I often get asked how I do certain things, from styling outfits to designing interior spaces, so in response, I've started a new series that I'm calling, "How I Do Dat" as a way to answer your questions and share fun how-to videos with you all. To kick things off, I'm walking you through the process of how I recreated a guest bedroom at our farmhouse in Upstate New York. My hope is that you'll feel inspired to try something new yourself.
What started out as a white box four years ago when we bought the place, has turned into a space I often go in to read or do some work. The original built-in desk and window overlooks our bird feeder in the side garden with chipmunks, squirrels and birds always in view, making this a special spot.
My initial inspiration for painting and refreshing this room was the color tone in the washed-out vintage fabric of a custom DIANI Living pillow that I made. When it came down to deciding on paint color, I went with Ammonite from Farrow and Ball with a pearl finish. I chose a pearl finish because, when painting on wood (in our case pine shiplap), having a slightly glossier finish gives the walls a more durable surface, and a luxe feel to the touch. It also reflects light in a really pretty way. I went back and forth on the exact color, but when you know, you know... Farrow and Ball does a series of whites and none of them look white at all... they're shades of very neutral colors. This one has a hint of grey... a really warm grey, almost taupe-ish. Gutting a room, filling holes and painting it is the hardest part of the project, but it's so worth seeing all the colors and textures come together.
Sometimes a controversial concept in the interior design world, I typically like to paint the ceiling the same color as the walls. I don't like seeing a transition line...I find it interrupts the flow. I also painted all the doors the same color as the walls. That way the room is kept soft and soothing to the eye. When it's time to put the room back together, I like to start with the biggest piece of furniture to help set the framing and symmetry. I made the bed using my favorite linen sheet set and a striped duvet from Restoration Hardware (see similar here). I then layered in one of my custom designed DIANI Living pillows and this striped long cushion that's been following me everywhere (see here and here). The final touch is topping the bed with a throw blanket which gives the large flat surface movement. Video below.
The room isn't very big so I liked the idea of hanging a bedside lamp instead of taking up table space. Jeffrey hung this mid century industrial style lamp which I found on one of my many scavenger hunts. I think I paid $20 for it. Our ultimate goal is to take the shiplap down on the back wall to reveal the original stone wall (this wall used to be the exterior of the house before the addition in the 1950's), so I wanted side tables that wouldn't block any of that. Clear acrylic is a great minimal approach when you have dominant details competing like this wood headboard which we found at a local antique store. It's a 1700's Dutch headboard and couldn't be more perfect for our 1700's Dutch farmhouse (not to mention my Dutch husband) You can find the side tables here... and, fun fact, they're multi-purpose and can also be used as a lap desk or a coffee table. Whilst I love symmetry, I also love unique details. So, I don't think objects or lights that you pick need to match when it comes to finding balance in a room. I freshened up one side of the bed by using two vases to display fresh flowers, and to bring a lighting element to the opposite side as the lamp, I have my signature candle on top of a cookbook... no better time or place to poke through recipes than at bedtime.
Above the headboard, Jeffrey hung a vintage lithograph that I gave him for his birthday one year. It features two of his favorite things - sailing and New York City. I found it while rummaging through an antique flea market. The simplicity of the image creates visual interest without overpowering the neutral color palette.
On the opposite wall to the bed is a built-in desk and a window overlooking the side garden. I've always thought of this area as a cozy nook for reading or working, so I didn't feel like I needed to do much in terms of design. Instead I chose to enhance its historical features by adding in a cane arm chair (see similar here), an antique lamp that I upgraded with new silk cord and linen lampshade, and a tray with a few desk objects – a heather and dandelion paperweight, one of Jeffrey's favorite vintage cameras from his father, and a succulent arrangement.
If you have any questions, thoughts or ideas, I'd love your comments. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org... I'd love to chat. Hope you're having a safe and fun holiday weekend.
The room looks fab! Love the warm tone of the white you’ve chosen and the lushious green view out the window.