Home Sweeter Home: Parts 3 and 4, Before

After Mama and I tackled DAS NORDEN and made my kitchen ship-shape, and after we un-antiqued the gnarly old secretary to turn it into a sweet desk fit for inspirational working, I turned my eye upon the bedroom Sauron-like. Wow. Looks sad. Not at all the kind of calm, adult space that feels like a respite from the madding crowd. Instead, it’s guilty of that kind of spatial inertia that grips a space after you move into an apartment and then… it just never changes. This was all compounded by the fact that I lived here for a year solo before Sweetheart moved in, so not only is the bedroom sort of tired, it’s also been sort of cobbled together out of necessity. The mandate: create a space that belongs to Sweetheart and I equally that is uncluttered, calming, functional, unified, and interesting. A good place to sleep, but also a lovely place to be. A place that is as bright as possible during the daytime while also being private at night… on the extreme cheap. That’s a tall order. The Bedroom, like the rest of the apartment, has a bizarre list of issues and perks all sort of stemming from the layout (I used this cool tool to make this little mockup on Apartment therapy): The major layout issues are: the decorative fireplace, the placement of the windows and the doors, and the existence of the radiator at all. This room was originally the main kitchen for the rest of the brownstone, so this fireplace is essentially one of those epic kitchen hearths large enough to hold an entire spitted pig. There are marks where the spit used to be. If only we could still use it to roast a whole hog. That sounds like a romantic bedroom activity. Unfortunately, the fireplace is now simply “decorative”, so when I first moved in the obvious function of this weird obsolete fire-hole was as a Carrie-Bradshaw-style shoe shrine, which was great. Over the past few years, though, I’ve acquired a) many, many more shoes and b) Sweetheart (and all of his shoes), so it’s gone from glorious to sort of gross.

It also means that the layout of this wall is sort of fixed/the only logical place for dressers/clothing storage are via two tall dressers on either side. And that means that the bed has nowhere to go but between the windows.This picture, as funky as it is, isn’t even the “before” at its worst as I already took down a set of too-long embroidered turquoise curtains (and have just installed custom cut blackout/privacy shades into the windows- notice the drill on the bed, not usually where I keep it) and swapped out the awful Ikea dresser Sweetheart got stuck with when he moved in for a dark wood piece with nice bones FREE from craigslist (pictured already above with Edison Radio). You can also see that the windows a) aren’t the same width b) one is flush with the ceiling and the other is 3″ below the ceiling c) they don’t match- one has old mullions and the other is “new”.

So. What can we do with this space? The windows are crazy, there are shoes everywhere, we can’t paint it, the bed backs up on the windows, it’s dark as a dungeon, and there’s only one plug. Even the pillows look unhappy to be there. What’s a girl to do? We’ll get to that tomorrow… but in the meantime, here’s a hint: