Tag Archives: decor

Today: The old and the new… bookshelves.

I love my books nearly as much as I love reading.  Which is a lot.  When I came home from Minneapolis to find that Nick had ventured to IKEA alone and built a home for the entire rainbow of them, I was quite the happy girl and got right down to business.

You may remember our built-in bookshelves from our first place.

The old

After they spent a few weeks cooped up in moving boxes, I was happy to liberate Charles Dickens and Martha Stewart and Hilary Thayer Hamann.

The new

We’ve still got a few more boxes to unpack, but I may just curl up and read instead.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Wait… it’s not Friday?…
  • Love this: Super Mario bento boxes from The Kitchn
  • Going a little nuts with the washi tape

Read anything good lately?

Today: Recreating my favorite hotel room.

I’ve been doing some work in Memphis this year and in the midst of canceled flights, questionable transactions at an unnamed car rental counter, and meetings galore, I’ve found a little oasis of calm.  I don’t tend to go Lady gaga over hotel rooms, but I’ve developed an obsession with the perfectly appointed rooms at The Peabody.

We move into our new condo next month and I am intent on recreating my favorite hotel room there, in our master bedroom (we’re so grown up… sort of).

What I love about this hotel room:

  • I love that rather than using a conventional pair of matching nightstands or side tables, there is a small writing desk tucked into the corner between the bed and the wall on one side.  I imagine using this as a place to put on my face and touch up my hair in the morning.
  • I love the mix of grounded, dark wood and a dark upholstered chair, with airy and light touches on the bedding, light fixtures, and Travertine tabletop on the nightstand.  It’s the perfect blend of masculine and feminine.
  • I love the trim and molding, which makes the room feel even more spacious than it is (and by hotel standards, it was already quite big).
  • I love that the rich, silk window treatments conceal a set of blackout drapes, perfect for grumpy, overtired travelers like myself.

What I would change:

  • I like the wood headboard, but it’s the shape that I am most attracted to.  I’d seek out something upholstered, softer, and in a lighter color.
  • Similarly, I’d swap the darker colored drapery and rug for something lighter and cooler, likely grey.  I definitely prefer cool tones over warm tones.
  • I think a mirrored side table may be in our future… if I can find a way to fingerprint-proof it.
  • I’d opt for a more muted wall color, though I do like this blue.  You know I am a sucker for Martha, so I’d likely try Seed Pearl or Pebble on our walls.  We used Salt Glaze, Lemon Ice and Sharkey Grey in our current condo in strategic places – behind bookshelves, tucked in a corner of the kitchen – (a lot of color goes a long way in small spaces) and we were really happy with the results.

After spending time doing the online equivalent of window-shopping, I came up with a blueprint for bringing a little Memphis to South Boston (hold the bbq).  First up:  the headboard.

Image sources/Product links: 1 | 2

For the record, I am aware smallish is a terrible adjective.  And truth be told, I think bigger is better when it comes to chandeliers, but I have had more than one nightmare about an elaborate lighting fixture crushing me while I sleep (it all started when I watched a murder mystery and Phantom of the Opera the same night), so I’d rather have something smaller than me (and my lungs) dangling above.

Image sources/Product links 123

The baroque, frame-less mirror is one of my favorite parts of the room at The Peabody.  I love pieces that nod to the old, without feeling like something that should be in my grandparents’ attic.  A fresh coat of paint on an old frame might be a great way to bring a mirror up to date.

Image sources/Product links 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

I can’t remember the last time I curled up in a chair just to read, but like the aforementioned face-applying and hair touching-up, I imagine myself doing these things in our new condo.  So naturally, I need a classic but comfortable chair.  One that Clark is not allowed to turn into a nest of Frenchie toys.  I find that hotels often have one or two stuffy or overly formal chairs tucked into rooms, and while it’s nice to have a place other than the bed to work on last-minute meeting prep, I’d rather not catch scoliosis before boarding  a plane.  The swoop-armed chairs at The Peabody are perfect for doing work and watching murder mysteries.  While drinking an entire pot of tea from room service.

Image sources/Product links 1 |2 |3

Our current nightstands likely will not fit it our new bedroom, so we’ll be on the hunt for something smaller, but still functional.  I love the look of mixing dark wood and marble, but I know we’ll need at least one drawer (for my Hello Kitty sleep mask and at least 16 tubes of Chapstick).  I am hoping to find something that marries the two tables below (you know, like, if tables could get married).   Or I could just go for one of the mirrored side tables I’ve been lusting after, and commit to de-smudging it twice daily.

Image sources/Product links 1 |

The matching pair of lamps, one of the desk and the other on the side table, give the room good balance without taking up too much surface area.  I love the shade on the lamp to the left, but prefer the body of the lamps on the right.  Perhaps I should be planning a lamp marriage, too.

Image sources/Product links 1 |2

Assuming there is room (which I should never assume, as I am not especially adept at spacial relations), I’d love to swap a side table for an apartment-scale writing desk.  I always gravitate to the clean simplicity of Parsons desks (number 3), and like the unobtrusive drawers.

Image sources/Product links 1 |2 | 3

We have hardwood floors in our new place (a big change from our current sealed concrete floors), so there’s no reason to go wall-to-wall like my favorite hotel room.  Instead, I’ll look for something big enough to frame out our bed, without overwhelming the room.  A rug is the perfect place to dial it up a bit with pattern, especially when you’re choosing muted colors.  I’ve had great luck ordering rugs from Home Decorators (you will not be shocked to find that I went straight to the Martha Stewart category), and flagged these four options.  I mean, rawwrrrrr.  I may as well just order number 4 right now.

Image sources/Product links 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

I am no expert (by an stretch of the imagination), but it is possible to turn inspiration, like my favorite hotel room in Memphis, into reality.  While shopping at actual stores is probably ideal (mostly because you can touch things to be sure you’re not allergic, see what colors really look like, etc.), I think shopping for furniture, textiles and wall decor can certainly be done online.  Paint is another story.

When we were renovating our current condo, we worked with an interior designer.  She was invaluable when it came to architectural renderings and connecting us with contractors for construction and wiring.  Nick and I knew what we wanted our space to look and feel like,  so I made a tumblr account (this was pre-Pinterest) to share with our designer, featuring every wall color, rug, sofa, and lighting fixture that caught my eye.  When the final design came together, it was so perfectly us.  It wasn’t until Nick pointed out that most of the plans came directly from my “wish list” tumblr that I realized it was us… because we picked nearly everything out.  The lesson: trust your instincts.  You don’t need to hire someone to tell you what you want, if you know what you want.  If you’re like me, though, you may need to hire someone to be sure that what you want actually fits into your space.

A few more online-to-real-life-redecorating tips:

  • This is obvious, but the more you search for and find images that fit your design aesthetic, the more fruitful your searching will be.  Learn from product descriptions (for example, I knew I was looking for a chandelier with “little shade things,” but did not know to search for “drum shades” until I landed on an image I liked) and be sure to check out the “related products” and “you may also like” sections offered on most sites.
  • Knowing how to describe exactly what you like might mean you can save money by broadening your search and opening up your options.
  • Browse daily deals sites (I like One Kings Lane and Joss and Main <– feel free to use my invite links if you’re not already a member) and make note of products and brands you like.  Even if the sale expires before you’re ready to buy, you may be able to find the item (or something similar) discounted elsewhere.
  • Know what you love about an inspiration space, and what you’d happily change or alter.  You might be able to accomplish the overall feel of a space by simply adding one special piece or color or texture, without needing to recreate the entire space.

I’m looking forward to sharing how this re-creation actually plays out, but first… it’s nearly time to pack up and move.

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you have a favorite hotel room?