Internet friends and perhaps new readers (strangers!) alike: It’s me. Arlyn. Verbose ex-Editorial Director turned friend of the blog. I pop in on the occasion, but frankly, it’s been far too long. Fear not, however, as I come bearing gifts for anyone who may still have a morsel of a memory left about my bedroom makeover. You know, the one I started planning and writing about here and on my own blog two years ago. Before a major injury/mysterious illness (I’m on the mend). Before a baby (she’s fantastic). But there have been some developments, and the time was ripe to share.
I’m not here to ruin any of the juicy details everyone waits for in an official reveal, but rather, to explore my journey to the one piece I’ve been waiting on to pull my entire design together. The x-factor that was missing from all my mood boards. I went through iteration after iteration and everything simply felt too…new. Too modern. Not “me” enough. I prefer designs that are perfectly imperfect. My bedroom plan needed a little funk soul factor, and dear blog mates, it’s been found (and currently waiting patiently in the garage).
But first, let’s just remind you of where we started:
…where we first tried to go (back when I wanted a rust velvet bed):
…and where we eventually landed (nearly):
Ok, now onto the good stuff; why we’re all here today.
This adventure begins as many tend to for us design enthusiasts: with a photo.
Back in 2019, before the world imploded, and before I left EHD, I worked on a post some of you old-timers may remember. It was a bedroom makeover featuring Brooklinen bedding styled by Emily Bowser. While there’s no denying the room as a whole was very good, there was one part of it that has stuck with me all this time.
Halfway down the article, in one image amongst many is a photo of the room from a new angle where you can see a vintage burlwood armoire. More accurately: *The* armoire. The singular furniture piece that, unbeknownst to me at the time, would send me on a crusade, nay, a pilgrimage to find one for myself.
The search started innocent enough: Some casual poking around while I sipped my weekend morning coffee. Scroll, scroll, scroll through Facebook Marketplace/Craigslist/Offer Up/5 Mile/Chairish. A contender or two would occasionally present themselves. Sometimes, even Caitlin would send me some options to consider but things were either too large, too small, too far, too damaged, or—the most heartwrenching—too expensive. I had given myself a budget of $500 to work with, so some of the vintage beauties in pristine shape I’d find were too rich for my blood.
Not entirely knowing what to search for and also not convinced anyone who had something similar knew how to title it for me to find it in the price range I wanted to find it in, I tried plenty of different variations and combinations of words:
Once I realized “burlwood” might be the trouble word, seeing that I rarely got many results south of $2k, I moved on to more creative descriptions.
Solid wood armoire.
Olive wood wardrobe.
Armoire with heavy grain.
At one point along the way, I kind of just gave up. I desperately needed more storage as my 1930s apartment was heavy on character yet anemic on places to stash my clothing and shoes (let alone anything else). Evidently, people in the early 20th century owned three shirts, two pairs of boots, and a set of slacks. Actually yes, this is likely true. They hadn’t discovered the excess that plagues modern day, and while I try to keep my wardrobe more on the minimal side these days (you know, just a few pairs of compression leggings and nursing T-shirts are all you need when you work from home and have a 6-month old breastfed baby), I do have a *bit* of a thing for shoes. And handbags. Oh, and pajama sets and bras (but that’s a conversation for another day…or never).
Quick aside: Back in my early twenties, I had a blog called The Accessories Junkie where my tagline was “Because shoes never make you feel fat,” and let me tell you, I’ve lived this truth for much of my adult life. Handbags…they also have never made me feel even remotely bad about myself. Only good. Skinny jeans = bad vibes. Leather bucket bags = confidence boost. Alright, back to furniture.
So if you can imagine, ya girl needed a solution for where to put her footwear. I tucked my dreamy wood armoire hopes on the top shelf of my heart and started shopping for something new. Surely, if I ever were to come across something by happenstance, I could sell or repurpose what I had and make the swap. But for now, I came to terms with my dashed vintage fantasies.
I flirted with a beautiful grasscloth cabinet from Crate & Barrel, but it ended up being a bit too large. There was the era when I looked up every caned-front armoire I could find on the internet, thinking the texture would be a nice addition to balance the velvet and brass of some of my other furniture and lighting picks. Here are some of the ones I highly considered (sometimes when I was feeling spendy, and other times when I brought myself back down to earth):
1. Sands Grasscloth Storage Cabinet | 2. Webbing Sliding Door Cabinet | 3. Vintage Acorn And Cane Sliding Door Gustav Bookshelf | 4. Wallace Cane and Oak Armoire | 5. Marte Storage Cabinet | 6. Wood & Cane Transitional Armoire Brown
I even took a sharp left turn and started exploring Brutalist-style bureaus because maybe I’d have better luck there. Ultimately, the search just got a bit stale and my whole bedroom makeover just came to a screeching halt.
After bravely installing a gallery wall at 39 weeks pregnant while my mother nervously spotted me on our step ladder, I kind of just gave up. Arranging art was all I had left to give for a while. Our daughter was due any day, and we had brought in her changing table, bassinet and other baby things that would likely stay there for at least 6 months, if not a year. They lived along the wall where I had planned my armoire to go, and knowing that made me lose steam in my pursuit of anything new or vintage. There were other things to focus on, like feeding a teeny baby in the wee hours of the morning, constantly checking if she was still breathing, staring in awe at the human I somehow built with my own body.
And then, about five months and change later, while holding my girl as she napped, I felt the urge to pick back up the trail that had gone cold.
My Facebook Marketplace feed was chock-full of suggestions related to all my past searches, so I don’t even remember typing in any new terms. A few flicks of the thumb and my heart started racing. My breath caught in my chest. I nearly dropped my infant (I’m exaggerating here. She was safe in my arms, don’t worry). There it was: A beautifully patterned just-ornate-enough “Vintage Walnut Wood Armoire Wardrobe Cabinet” only a tiny bit over my original $500 budget.
It wasn’t exactly close by, but it wasn’t so far that I considered it too big of a hurdle to get over. My thumbs trembled as a hurried to type out a message to the poster: “Is this still available?” It was. “Would you accept $400?” They wouldn’t. “$500” they curtly wrote back. Bingo. Go low and make them meet you in the middle, I’ve learned.
The next task to figure out was how to get it from them to me. Charles—my incredibly patient and supportive husband who also always annoyingly says things like “where exactly do you plan on putting that” every time I share one of my hair-brained design purchase schemes with him—had no idea my hunt was back on. Asking him if he thought it would fit in my small SUV had to play hand in hand with a subtle act of convincing him to also drive the hour there and hour back to go get the thing. So instead, I asked the seller for the address and got a quote from a delivery service I had used earlier in the year for a vintage dresser I scooped up. My only challenge with Charles would be convincing him that the armoire could and should just live in our garage until we had the room in our bedroom to bring it in after the baby moved into her own nursery. This, however, is a regular sticking point in our relationship as “put it in the garage” is always my solution, while he looks around down there and claims there’s no room.
I’ll spare you the details because I wouldn’t be writing this post if it didn’t work out. The title of this article is not “Arlyn’s 3-Year Journey to Find Her Dream Vintage Armoire & The Tale of How Charles Made It All Fell Apart.” Not-so-spoiler alert: I got my armoire.
There was, however, a weird moment where my Zelle payment appeared to go through on my end, but not on theirs (was I getting scammed? After all this?!?). They wouldn’t give me the exact address for pick up without confirmed payment so it was a bit touch and go for a minute there, but the banking deities made it happen. The next day, it was safely delivered to its temporary holding place…and my marriage remains intact. A husband, a baby, and a bureau…what more could a girl ask for?
So that’s where this story ends, for now. Our daughter Evelyn is quickly growing out of our bedroom and will soon be moved into her own space, so my primary bedroom Makeover Takeover can commence yet again.
In the meantime, here’s a quick peek at an updated moodboard with a rough Photoshop job of my armoire mocked in:
There isn’t much left to do besides finalizing some bedding, pillows, small decor and styling, so I hope to share my space with everyone here in the coming weeks. The armoire is lacking shelving inside I need to optimize its storage, but I’ve been eyeing some adjustable tension shelves I can add in fairly easily.
And there you have it…or rather I have it. It’s a little hard to believe that what started as an ember aglow in my heart in 2019 actually came to fruition. A slow burn that I finally got to extinguish. I can’t wait to see it all come together finally, and my shoes are eager to be set free from the basket they’re all crammed in.
Stay tuned, sweet EHD readers and see you soon!