As many of you know we had to completely renovate our second story because of an electrical fire. Before the fire it was a cozy attic bedroom with dark eggplant walls and a low ceiling. Our bathroom was a golden yellow with white beadboard and a single sky light.
This was how it looked when we were featured on Apartment Therapy.
Up to this point I had pretty much only received positive feedback from friends and family on the house. I was proud of my work in general, but I knew there was room for improvement.
Before our house tour went live I was warned to under no circumstances read the comments left about it. People leave negative comments just because they can. Don't let them get to you. I couldn't help myself, I was really interested to see what my peers (other people who read Apartment Therapy regularly) thought.
Almost all of the comments were positive. It felt nice to hear that other people (people that didn't know me) thought I did a great job on our home. It felt "warm, cozy, perfectly Seattle." Maybe I should have stopped there. Of course I didn't.
The comment that stuck with me, and that actually made me cry, was something to the tune of, 'This is all just junk. Get rid of everything and start over.' Why did I hang on to this instead of focusing on all the compliments? I think it's because we occasionally need that kind of feedback to improve. Tough love. It hurts, but without it we would just flat line. At least I would.
It's safe to say that 99% of the things we own were not purchased brand new, but those things are not junk. I'm very sensitive to not letting my house look like a yard sale. I want to be a shining example for buying vintage by having a clean, stand out home that looks better than any cut-and-paste house filled with all Restoration Hardware pieces. I don't want people to think that vintage means out-dated upholstery, jars of buttons and dusty bowls of dried flower petals. Vintage for me is thick well-worn leather, solid wood, fine craftsmanship, classic metals, natural fibers, timeless patterns, and re-purposing (but not in the DIY kind of way) old pieces to fill current needs.
For example, we use this trunk as a laundry hamper. The only thing we did was clean it.
I want to continually grow as a decorator and push myself out of my comfort zone. That can be a challenge in your own home. When it comes to your personal things it's hard to see your stuff and your space with fresh eyes. I needed a clean slate. Luckily, that's exactly what I got.
When we moved back into our home our goal for the master suite was to make it feel like an escape from the rest of the house. Our main floor and basement are filled with Homestead Seattle things. The upstairs is our space. We wanted it to be clean and relaxing. I wanted to get rid of the majority of the tiny knick-knacks and highlight the pieces that were really stars. I wanted to lessen the heavy burden of all of our stuff.
Here's the first step of that transformation.
Good boy, Jake.
My brass animal collection.
I'm not crazy about the painted vanity but it was badly damaged in the fire and this rescued it.
That old wood container used to store nails and now it holds dog food.
The ottoman is for sale in our shop. We were borrowing it for size and color.
We lovingly named this guy Franken-Chair. He may be too distressed for some but he's not junk. We had the springs restored and frame re-glued so he is structurally sound and very comfortable.
There's still too much stuff on the bookcase.
The view from our loft.
The biggest changes upstairs are the vaulted ceiling, wood beams, loft, darker floors, new windows, additional skylight, painted vanity, glossy black doors and white walls everywhere. If you would've asked me the day of our Apartment Therapy shoot what I thought about white walls I would have told you, 'I don't live in a sterile apartment. I own my home.' What a snob. Also, what an idiot.
White walls, especially in an attic, are amazing. Talk to anybody that lives in Amsterdam.
While I still have strong negative feelings towards primer-white, there are thousands off warm whites out there that really make a room feel fresh and let the furniture and the things stand out. We used Benjamin Moore White Dove, semi gloss on the trim and eggshell on the walls. Part of me wishes I had used semi-gloss everywhere but I'm not going to beat myself up over it.
I am in love with our room. I think it does need a little work though.
My current design style is practical and need-based. I like to figure out what I (or the person who lives there) actually needs in a room and then to use that to dictate everything. The struggle here is I don't know what our exact needs are for this room.
This is our current list, these things can stay:
Ralph Lauren, Winter Rose. So good.
The best thing about our master suite is that no matter how crazy our day was, when we get in bed at night we feel stable, calm and proud. When we wake up in the morning we get to start the day fresh with a clean palate and clean mind.
I haven't given up on color, it will definitely be re-introduced thoughout the house, but the white gives our eyes and mind a break and some time to actually see our things and simplify our lives.