Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My "White Crinkled Cottage" Master Bedroom Makeover

This spring, I've had a deep soul-hankering to transform my former colorful floral cozy cottage style master bedroom and bathroom into a soothing all-white writing and "honeymoon getaway" suite retreat, reminiscent of a fine B&B, airy urban loft, or elegant chateau. (Chalk my little hankering up to visiting too many bridal suites on my recent magazine writing tour, to our upcoming 30th wedding anniversary, to the fact that I saw a fab all-white room in a magazine at my nail salon the other day, or to visiting too many lovely B&Bs over the past 20+ years!)

So....after pleading my redecorating case to my hubby Steve, (when I promised to do it all on a dollarwise budget!), with his patient expert handyman help, I did it all in one weekend, start to finish, shopping and all. That's right; two days, top to bottom!! You're peeking into my new honeymoon suite/writing retreat above, so come on in, and I'll take you on a little tour of my urban "white crinkled cottage" suite! Just click on any photo to enlarge and better see the details. And when we're to the end of this post, I'll tell you how I achieved all of this on a "dollarwise decorating" budget so you can get inspired and motivated this spring to spruce up/create your own retreat that nurtures your spirit and creativity too!

Here we're walking down the hallway by our wedding photos, a sentiment my hubby Steve wrote to me years ago, and a picture of Jesus he found in antique store...

And now we're passing by my favorite painting that once belonged to my favorite lifestyle author Alexandra Stoddard, and by my other favorite original painting we bought for our 10th wedding anniversary.

Okay, here we are in my new all-white/white-on-white master bedroom, where I've dubbed my new decorating style "white crinkled cottage" not only because I didn't want it too perfect, but more able-to-be-lived-in/real life, (and also because I freely admit that I consider ironing a waste of time rather than poetry-in-motion!) The white shawl on the little table hides my pink laptop since I don't think I'll be replacing it with a white one anytime soon! :)

I loaded up the bed with luscious white linens including a ruffled fluffy comforter, oodles and oodles of sink-down-in pillows, and softly textured throws. Then I added a poofy fabric swag as a "headboard."

A little sparkling water is always welcome at my bedside table...

and because life doesn't always serve me on a silver platter, I brought in my own!

When I bought these soft flowy white curtains the store clerk said, "Oh, these will be wonderful for summer because they'll catch the breeze!" I smiled and said, "You're right, kind of like in a magazine," and she laughed and said, "Yes!" (I didn't tell her I write for home magazines.) The curtains also cover the not-so-pretty standard white plastic window blinds.

Sometimes I pull those billowy white curtains aside and take in a breath of fresh air above the sweet little urban park outside my high-rise window. (I once heard it said that "the city has a face; the country a soul" and I think my fair seaside city of San Diego, CA has a very pretty face, don't you?!)

On Friday nights, my hubby and I order in, turn the lights down low, shut out the noise of the busy work-a-day world...

And incurable romantics that we both are, we watch a "lovebird" movie. His favorite? Casablanca. Mine? You've Got Mail! The "CD holder" here is really a plant stand we found at a favorite discount store while on vacation.

Down came my gallery wall full of pictures, replaced by a more serene new-but-antique-looking clock, a simple urn holding white cherry blossoms, and my "California Cottage" sign that once hung in my kitchen.

I cozied up the corner with the new-but-antique-looking desk my hubby gave me one year for Christmas, a plant and bowl from my living room, a favorite book, framed pix of us, and a basket to hide my (ugly!) computer cords when I'm not writing. (That's how I close up my "office" as I do most of my writing and computer work from my bed.)

The white curtains are still billowing in the breeze!

I added a few soft pillows with a little silver bling, and some cream-colored shawls from my clothes closet to my hubby's great grandfather's rocking chair.

And now we're turning back around and going down the hallway again...

to my "La Toilette."

All my daily pampering pretties are now enshrined in white...

But a lone pink rose sneaked in there for just a bit of soft color!

And a basketful of off-white roses stands on top of an upside-down basket that hides my (ugly!) black toilet plunger, and candles give me some soft lighting and ambiance when I sink down into a bathtub of (white!) Calgon-take-me-away-bubbles, and then I towel off with some thick white fluffy towels. (Tough gig, I know!)

One of the books that inspired me to create an all-white room was Victoria's At Home With White. Another was Romantic Homes by Better Homes & Gardens.

And another book was Victoria's Bedrooms. This white sculptured garden ball broke a few years ago, but I kept it because I thought it still looked nifty, and I mean, hey, sometimes things, like people, get a bit broken, but they are still beautiful, right?! Right!

Here are some examples of how using texture in a white-on-white room adds dimension and softness and creates a cottage look...

White reed baskets always say "cottage."

A new-but-looks-Old World-urn. A lacy tablecloth I found in my dining cupboard hides my CD player...

A bit of "shabbied" white paint on an antique cabinet hides our VCR and my scrapbooking supplies...

And old painted handles add texture and charm.

The pillows I found at Target have this beautiful embroidery which adds texture. (Pretty neat for $24.99 each, don't you think?)

My step stool that once said "Welcome to My Garden" on top is long gone as I painted over it with white paint! Goodbye cozy floral cottage and hello "white crinkled cottage!"

I left a bit of blue paint showing through on the legs though to add a little interest and so that it wasn't too perfect, as not-too-perfect is also a hallmark of the cottage look.

And I moved my little "Paris" plant from the living room in here.

The eyelet on the white pillows definitely says cottage and adds texture, as does the silver "diamond" bling motif on the pillow.

And the ruffles on the towel as well as the pin I added from my jewelry box also add bling and texture.

More ruffles!

And a sweet little sconce I found at Marshalls!

White embroidered pillows add texture and elegance too...

As does this hook for my clothes I'm wearing each day.

An old silver wine urn was taken from my kitchen to become a planter and its handles add refined texture...

As do the many-shades-of-white throws...

And the poofy swag I draped over the window...

And the twigs on the wreath...

And the scrolls on the plant stand, and the white wicker baskets.

After I finished "tweaking" the decor for our new all-white bedroom, I said to my hubby Steve, "So how do you like it, honey, and please note that I even stayed under the budget!?" He grinned and said, "I give you the decorating Pulitzer!" And like Bogart in Steve's favorite Casablanca movie, I laughed and replied, "Here's lookin' at you kid!"

Cost and Sources of My New "White Crinkled Cottage" Bedroom and Bathroom: 

I used things I had in other rooms in my home, plus I bought the following and stayed under my budget of $700 as the total comes to $684.58. (When you consider most B&Bs cost at least $200 a night...well, that's three and a half nights in a fine B&B and I can sleep and work in my new bedroom forever!)

1. Target $ 290.84
1 White decorative hand towel, 2 taupe hand towels, 2 white bath towels, 2 white hand towels, 2 white wash cloths, 1 comforter with shams, 1 shower curtain, 2 square decorative pillows, 2 regular bed pillows, 1 throw, 1 lotion pump dispenser, 1 King mattress pad

2. TJ Maxx $ 90.94
2 white eyelet pillows, 1 silver bling pillow, 1 white shawl

3. Marshalls $ 77.96
1 white rose floral arrangement, 2 ornate sconces, 1 rose motif sham, 1 white throw

4. Burlington $ 31.96
4 sheer curtain panels

5. Michaels $ 87.92
1 white floral wreath, 1 urn, 3 white vases, 1 white pitcher

6. Kohls $ 104.96
2 cream shams, 1 clock, 1 set King sheets

Step-by-Step Instructions For YOUR Newly Decorated Room!

1. Remove any items from the room you don't want as part of your new decor. Be ruthless!
I carried things to my living room and put them in three piles: 1. Donate to my favorite animal shelter charity. 2. Place somewhere else in our home. 3. Give away to a friend or church.

2. Wash the walls and paint or spot paint over nail holes if the paint is fresh.

3. Now you''ve got a fresh "canvas" of a room. Take a walk around it and get a "feel" for it.

4. Take a tour of the rest of your house to see if you have things you can move into the new room.

5. Make a list of items you think you'll need to shop for, but leave room too for a "fabulous find."

6. Put on your most comfortable shoes and head to your favorite (discount) stores! Mine are: TJMaxx, Marshalls, Kohls, Target, Wal-Mart, Home Goods, Tuesday Morning, Ross, Michaels Crafts, Burlington, Pier One, and World Market. I only set foot in high-end furnishings/decor stores to continually train my eye on their displays, and to buy sofas and beds, which I do not believe in buying in discount stores as they are major purchases that are heavy-wear and require long-term comfort.

7. Once in the store, have fun! Buy the things you set out to buy, keeping your eye out for "things that cost little but look expensive." You CAN find quality items in discount stores if you train your eye! Never buy anything that looks "junky!" or you'll be sorry and then it's not a "good buy" no matter how little it costs!

8. Once you've returned home, unload all your purchases (I had an entire car filled with purchases for my bedroom; seriously!) Before you cut the tags off, which I recommend, do a tentative arranging to make sure you don't want to return anything. I returned several items that looked good in the store, but once I got them home they just didn't "jive." It's fine to do this since decorating is an art, not a science!

9. Wash and dry any items that need it and place the larger items in the room first.

10. Add accessories; you can move them around until you get the best look.

11. Add ambiance with candles and tassels etc.

12. Pour yourself a cold drink and enjoy your new room!

Photos and writing this post by Kathryn Bechen.   Copyright 2010.

'Til Next Time!

Kathryn :)


Anonymous said...

This is beautiful and so inspiring!
I just recently discovered your blog.
I appreciate your thoroughness with so many pictures, price disclosures, and step-by-step instructions! Thanks!

Karen June Miller said...

Each vignette offers its own tranquility! I found myself pausing with each photo just to gather in each detail! So beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

P.S. My curiosity led me to enlarge your wedding photo! I love looking at people's beginnings. What a gorgeous couple you two make!

Kathryn Bechen said...

Thank you for your sweet comments; so glad you are virtually enjoying our new "honeymoon suite" and I hope you found ideas for creating your own retreat! Love, Kathryn :)

Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

It looks so pretty and serene! You can't really go wrong with white on white, especially with a bedroom.

Enjoy the weekend! :)

Kathryn Bechen said...

Thank you Julia; I'm glad you enjoyed. :) Kathryn

Alaina said...

I love you white bedroom it looks serene. The little desk in the corner is the cutest. Happy Belated White Wednesday.

Donna (Timeless Settings) said...

How beautiful and peaceful!


Something Nice and Pretty said...

I just found you by way of Where you blog...thanks so, so much for describing how to decorate a room. I'm changing from prim to shabby chic/pottery barn and what a mess some rooms in my home are, but following your instructions I now know what to do.
Your bedroom is lovely I just adore the comforter and pillows!


Centsational Girl said...

Such a dreamy space ! I can never get enough of romantic white rooms, yours is so lovely and inviting. Thanks so much for linking up today !

Robyn said...

OHHH such a LOVELY space! This is a fun to shoot my space too!

I adore your bedding!

xinex said...

Your bedroom is so pretty, it is so charming and so romantic!..Christine

Courtney ~ French Country Cottage said...

Just beautiful! Gorgeous linens and colors- everything!
Thanks for sharing! :)

Laurel @ Ducks in a Row said...

I thinka pink lap top sounds very snazzy. Your room is beautiful and romantic and dreamy.

Rene said...

Your space is so serene. I can never get enough of white bedrooms. Thank you for sharing the details.


Cindy said...

Your blogging area (bedroom) looks really lovely, soft and cottagey. You have some great tips there, really well done! I am inspired to re-think my bedroom. Perhaps I can really come up with something super good this time. Hugs, Cindy S

A Romantic Porch said...

Oh My Word. I was sitting here thinking "how in the world did I miss this blog posting back in April?"...then I remembered I was barely keeping my nose above water with all the prom and wedding dress designs that I was working on. Your honeymoon suite is absolutely lovely! I wish I could just sit and talk to you heart to heart sometime! You inspire me! xo rachel