master bedroom

Master Bedroom Progress

It's hard to believe that we've owned this house for 2 years.  It's almost hard to remember what it looked like in here when we bought it.

Take for instance, one of my more recent projects: the master bedroom.

Here's what it looked like before:

Dark red carpet, orange-y wood trim, and lace curtains.  It's a distant memory!

After we moved in, it looked like this for a long time.  We replaced the lace curtains with bamboo shades early on, but our nightstands were closet organizers (leftover from my makeshift college desk) for over a year.

And here's what it looks like now.

The color inspiration for the room came from this bird pillow that my paternal grandmother made.  My initial plan was to paint the room mint green but I ended up settling with a lighter shade of yellow green (SW 7728 Sprout) to coordinate with the leaves in the textile.

Truthfully, I'm still not totally sold on the color (it's looks kind of lime-y sometimes) but am feeling infinitely better about it since spotting this amazing bird print at Ikea.  The background color on the print on the far left is, coincidentally, exactly the color of the walls and the piece overall ties in the rest of the room.

In addition to the wall color, another major change to the room are the wardrobe cabinets on either side of the bed.  I love these.  They were part of my plan for the room since the day I first laid eyes on the closet.  I had seen similar wardrobe installations by other bloggers (like this) and thought they would be the perfect way to add extra storage, while creating a cozy, built-in feeling.

These particular cabinets are part of the Besta series from Ikea which is a more versatile line that can be used for anything from media storage to clothes storage.  I selected these because they fit our space and ceiling height better than some of their other traditional wardrobe lines.  They're not quite deep enough for side-by-side clothes hanging but are great for folded sweaters, jeans, etc.

I opted for a smaller door at the bottom and a few open shelves in the middle for accessories and nightstand items.  Eventually, I'd like to find wallpaper to line the back of the shelves with.  I'm thinking something like this.

The only downside to these particular cabinets was that they weren't quite wide enough to reach the edge of the bed.  We ended up purchasing a new, low platform bed frame (Ikea Malm) to accommodate the bird print above the bed and were having a hard time finding small, low nightstand solutions to fill the 11" gap on either side.

My solution was to use a small antique table that I inherited from my grandparents on one side and stack some books on the other side (a la the January 2014 edition of the West Elm Catalog).

In the way of clothes storage, we're still using the mid-century modern dressers that I've had since childhood.

My dad built them from a kit in the 60's and they're really in need of some TLC.  I'm thinking about trying a gel stain on them.

Then, of course, there's the closet.  It needs a new rod but it's looking much more upscale these days since we replaced our mismatched hangers with brand new wooden ones.

On my dresser, I store my makeup brushes in an upcycled silver cream pitcher.

My necklaces are hung on an antique ladder which makes them both easy to retrieve and doubles as art!

Speaking of art -- on this side of the room, I hung my maternal grandparents' curio cabinet (filled with a few pieces of my paternal grandparents' stationery from their time in Uruguay), a print of my favorite childhood restaurant, and an antique print of our alma mater which I think belonged to my Great Uncle Bill.

On this wall, I hung a beautiful custom piece by my talented uncle, Ted Lind, which was given to us as a wedding gift.

Adjacent to the closet is a handpainted portrait of my dad (as I prefer to remember him) at the age of 6.

It was commissioned by my grandparents when they lived in Poland.

In the master bathroom, we've only made a few minor updates.  This is what it looked like before:

Not too bad, but nothing spectacular.

We decided to replace the toilet (which was kind of an ordeal - don't order plumbing fixtures off the internet!) because the old one was leaking.  I also installed some glass shelves over the toilet because we have no under sink storage.  Eventually, I'd like to at least replace the sink with a shallow vanity and repaint.

Altogether, it's coming along.  There are still a few things on my to do list but it's definitely an improvement!

Apartment Tour - Master Bedroom

Finally, on to the  next chapter in the Apartment Tour: the master bedroom.  As you'll see in our floor plan, we have two bedrooms and two bathrooms.  When this was Alex and his brother Dylan's bachelor pad, our current guest bedroom/office belonged to Alex and Dylan had the master.  When I moved in over the summer, I discovered there was quite a bit of wall damage in both bedrooms (stains and scuffs) so we got permission from our landlord to paint.  After living in white-walled apartments and dorms for a few years, I was craving a bit of color.  The downside is that we'll have to paint the walls white again before we move out, but for now, I've been loving having some color around.

When Alex and I were registering for linens before our wedding, I changed my mind about our duvet cover at least 4 times.  In fact, I was so indecisive about it that I finally decided just to go with plain linens and bring color in with throw pillows.   That way, I could change out the color scheme every so often without having to invest in all new linens.  I started looking for throw pillows with modern, graphic prints that would coordinate with my brown-stained wood childhood dressers and I fell in love with an organic linen pillow on clearance at  The rest of the room design stemmed from there.

To create visual interest, I decided to pair this dark gray pillow with contrasting bright white linens.  Though white obviously isn't the most practical color for linens, because we have a duvet and not just a comforter, it's easy to remove the cover and wash it when necessary.  The dark gray paint on the walls (Olympic low-VOC paint in Dover Gray) really sets off all of the white elements in the room (bed linens, curtains, chair, and bookcase) and together, they create just the right balance of dark and light.  A few months ago, our bedroom was chosen as a contender in the Apartment Therapy Room for Color Contest and though it didn't make it past the first round, I got a few nice comments from some readers.  The only negative comment was from one unfortunate reader, likely in need of a new glasses prescription, who thought that the birds above the bed (by Umbra for Target - a graduation gift from my mom) were bats.  Just to avoid any additional confusion, they are most definitely birds.  (Sidenote - I'm hoping to upholster a tufted headboard for the bed someday).

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You can see in the before picture (top) that the stains on the wall were brutal.  A fresh coat of paint made all the difference.  The furniture in the room includes a queen sized bed that Alex had in college, my childhood dressers, mirror, and nightstand with new modern brushed nickel hardware, Alex's college nightstand, my childhood bookcase, and Ikea chair with a white slipcover I bought in college.  The dressers and mirror were part of a kit that my dad built in the 60s.  While I hated the set growing up, I now love the clean lines and the "mid-century" modern feel of the set.  My only wish is that we had two matching nightstands.  The lamps and the artwork were also things we already owned.

By choosing a neutral color for the wall and the linens, our accessories become the focus in the room.  With yellow as the primary accent color along with features like matryushka dolls from Alex's trips to Russia, the accessories add an extra layer of color and texture to the room.

This jewelry display is made with an old ladder I bought for $14 from an Antique shop in Fredricksburg.  I love this because not only are my necklaces easily accessible, but they become part of the artwork in the room.

This bookcase was in my room growing up as was this Ikea Tulsta chair, but with books and accessories, they both work well in our grown-up bedroom.  The accessories on the bookcase are mostly hand-me-downs with the exception of the three plates.  I had bought them from the Salvation Army Thrift Shop before our wedding and was planning to use them as an alternative guest book.  We ended up going another direction with that so rather than re-donate the plates, I decided to paint them.  The pillow on the chair is by Dwell from Target and the ledge behind is one of our cat Freckles' favorite spots to watch the birds.  Speaking of birds, how many can you find in this bedroom?