Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Home Tour: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

"‎Without dreams, there can be no courage. And without courage, there can be no action."
 - Wim Wenders

Most people who know me would probably describe me as a doer. I like to keep moving, and while I hate busy-ness, I love to have a lot of projects going on - cleaning, cooking, reorganizing, making art, going on adventures, and keeping my family moving in the right directions. During the most of the day, and well into the night, I am a woman of action. 

My house is full of action, too. Lots of people live here, as well as four pets, and the door is always open for friends to stop by. I've compared my home to a factory, and that is no exaggeration. Some of us are early risers who get up and get going around five a.m.; others are night owls who burn the midnight oil till three or four a.m. If you do the math on that, you'll see that there are not a lot of quiet hours here.

So where do I go when I need a break? To my bedroom. This is where I dream, both in a literal sense at night, but also during the day. My room is about the only place in the house where I slow down enough to sit and stare out the window, or get lost in a good book, without interruptions or daily demands getting in the way of my peace and quiet. 

Let me show you my hiding place. It's not fancy or frilly, but it's totally a reflection of me. First, let me help you get your bearings; as you come to the top of my stairway, this is the view straight ahead:

Hello, Luna. Have a good nap under my bed.
Once you step inside the room, this is the view to your right.
This is the view from the corner opposite the hallway door, which now appears in the middle of this shot. The door  on the right leads to the master bath.
And here's a little private space that is mine, all mine. Well, I share the windowsill with the kittens because they love sitting there to look out, as Luna so capably demonstrates.

Here are some of the reasons why I love my bedroom:

The painting that originally inspired me still keeps the whole room pulled together.
I love this poster of Paul Klee's Fortress and Sun. The browns and reds ground the room's color scheme, the geometry brings me a soothing sense of order, and the colorful playfulness of the whole piece fills me with child-like energy and enthusiasm. Klee is one of my favorite master painters, and this is one of my favorite pieces of his work. It motivates me to dream.

Serendipitously, different cast-offs from around the house have made their way up to my room and fit in perfectly.
Example Number One: This striped IKEA rug used to live in the living room until I decided that its colorful ka-POW was TKO-ing the colors of the art in that room. So in came a new, more neutral rug for that room, and this guy wandered around looking for a new place to live. I soon introduced him to Paul Klee, and they became perfect partners.

Example Number Two: My mother-in-law generously offered us the precious upholstered rocker that she used to nurse her babies. It's a tiny little chair, perfectly suited for a tiny little mama, and we all quickly decided that it should eventually belong to my third daughter, who is just a tiny little thing herself. Rather than reupholster the chair to my tastes, I decided to let it live in my room under a soft brown cover until the distant day when my daughter takes it for herself. I love that the history of this chair will include time spent in a quiet corner of my room, and when I sit in it, I often dream about the future.

The square shape of the room and the simple, stripped-down furnishings give me a lot of flexibility in rearranging the space. 
Truth be told, what you see in these pics isn't really the way I meant for the furniture to be arranged in my room. Over the years, I came up with an arrangement that worked perfectly for a long time, but suddenly last summer, I became obsessed with the idea of sleeping right next to the open window. One hectic day, I sent three of my daughters upstairs and asked them to come up with a way to change the room around so that I could be close to the fresh air. Creatively, they left the big and very heavy IKEA EXPEDIT bookcase in its previous place, and shoved the bed up against it, so that it functions as a headboard. Clever girls, flexible space and a good lesson in dreaming up new solutions to our problems.

Little touches of childhood are scattered here and there around the room. 
I keep many childish things around me because I want to remember about childhood. I want to hold on to the energy and creativity and imagination that makes children dream in wild and fanciful ways. I want to be inspired to live like that.

My childhood teddy bear sits in a child-sized oak chair near the foot of my bed. 
Stuffed frogs, one wearing a tutu, claim the big chair.
The little play table from my daughters' baby days serves as a side table under my Paul Klee.
Carved wooden animals play on top of the pie safe.
I keep a tiny red IKEA chair by the side of my bed.
 A monster collection of children's picture books lives in the bookcase at the head of my bed. 

Several happy pieces of my art decorate the room.
When I create art to hang in my home, I walk a fine line of making something that truly inspires me, from an artistic point of view, but will also play a useful role in the design of my rooms. I won't paint something just to make it match to a room, but at the same time, I don't want to paint beautiful paintings only to stash them out in the garage. The pieces that I created for my bedroom successfully walk this line.

A few years ago, when I first brought home the EXPEDIT bookcase, I knew that such a massive piece would require a bold painting to balance it. Somehow, the colors of tomato soup jumped into my head and this painting was conceived.

Then, these tiny RIBBA frames from IKEA captured my imagination and I thought it would be fun to stand them on the bookcase, in front of my tomato soup painting. Inside the frames, I imagined some sort of collage art with a storybook feeling, since the case is full of storybooks. Blending those thoughts with the geometric townscape of my Klee poster, these little houses came rattling out of my brain.

I loved the look of the little buttons in my house collages and decided that I needed some circles on the other side of the room, too. In my art classes at school, I'd been having the kids play around with different sized hole punches, which somehow led me to this collage, also hanging out in a RIBBA frame.

And finally, four more white RIBBAs are decked out in a vertical row, showcasing nothing more than four geometric-printed scrapbook papers. Now maybe you have seen this idea before, of framing scrapbook paper and calling it art. The Young House Love kids did it here, boasting proudly of their ability to take scrapbook paper that cost about sixty cents a sheet, popping it into a set of RIBBAs and creating a perfectly fine gallery wall. 

But my inspiration worked in the opposite direction. I bought a pad of scrapbook paper to use for various projects, and noticed that I never wanted to use the papers that I loved the most. It sounds ridiculous, I know, but I just couldn't bring myself to use up my favorite patterns and colors. Interestingly, I noticed that the papers were a fit with the other art in my bedroom, and suddenly I dreamed up the perfect solution. By framing my beloved papers, I could both put them to use and enjoy them every day. 

I have special places to store my sentimental treasures and secret stashes.
This antique pie safe, with its original perforated tin panels, is one of the nicest pieces of furniture I own. But what makes it especially dear to me is that it's stuffed full of my treasured journals, diaries, photographs and mementos.

My nightstand has a special drawer, complete with a cutesy bubble Anthropologie pull, that hides some of my other little treasures.

Best of all, my friendly and faithful comforter with its neat grid of not-so-perfect green circles, keeps me warm and cozy while I dream.

Sweet dreams to you...and Annie, too!

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Want to see the rest of my house? Check these out:


  1. Via Facebook, a reader asked me to elaborate on the story behind the armless doll in my cupboard that looks like it speaks. Here is what I told her:

    Growing up, I had kind of a split personality - half the time, I was running wild through the woods, and the other half of the time, I was heavily into dolls and playing house. I had a decent-sized family of baby dolls (enough to act out Little House On The Prairie story lines) but I got them all when I was really young and didn't get any new ones. By the time I was 10 or 11, I was desperate to adopt one more before I "grew up" and this one caught my eye. Bought her with my own money and loved her madly. Saved her forever and ever. Let my daughters play with her, and somehow her clothes got lost, her voicebox gave out, and her arm snapped off. Rough life but I don't regret any of it. Now she lives a quiet life as a nudist, and I still admire her big blue eyes and happy smile.

  2. I think that I would be able to have a sweet dreams on that beautiful house. I really enjoyed seeing all the beautiful things inside your house. I know that you really did a great job on maintaining that beautiful house.

    1. Thank you, Dottie! I'm glad you enjoyed my home and I loved showing you..thanks for reading.


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