Welcome back to my ‘old man library’ bedroom with a modern twist and to the first reveal of the year 2020! This tiny, cozy room has been about a year in the making while working on many other EHD projects (Mountain House, Velux, Invitation Homes, etc). I’ve been slowly designing a space of my own on my off hours, which now finally feels like home. For any of you that might’ve missed yesterday’s post check it out here, where you can see what inspired the space and how I’ve come to terms with the fact that I don’t have a ‘signature style’. The main takeaways I learned from designing my own room are: 1. Color is wonderful and oh, how we’ve missed you. 2. I’d rather be surrounded by objects that have a story than just from a store. 3. Take a ‘big risk’ in a small space, see risk below…
Say hello to my purely decorative green door. Sometimes you just have to go for it especially when it’s just paint and this door was my moment. As you saw yesterday, I loved how Helen Cathcart painted her window trim in a bright and happy green. I decided to take it up a notch by using Farrow & Ball’s Breakfast Room Green not only on the baseboards and decorative door but also the headboard wall (more on that in a minute). Remember my room is only a little over 100 sq ft so this felt like the perfect balance of adding color into the space without it being overwhelming.
This is one of those ‘a little bit of everything shots’ that really shows off the mix of the old and the new elements that I’ve been collecting over the past couple of years. And for those of you who saw the sneak peek shot in yesterday’s post, I finally got the chair of my dreams. I’ve been eyeing that Siesta chair for over five years and have come across a fair few that were way out of my budget. Then a couple of months back Caitlin (our vintage deal-finding queen) slid into my DMs with the perfect match. If any of you are local to LA then I urge you to go check out Saasaan. He’s been traveling to Europe and shipping back some amazing pieces (and is even sourcing locally now). I can also vouch for the comfy factor, even tested it out for you all by reading the first two Harry Potter books in it over the holidays. You’re welcome 😉
In the beginning stages of the design, I was so stuck on not knowing where to start because I couldn’t really identify with a particular style. So instead of trying to narrow that down and then start picking out the pieces, I reversed it. I pinned everything that I was drawn to, bookmarked items on Instagram that were “thumb-stopping” and then decided to choose three items (totally manageable) to get the ball rolling. First up was that pendant from Room & Board, I came across it on Jessica Reed Kraus’ Instagram. She used it in her kid’s room and I immediately fell in love. It almost has a classic feel which gives it longevity but then the geometric lines bring it into the modern-day. The linen shade gives off the most beautiful glow and Jess can confirm that I had literal tears after she expertly installed it for me.
Second, were the window treatments which is something (in addition to lighting) that I would encourage anyone in a rental to invest their money in. These roman shades from Tonic Living not only transformed the space visually but mentally for me. They are beautiful and functional, yes. But they gave me such peace of mind to have actual privacy on my ground floor apartment which faces a very popular street. I couldn’t stand the original slatted blinds (aka dust bunny magnets) so I immediately took those down before even moving in my stuff and threw up temporary IKEA paper blinds. Well, that was a mistake because I felt so exposed at night that I would sometimes change in my bathroom or turn off the light. My room was also super bright at night from the street lights. It wasn’t great. These romans solved all those issues for me and I love that you have so many fabric options to customize to your space.
The last piece was the grey rug from Annie Selke, I’d been eyeing it ever since we almost used it in the Portland project. I wanted something neutral and textural for the space but unfortunately, my eyes were too big for my stomach or rather the rug was too small for the room. I had actually reached about the rug when I was still living in the other room of our apartment. So hypothetically it would’ve worked but in this room, it quite frankly felt dinky. Instead of starting over I decided to layer it with a simple black jute rug. It now grounds the bed that occupies the majority of the room.
Speaking of…here’s the place where I sleep, watch tv and let’s be honest, eat most of my meals. I think I might’ve made it too comfy and cozy because I never want to leave.
Just kidding, I actually can’t take any credit for that. In stepped Tuft & Needle and their newest mattress, the Hybrid and let me tell you it’s a straight-up heavenly feeling. Especially compared to my last mattress, it wasn’t exactly the mattress itself that was the problem (although it wasn’t great) but the MASSIVE water stain that it got while being stored in my dad’s garage when I was living in Seattle. My father (bless his heart) drove this very stained mattress over from the valley in Friday traffic when I first moved in but forgot to mention the stain until he. had. arrived. And the gross part is…I’ve been sleeping on that for 2 years. Mind you I did have a memory foam topper as a protective barrier but seriously, what was I thinking?!? Sometimes present Julie really needs to have a talking to past Julie. But that is neither here nor there now that I have my Hybrid Mattress from Tuft & Needle. This one combines the classic springs with a thick memory foam topper compared to their other models which are all foam. I’m a side sleeper through and through so I prefer a firm mattress to support my spine but also soft on top to help me relax and fall asleep quickly which is something I am not great at accomplishing on my own.
Before I started my MOTO I had purchased the IKEA Tarva bed frame because prior to that I was sleeping on my futon frame from my middle school days. And no respectable designer who works for Emily Henderson can sleep on a haphazardly put together futon. That’s a rule that I am instating right now. Once I was pretty far along into the design process of the rest of the space I had honestly forgotten that I still had the IKEA bed. To make my life easier, I just decided to go with it and do a mini DIY to upgrade the piece. It was a three-step process: first, use the leftover paint for the black line detail on the wall and paint a thin coat on the frame. Second, sew the simplest cushion with two layers of batting between. Third, drape the cushion over the headboard and shooooove it down between the mattress and frame. You’re done.
Let’s be real you’re eye doesn’t go to the bed frame first anyway so I wanted to keep it simple, quick and most of all cheap 😉 Where did your eye go to first? That’s right, the green painted wall. I cannot believe that I almost didn’t paint this part of the wall, it adds so much visually to the space. There is so much going on, on the other side of the room that this big block of color balances it all out. And that 1/2″ thick black line makes it feel purposeful and finished off.
The cherry on top are those vintage nature photographs that I shared in yesterday’s post. I only ended up using 3 out of the 7, the others will be used in future spaces or be gifted. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of hanging heavy items above your bed (especially in California) so I skipped the framing. Instead, I bought a $3 woodblock from Home Depot, painted them black and nailed a picture hanger on the back. Up they went. This frameless option works because they are lifted off the wall which still gives that ‘elevated’ feeling that a frame would’ve done.
If I regret one decision in the space, it’s the nightstand. Don’t get me wrong I think it’s beautiful, right for the room and I love the compartments on the inside but it opens up from the top. I had this idealistic version of myself who was ‘never going to have anything on it but a book and my glasses’. HAHA. There is currently a book, CBD balm, two coffee cups, some vitamin bottles and a freakin partridge a pear tree on it. Someone stop me before I ever buy something like that again, thanks.
I obviously couldn’t have gotten a table lamp for the nightstand so the Human Home plug-in sconce was the ideal option. It gives off great light and the classic shape plays up that ‘old man library’ feel. This is also a great rental hack especially in one as old as mine where you only have one light source. That styled out tray is now just mocking me cause I tried to live with it after the shoot but couldn’t handle taking it off multiple times a day… returned!
Let’s talk about something a bit more soothing like bedding, aaaaaahhhh. I feel like a real grown-up now with my linen duvet set from In Bed. They have the most beautiful colors. This one is stone but the tobacco colorway was a close contender. And it’s the perfect combo with the vintage washed percale sheets from Target.
I’m also so excited to say, I have a FULL-LENGTH mirror! No more jumping up and down in the bathroom or asking my roommate to use hers to see if what I am wearing for the day is cute or just crazy. This mirror from Rejuvenation is a classic. The elongated pill shape with the thin black frame was exactly what I was looking for to fit between my closet and the real bedroom door. I even installed it on my own. Rejuvenation always makes things the right way and that’s why we love them as a company and their products!
On the other side of the bed, I decided to forego another nightstand and instead opted for a rubber tree. I wanted something to help with the air quality since I live on a very busy street and trees just always make me feel good. Can we also note the cute wood detail on the pom poms of my lumbar pillow from Tonic Living? I am not one for having too many decorative pillows on the bed just to take them off at night so this lumbar was a great solution.
And because we all know you want to know, the white paint color is Polar Bear by Behr. My room doesn’t get a lot of natural light throughout the day so I needed a true white but with a bit of warmth. It is actually the same white that Emily Bowser used throughout her whole house which I loved in person. So I tested it out in my own space along with a few other of our favorite whites but it was the best. White paint colors are like a magic trick. It can work in one space but not in another, I’ll never not be befuddled by that fact.
Overall I know that this space had a lot going on so I wanted something calm and simple between the windows since it is the first thing you see when you walk into the room. That chair on the wall is from the Rose Bowl Flea and I bought it one weekend when I was a tad too hungover. I was sold when the guy folded it up for me, okay I actually bought it for $20 before he folded it. #weekendjulie
To save a little money, I made the piece of art over the chair using a kids’ art roll from IKEA ($5). I measured the height and cut the first paper to size, then cut the following paper 1″ smaller and so on and so forth until I had a one-inch strip. I then layered them one on top of the other and framed it in a, yup you guessed it, IKEA frame. Then the morning of the shoot I remembered I had my great uncle’s used sandpaper block and up it went cause why not? Vignette done. Moving On!
On to that gallery wall! Fun Fact: I actually only purchased 3 out of the 11 things on that wall. This is my hack that isn’t really a hack at all. Just wait for people in your life to give you cool things, that’s helpful right? But really there are items that I am sure a lot of you have lying around or in storage that could become your art.
Starting at the top left with my lady MaryAnn Puls, you might remember her art that was used throughout the Portland Project and like many others before me, I was very lucky enough to receive a piece of hers from Emily a year ago for Christmas. (Thank you again!) I fell in love with her artwork when Velinda and myself spent hours hanging it up all over the Portland house. So much so that when she came to the open house event I went up to her and told her I was the biggest fangirl. She is very talented and deserved to hear it, still love you MaryAnn.
To the right of that are my great-uncle’s ink pen nibs and he is looking right at them in the black and white photograph. When I graduated art school my mom gave me a box with his old art supplies. Which meant the world to me because…now this may sound corny but when I draw I feel him with me. His artwork filled our house growing up and his talent was always something I aspired too, still do.
Hold on, let me wipe away the tears. (literally)
Below that is an abstract print by the artist Hilma af Klint which Jess and I got to see at her exhibit at the Guggenheim last Easter. Needless to say, we were mesmerized by her work and both bought prints. Another artist whose work I admire is Jack Devereux. He did the continuous line drawing titled ‘Folie’ (madness). About a year and a half ago he was featured on DesignMilk’s instagram and I knew right away I had to purchase a piece. That black leather ruler between the two pieces was from Emily Bowser, she is the master of the flea market (thank you).
If you haven’t already heard our very own Sara Tramp has taken up ceramics which has really benefited me since I now own 6 of her pieces including that black squiggle up there. We all think that her work has been great for a while but now she does too and she is starting to sell some pieces via Instagram. Take a peek!
It’s pretty hard to see but the last piece up there was a gift from my professor and yes, it is vintage homework. Someone drew their parabola so perfectly that they received a big ole check and now it hangs on my metaphorical fridge. Good job kiddo!
I think it is about time we talk about that planter cause I have the biggest heart eyes for it and the artist. You might have spotted it previously in the HommeBoys One Room Challenge master bedroom post that I was hardcore crushing on. The very talented designer Carmen Ellis created this beautiful ‘Foot Vessel‘ which was actually the last piece of the puzzle that is my room. It was all meant to be and she is also one of the sweetest people I have ever talked with via email.
That little green bench (which I now know is a garden kneeler, never knew this was a thing until today. Thanks readers!) is a vintage find as well as all the wooden objects. RULE: Never pass up an interesting wooden object because they typically don’t cost more than $10 and can go anywhere. The majority of these cute little fellas I picked up while Emily Bowser and I were thrifting around Atlanta for the Invitation Homes project. The one with the lid however holds the treasured birthday compliments that is the best EHD tradition around here. We all feel so lucky to work in an office surrounded by ladies who support one another. We truly do love each other and are very vocal about that fact. Love you ladies and see you for game night at Arlyn’s on Friday!
I saw that circle vase about a month ago on Sarah Sherman Samuels IG stories and immediately bought it, not really knowing where it was going to go. It’s from H&M but is sadly out of stock. It just goes to show that sometimes an impulse buy pays off. That little dish is another Sara Tramp Ceramic piece which is filled with some treasures: my grandma’s brooch, my other grandma’s ring and a ring that my momma made in high school. My roommate, Sarah Krausse, is an amazing artist so I commissioned her to do two line drawings for me of the two men in my life, you may have heard of them, John Steinbeck (above) and John Muir.
And there is that $80 craigslist find, it’s the perfect size and the dark wood helps to balance out the green door / gallery wall. It isn’t quite my dream dresser but it’s great for now and sometimes it’s good to still have (furniture) dreams to aspire to one day.
Last but not least, the coveted doorway shot and probably my favorite part of the room, the wall of rulers. In total, I spent around $200 on them. Averaging about $15 each which in my book is an (art) steal, plus I had a really good time thrifting for them so it’s a win for me.
And because we all love a good “Before & After”…
And here is one more bonus shot we got at the end of the day just because the light was just too pretty to pass up.
Thanks so much for coming over friends, I hope you enjoyed my modern “old man library” bedroom. I also hope that if you are also having a style identity issue that you don’t let that stop you from creating a space you love. I promise you’ll be happy you did. Talk to you soon in the comments!