While grand compared to the studio apartment we lived in previously, our current two-bedroom apartment is not huge and lacks the two floor to ceiling closets we had in the entry of our studio as well as the basement storage room. In fact, this apartment came with nearly zero storage. When we moved in there was only the cabinet under the kitchen sink. Not shocking given this building was built at the turn of the century but what it meant was that we had to change our “oh just put it in the closet and we’ll deal with it later” ways and not only pare down but be as inventive as possible to create function from just four walls.
For the past year and a half I’ve almost always had a bag hanging around being (not so slowly) filled with things I wanted g.o.n.e. It turns out that it is rather addictive. But I’ve been so grateful for it because I’m thrilled that we are getting into this mindful habit at this point in our lives. I feel like it will make it much easier to stay in the habit through the years to come. I’ll talk more about what I’ve learned from the experience another day because I don’t know about you but I find it fascinating!
Despite those challenges, we adore our home here! It fits us nearly perfectly, perfectly for our lives right now, and that makes us so lucky. So with that little bit of background about the challenges we’ve tackled since moving in, I want to introduce you to the space, where it started and where it is now and where I’m headed with it. Starting with our bedroom.
Our bedroom is the largest of the apartment’s rooms. While it may have been better to have the largest room be the living/dining space, the apartment is laid out off a long central hallway with the two bedrooms and the living room on one side (exterior side) and the kitchen and bathroom on the other (interior side). The kitchen and living room are roughly in the center and facing each other so the rooms at either end of the hall (on either side of the living room) are our bedrooms.
Since this apartment is older, we really lucked out and have marble mantles in our room and the living, hardwood floors, high ceilings, and wonderful moldings on the living room ceiling. Here is the bedroom empty before we moved it. We’ll have to make due with iphone images because I was too busy trying to find things in boxes to really document each room (also, we left for a two and a half week vacation one day after moving).
These are standing in the doorway and the corner opposite the fireplace, respectively. There is really only one obvious place for the bed to go, along that wall to the left in the first image.
Since move-in day we’ve come a long way and this room is the closest to being done. I’ve been very careful about what I’ve added in here because it has had such a calm, unfussy, and comfortable feeling since we first moved in and so little was actually in the room that I’ve wanted to preserve that. Here is where it is today and keep in mind, these are progress shots and cleaned-up but not styled. My lens isn’t right to capture wide shots of the space so these are a mix of iphone and camera shots.
Walking in the door, you see the fireplace (love the black marble) in the corner of the room and Romain’s guitars hanging on the wall to the right. This is the wall we see when we’re in bed and I love it. Before he got his electric guitar, we had a longer picture ledge on the bottom with the long narrow framed etching that is now on the mantle balancing out the smaller upper ledge. We replaced it with a second short ledge when the second guitar arrived and it is loaded with images from some of our favorite places (my hometown, the Louvre, Yosemite and Muir Woods from our honeymoon). Combined with the guitars, it may just be the wall that is the most representative of us in the whole apartment. (Also, that is Albert’s basket you see there on the low cabinets, where he snores away the night!)
Turning to the left, our bed takes up the opposite wall with a dresser and a large Ikea PAX unit on the adjoining walls.
My side of the bed has a thrift store table for a nightstand and a little corner for a chair. I have plans for another chair to live here once it is refinished. I need to reinforce my nightable though as you can see it is listing a bit to the side (which is less evident in real life than in the picture). But is survives the cat tromping on it so it is at least that sturdy.
Taking up the wall next to my side of the bed is the PAX wardrobe. I made a sort of ‘crown’ for it to hold a hidden curtain rod (no space for doors to swing) and tossed it up there but ideally it would have some simple crown molding attached and be painted white. I’ll start with just painting it and sewing a curtain for it rather than that linen sheet and we’ll see from there. Also, that laundry bucket has got to go!
Romain’s night table stumped me for a while. He (strangely) needs more night table storage than I do and it also had to be something that would let us open the dresser drawers. One day I screwed this leftover wooden drawer set to the wall and it is kind of perfect in terms of function. I need to think of a way to dress it up and finish it though because it’s completely raw. He also has the dresser on his side of the room with a lamp I wired from an old glass jug.
There isn’t a ton left to do in this room but there are still some important details left to pull it all together and make it sing. Here are some of the images I have been going back to for inspiration for the feeling of this space:
Simple, clean, unfussy, airy, and warm with a mix of natural textures and more polished ones, old pieces and new, black and off white with our signature greens and blues – a retreat from the city outside. The rooms here were freshly painted a barely there gray right before we moved it, that was a stroke of luck! I’ve just recently ordered this piece of fabric from Etsy for the bed cushion and Romain said it looks like it’s always been here. A vote for perfect fit if ever I heard one! I just need to sew it (it’s simply wrapped around the pillow here).
Then the head board needs to be made. It will be a simple clean-lined rectangle covered in the same natural linen as the bedskirt – another brocante find. To give you an idea of the texture, here is an extreme close-up:
Then I have a fun plan for a big statement above the mantle which I’m keeping under my hat but here’s the inspiration (in the background), from the incomparable Lauren Liess:
After that it is finishing details: lining and hemming the curtains, installing the rings and clips on the curtain rods, tweaking art on the bed wall, sewing the curtain for the PAX and painting its crown, and installing reading lights on either side of the bed, maybe these:
That’s where we are with the bedroom. It doesn’t sound like a lot to finish but our hands are busy chasing after this little assistant! I’ll introduce his room next week.