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A Room of Respite (a.k.a. the Bedroom)

As mentioned in an earlier post, when I’d first walked into what would become my bedroom, it was staged as a living room. It seemed perfectly lovely as a living room at the time, and I didn’t give it much of a second thought until I moved in and started inhabiting the space. The decision primarily came from my not wanting the adjacent room to be the bedroom. I much prefer the dimensions of this space for a bedroom, which has good-sized windows (but not too large to maintain some semblance of privacy) and enough space for a dresser and closet. As I spend relatively less time in the bedroom, I would much rather have the larger, more dramatic space next door be given over to the living room.

The room as originally staged in the listing pic

Similar to my design process for the den and bathroom, the seed of the idea for the bedroom blossomed from a single image–this striking combination of dark teal and blush.

Bedroom inspiration: such a gorgeous colour combination!

I was absolutely obsessed with that colour palette and immediately went and painted an accent wall in rich teal (Benjamin Moore’s “Hidden Sapphire”), which often reads as navy blue in photographs despite my best efforts. But it’s an absolutely stunning colour that makes me smile every time I look at it. Don’t be afraid to embrace bold colours! Life’s too short to live in neutrals. To really make the accent wall pop, I painted the remaining walls a bright white (Benjamin Moore’s “Chantilly Lace”).

Because this room was originally considered a living room, it didn’t actually have any closet space. To build a closet, I started with some good ol’ IKEA PAX wardrobes–well-priced and customizable, so that I could tailor the closet to my specific needs.

In progress IKEA PAX wardrobes

It was a feat to find all the necessary wardrobe components during the pandemic–couldn’t for the life of me get 50 cm hanger rods, so a friend ended up sawing a 100 cm rod in half (literally an IKEA hack). In order to give it a more polished, built-in look, my contractor ended up attaching gables to the sides, a top shelf, and brought the entire structure up to the ceiling. Painting it the same colour as the walls helped it blend into the space. It’s astonishing how a couple panels of wood can make the room feel so much taller! A set of hexagonal gold handles finished off the wardrobes nicely and gave it a touch of glamour, and some whitewashed woven storage baskets along the top breaks up the expanse of white.

I took the opportunity to finally retire the mattress that had come with me from Vancouver via Chicago (and was originally given to me by one of my high school PE teachers!). I shudder to think how old the mattress actually was, but its comfort-level was saved by a wondrous memory-foam topper. It was so massively heavy and ungainly to move, that it’s a wonder I dragged it to so many cities. I had never purchased a mattress before, so I wandered down to Sleep Country and rather bemusedly sprawled out on a variety of mattresses. I sleep like the dead, so I had no real selection criteria. They all felt plenty cozy to me, so I went with a Bloom mattress–affordable and comfortable (and comes in a box!).

The main production number of any bedroom is, of course, the bed, which was ironically the last piece of bedroom furniture I was able to get delivered. I knew that I wanted an upholstered headboard (I sit up and read/watch shows in bed so often that I couldn’t imagine anything else). I liked the simplicity of this West Elm bed frame and how the grey upholstery picked up the grey in the floor. Keeping it clean-lined and modern served as a nice juxtaposition with the more ornate gold frames that hang above it.

Now I love my art, but there are few pieces I love more than the pair of whimsical animal portraits above my bed. Not only do they feature animals (win #1) but they’re also a loving nod to one of my favourite movies, Amélie, whose titular character has the same prints above her bed (win #2). I enjoy trying to find pieces of art that are not only aesthetically appealing but have some kind of significance or meaning, usually associated with my travels which harbour many of my favourite memories.

I picked up this vibrant painting at a market in Rome
A colourful keepsake from my travels to New Orleans

I continued the portraiture theme throughout the bedroom, but turned it on its head just a bit–such as prints of classical paintings that have been altered or atypically cropped, or a series of “portraits” that are in fact vintage prints of anatomical dissections from an 1822 medical textbook. It’s so fun (and overwhelming) to browse through Etsy and find these unusual gems to help really put my own personal stamp on my home. A bedside wall provided a blank canvas, so I staggered a few IKEA picture shelves to allow me to be able to rotate different art pieces. I always run into the problem of my art acquisition outpacing my available wall space, so it’s a nice option to be able to swap in new pieces.

One quite unusual feature of my condo that I’d never seen before is its sliding glass door separating the living room and bedroom. At first, I’d intended to ask the contractor to fill it in with a wall to close off the two rooms (seemed a bit strange to me to be able to sit in the living room and see into the bedroom). But after living in the space awhile, I decided I actually really like having that openness. It allows light into both spaces and is super convenient to be able to pop back and forth, if I need to grab something. Plus, I love being able to sit in bed and see Giz sprawled out on the couch (or vice versa).

I quite love my French door leading into the bedroom, as it keeps things light and airy. While I have no way of completely closing off the bedroom (with only windowed doors), I live alone, so it’s ultimately a non-issue. The door came with the tiniest little hook, so I use it to hang one of my maxi dresses, which I’ve rotated depending on the season. While I like to keep my things tucked away neatly in their cabinets, I do love my clothes, so it’s lovely to have a beautiful dress on display to add a splash of colour.

While I’m fortunate to actually have a dining area, which I can’t wait to put to use, it’s not large enough to reasonably have a full dining table and chairs set out full-time (as one must walk through the space to reach the den). As such, I had to get a bit creative about storage. For instance, the (5!) panels to my dining table take up half of my underbed storage space, and one dining chair lives in the corner as a plant stand when not being used to prop up a human.

One interesting challenge about this space was that it’s the first time I’ve ever had a bedroom that didn’t have an overhead light (or any light at all really). The room has a switched outlet, in which I could conceivably plug a light source, but its placement was not ideal–behind a door in an awkward part of the bedroom. I was wracking my brain for what kind of creative lighting solution I could conjure, when a friend mentioned smart plugs. These are by no means a new concept–I was apparently just not up with the technological times–but they were a revelation! One smart plug + two elegant bedside lamps = one happy (illuminated) camper. This got me onto the Alexa Echo dot train, which I purchased to be able to turn on different smart plugs/lights, so now I somewhat amusedly walk around commanding my house to do things.

Your bedroom is meant to be a place of solace–an escape from the chaos of the everyday–and I feel happy to have achieved that. It’s light and airy, yet grounded by the rich, jewelled tone of the accent wall (so it doesn’t feel like I’m living in a white box). And I’ve surrounded myself with art and plants that I love, so that when I drift asleep, the last things I see put a smile on my face.

Source List
Bed: West Elm
Mattress: Bloom
Bedside tables: IKEA (no longer available)
Closets: PAX wardrobes from IKEA (handles: CB2)
Baskets: West Elm
Chest of drawers: West Elm (no longer available)
Lamps: CB2
Picture shelves: IKEA
Paint: Benamin Moore “Hidden Sapphire”; “Chantilly Lace”
Animal portraits by Michael Sowa
Paint over eyes portrait by Chaos and Wonder Design
Altered painting by Chaos and Wonder Design
Anatomy dissection prints from ExLibris London

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