My very "Grown-up" Bed

At the age of 35, I've finally achieved what I consider a very grown-up bed.  Finally, right?  I blame grad school for delaying this achievement even longer.  From college to my 20's and admittedly into my early 30's, I didn't invest very much in my bed, linens, pillows or my mattress. I thought there were more important things to spend money on and I was moving every year or so. But when you think about how important sleep is to your health and well-being it's a bit nuts that we don't invest more in all the elements that allow you to sleep restfully.  

In my former career as an attorney, I was a walking zombie. I was so stressed that it would take me very long to decompress and I would wake up frequently in the night. I was averaging 6 hours of sleep or less which isn't good for anyone. When I changed careers, I made the conscious decision to also focus on my overall health as well, including sleep and my sleep habits. 

So what steps did I take?  Here are my prerequisites for a very grown-up bed:

1) Bedframe. Invest in a bedframe you love and that is suited to your lifestyle. Do you like to read in bed? A higher upholstered bedframe is probably a good idea so you can sit and read for long periods of time. Do you have allergies? Weird question I know, but you might want consider getting a bed raised off the ground, so you can clean all those dust bunnies on a weekly basis.  Do you have a dog that sleeps on the bed with you? Might want to forgo a frame with a footboard so your furry friend can hop in easily.  You get the idea. My recommendation, stick with a frame that is timeless in both color and design. 

2) Sheets. Invest in quality sheets that feel great on your skin and ones that let your body breathe. Stick to natural fibers like cotton and linen. I swear by my linen sheets, I know some people find them a bit too scratchy, but they get softer with each wash. It took me four months to save up for my linen sheets and worth every single penny. Thread count isn't everything as numerous articles have stated. If your budget allows, focus on companies that have a good reputation and are known for their linens. I've heard good things about Parachute and Rough Linen

3) Mattress. Perhaps the most important element, purchase a mattress that is well made, comfortable and provides the right amount of support.  When we first moved to San Francisco, my mother-in-law gifted us with a really expensive tempurpedic mattress. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I woke up sweating every night. Apparently, this is a common problem. When we moved to Oakland, we placed that mattress in the guest room and since we just purchased a house we spent $300 on a mattress and that's what we had been using until Tuft and Needle gave us a mattress to try. The first couple of nights, I wasn't quite sure if it was firm enough for me, but a week in, I can confidently say I'm a convert. And a plus? No sweaty nights. The firmness and support level is ideal for my husband and me.  What's so surprising is that we have differing opinions of what makes a mattress good for sleep, and despite the lack of consensus, the Tuft & Needle mattress has suited our needs and wants equally.  The lesson? Find a mattress that's right for you. I also don't think you have to spend a ridiculous amount of money to get that perfect mattress. There are so many options out there today, go forth, do your research and try some out! 

4) Pillows. Similar to mattresses, pillows are so basic but so important. Are you a side sleeper? A back sleeper? All those things matter when choosing the perfect pillow for you.  Do you have allergies? You may want to avoid down pillows and stick with synthetic fillings. There are even pillows for those with back/neck issues or people that are prone to snoring. Your partner just might end up thanking you for that pillow switch! Similar to mattresses, the sky seems to be the limit on how much one can spend on just one pillow, but order some and test them out prior to committing. 

For fun, I've created two bed looks, one for those in your 20's and another for those in your 30's, both from current projects I'm working on. Hopefully these looks can inspire you to start investing in your bed, sleep and sanity! 

In your 20's, it's often the case that your budget is a bit tighter so I've sourced items that look great and are affordable. 

I recently finished a project with the most inviting bedroom. It's the ideal design for those in your 30's, armed with a bit more disposable income, to create that sanctuary you deserve.  All sources below! 

 I started a bit late in obtaining my grown-up bed, and I have major regrets. Learn from my mistake. There's nothing better than crawling into your own bed, especially if it's beautiful and comfortable. 

Our mattress was generously provided by Tuft & Needle. All thoughts and opinions are my own.




Mill Valley Project, Part Deux

Finally here! Mill Valley Project, Part Deux. If you want the background, rewind and read all about it here.  It feels like we've been working on this project for a while, but not so. We tackled this large transformation and completed it about two months. Whew. Just tired thinking about it.

Quick recap? The family was moving into this new home within 30 days because the newest addition to the family was dying to come into this world, basically 2 weeks after move-in. We tried to accomplish as much as we could in a month despite a host of logistical hurdles. And for the most part we did! But as is the case with projects like this, we needed more time to perfect things. This post is about my second installation where we finished the rest of the rooms and put finishing touches on others. 

We saved the best for last, ready? Here we go. 

Let's start with the kids' rooms. Here is the before of C's room with the staging furniture. 

Granted this was with the staged furniture and staging is a very hard job, but I definitely wasn't feeling the curtains or the red pendant light, especially for the cutest girl I know. With good bones and a clean canvas, this room was relatively easy in terms of design. We wanted to make sure it was a room that C could grow into. So for curtains and lighting we chose items that were slightly more traditional. For accessories, we had more fun.  Below are the after photos. 

Decor above cribs can be challenging. I long to hang a gallery wall or even just a nice framed print but in California I would never dare. Earthquakes are a reality. A great solution? A colorful garland can cover that bare wall in a beautiful way.  Here, C can stand in her crib now so I hung it a bit higher so she can't reach and pull it down. Safety first. 

This guy's name is Floppy and he's just perfect. He was just a digital file that I printed out so nothing too valuable or precious. Floppy's monochrome colors tone down the cuteness level just a bit to the right level of sophistication. 

Onward! Let's move on to H's room. Below are the before photos with the staging furniture. 

LIke C's room, very much a blank canvas that was crying for some fun and personality. Here are the after photos. 

As most of you know, for the first few months, a nursery may remain empty while the baby stays with mom and dad. I wanted to make sure H had a room he would enjoy and love when he was ready. Adhering to the minimalist theme throughout the house, I kept things clean, bright and modern. Mom and dad can fill things out with all the baby necessities when H is ready for his own room. 

On to the TV room. This room sits outside the kids' room and will be primarily be used for family hangouts and play. Accordingly, we chose comfortable and kid-friendly seating along with minimal accessories to keep things clutter free. Here is the before again furnished by the stagers.  

We can do better right? We want a kid friendly lounge area but not one that is literally screaming that this is for kids only. 

The coziest corner. I kept everything neutral and soothing so that when there is a huge pile of toys on the floor, it won't be so bad. The long bench cushions also keep things visually clean and attractive. 

With no coffee table, it was important to provide as much landing spaces as possible for coffee, water and wine. These nesting tables were an ideal solution. A secret? These aren't actually marble but they look so real. Even better for a space dominated by kids, right? No need to worry about watermarks or etching. 

Last but not least, let's head upstairs to the master suite. Below is the before, again with the staging furniture. 

The clients were ready for a change. Their old bedroom furniture was dark wood that felt a bit heavier. We wanted to start with a clean slate, bring in some modernity with a mix of classic. Below is the after. 

So fresh and so clean. That about sums it up. With those beams and all that natural light pouring in, I would never get out of bed if I lived here. The neutral headboard and nightstands are mainstays, a good foundation for any bedding. The lamps are different in both shape and color and add interest. The ideal sanctuary for busy parents. 

Thanks for joining me on this Mill Valley journey. Hope you had as much fun as I did!

Reading Rooms for Mom and her Mini-Me in Noe Valley

One of things I love about my job? Working on different projects with different clients allows me to flex my creative muscles. I often have clients with styles different from my own and that's completely fine.  Part of my job is to distill, edit and implement my client's design vision no matter the style or space. But when I come across a client whose style is so closely aligned with my own, the collaboration process is absolutely effortless. That is what happened here. 

This client lives with her family in a lovely Victorian in Noe Valley. She needed some help revamping two small spaces in her home. I used to live in a Victorian in Hayes Valley so I'm familiar with (and fond of) the quirky layouts that are commonplace in older San Francisco homes.

The first room to tackle was an office that was being used as more as a gathering place for odds and ends that didn't fit anywhere else in the room.  We dubbed this room the "Pink Room" for obvious reasons.  The goal was to create a reading room for Mom, a place for her meditate, relax and read after a long day of work. 

The second room on the roster was a passageway between mini-me's bedroom and the kitchen. Since mini-me's bedroom was on the smaller side, we thought we could utilize this passageway for her, an extension of her bedroom. Previously, it was being used for storage, laundry, etc. The priority was finding seating in this teeny tiny space, around 55 square feet. We anointed this room the "Reading Nook."

Below are the before photos for the Pink Room. 

At around 320 square feet this room seemed massive compared to the Reading Nook but by no means is it large. Two things were apparent to me. First, there was too much furniture in this room. Second, we needed more closed storage.  No matter how much you kondo your home, you're going to have things. Things need a place, preferably out of sight is my motto. 

I came up with a design plan which included a large credenza to tuck the majority of the office and personal items out of sight. I know the client wanted to keep things minimalist and airy, a retreat from all the craziness of life. So I limited the amount of furniture to the bare necessities. 

The white Eames chair!!! It was sitting unused in the client's master bedroom with the chair and ottoman stored separately because there was no room. What a sad state of affairs, right? Of course we had to make sure it took center stage in this reading room. See below for the after. 

The chair is haloed by natural light probably loving its new queen spot in this sanctuary. We rounded out this ideal spot with a Saarinen marble side table to rest books and glasses. A proper reading room needs proper lighting, do you spy that gray beauty?  I've been coveting the Grasshopper Floor Lamp forever so it makes my husband happy that I can live vicariously through my clients.  Last but not least, no Banner Day room would be complete without some plants. The Little Fig tree is one of my new favorites, I've added it to my rotation. 

Let's turn to the other side of the room. Below is the before. 

Although this corner was set up as a home office, the client didn't really use this space for work. After bouncing a couple of ideas, we thought perhaps a better idea was to install seating in the opposite corner of this room, as can be seen from the above photos, and place additional closed storage here. 

What a beauty. So everything you saw in the office corner is now tucked in this glorious credenza. Out of sight, out of mind. The striped table lamp provides additional lighting, the surface of the credenza can be used for books, plants and perhaps even a small bar in the future! 

Now that Mom's been taken care of, let's turn to mini-me. This space was a challenge as I stated above. The biggest hurdle was finding the appropriate seating. The door from the kitchen to this nook swung open into this room, meaning that we had to make sure the settee allowed sufficient clearance and was also petite enough to fit against the only wall without a door or window. 

Here are some before photos. 

The goal for this room was very simple: provide a dedicated reading and play space for mini-me. We had a ton of books so storage was a priority. Since this nook would primarily be a kid space, I wanted to make sure it was whimsical and fun. Below is the design I came up with. 

It's so rare to find the right place and time to install a curvy, green settee. Luckily, we found the ideal home for one. Lighting was a big concern since natural light didn't reach most of the room. Sconce lighting with gold accents are the perfect solution for when you need additional lighting and there is little to no floor space to spare. All in all, a charm filled room. See the transformation for yourself below. 

This room just makes me happy . . . and seriously makes me want to crawl into this settee to read. The client will add to the gallery wall, taking the artwork all the way up to the ceilings. The shaggy rug is soft so you can play games on the floor and the pattern will hide any minor stains. Let's move on to the opposite corner. See the before below. 

The pantry closet is to the right and as you can see, the open shelving is overflow. After purging and consolidating, the client was able to clear this open shelving out entirely. We were able to install a bookcase for mini-me. 

A girl after my own heart. Look at all those books! I purposely installed the bookcase flush against that wall. I understand that there is a window there but it looks out to a shared staircase with not much of a view. Also, easy access to the pantry was a must and I wanted to make sure the pantry door was able to swing wide open. 

What are your thoughts? Does this inspire you to change up that neglected corner/room in your own house? I hope so. These rooms show that even with the smallest square footage, with a little work and creativity, you can make every inch of your home work for you. 

Thanks for reading!