Master Bedroom

Furniture vs. Pajamas: Weekend Edition

When we last checked in on the master bedroom, we had just added two new pieces of furniture: a dresser and a matching vanity. And the room was crowded. 

(Click on the image to enlarge it.) This is the view from the bathroom. 

Then, in a move the surprised the entire family, Bill had a flash of furniture arranging inspiration. I went away for one night, and when I came back, the room looked like this:

(Click on the image to enlarge it.) This is the view from the main door, entering from the hallway.

Much better, right? I was a little sad not to use the new dresser as my nightstand, since I loved having my bedside light up higher (it seemed to make the room extra bright). But overall, I agreed that having the nightstands in their proper place was best, with the vanity next to the bathroom door (and my closet door on the other side), and the dressers on either side of the front window.

The chair and ottoman are admittedly a little awkward on either side of the fireplace, but it's a dramatic improvement. Even though one of the dogs has been horrified at the change and is sleeping in my sewing room by way of protest.

I have yet to put in drawer liners, so the new dresser and vanity are still empty. I'm considering making my own fabric liners, but need to investigate a bit more (and purchase the correct mod podge fabric stiffener). Maybe next weekend...

Since my plans for drawer liners and painting furniture didn't come through this weekend, I ended up doing a bit of sewing. I couldn't stop thinking about the orange/yellow fabric that didn't "win" the basement pillow poll. So I made them anyway.

 While the pillow forms are the same size as the basement ones, I made the actual pillow covers two inches smaller than the ones downstairs. That creates a tighter fit, making the pillow fluffier. (To be specific, they are all 26-inch pillow forms. The blue covers in the basement are 25 inches, and these new covers are 23 inches. They definitely feel more pillow-y and less flat that the ones in the basement.)

While the pillow forms are the same size as the basement ones, I made the actual pillow covers two inches smaller than the ones downstairs. That creates a tighter fit, making the pillow fluffier. (To be specific, they are all 26-inch pillow forms. The blue covers in the basement are 25 inches, and these new covers are 23 inches. They definitely feel more pillow-y and less flat that the ones in the basement.)

I also made a set of napkins with some leftover fabric that's been sitting around for more than a year. They are 10x10 inches, with coordinating fabrics on each side. Such an easy project -- took less than an hour (and a good 20 minutes was petting the pretty fabric).

 I'm feeling a little desperation to use up my fabric stash. At this point, it's more like a fabric store than a fabric stash. And I'm running out of room to store them all!

I'm feeling a little desperation to use up my fabric stash. At this point, it's more like a fabric store than a fabric stash. And I'm running out of room to store them all!

Then we had the first cold snap of the fall, and I finally caved and made the Batman flannel pajama bottoms that Jason has been asking for since last winter when I brought the fabric home. I don't have a picture, because as soon as I finished them, he whisked the pajamas off to his room to "keep them safe until tonight". However, he did donate the old cotton pajama bottoms (made with comic-book style exclamations all over them -- KAPOW!) to his sister, who them insisted that she needed some new flannel pajama bottoms too.

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And as long as I was making pajama bottoms for the kids, why not make myself a pair? I found several yards of an awesome pink and orange knit, and the rest was history.

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And what was Bill doing while I was sewing? Why, working on the chicken coop, of course. But that is a story for another time...

First Attempt at Furniture

This past week I spent a more-than-normal amount of time on Pinterest and at Lowes, in preparation for my first encounter with fixing up old furniture. We've accumulated several pieces in varying stage of repair, so I've been researching and getting materials for a little bit of everything. 

I thought I'd start with the easiest project, which was polishing de-musty-ing the dresser and vanity that we picked up last weekend. Both pieces, dating to about 1910-1920 were in pretty good repair, but had about 20 years of dust and grime on them -- and smelled every inch their age.

Step 1 - Wipe down the grime with a damp microfiber cloth

I can't show you photos of the dust and other foreign grossness that came off both pieces because you would probably vomit. Basically, it was much dirtier than I had expected. And that poor microfiber cloth will probably never be the same.

Step 2 - Create a custom mix of Old English scratch repair liquid

Internet society, home of trolls and agitators, has finally found common ground in its universal appreciation of Old English scratch repair. Based on several recommendations from those who have gone before me, I chose to mix half of the "light wood" and half of the "dark wood" bottles to form a mid-tone scratch repair liquid that would suit my precious pieces.

Step 3 - Apply the liquid as directed

In a nutshell, you dab the liquid directly on scratches, then rub a light coat of the mixture all over the piece. Finally, you buff the piece with another clean cloth until it shines. This step was extremely satisfying, and took a fraction of the time that it took to clean the pieces in the first place.

Step 4 - Decide where to put the pieces.

It was at this point that we had to decide where the furniture was going to go. It was a toss-up between the guest suite dressing room, the second floor hall, and our master bedroom. Since I loved these pieces and wanted to see them everyday, I convinced Bill to let us put them in our bedroom, even though they didn't match our other furniture. Or did they? (Did you see what I did there, dear reader? It's called foreshadowing...)

Step 5 - relocate other furniture to make space for your new pieces

There wasn't a natural place for the new dresser, so I decided to place it directly next to my bed, necessitating a move for my previous bedside table (which now sits somewhat awkwardly next to the fireplace. 

Then we carried the new piece up the stairs and tried it out. Perfect! I could hardly believe how well it worked in that space. I might had done a little happy dance.

Step 6 - Find an awkward spot for the vanity.

We're still debating the final placement of the vanity, but for right now it's got a home next to the window. Eventually, I'll get a small seat to go with it and hopefully move some of my hair and make-up items there from the bathroom. 

Step 7 - Marvel at your work and consider future options

The panorama photo below (click on it to enlarge) gives you a pretty good idea of what we're working with. (Behind me--and unseen--is the door to the bathroom, with my closet door on the left, and then immediately adjacent is the door with the transom leading to the main hallway. The door in the middle of the photo, between the new dresser and the new vanity, leads to Bill's office. You can just see the fireplace on the right, with the door leading to the second-floor patio just peeking out on the very right of the photo.)

Here are a couple options to consider:

  • The vanity would probably work best where Bill's current dresser is, on the left near the bathroom. But where would Bill's dresser go? The best option would be to place it where the current arm chair is -- but that is where the dogs sleep each night and they would be VERY put out to have that chair and ottoman relocated to another room (we tried it where the vanity currently sits, but it makes that corner look really crowded, and make the door to Bill's office basically unusable).
  • We could move the vanity out of the room entirely, and put it in the guest suite dressing room, but it seems a shame to split these matching pieces. 
  • We swap the vanity and the arm chair, or move the vanity to where the arm chair is now and move the armchair into another room. See "sad dogs" above.
  • We learn to live with it. That seems the best option, at least for a couple of weeks.

Bill vs. the Plaster Walls

We've been at The Manor for five months now, and so far we haven't put anything on the walls. 

Well, that's not strictly true.

We've used Command Strips to hang an art pocket on Sarah's wall. And we've put up some nails to hang framed photos in the basement, where there's beadboard. And in a couple of places, we've hung up things on screws and nails left by the previous owner.

But we haven't nailed anything into any areas with plaster walls. It was just too intimidating. In fact, for a while we had hoped to use Command Strips almost exclusively throughout the house. But we tried it last weekend in our bedroom and it was a horrible disaster that left everyone quite grumpy.

Thank you, Pinterest.

I was looking desperately for some advice on how to tackle plaster walls, and came across this tutorial. It looked straightforward, so we decided to give it a try with our monogram letters. Here's how it went:

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Overall, I'm calling it a success. 

The spacing on the letters in incredibly tricky, and we agree that the K is a little too far to the left. But we can live with it -- and if history is any indication (we used to have these letters hanging in our living room) after a week we won't even notice the discrepancy.

Other accomplishments this weekend:

  • Bill added felt pads to the bottoms of each chair leg in the house. We noticed that some of the chairs -- particularly our dining room chairs -- were beginning to scratch our beautiful hardwood floors. Hopefully, the felt pads will solve the problem.
  • I took a long nap on the new couch in the basement. Then I woke up, looked around, and went back to sleep for another hour. Good times.

Bedroom Peeping

The first room in our house that is officially unpacked is the master bedroom. It's funny how the exact same furniture can look so different in a new room. (It helps that the new room is about twice as big as the last one.)

High ceilings and bare walls.

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It looks pretty bare right now, but I'm loving the minimalist aesthetic. It reminds me of modern Scandinavian decor -- with lots of straight lines, clear horizontal surfaces, and open space. We may eventually get around to hanging things on the walls, but for now this room is perfect.

The power of morning light.

One of my very favorite things about our room is the two gigantic windows that face northeast and southeast. We get bright light early in the morning and it has been a pleasure to wake up to sunlight peeping through the window shades. 

 It's so bright in this room that taking pictures that aren't washed out is nearly impossible. Just think of it as a heavenly blur of peacefulness and calm.

It's so bright in this room that taking pictures that aren't washed out is nearly impossible. Just think of it as a heavenly blur of peacefulness and calm.

The biggest challenge in this room has been the closets. But that's another post for another day. In the meantime, whenever the maelstrom of unpacking gets to be too much, I just come in and sit in this room for a few minutes. After a couple of deep breaths, I am recharged and ready to tackle another box.

 Don't you love the transom windows?

Don't you love the transom windows?