right next to this burn scar. Obviously, it can feel a little apocalyptic to look out the window and see a bunch of burned-down trees. But at the same time, I love how bright my house is because of the clearing next to it. I’ve wanted a house in the woods for years, but one thing I never really thought about was how dark a forest can be. My house sits above most of my town, high up a hill, which means I get a lot more light than my downhill neighbors and I love that. Another benefit to the proximity to this burn scar is that it feels like the fire removed much of the fuel necessary for a big blazing fire, so I feel slightly safer than if I was just in the middle of a bunch of trees.
You may remember I moved into Londo Lodge during a pretty scary fire that got relatively close so it’s something that’s constantly on my mind. I’ve already done quite a bit to make my house safer in a fire, from cutting trees away to moving firewood far from the house, to having a crew come and clear out all the brush and debris that has covered my yard for the past 30 years. I’m pretty sure the people who owned the home before me weren’t big into yard maintenance, they wanted it to feel like a natural wooded area (which I’m totally on board for). So it took me weeks with a shovel and a rake to clear out my yard before I gave up and called a local yard crew to do the rest.
All this is to say that while I am obviously devastated at how bad the fires have been the past ten years in California, I’m trying to find some sort of silver lining and for me, it’s that I get a ton of natural light and will soon have a home overlooking a gorgeous open space with wildflowers (once the trees all fall down or are removed in the next 10-100 years – I plan on living forever FYI).
Now that I’ve established that I live in constant fear of fire, let’s chat about my fun pink guest bedroom! Ever since I painted my own bedroom pink years ago, I’ve had a soft spot for a warm, inviting pink bedroom. The overall color scheme in my house features lots of pink, neutrals, and a bunch of desaturated blue/green/aquas. I knew my bedroom wasn’t the right spot for pink and the guest bedroom I designed for my parents wasn’t either (my parents both lean towards cool, sophisticated colors over bright and playful). So I chose the upstairs guest room as the perfect place for pink.
But I didn’t come here to talk about painting the room pink, that would be boring. Today I wanna talk about three things that can help add “personality” to a space: Art, Objects, and Textiles. I know this is very broad but I think sometimes breaking down the elements in a room can help you give a space more intention. Also up for discussion, how to find the line between good weird and bad weird. How do you know if you’re going too far into the whimsy while also avoiding the ever-dreaded Boring Basic House Syndrome?
When it’s successful, art is where the eye goes first. For me, the process of designing this room began with the beautiful Japanese screen that sits behind the bed. This is obviously the focal point of the room and it has a special place in my heart because it was a gift from a friend, something he’d received after his mother passed away unexpectedly and wasn’t quite sure what to do with. I gladly took it off his hands and stored it for over a year while I pondered what space was deserving of its beauty. And now that it’s installed in this room I love passing it every day and being reminded of my friend’s wonderful mother, who I was lucky enough to get to know before she passed away.
Getting this screen onto the wall was no easy feat! The thing weighs about 150 pounds and I didn’t want to damage it by adding any supports or brackets to the back of it because it’s reversible and both sides are works of art. So I devised a complicated platform system to raise it up off the floor for optimal viewing and I enlisted my patient boyfriend Joey to help me get it installed. I basically just created a ledge for it to stand on, with multiple wooden supports and brackets connecting it to the wall. The top side of the screen is bracketed onto a piece of wood I attached to the wall at the top of the screen. it’s pretty sturdy – I made sure to use anchors and a ton of screws to prevent anything from coming off the wall. Luckily, I’m not really in earthquake country up here (knock on wood, anything could happen!) so I didn’t want to cut any corners in installing this heavy, gorgeous screen.
Japanese Screen (vintage) | Bed (custom) | Rug | Nightstand | Wall Art
While it may seem like a lot of work to raise the screen up about two feet, I wanted as much of it visible as possible. For this reason, I chose a low-profile bed from Jonathan Louis Design Lab, which I love because it has all the softness and comfort of an upholstered bed but really lets the art above it shine. The main point of all this is that because art can make such a huge impact in a space, sometimes it makes sense to prioritize it design-wise and tailor the room’s furnishings around a worthy centerpiece.
Sofa (custom) | Pillows | Art on Right | Art on Left | Lion Table | Table Lamp | Cactus Sculpture (vintage) | Gold Wall Hanging (similar)
The other art in the room comes from Minted and from my online shop (hi, I’m still selling things on the internet!). I’ve been using Minted for clients for a long time and I have a few tips related to sourcing art from that site. They have a great collection of artists and artwork in a variety of sizes, styles, and printing methods. My main tip for shopping their site is this: When possible, get your art printed the way it was originally made. That’s a little vague, so I’ll clarify. For example, if you find a piece you like that was originally painted in oil or acrylic (like the lovely peace I got, “Sunday” by Mary Ketch) it’s usually best to have it printed in a way that imitates its original fabrication. Normally, oil paintings are made on canvas, so getting this piece printed on canvas makes the illusion of the reproduction more convincing.
Alternatively, an art piece originally created on paper should be printed on paper and matted (or floated) to give it the look of original, high-end art. A photograph should be printed on paper and matted as well. And one thing that should never happen is a photograph should never be printed on canvas and then stretched over a frame like it’s a painting. This is especially true if it’s a wedding photo. I know this is a dramatically controversial and rude thing to say, but I am a firm believer that wedding photos printed on canvas are a fundamental threat to life as we know it in the United States of America.
Okay, and now, a quiz! Take a look at this piece of art I found on Minted:
Cascade Mist by Amelia Gluba
Which of the following is the correct way to have it printed/matted/framed?
- Printed on canvas?
- Printed on paper, floating or matted?
- Printed on canvas, framed in wood?
The correct answer is B) Printed on paper, either floating or matted. Sorry, I’m dragging this point into the ground but I only recently came upon this tidbit when I made the mistake of getting a piece of art printed THE WRONG WAY. I got this piece, which is a watercolor painting. But I got it printed on canvas, stretched like a painting, and framed in (gorgeous) light-toned wood. What’s wrong with that? Well, a few things. Firstly, I got it printed way bigger than I should have (44×60) so the brush strokes look as if they’ve been digitally enlarged, which destroys the illusion that it’s a real painting. Second, because the texture of the painting very clearly reveals that it’s a watercolor, the natural medium would be paper. So I should have had it printed on paper and matted or floated so it looked more like an original and less like a reproduction. So yeah, I messed up and ordered the wrong printing format and I now I have to live with that shame for the rest of my life! Anyway, I hope this tip makes sense. And I sincerely apologize to the Wedding-Photos-Printed-on-Canvas Community for so blatantly discriminating against you. I’m just jealous because I’ll never be the bride or the bridesmaid!
In a perfect world, everyone would spend their free time going out into the world, befriending artists, and giving them every penny of their life savings to support their art. And if you can afford to do that, please do. But sites like Minted that sell reproductions fill a few very necessary holes in the market. Firstly, if you’re trying to fill your house with art but don’t have a Scrooge McDuck Money Vault to swim in, it’s kind of a one-stop-shop for furnishing your whole house with art. Second, for designers being able to shop by style, color, theme, etc gives us the ability to create spaces that are atmospheric and moody. The world of limited edition art reproductions has improved vastly in the past few years – you can now get pieces printed HUGE and the large scale helps create design drama. But you need to be strategic with choosing sizing, printing, and frame style.
Aside from befriending artists and buying from them and buying gorgeous prints from Minted and elsewhere, I’ve also found thrift shops and flea markets to be great places to buy bargain art. This obviously takes a bit more time and patience than a streamlined site that sells a ton of different art but it means you’re getting something one of a kind that no one else has.
So how do you know if your art is “too much” or “just enough”? For me, it’s a balance thing. If every piece of art in this room were as dramatic and visually busy as the painted screen, the room would look a little bonkers. But because I chose relatively quiet pieces to counterbalance the drama of the screen, it’s given its true moment to shine.
When you have a large space and you want it to feel warmer and more inviting, a few accessories never hurt anyone! One of my favorite color palettes is pink combined with neutrals and wheaty woven textures. So I concentrated on finding decorative items that fell into the sand/beige/woven/warm color scheme to contrast with the walls, which I painted “Wing It” by Clare Paint. Something to note when you go vibrant with a wall color: that may mean you need to go subtle/neutral with the other things in the room.
Really everything in the room aside from the walls is a neutral tone, with the exception of the bed and some pillows. Originally, I’d wanted the bed to be a flax/wheat linen but this was a sponsored shoot and the brand was interested in seeing their upholstery in a more vibrant color so I edited my design plan to something a little different than what I might have done otherwise. Normally, I’d probably source a neutral bed so the wall color could be the star. But the screen layered behind the bed gives the eye a visual break from the pink and carries that color further into the room, giving it a cocoon-like vibe so I like how it turned out.
If you look at this room it’s not really styled in a maximalist way. I chose a few key statement pieces and let them shine then sprinkled in some other more subtle accents. For example, the lion is definitely a weird piece. I found it at the flea market then found out later it was (maybe?) fancy, by an artist named Mario Lopes Torres (I haven’t verified its authenticity because, like, how?). And, according to my internet sleuthing, it’s not even a lion, it’s a panther. I’m not a wildlife biologist, how was I supposed to know that???
What attracted me to Lion Panther was how wild and crazy she is. She’s followed me from my old midcentury apartment in Hollywood Hills West to Orcondo to Chateaulando, and now finally to Londo Lodge (side note: I move too much). I get the question a lot “how do you find the line between tacky/kitschy and statement piece/cool?” My answer is you kinda know when you know. I don’t know why I love that cactus sculpture (don’t let me catch you calling it a “coat rack” IT IS ART) I just do. And it gets back to my warm, neutral color scheme, which is maybe why it doesn’t feel totally bonkers.
Wood Stone Tray | Lamp | Clock | Vase (unavailable) | Mini Chair (vintage)
I went pretty minimal with the nightstand styling, but made sure each had something distinctive on it. The left has a cute little set of Ikea penguin vases on it, which felt appropriate for this snowy area. The lamps are handmade and their ceramic texture adds a lot of character to the nightstand so I didn’t feel the need to cram a bunch of tiny things onto them. On the right side, I brought in one of my favorite accessories, a tiny chair I bought at the flea market. I bought two and gave one to Emily and if she doesn’t still have it I’ll be furious. Other than the tiny chair, all I added to the right nightstand was a little clock I found at Ikea and a cute little vase I bought in San Francisco.
Hot Tip About Ikea: If you see something cute/unique there, BUY IT. I have so many cute vintage Ikea finds and none of them are currently still in production or available. With big box stores, oftentimes the items that last year after year are the boring ones that have a broader market appeal. So if you see something cute, jump on it. It won’t be there next month. The black bench at the end of the bed is from Ikea ten years ago. I don’t know when they stopped making it but I love the simplicity of the design – it’s got a really elevated silhouette while also being very simple and humble in style. LIKE ME.
I guess my main point with objects and how to use them to add character to a space without making the space into Mickey’s Toontown is to be really intentional with placing and combining them. Not everything can be the center of attention. You need that simple stone tray (the Studio McGee x Target line is so good btw) to add some simple elegance to the playful chair accessory.
Black Goose (vintage) | Rainbow Wall Art | Pendant | Light Kit | Duvet Cover (sand) | Duvet Insert | Sheets (cloud) | Quilt (cloud) | Pillows | Bench (vintage ikea)
Because the screen hanging above the bed has a lot of detail and pattern, I decided to go pretty simple with the bedding (it’s all from Tuft & Needle, except the decorative pillows which are from Jonathan Louis Design Lab). Despite the fact that there’s no pattern going on with my bedscape, I still managed to combine a decent amount of texture to amp up the homey factor. The bed itself is a lush velvet, the sheets are percale, and the duvet is linen. I’m not really sure what the rule for bedding is, but I like combining different types of fabrics to create rich layering. When it comes to sumptuous bedding textures, the more the merrier!
The rug, light fixture, and Lion Panther Table are all in a similar color/material family so those pieces help anchor each other. Guests who have stayed in this room always comment how cozy the bed is, even when the bed is dressed in simple Ikea sheets rather than my fancy Tuft & Needle ones. It is my belief that because I included so many supple textures in the space, guests are visually tricked into thinking it’s comfy cozy in there. And that is what we call Interior Design – tricking people into thinking a space is pretty, comfortable, and welcoming.
Jute rugs in a bedroom can be a little controversial because many people believe they are scratchy and uncomfortable. It is my theory that those people are wrong because I actually really like the way natural fiber rugs feel on my feet. Sure, they’re not as soft as wool, but I feel like the texture massages my feet as I walk.
For the sofa, I chose a white synthetic woven fabric to bring in YET ANOTHER EXCITING TEXTURE. It’s a plush ivory fabric and I chose it mainly because this is a guest room, lots of kids will be in it (meaning I needed something stain resistant) and I loved the way it contrasted off the wall. After these images were shot, I actually added even more texture and coziness with a roman shade from Everhem. I love Everhem not only because it’s run by a friend of mine from my Homepolish days (hi Haley Weidenbaum!) but also because they sell only what you need for your windows (simple, elegant linen drapes and romans) and the online ordering process is really easy and foolproof. I hate measuring but all their treatments showed up the perfect size for my windows. I plan on re-shooting the whole house once phase one is done to show the progress I’ve made since I shot these photos.
And there you have it! An update on what I’ve been up to at my forest home and some tips on how to make distinctive furnishings look stylish in a space. Follow along why don’t you and see what wild art, objects, and textiles I add to my home!
*Design by Orlando Soria
**Unless Noted Otherwise After Photos by Sara Ligorria-Tramp
I love this room a lot but even more your considerable moxie in pairing your breathtakingly elegant Japanese screen with oh, how about some Ikea penguin vases. Your appealing blend of high brow and basic charms my socks off, and inspires me no end. Thanks for sharing!
Orlando, you need to find the little brass disk with the signature on it. If the label is gone maybe just get in touch with the MLT furniture company with a photo(s) and let them know you’re trying to authenticate the piece. Bedroom is a beauty btw, love the paint detail above the screen!
OMG, I originally read your note “little brass disk” this morning as “little brass dick”. I thought you were being sarcastic. Disk makes much more sense.
Lovely reveal – as always! I was kind of flabbergasted when I saw your cat table – it’s actually a JAGUAR! I have several pieces of Mario Lopez’s woven creations (rooster, monkeylabra, chair and parrot lamp) which I bought in Patzcuaro (Michoacan) Mexico. His workshop is in the tiny village near Lake Patzcuaro called Ihuatzio, meaning land of the coyotes. The area is known for its basketry, but Mario, an art school graduate, added the idea of a welded metal armature around which he and his artisans weave the native reeds known as chuspata. I have noticed that his pieces seem to fetch an incredible price in the states; I imagine if you purchased a recent jaguar in Mexico, you might spend 300 to 400 dollars. You can see examples of his work on his website tzumindi.com.
So it’s a LPJ (#lioncougarjaguar)!!!
Wow, that website shows amazing woven furniture and more! Thank you for posting it Paula, and how wonderful your home must be to have several pieces!
Wow, love this room and love your tips!! You’re the best!
Wow this post if chock-a-block full of useful details, not to mention a stunning room! I certainly appreciate your very specific instructions. Thanks for the tutorial on so many topics, Orlando!
LOVE it! Once again, you triumph, Orlando! I loved your pink bedroom and am glad you have another one in this house.
Thanks for a very informative post – I always love your writing and your designs of course.
I love the extra paint detailing over the screen!
Great post, Orlando. And what a cool lionpanther stool (although those teeth might scare guests at night!)
Orlaaaahndo, this is absolutely beautiful.
As always- so warm and inviting and lovely! Funny- I’m pretty sure my husband (and a lot of other people) would say there was absolutely nothing “wrong” with the “before” and therefore no money should be wasted by changing it! My everlasting battle. Thanks for the warm feelings and inspiration! Now I shall look for some screens to put over my bed.
haha! I was thinking I would have worked with the blue carpet as a challenge. We used to have a cabin in a nearby forest to Londo Lodge and the warmth of carpet during the winter would have been a keeper for me.
Yeah- carpeting in bedrooms is so cozy, although I owned a house for 13 years in cold Cleveland that had all wood floors. I put a large area rug in my bedroom and only minded on early winter mornings!
Thank you soooo much for articulating the best ways and materials in which to order reproduction art! Now, how to subtly pass this on to my sister in law, who has large family photos stretched on canvas (no frames) all over the house?
But I think you were burying the lead here: “boyfriend Joey” ??????? Is this “boyfriend” in the same way Zeke is your “son”? or is this boyfriend boyfriend? Because while I come for the amazing design tips and your hilarious sense of humor and entertaining writing style, I stay for the personal updates and would be happy to know that you are happy again in your romantic life (having followed along through heartbreak). Do tell!
Joey?!! Do tell!
They went Instagram official this summer!
I was wondering the EXACT same thing as I’ve seen Joey show up on his Insta stories!
“Wedding photos printed on canvas are a fundamental threat to life as we know it in the United States of America” had me laughing out loud!
Great, great details on reproducing artwork!
The detail is important. Thanks😊
A+ Orlando post. A- humility. JUST KIDDING. Keep being hilarious and talented.
I’m always thrilled to see an Orlando post and this one did not disappoint! That screen and so many of the elements in the room are just gorgeous! This has been an inspiring project to follow. I’m loving all these phase 1 updates!
I love this room! I’m particularly attracted to the pink velvet, low profile bed, and layering of neutral bedding. I usually like a little pattern in the bed, but this works so well with the Japanese screen as the focal point. I think the quirky panther wicker table and cactus sculpture work because of the neutral and natural materials. It’s a calming room without being sterile. I love, love, love it! Oh and great tip on picking up unusual accessories from ikea.
Can you tell us anything about the cactus sculpture? It’s so cool!!
Orlando, I enjoy reading your pieces so much, you have the best voice! I also love your unique designs. You best to your own drum and it makes for such beautiful spaces. Thank you for sharing your talents with us!
This makes me smile — both the text and the lovely room. Thank you! That wall color is dreamy!
I’m sure Emily still has her tiny chair. She does love tiny furniture, witness the chaise lounge for a kitty. I’ll be looking forward to seeing it in the new/old Portland home.
You know that bedroom is beyond gorgeous. And now, so does everybody else. I’d drop the mic except I don’t have one. Drop the keyboard?
I love Orlando and everything he does…loved his show too! I am a white wall person and can see the calm in the pink walled room….but I can also see a different dramatic tree house palette too! If you had a black bed that faded into the screen and dark green ( matching the green in the screen) walls with the same color green night stand ( with gold knobs) it would be dramatic and cacoon-ish with a splash of treehouse views!
orlando you are a genius
This is without a doubt the best post I’ve read on this website in months, maybe even years. Can’t wait to use these tips to tie up the loose ends in my home. Thanks, Orlando!
Your paint trickery: creating architectural detail with paint, is pure genius! Love ya work Orlando.
I’m just wanting to join the love for Orlando train!! His style, writing and design are the best!! I love the uniqueness in everything he does!
Did you do the paint trick in this room that you’d done before? Something about paining a few inches inside the from the wall….?
This room is complete eye candy and I could stare at it all day.
GAH! I KEEP COMING BACK TO THIS POST, LOVE THIS!
I like Orlando’s writing so much. “What attracted me to Lion Panther was how wild and crazy she is.”
But what do you do when your husband sweetly gifts you one of said “fundamental threats” aka wedding photo print on stretched canvas? I’m an artist and very particular about anything visual and well, as much as I love the photo itself, the 16×19 canvas bugs me. For one, I would never want a photo of myself at that size displayed in my own home and, for two, the aforementioned print on canvas issue.
I’ve managed to ditch the icky black frame it was in (a slight improvement) but what else can I do without hurting hubby’s feelings?
Beautiful, gorgeous bedroom! Bravo Orlando!
This is an awesome guide to create my living space. Must put it into practice. Thanks for the advice.