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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Spring Cleaning

On this rainy day I was so glad that the new garden was thriving.  But I had not done the Spring Cleaning. Here it was nearly Summer.  I came from a family of seasonal thinkers.  Holiday decor goes up fathfully, as well as birthday food, flag flying days and yes Spring cleaning.
It is the time to rid your life of the dust bunnies and soot that forms on your life.  It is symbolic, to cleanse.  It is hard but when done one feels renewed.
So today I reflected on a time I spent in Singapore where our secretary took a week off - not to travel or play but to clean. She took everything out of her house and cleaned the top to bottom.  Nothing broken or unnessasry had a chance.
Today my husband and I rolled up carpets and Murphy Oil soaped the 99 year old oak floors and I magically erased the bathroom grime. Exhausted we relaxed over a cup of tea feeling renewed.  Next week the kitchen.  I am hoping for rain.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What makes a restful bedroom

I am working on a master bedroom just now for a wonderful client, a couple I like very much.  I feel responsible for not only creating good design, and a custom built in, but for a retreat from their hectic life. 

My bedroom which I share with my husband has creamy colors, monochromatic all but the golden fir floor and oriental rug.  I lie in bed, on the puffy mattress pad, listening to trains off in the distance, the creaking of this 1912 house, my cats purr and a few snores from my sweetheart - and the aches and worries of the day are absorbed and obliterated. 

What do you have on your bedside table?

Last year I designed a high padded headboard with a beautiful sconce buit-in.  Low enough for reading light, high enough to clear arm -over -head sleepers. This allows for more essentials to be at the bedside; a good book or two, a magazine, poetry, love letters, hand lotion.  I also like an essential oil, vanilla jasmine my favorite right now.  A clock, a family photo, and maybe a small bouquet.

I don't think bedrooms need to me huge.  I love older homes where dressing rooms and sitting rooms are separate.  I grew up near such a house in Darien Connecticut.  The house was a stone front colonial revival circa 1923.  I still think of that house; the wrapped grand staircase, the double living rooms decorated in Sister Parish tradition and a den.  Off the master bedroom was place to dress.  The bedroom itself was a soft wedgwood blue with antique furniture,  huge bed, a chair and ottoman and two bedside tables.  The dresser and vanity table as well as all the many closets were through a mirrored hall, so the bedroom was kept neat, clothing free and very relaxing.

I never hang big frames or objects over a bed.  After all, I live here in earthquake country.  And at a recent hotel stay I was disconcerted to open my eyes at 4am only to see a huge winged thing 6 feet from my face.  It turns out it was  heavy iron and glass ceiling fan.

What is essential in a bedroom?

I no longer have a TV in my bedroom. I never bring a phone or computer in there either.  I also clear out all my clutter from my guestroom when a friend is due for a stay.

What makes a perfect guestroom? 
I took advise from La Martha Stewart once and created a guest basket of soaps, tissues, lotions, booties, ear plugs, all sorts of things that were left untouched in the basket on the floor once the guests left.
So now I provide towels, face cloths and fluffy bathrobes, down free duvets and soft sheets. And of course room for their essentials.

I do like to travel or visit boutique hotels to see what they provide. WiFi? Monogramed shams?
I like a few harder pillows to prop myself up at night to read.  Without getting too personal I ask my clients about their bedroom habits; TV? WiFi? Readers? Journalers? Need total blackout to sleep?

I often think, just as I doze off, of the worst places I have slept.  Coach class on a 9 hour flight.  Camping in pouring rain. Polyester knit sheets in Wales. A couch that smelled like dirty feet in college. Then I take a deep breath and sink into my sanctuary, my old home.