Friday, February 12, 2016

Master Bedroom Progress, Part 3

With the windows mostly repaired and the walls painted, we're at the fun stage in our master bedroom. Now, most of the remaining work is about finding the right furniture, adding decorative accents, and optimizing storage.

Once again, I need to apologize for the poor lighting in these pictures. As I've mentioned before, this room actually has a wonderful amount of natural light; I'm just doing a terrible job of capturing it. 

We're really pleased with the new (to us) light fixtures in this room. The porcelain table lamps were Ebay finds, and according to the seller they are converted oil lamps. My husband isn't convinced these lamps are as old as advertised, but even if they aren't, I still like the style. I have never ordered anything this fragile from Ebay before, and I was not sure if the lamps would arrive in good condition. They did. Each piece was carefully wrapped in bubble wrap. The shades were included in the purchase, and arrived in an entirely separate box to protect them from the heavy lamp bases.

The lamp bases are green with gold accents. The artwork and area rugs in this room have sage green elements, so these lamps work well in the space. We have an antique botanical print on one wall of the alcove, and an Asian silk painting on another of the alcove walls. The lamps work very well with these pieces. I like seeing these two photos next to each other, because it's a great example of how the paint color changes in this room based on the lighting conditions.

Antique botanical print. Natural daylight only.

Silk painting. Natural daylight, plus lamps
The brass chandelier is the real showstopper in this room. It was a Craigslist find and the posting said it was a converted oil lamp. We're positive that this chandelier was actually used as an oil lamp, because in many places we can see traces of oil residue. The chandelier needed to be rewired, so it was listed for a reasonable price. My father-in-law is very experienced with electrical work and has shared a lot of that knowledge with my husband, S. At this point, S has rewired a half dozen antique light fixtures. Rewiring lamps and hanging light fixtures is starting to feel like second nature to him.

Even so, rewiring this chandelier was a bit of a challenge. Parts of it were rusted and corroded, making it difficult to disassemble in order to replace the old wire. We special ordered the thinnest wire we could find, but even so, it was a very tight fit to get the wire through the narrowest section of this lamp. The first time he rewired the chandelier, the wire was short by about 1" so we had to start from scratch. Oops. It was a learning process, to say the least. The rewiring process took a couple of weekends and we're not quite done: One of the lightbulbs keeps burning out, so we need to troubleshoot that issue on some weekend when we feel like shutting off the second floor power.

The shades are my favorite part. They have hobnail details, and the glass is mostly clear, with milky white near the ruffled edges.

And when the chandelier is on, it casts a lovely glow around the room.

The one downside to this room is that it has limited storage. There's a single 36" wide closet, which you can see on the right side of the picture above. 36" may have been a sufficient amount of storage for a Victorian couple, but we have a very modern amount of stuff. We decided that my husband would store his clothes in the closet in our bedroom and I would store my things elsewhere.

But it wasn't really working out:

There were no shelves built into this closet, so he tried using a wire storage unit left over from his college days. But those wire storage units are never very sturdy, even when they are brand new. His was at least a decade old. It was so rickety that the shelves were constantly collapsing, so he ended up stacking his clothes in higher and higher piles in the closet. And on the floor. Outside of the closet. He was doing the best he could, but his closet was so dysfunctional that his clothes were always a mess. And then I would get cranky because of the lack of organization.

Two weekends ago, he built some custom shelving in his closet and it has made a vast improvement. There is still room to hang his suits and dress shirts. But now he has five cedar shelves for all his folded items.

We decided to use cedar because 1) it will deter moths and 2) the closet already had cedar paneling. Cedar is a pricey wood so the raw materials were about $60 for this project. The advantage of this custom unit is that my husband was able to build himself precisely what he wanted.

Fun fact: no sandpaper was used in the creation of these shelves. S decided to plane the cedar boards using antique wood planes. He has been building a collection of antique tools and has been experimenting with them for several weeks. He finds enjoyment in trying to use historic tools and methods when possible. 

Antique wood planes

Cedar shelves, after the boards were cut and glued together. There are three shelves pictured here.


For the time being, my belongings are spread among the closets in our guest bedrooms (yes, plural closets. I have a lot of clothes. And shoes. And handbags). Eventually, we're looking to find a better storage solution for me. In my head, I'm picturing some sort of massive wardrobe with options for both hanging and folding clothes. If the wardrobe can transport me to Narnia, I'll be thrilled. But if the wardrobe holds my clothes, I'll be satisfied. I'm also considering some under-the-bed storage options from The Container Store to really maximize our usable space in this room.

We're also on the hunt for a pair of nightstands. We've checked several antique sores, but haven't found anything suitable yet. I'm not precisely sure what style we're looking for, but I think we'll know it when we see it. The clearance on either side of our bed is somewhat limited, so we'll need to find narrow nightstands. The wood tones don't need to match our bed exactly, but we want them to be in the same general family. In the meantime, we're using my husbands childhood nightstand and a red nightstand from a thrift store. Other than the nightstands and a wardrobe, there isn't much other furniture we'd like to add to this room. From a decorative standpoint, we'd like some sheer curtains (samples are on the way) and I think we could use a focal point above the headboard. But this room is coming along and it's a very comfortable space.

Thanks for reading, folks. Have a great weekend!

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  1. It looks just great, Jamie! I love the pink. You are doing such a great job with everything. Also, on my screen, your pictures look nice. If you haven't used it yet, I love for photo editing. It is my favorite. I use Photoshop too, but PicMonkey is fast and perfectly acceptable for web photo use.

    1. Thank you so much, Stacy. It's nice to feel like one room in our house is finally approaching the completion stage. I was surprised my husband agreed to the pink wall color, but he did : ).

      And thanks for the tip on PicMonkey. It sounds like it could work really well for me. I've been using Ribbet, which is alright for some editing, but it definitely has its limitations.

  2. I wonder if using a pink bAthroom with green accents for so many years has snuck into your subconscious? Really enjoy seeing the progress!

    1. Haha -- you're probably right about the influence of the pink and green bathroom. I didn't even think of that!

  3. That light fixture is amazing! I love using antique lighting. It adds so much history back to our old rooms. The fact that yours used to be an oil lamp is so cool!

    1. Thank you, Meg! We were delighted when we found this chandelier. It has made such a difference in this room. Our master is now so cozy that I really have to motivated self to spend time in other rooms in the house!