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Erin's decorating dilemma.

Erin writes:

I’m about ready now to redecorate (or rather, decorate…forget the re-) the second bedroom in my condo.  About 18 months ago, I left a one-bedroom apartment behind in Cincinnati and moved into a two-bedroom condo here in Kirkland (moving up in the world…ha).  At the time, I didn’t have much to put in that second bedroom and was a bit house poor at first thanks to a Seattle-sized mortgage (which, compared to my rent in Cincinnati, was a huge change).  I finally feel like I’ve saved enough that I can take aside some money to do something with this room. 

I need it to serve a few different purposes:
1) Office – still my primary use of the room. 
2) Closet spillover/”dressing” area – This closet contains my shoes and accessories  so I often finish getting ready in this room. 
3) Guest room – I’d like to have a better guest sleeping arrangement than the current option, which is an air mattress on the floor.  (Seattle is a lot cooler than the midwest, so I have guests pretty frequently.) 
Everything in this room is a mishmash of childhood bedroom/hand-me-down.  As you can see, there's no style coming through.  This is my most-neglected room in my place, and I really haven't tried yet. 
But here's what I like: flea-market-y but with clean lines, modern touches but not spartan, pops of color, and a bit of quirk....
I have some vague ideas of what I want for the room...start with bluish-grey on the walls (Valspar Woodlawn Silver Brook..not painted yet), maybe bring in some white/neutral via bigger pieces like furniture and shelving, and add in some really bright pops of color – like blood orange and magenta – as accents.  And I could scratch all this if there are better ideas.
I also have two very specific decorating dilemma questions:

1)       Room layout is pretty difficult because I’ve got a four-foot long baseboard heater on one wall, and I’m not sure what I can safely put in front of it.  The heater is also directly under my window, so I’m not sure if I can safely hang curtains to the floor (currently I just have builder blinds).  If I can’t put anything in front of this, then what can I do with this corner of the room, and what are some layout ideas that would really just be utilizing the other three walls (one of which is pretty much taken up by the closet)?  See the layout photo…it’s the wall with the window in between “ski stuff” and “desk.”  (In case you were worried, I didn’t make this layout just for your giveaway. :)  It’s supposed to be for my blog, eventually, if I would stop being a slacker!)

2)       Seating / guest sleeping – Currently, the ONLY seating in my room is the desk chair.  I’d like to have something comfortable in here for reading/lounging, but I also would like something that would work for a guest to sleep.  I don’t really like, or have the space for, a futon.  So, my only idea was some sort of big chair that converts to a twin sleeper.  The only options I’ve found are from Ballard Designs (not a fan of their overstuffed rolled-arm look) and CB2 (the Vince Sleeper which Nick Olsen posted about awhile ago).  Are there any other ideas out there for me?  I don’t think I can fit anything as big as a chaise, daybed, futon, etc. 

OK, so here’s the thing:  I have a lot of ideas, but I haven't really DONE much.  All I’ve really done so far is a bunch of de-cluttering over the course of a few months.  See my blog posts on this situation HERE.

…and notice that I have not mentioned this room since January 28th, 2009….hence the swift kick needed! 

Thanks, Decorno! 

P.S. If you don't already, I think you should Twitter. That is all.


Erin said...

Wow, I write some long emails. Thanks to anyone who made it to the end of that one. :) But seriously, Decorno, I am very grateful! And I look forward to some ideas from readers and this room is kind of a blank slate. Or a hot mess. One of the two.

mlessirard said...

Here is my favorite for the window wall. It's an ikea hack that really works. Simple and sweet... put the sleeping area where the bookcase wall is and re-purpose the PB bookcase in another room. How often do you have guest sleep over?

Anonymous said...

Check out the Simone daybed at Crate and Barrel. You could get it in a nuetral fabric and get pillows with the pop of color you are looking for. Big enough to use as a twin bed for guests.

Anonymous said...

I forgot....definitely put up drapes and maybe a parsons desk from West Elm in front of the window.

Anonymous said...

I forgot....definitely put up drapes and maybe a parsons desk from West Elm in front of the window.

Erin said...

Ooh, I really like the way that ikea hack creates some extra work space (and they've got a radiator in a similar spot as my heater). I will check into that for sure - thanks for the idea!
As far as guest frequency - it depends. There are months when someone's here almost every weekend, but on average it's about once long weekend a month.
I'll still use the room mostly for me, so that's why I was thinking that I'd like the sleeping area to be "disguised" as seating/lounge space (vs. a permanent bed).

Erin said...

Anon - thanks, I'll definitely check out that daybed.

As far as the drapes and desk in front of the window - do you know if I'd be OK to do that with the baseboard heater right there? That's what has kept me from putting anything major on that wall so far. I was worried about the heat with cords, drapes, etc.

Anonymous said...

The baseboard heating will help prevent you from throwing everything at the walls. This isn't a CTA bus; it's your office.

I'd suggest you stick with the air bed for guests.

Get two complimentary vintage credenzas for an 'L' behind your desk. Have the desk face out to the room - it looks like you're punishing yourself facing the corner, btw.

Buy a cool comfy chair for procrastinating - and a side table for a lamp.

Throw some art on those walls. Why is everyone afraid of hanging eye candy? I give up.

Laurie said...

What are the dimensions of your room? I don't believe a daybed is going to be any longer than the combined length of your desk and the leaning bookshelf. As long as you have room to open the door, I'd put a daybed against the wall across from the closet. This daybed w/trundle popped up on a quick search on craigslist Seattle. I'd paint it in glossy black and then use bedding and pillows in your accent colors. The lattice frame would keep it from being too heavy in the room.
Also low profile and modern - the Ludi daybed from CB2. I think the color may work in the color scheme you're going with.
I'd find an interested little table or two to put in front of the day bed for books, magazines, etc. Something that can be pushed out of the way, if necessary. I can't tell if the heater is centered under the window. Could you hang curtains on either side of the window with enough clearance? You can use wood blinds or a roller shade with the drapes or alone. I'd use a console or narrow table under the window and arrange a lamp, decorative tray, books, candle, etc on it.
If there's space, I'd use a portion of the closet for storage to declutter your office space. I'd pare down, organize and contain that area as much as possible and move it to the corner next to the door. That way you'll reduce the visual clutter of the room as you enter.

Anonymous said...

Skip the daybed idea altogether and go for a nice, modern, HIDDEN version of the Murphy bed. It'll keep your room looking neat and tidy, yet still give you extra room for guests without screaming BED! when it's not in use. Ideas here: and here:

I plan to use a Murphy bed in my own guest room...some day.

Erin said...

Anon 3:25 - Point taken on the desk...I hear you. I've wanted to try this, but the cord situation is pretty ugly with my current desktop computer and open that's why I haven't turned it around.

Also, totally agree with you on the eye candy. I'm DEFINITELY not afraid of it (quite the opposite) I said in the email to Decorno, this has been the neglected room in my place so far. I promise you will see some stuff on the walls.

Love the credenza idea - any source recommendations? Thanks for your help!

Erin said...

Laurie, thanks! The dimensions are about 11' by 10.5' or so. I could fit a daybed where the desk is now, or on the opposite corner near the bookshelf. I just need to decide if I'd want to dedicate the space to a bed...but if I put the tables in front of it as you suggested maybe it would work more like a sofa. I'll play around with this idea for sure.

The heater isn't quite centered under the window (it's a little to the left), so there might need to be a little space between the end of the window and the not sure if going to the floor would work, but if possible I would like to do that.

As far as the clutter situation - well, let's just say there's a reason the closet doors were closed in the photos. :) You would not believe how much I have already purged from this room and it STILL looks the way it does...haha! But, I would love to get some stuff out of there and make the closet more functional. I'm going to keep working on that.

Anonymous said...

I always like to see the best possible view when I pass by a door or walk into a room ... so I would suggest moving your desk and open shelving to the opposite corner of the room (using the area to the left of the closet and the wall area next to the door). You could move the cabinet to the right of the window and buy a nice twin sleeper sofa (Crate and Barrel has some nice ones). The sofa would face your closet, centered on that opposite wall, and you could put a small table or ottoman in front of it. I think you have the room for it. Nice artwork over the sofa, and a pretty lamp or two. I would use a relaxed roman shade on the window. You can buy tubes to hide all of the cords behind your desk.

Laurie said...

On further consideration, I think a small round table in front of the window would be nice. Something approximatetly 29" tall and probably no more than 27" or so wide. Just big enough for a lamp, etc. A vintage table this size wouldn't be hard to find or you could easily pick one up at West Elm, Ikea, C&B, etc. I like the round shape to offset all the square edges in the room. Also, if you used a small ottoman,footstool or cube in front of the daybed, you could tuck in under the table or use it for extra seating, if necessary.

Anonymous said...

Splurge for a laptop. Prices have come way down. No more cords to worry about! That will open the possiblities at the flea market! Industrial furniture is all the rage. Put an old door on shelves or filing cabinets in front of the window and tall bookcase on one side. If your room is 10 feet then a 6'8" door would probably end in front of the window. Hang the roman shade in a cool Joeseph Frank fabric or something less pricy but just as artsy. It will be a nice focal point in the room. Go for the daybed. Under it is lots of storage! Or even a twin bed on risers. Seven years of tax records hidden from site!

Anonymous said...

Have an electrician move the baseboard heater.

You're not stuck with it there.

Anonymous said...

Having recently redone a small bedroom I'll give my 2 cents worth. Put a table the length of the basboard heater in front of the window and long drapes that can be placed at the ends with the table keeping the drapes away from the heater. use the table as a dressing table with mirror placed in the middle. It will have a regal look. Place a day bed on the wall facing the closet. Then put the desk on the wall (no 3) where it will not be seen until you enter the room. I think you can work out the rest.

Anonymous said...

i am getting bored of these
decorating problems...get back to the regular stuff decorno.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of the ikea hack mentioned earlier and I would add the CB2 Lubi daybed.
It is twin size and opens out to almost a king size bed! Plus it is only $799. Check out Making it Lovely's blog if you want to see it in a room.

Erin said...

Just want to say thanks to everyone here for your comments and your help. Usually I hole up and overanalyze this stuff on my own, and it was really nice to have a "conversation" about it.

Some thoughts swirling around in my head:

1)I’m not going to let this heater prevent me from having a nice focal wall when you enter the room. Heard this loud and clear. I’ll play around with some variations of drapes/long console/ikea hack/accent wall over there.

2)I don’t know why I was limiting myself to the “twin sleeper chair” (of which there are about two options, period). My eyes are opened to daybeds...everyone is right, I should be able to fit one and there are WAY better options. (Lots of Lubi fans out there...I'm definitely looking at this.)

3) Per the suggestion, I really need to replace my desktop computer. It's old and slow, anyway. (Decorno, my friend, any Macbook giveaways in your future? You know I would photoshop my entire condo for that. Or your house, for that matter!)

Kidding, kidding...but a laptop is definitely on my list, to cut down on cords/space and give me more flexibility.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Erin, re putting stuff around your heater, to get the definitive answer, call your local fire department. They love giving out safety info.

Take the cords that run off your desk, put them in a tube and fasten the tube to the underside of the desk and down whatever leg is closest to the outlet. - Jean

Erin said...

Just wanted to say thank you to those of you who suggested talking with an electrician about the monster baseboard heater under the window.

I had one come out to do an estimate today, and it turns out that he can install a MUCH SMALLER wall heater on the opposite wall near the door. It doesn't sound nearly as complicated/expensive as I was expecting.

Which means I can hang curtains AND place whatever furniture I want along the window wall! WIN.

Wheelchair said...

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