...because home doesn't happen overnight.
07.30.14 / The Master Bedroom

Once upon a time our bedroom was a very scary place.

master br before 2

From what we can discern, the previous owner used it as a painting studio. The room was home to dozens of canvases and numerous dressers holding art supplies when we first toured the house. The green shag carpet was horribly stained. One corner of the room showed signs of water damage. (We later learned from neighbors that a tree fell and damaged that corner of the house when Hurricane Ike barreled through in 2008.)

master br before 1

The room faces northeast and receives the least amount of natural light of all the rooms in the house. In the summer (shown here and in the “afters” below), the room takes on an eerie green glow.

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An adjoining bathroom – albeit small – was the only thing this room had going for it. Please notice the dark trail from the hallway to the bathroom. (!) I don’t even want to know. Let’s hope it was paint.

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We added foam insulation to the exterior walls, ripped up the carpet, sprung for new windows, laid engineered hardwood flooring, installed chunky new baseboards and had the electrical upgraded to include a ceiling fixture. Among other things. Choosing a paint color for this room proved difficult. Before moving in, we painted it the same color as the main living space but the light hue looked very dingy in this room. I repainted the walls a warm gray with green-blue undertones that play nicely in the dim light. Sometimes it looks gray. Sometimes it looks green. Sometimes it looks blue. But it always feels calm and soothing – even under artificial lighting at night.

Placing the bed under the eastern window was our only viable option in this room. I initially bought a curved headboard but the lines were all wrong under the squarish window. I switched it out for the straight, upholstered one seen here.

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In each of the bedrooms, we ditched the closet doors in favor of curtain panels hung high and wide. For us, it’s easier to access the closet contents this way. The panels make it feel a little like a dressing experience, too, if that makes any sense. Most of the time, I stand inside the closet to dress. Hanging the curtains outside of the frame gave us a good 6″ of extra closet depth. All of Steve’s and my clothing is in this modest closet. Everything is organized with off-the-shelf wire racks and drawers. We were even able to incorporate two pull-out hampers (one for darks, one for lights) in the closet design. Shoes currently not in rotation are stored in the slim wall cabinet to the right of the closet.

We’ve been pleasantly surprised by how wonderful it is to have a pared down closet. Steve and I both enjoy expressing our styles via our wardrobes and, before living in this house, we were accustomed to large, walk-in closets. What we’ve found though is that we are much more focused on quality vs. quantity when it comes to buying clothing now. We’re spending less money on clothing by buying more long-haul pieces. Since space is limited (we have a set number of hangers and shelves) we subscribe to the “one thing in, one thing out” policy. And the closet is always tidy! Don’t let anyone fool you into believing you need a walk-in closet to be happy.

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Matching sconces and nightstands flank the bed. Framed prints bridge the gap between the sconces and the top of the nightstands. We don’t keep too much bedside but I love having greenery (I clip it from the backyard) and a stack of books nearby.

For cohesion, we hung the same woven shades found throughout the house. For privacy, we installed blackout roller shades within each window frame. They aren’t visible until we pull them down at night. A nubby jute rug picks up on the woven blinds.

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I tried to keep the bedding gender neutral with a striped duvet and embroidered hemp pillow. IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: I like stripes and natural textures.

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A vintage dresser sits opposite the bed. I think it’s my favorite craigslist find of all time. The black and white abstract art was painted by the previous owner. I leaned it against the wall to “try it out” nearly two years ago and liked the casual look so much I left it that way.

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We rigged the top dresser drawer so that it’s hinged and can be used as a keyboard pull-out. It’s lined with cork so no mouse pad is needed. The “dresker” is the perfect place for Steve to take evening conference calls or work from home when necessary. I keep a wool blanket in the second drawer for freezing winter nights but the bottom two drawers are empty!

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This is the view looking into the bedroom from the doorway. You can barely see the door frame to the bathroom on the left. The large canvas was a controversial DIY. (You can read more about it via a link near the end of this post. There’s an interesting discussion in the comments section.) I love it nonetheless.

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master br 1

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It took us every bit of two years to get our bedroom just right. I can still remember the nights of insomnia staring at the ceiling contemplating this room. My goal was to create a peaceful place to retreat at the end of every busy day. I can’t say I won’t tweak things in here ever again but it does offer the calming respite I was hoping for. We sleep well.

Resources of note:

wall paint – Benjamin Moore half moon crest
trim paint – Benjamin Moore white dove
flooring – Jasper engineered hardwood handscraped birch in Texas brown via Build Direct
ceiling fixture – Robert Abbey axis aged brass ceiling light
woven shades – petite rustique from Overstock
blackout roller shades – Levolor from Lowe’s
curtain panels – Ikea
curtain rods – Target
closet organization – ClosetMaid
bed – West Elm (discontinued)
headboard – West Elm nailhead upholstered headboard in brushed heather cotton, gray haze
duvet – DwellStudio draper stripe
white blanket – Target
embroidered pillow – OrientalTribe11 on etsy
sconces – House of Troy addison swing arm lamp in antique brass
nightstands – Vilas one-drawer nightstand from Overstock (I spray painted the knobs gold.)
wood frames – Target
art prints – printwork on etsy
yarn-wrapped gazelle – Target
Barcelona bench – Rove Concepts in palermo caramel leather
sheepskin – Ikea
9′ x 12′ jute rug – Overstock
shoe cabinet – Ikea (I spray painted the knobs gold.)
mirror – RSI from Wayfair
desk chair – West Elm saddle office chair
kilim pillow – Sukan on etsy
chevron art – DIY
dresser – vintage Willett via craigslist
lamp – Robert Abbey delta table lamp
black and white abstract art – estate sale
faux antlers – One Kings Lane
driftwood sculpture – thrifted

If you’re interested in seeing how this room evolved, here are a slew of bedroom-related links:

























You can access this master bedroom tour (along with a general house tour and individual room tours) under the “See My House” tab in the side bar. I’ll be adding more rooms in the weeks to come. Thanks for reading!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

barcelona bench 1

The horse blanket isn’t the only new thing at the foot of our bed. But before we get to it, let’s back up for a minute.

barcelona bench 2

Our bedroom is rectangular in shape. We placed the bed on one of the smaller walls, opposite the bathroom, which is really the only feasible location for a bed in this room. I haven’t mentioned it before but the area between the foot of our bed and bathroom is a decent size. And it has always felt a little empty. I’m all for open space in a room but it felt like something should be there – either a bench or a pair of ottomans. Something. I hadn’t taken it any further than that though. I mean, a bench wasn’t completely necessary and we were getting along fine without one.

Then one of my friendly sponsors, Rove Concepts, sent me an email asking if I might be interested in a piece of their furniture. I politely decline the majority of these types of requests because they don’t jive with my purpose and / or aesthetic. And I turned this one down as well. But six months later I received another email from them so I quickly glanced at their inventory to see if anything caught my eye. When I came across the Barcelona bench inspired by Mies van der Rohe, I was smitten. It was the ideal scale and style. I ordered the 52″ length in natural ash with a palermo caramel cushion. It had a twelve week lead time but finally arrived two weeks ago and it’s practically perfect in every way.

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As I was assembling it, Steve and I had a moment. We didn’t feel worthy of this bench. It’s a true work of art. The craftsmanship and attention to detail are impeccable. The bench is one of those forever pieces that’s crazy versatile. It’s sturdy and has a presence to it without feeling heavy…if that makes any sense. I like that it sits up off the floor with open space between the seat and floor. That gives it a lighter feel than, say, a slipcovered bench with a skirt.

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The leather is beautiful. It’s the perfect shade of caramel with flawless tufting and piping. It’s so soft, smooth and supple. Like butt’ah. It will only get better with age and wear. I love the natural patina that worn leather takes on over time. The warm hue of the cushion picks up on the wood tones of the nearby dresser, chair legs and bathroom mirror.

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Our bedroom can be a flurry of activity with three kids who like to romp on the bed and only one functioning bathroom which also happens to be the adjoining master bath.

Fun fact #1: I make the bed every morning but it rarely stays that way.

Fun fact #2: Sometimes there is a line for the potty in our bedroom. 

Our bedroom definitely isn’t a kid-free zone. Often times, all five of us can be found hanging out in here. The bench sorta acts like a buffer for our bed and provides extra seating, too. It’s a welcome addition. (Mabrey loves climbing onto the bed via the bench.)

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I haven’t cheated on my mattress and taken the bench for a sleeping spin (yet!) but the thought has crossed my mind. And that awkward space between our bed and bathroom? It’s not awkward anymore. The bench shrunk the barren area but we still have plenty of room to move around without feeling cramped.

While I’m happily working for and claiming the Barcelona bench, I understand that it may overreach some budgets. If you can afford it, I would highly recommend it. However, if you’re in the market for a similar bench with a smaller price tag, may I suggest this, this or this?

I’m curious. Do you have anything at the foot of your bed? A bench, a pair of ottomans, a trunk? Maybe you prefer nothing?

Stay tuned for a Rove Concepts giveaway later today! I told you those peeps were friendly.

This post was sponsored in part by Rove Concepts. All images and opinions are my own.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

bedroom shoe cabinet 2

Remember when I relocated the shoe cabinet and octagon mirror to our bedroom? Well, after a while that mirror didn’t feel quite right. The shape was all wrong for the rectangular space between our curtained closet and bedroom door. The mirror itself was a tad small, too. And it was difficult to use the mirror for quick once-overs due to the straight dividers that broke the mirror up into four quadrants. So I replaced it…

br mirror 1

…with a larger rectangular mirror. {I’m going to apologize now for the inconsistent lighting in the upcoming shots. Our north-facing bedroom gets the weirdest green haze in the afternoon and the sun kept coming and going as I hurriedly snapped these pics while Mabrey was napping and the boys were reading. Still love me?} I also spray painted the knobs on the shoe cabinet the same gold as our nightstands‘ hardware. I wouldn’t be surprised if our local Home Depot is out of stock on gold spray paint. I can’t help myself.

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This wider shot better shows how the new mirror fills the wall between the closet and door.

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The mirror is very heavy. We ran into a little snafu when it came to hanging it just because we were expecting it to have ready-to-hang hardware on the back. But it didn’t. HH added two picture hangers on each side of the frame’s backside and then it was good to go. This particular wall is plaster so HH used wall anchors to hang the mirror securely.

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I love the solid wood frame of this mirror. It’s really simple – no mitered corners, no ornate details – and the finish is a warm, rich cognac. So, so handsome.

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It ties into the hardwood floors, nightstands and dresser really well. It just works.

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I added a few things to the top of the shoe cabinet last minute. Just stuff I already had on hand.

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The picture frame was {yet another!} HomeGoods clearance find – $7. I slipped a picture of HH and me inside. The votive was from Target. I clipped the flower from my backyard. The number tiles are the house’s original house numbers. {I switched up the order for privacy reasons.} I took them down last week when I started cleaning up the front entrance in preparation for a little makeover. They are soooo small! I’m not entirely sure you could even see them from the road. Our new house numbers will be much LARGER. I might end up gluing the old ones onto a piece of reclaimed wood or something but I like seeing them in our bedroom.

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The gold dipped bowl is a Nate Berkus piece. {You can see more of the votive and bowl here.} His stuff just keeps getting better and better if you ask me. HH empties his pockets into the bowl at night. I pulled the little plant from a container on our back patio and plopped it into a smaller IKEA pot.

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The best part about the new mirror is that it reflects way more light from the opposite window. Our bedroom needs as much light as it can get!

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You can’t see it yet but this view into the mirror will reflect large scale art one day. Isn’t that blank wall just begging to be artsified?

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Finally, I’ll leave you with this blurry teaser shot of a corner in our bedroom. There’s an empty dresser that we want to transform into a little workstation {HH works from home sometimes and needs a quiet spot to take conference calls} and we splurged on the super comfy saddle chair. It’s so comfy that I’m seriously contemplating the counter stool version as an upgrade to my $10 stopgap stool. Which begs the question…can one house have too much chevron?

Can’t wait to share more as we slowly make progress!

The new mirror is part of a monthly collaboration between House*Tweaking and Wayfair. All selections, images and opinions are my own. Thanks to Wayfair for supporting my habit.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

nightstand 1

I’m calling it. The nightstands are done. Until I tweak them. So, really, what I’m saying is that this “done” business doesn’t mean a thing.

nightstand 2


nightstand 3


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In general, I think guys tend to like less stuff on their nightstand. And they want the majority of what’s there to be practical. Think alarm clock, good lighting and a few good reads. To add a little life, bring in some greenery, manly animalia and masculine art. I also used a wire {versus woven or fabric} basket on the bottom shelf of HH’s nightstand for an industrial look. One thing I learned during this fun styling project…HH prefers no blatant pictures of kids in the bedroom. Apparently, it can be distracting? {I guess I need to find a new home for this one.} He said he heard about it on Bob & Tom.

his nightstand

sources: swing arm lamp // driftwood frame // tribal print // one drawer nightstand // brass rhino // wood alarm dock

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Women, on the other hand, like some pretties on their nightstand. Think fresh flowers, jewelry, photos and shiny objects. I’m a book-in-bed kinda girl so my nightstand holds books galore. I put framed photos on the bottom shelf of my nightstand to keep HH from feeling weird.

her nightstand


sources: swing arm lamp // driftwood frame // modern geo print // one drawer nightstand // Threshold yarn-wrapped gazelle // two-sided picture frame

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If you’re looking for a foolproof his & hers nightstand decorating recipe, try keeping the basics {nightstand, lighting, any wall frames, etc.} the same then cater to different gender needs and wants with a mix of tabletop accessories and artwork. You get a balanced but not perfectly matched look. Of course, using non-matching nightstands and lamps is great too! Either way, try creating height next to the bed – either with lamps or wall art – and then fill the space between the higher objects and nightstands with accessories.

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I used swing arm wall lamps and non-matching framed prints to create height next to the headboard. I used clipped greenery {from my backyard}, stacks of books and other tabletop accessories to bridge the gap between the higher items and the nightstands.

I have a hard time leaving store bought furniture and accessories alone. I always find something to tweak. Here, I spray painted the nightstand knobs gold. Originally, they were black and lost against the dark wood drawer. The gold knobs are like gold stud earrings. Simple, classic, easy. I also spray painted the two-sided picture frame {99¢!!} gold to dress it up and tie into the other gold objects. It looks like it should cost at least $5 now.

nightstand 8

Our new bedroom setup might be detrimental to the blog. After the kids are tucked in for the night, all I want to do is jump in bed and put those swing arm lamps to good use. READING. I’m talking about reading.

Do you have any tips for his & hers nightstand styling?

PS – To all my gay and lesbian friends {no DOMA!}, any feminine men and any masculine women out there, sorry for the stereotypical post. Feel free to read this as Masculine & Feminine Nightstands and apply accordingly. 

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking