5 Beds, 5 Life Lessons

Oct 12, 2012 by


Can I be totally honest with you? I’ve been cursed with design bloggers block, partially because my son is Still. Not. Sleeping. Through. The. Night.  And he will be three in January!   While I have so many design projects planned, they are only in the dusty house that is my mind.

So as I take more time getting my house under control, would you indulge me, as I wax poetic on the blog with more doses of life musings than eye candy?   After all, I just turned 30, triggering a mini identity crisis whose resolution has provided me with new found philosophies.  Since I don’t journal, I was wondering if I could share them here?

Here’s my first piece, written here with a timid heart.  It’s about the cosmic connection between mattresses where we spend 50% of our lives and subsequent life lessons.  Maybe you can relate?

As a child, I slept on Japanese-style mattresses, which essentially meant hardwood boards covered with a quarter inch of quilt.  They were rigid and uncomfortable, much like my childhood.   I’d get smacked with a wooden hanger for grievances as small as spilling milk, so growing up, I never understood why I shouldn’t cry over spilled milk.  Because I did.  A lot.  The lesson?  Children can’t make the bed they sleep in, but when you’re an adult, you can tell you dad to f*ck off until he’s willing to apologize and take responsibility for his actions.

After graduating from Cal and moving to Hawaii, I bought my first adult mattress on a meager AmeriCorps volunteer salary.  It was a king-sized, bright pink mattress from the 1970s with a faded floral pattern.  It cost $20 and came from a garage sale in a very sketchy part of Honolulu.  I certainly wasn’t looking for a king sized bed, and I became a small island in the vast ocean that was my saggy bed.  It made my loneliness, being in a new city 5000 Pacific Ocean miles from my friends and family, much heavier to bear at night.  All I had was the company of the squeaky springs of the mattress.  If I listened closely, I could almost hear the sad, jubilant, and nasty stories this old mattress could tell.

After sleeping in the Ocean of Loneliness, I soon fell hard for the first boy to come my way.  Of course, being both model gorgeous and a struggling musician, he was easy to fall for, with his finely sculpted olive body, dark twinkling eyes, and stories he would tell through song on his guitar.  All of my senses were addicted to him, but it turned out, he was addicted to cocaine.  The lesson?  Don’t jump at the first thing that comes your way bearing stories in paradise.  And most importantly, don’t buy a king sized bed when you’re single!

Flash forward to healthier times, when an absurdly funny, truly charming, and classically handsome man’s steel moral compass drew me to him like a magnet.  When this boyfriend (now husband) and I moved in together, we slept on his mattress, which was expensive, plush, and entirely too soft.   It was like most falling-in-love chapters, when you go out to expensive dinners every week that are probably beyond your budget and spoon feed each other creme brulee.   That beautiful time when all of life’s realities, your fears, and your weaknesses are enveloped by the soft yearning of new love.

We slept on this luxurious, soft mattress atop an ottoman bed until our relationship progressed to the next stage, when the haze of infatuation wears off, and you are left with real love, when you can say what you mean without any fear the person will run out on you in the middle of the night.  This was the point that I actually realized his dreadful ex had slept on this same exact mattress too, and I freaked out with hot tears, the cold shoulder, and the “don’t you dare f*cking touch me” line.  How could he make me sleep on the same bed as HER?  Right?  Being the amazing man that he is, he went out and bought a new mattress that day.  The lesson?  Clearly, this would be the man I would marry.

Years later, when we learned I was pregnant, I went into an organic frenzy.  I gave away all my synthetic fabric clothes, stopped painting my nails, ditched my cell phone, and ate only organic foods.  I then bought an “organic” mattress by Danny Seo, which was simply greenwashed because it was still polyurethane foam, just blended with a little soy to make it “eco-friendly.”  RIGHT.  The entire left and right sides of the mattress collapsed, which meant that I ended up sleeping in the middle gutter, with my husband’s chest hair taking full-time residence in my nostrils all night.   The lesson?  Don’t kill yourself (and your olfactory glands) trying to be 100% green.

Now, as parents, we sleep on a very firm latex mattress, which is highly supportive, with just enough memory foam topping softness to be perfectly comfortable.  The lesson?  A happy marriage has a solid foundation of unwavering support and healthy boundaries, with a memory foam layer that always remembers how to handle each other’s hearts, aches, and insecurities with the perfect softness.  And maybe latex, but only if you are both into that.

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6 Wood Pallet Bed DIY Inspirations

Aug 29, 2012 by

We have an extra guest room in our house, but no one would know it, as it is currently our free-for-all storage mess.  I’m slowly beginning to bring sanity to the room, and the first step is to decide on a guest bed.  A fantastically budget-friendly option I’m considering is pallet beds, although I am also in love with the style of the French Loire style beds from www.wooden-beds.com too.  I’ve written on the toxicity of pallets before, but if you wear proper protection when you sand them down, it should minimize any of the chemicals and bacteria present on the wood.  Nonetheless, I would not use repurposed pallets in my son’s room, but since a guest bedroom is rarely used, I feel more comfortable with it.  Here are six wide-varying inspirations for DIY wood pallet beds, ranging from masculine chic to minimalist and all the styles in between.


One of the first ever pallet beds I saw, this comes from a stylist’s beautiful apartment in Paris, as showcased on DesignSponge.


I love the wabi sabi feel of this pallet wood bed seen via Bodie and Fou, which has been left au natural.  Keep in mind that not all pallets are created equal; some are meant to be thrown away after a few uses, while others have higher quality wood for long-term pallet use.  The latter is most ideal for a DIY bed project.


Who knew that a pallet wood bed could be so masculine chic, as seen via Platform Bed?  I love the rich wood colors of the pallet here, which has also been extended into the DIY nightstand.  So lovely!


Whether Scandinavian or shabby chic, a wood pallet bed can be the perfect accent painted in white, as seen via Vtwonon.  It would also look lovely in a Belgian soft gray.


While firemen may not approve of the candle setup of this bed, and it is not particularly my aesthetic, I do love the inspiration via Indulgy nonetheless!  Using pallets larger than your mattress gives you a convenient space to stash your bedside treasures – and a few extra  candles too (perhaps fire-safe LED ones).


Pallet beds can also be brought outside as day beds!  This is a brilliant DIY by Prudent Baby with step-by-step instructions on how you can achieve the look at home too.


While totally different in design, this is the French Loire bed style I really like too, and it would give my guest room a completely different feel than if I went with the pallet bed.  What do you think?  Should I be budget-friendly and have a pallet bed for my guests, or should I splurge and pamper my visitors and the room with a French style bed?  Decisions, decisions!


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5 Mid-Century Paint Ads for Huetastic Inspiration

Jul 25, 2012 by

Now that we are a bit more settled in Los Angeles, we are contemplating painting some of the rooms in our home.  Despite all of the vintage furniture pieces I have liberally painted, I have very little experience painting actual walls.  Where’s a gal with a vintage soul to start?  Vintage paint colours, but of course!  Vintage inspired paint hues are enjoying a tremendous revival, but what better way to find inspiration than the original ads and paint swatches?

I love the cheerful hues in this 1956 Benjamin Moore paint ad (found via vintageadbrowser.com), although I am positively sure it would be impossible for me to look as graceful as the lady on the left painting the chair.  Or maybe if I buy myself some Benjamin Moore paint, I could look so ladylike!  The subliminal advertising is working on me…

How fabulous (slight pun intended) is this house and advertisement from the 1950s?  I would have never independently picked yellow trim and red roof, but it is the perfectly daring combination for a mid-century modern home.

Speaking of wall colors, here is an advertisement where the toilet seat complements the bathroom wallpaper.  Why didn’t I think of this before?  Joking aside, the combinations are quite sweet and cheerful.

If you are planning or have recently painted your home, please let me know what colors you picked.  I’d love to hear and see photos too!

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Vintage Dressing Tables Inspiration from the Silver Screen Era

Jul 18, 2012 by

As a small child, I always loved watching my glamorous, high-society grandmother getting ready for the day at her well-stocked dressing table.  She would pick out the perfect red for her lips, delicately dust her face with a pink pouf, and choose the perfect sparklers from her mind-boggling jewelry collection.  While not used often today, dressing tables are feminine, chic, and most importantly of all, far more comfortable and flattering than our bathroom countertop!  If you are looking for a way to tame your makeup collection in your powder room, consider adding a dressing table as part of your collection of fashionable and luxury bedroom furniture.  If you’re still not convinced, be inspired by these silver screen dames who look simply marvelous getting primped at their dressing tables.

Yes, this is Betty and Marilyn both at a dressing table together.  The trio looks so gorgeous!

I’m in love with the French Provencal lines of Carole Lombard’s dressing table.   Even if you have no where to go, at least where you get all dressed up is fabulous!

Sweet Audrey Hepburn’s dressing table is organized, simple, and shows how little makeup this true beauty really needed.

Barbara Stanwyck’s dressing table has just the right touch of functionality and Hawaiiana.

Today, we have YouTube and our favorite fashion and beauty bloggers for makeup advice.  However, decades ago, there was only beauty school, taught by men, but of course!  Nonetheless, I love the curvy lines of these dressing tables that are petite, perfectly charming, and lovely inspiration to help you  find a modern dressing table.


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Card Catalog: Transformed into an Air Plant Cabinet of Curiosities

Apr 25, 2012 by

After living in Maui, right next to the rainforest on the Road to Hana, I became enamored with bromeliads, and specifically, air plants.  After all, what’s not to love about a plant that seems to spring out of thin air, requires no soil, and only needs watering in the sink once a week?  Air plants are the “it” plant for 2012, as they have endless display possibilities.

For my first air plant display, I decided to go all out, and I have a dozen air plants, technically called tillandsia.  I have displayed all of them in one of my vintage library card catalogs, and I think the end result is a botanical cabinet of curiosities!  What do you think?

Here is a closer view of the air plants.  There are so many different species, each with its own texture, color, and style.  I only put the air plants in the top section of the card catalog, as I didn’t want my little one bumping his head on any of the drawers.

And here is a card catalog of mine from many years ago.  Clearly, I’ve always loved putting plants in card catalog drawers, but air plants have allowed me to take it to another level!

Have you too been bitten by the air plant bug?  I’d love to hear!

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