In college, my rooms were boxes with white walls enhanced with my personal belongings.
When Tom and I married, we lived in several apartments…all decorated with the same Hunter Green and tan items. The walls were always white from Eau Claire, WI to Memphis, TN, to Oak Park, IL.
We bought our first home in Sun Prairie, WI. Besides my garden outside, the first thing I did inside was PAINT. I painted mottled soft tan stripes in the master bedroom and deep raspberry walls sponge-painted with ivory in the guest room. I was just getting started. When we moved to my first house in Beaver Dam, I was ready. The home had sat unsold for several months before the previous owners decided to install new ivory carpeting on the main floor and paint every room with a fresh coat of clean white paint. When I moved in, my fingers itched to make it mine.
It was a 4-square brick home. I began with my favorite room–the master bedroom. I turned a small bedroom with an attached “sleeping porch” into mine. The bedroom was the dressing room with a walk-in closet, dressers, and an upholstered chair. The porch was just the right size for my queen-size bed and a small nightstand. Five windows on the south and east gave panoramic views of trees and the Saint Patrick’s church on the other side of the block. (On Sunday mornings, I could relax in bed and count seconds only in the low single digits until people began exiting the church as the bells began the end-of-service melody.)
But when Craig and I got married, the house didn’t suit us as a couple. Craig promised to build me a house even better than my beautiful downtown home. I knew I wanted a master bedroom with a private bathroom, a walk-in closet, room for our queen-size bed, and a sitting area.
I love my bedroom. As I write this, I am snuggled in a comfortable nest–a papason chair in the “bump-out” area–see the above photo. Five windows let in beautiful light. A 20-year-old hibiscus tree enjoys the view. (I faithfully take her out onto the front porch late in the spring and bring her in every autumn.) Ivory carpet is on the floor and I painted the walls a warm, rich grey.
An old beat-up 3-shelf bookcase holds books that only I love. Family pictures are arranged on the wall above my dresser–Luka and Kadon’s Senior pictures, Aubrey as a baby, a picture of Craig and I on our first Valentine’s Day together.
A wall separating the bedroom from the bath stretches feet up to the vaulted ceiling and is covered in 10 old mirrors and an old 12-paned window frame. (I purchased most of the mirrors in one fell swoop at the flea market in St. Charles, IL. Sellers asked if I had a shop where I sold mirrors…)
I love that the room has a fireplace…well, it’s a mantle set against a wall that Craig specifically built for our entertainment center to fit into on the other side. So, it looks real. Except that instead of a fire, or logs, I have a tiered candle holder that holds 12 fat candles.
Above my bed, a full-size quilt warms up the space with bright reds, yellows, blues, and greys. I purchased it from a fellow student when I was taking a creativity class based on Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. The artist who created it called it “Tribal Door”. She hand-dyed every fabric. I was in my early 30s when I bought it and the $900 investment was huge. It symbolized and continues to represent my commitment to creativity and following my dreams.
I continue to beautify my bedroom and my home with personal touches. I find treasures at flea markets. Sometimes I’ve been known to “dumpster dive”. I add new doodads and make regular donations to St. Vinnie’s of items that no longer serve me.
But one thing you won’t ever find in my house…is a white wall.
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