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DecorBook Classic : Shopping for a Bedroom Refresh

If you're like me, you have a room or two that just isn't pulled together. Last week, it was time to get this bedroom sorted. My primary goal was to do it as inexpensive as possible, including shopping other rooms in my house especially my basement. Oh, there were a few purchases including velvet pillow covers from Amazon ($22 for 2) stuffed with IKEA goose feather inserts pulled out of the basement. New heavy percale sheets from HomeGoods ($40) but the white comforter is borrowed from another room . Let's take a look at how the room shaped up.

My new handyman, Brad, assembled a Wayfair bedframe ($135) as I am done with dust ruffles. I want to vacuum under the bed. The headboard, albeit homemade, was still fresh. P and I made the headboard out of plywood, covering it with the fabric from an old Matelasse coverlet.

I'd been using my parents 1940's mahogany drop leaf table as a side table but I wanted something on the other side of the bed. Turns out, the solution was right under my nose. Literally. It finally dawned on me that I could use an old trunk in the bedroom if I could make it a bit taller.

I ordered 9" metal table legs from Amazon ($27 for 4)) and Brad screwed them in to the wood base.

Here's a before photo of the trunk with new legs. I've had this trunk since the 1970's - from either Uncle Ernie's farm or Auntie Bea's Portland house. Checking on eBay was a revelation. Similar trunks were listed for upwards of $30. Yep, $30.

And after. Realizing this trunk doesn't have much resell value, I threw caution to the wind. Thanks to leftover paint in the basement, I coated the entire trunk white. I also painted the grey tray a flat black.

On the wall, near the closet door, is one of my favorite photographs.

When I bought the photo at an art fair in the early 1990's, the photographer, Christine Dellosso, told me how she came to take the picture. She met a little boy in a village in Senegal who took her hand, insisting she go home with him to take his mother's picture. When she arrived, the mother left for a few minutes and came back in her glorious blue wedding dress. Her husband rushed to pick flowers (you can see a bit of him at the left). The little boy's sister sits on their mother's lap. Christine titled this picture "African Queen." It was love at first sight for me. The old frame is from a flea market.

Here's my parents' mahogany dining table that I painted a few years ago. The black pot used to be on the deck. The IKEA plant was in another room. (For some reason, the camera isn't capturing the lampshade texture.)

I had bought the round mirror pre-pandemic but now I needed a second one for the other side of the bed. I found its twin at Marshall's last week (still priced at $39.99). What luck!

I took this watercolor off the wall to take a better photo. I found this old frame ($5) last month at the French Flea Market in San Rafael and bought a new mat (Michael's, $7) The watercolor itself was painted by my great uncle, John Thomas Nolf (1872-1950).

Nolf was certainly a character. I love that he left his modest estate to his "housekeeper." According to Soulis Auction's website, "John Thomas Nolf, short-term resident of Joplin, Missouri and many other locales lived a pretty colorful life before becoming an artist. Winnings from a poker game enabled him to move to Chicago, where he attend the Art Institute, launching his career as an artist, illustrator and teacher. He is most associated with the quaint Illinois village of Grand Detour, home of the Grand Detour Artist's Colony where he described himself as mayor - and another described him as 'Will Rodgers without the chewing gum and lariat.'"

Still shopping my basement, I found table-top decor. And a lamp, although I did buy 3-way light bulbs (Home Depot, $23). Besides the round mirror, my "splurge" was a few artificial plants from IKEA. I prefer live plants but this room doesn't get a lot of light. I love this IKEA fern ($18) which has paper-like fronds and is quite lifelike. As life goes on, I'll happily change the art, table- top stuff and linens but the fundamentals of the room are now in place. If you have a minute, let me know if you're refreshing any rooms this year. It's quite satisfying. In the meantime, Happy Sunday!

P.S. Read more about the unorthodox life of John Thomas Nolf -


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