Bedroom Makeover: Before and After

We’ve lived¬†in our house for a little over one year now, and our bedroom has come a long way. There was certainly nowhere to go but up! The only¬†good thing about this bedroom’s original¬†purple paint¬†is¬†that¬†it makes the after photos look so much better.

Let’s start in the landing, which you can also see in my¬†bathroom makeover post.

Before:Bedroom Landing Before.JPG

After:Bedroom Landing.jpg

I’m still loving those new black hinges, and¬†the rest of the bedroom is looking pretty good these days, too.

Before:Bedroom Before.jpg

That sign taped on the sloped¬†wall was for our painter: it says “Paint angled walls Irish Mist.” The ceiling¬†is¬†a flat off-the-shelf white, and the walls (including the slanted sections) are Irish Mist from Behr. The room looks much less choppy and steep without the stark contrast of purple vs. white.

After:Bedroom.jpg

This room is hard to photograph because the window is so huge ‚Äď which is one of those good problems, as far as I’m concerned (e.g.¬†“my gold bricks are too heavy”). These were our curtains for a couple of months:

Bedroom Sheet Curtains.JPG

Which was still somehow better than what was there before:

BedroomBefore.jpg

I hung¬†IKEA curtains. It’s a double-rod, and there are actually eight curtains up there: it’s such a wide window that it required two panels per side. So, four white curtains in front, and four blackout liners in back. (If anyone’s interested, I can do a more detailed post with specifics.)¬†We’re still using the same furniture and lamps from our¬†previous¬†apartment bedroom, with two changes: the rug and the bed.

Bedroom Window.jpg

The rug is a wool kilim I found on eBay for only $88 from www.ecarpetgallery.com. I think the color it adds saves the room from looking too sterile. It is very thin, so a nice rug pad was a necessity. I like dual surface rugs pads: the scratchy felted side grabs the rug, and the latex side grips the floor.

Our¬†platform bed is the¬†P-Series Basic Bed from Night & Day Furniture. It’s nothing fancy: solid wood, sturdy, and cheap. We bought it for around¬†$300 nearly 10 years ago from Right-On Futon in Chicago; I’ve also seen them online on Amazon and Wayfair. I used it previously with my¬†DIY upholstered headboard, but a wall-mounted headboard wasn’t an option here because our bed is in front of a window.

I decided to add a simple, low-profile headboard to our existing platform bed instead of buying an entirely new bed. Thankfully, this furniture company still makes this line, so I was able to buy a headboard that fits the frame perfectly. I went with white, and painted the bed to match.

Bed Painting.jpg

I lightly sanded the original finish, primed with oil-based primer, and then rolled oil-based white paint with a foam roller for a smooth finish.

White Bed.jpg

In the end, you don’t see all that much of it, which is what I wanted:

Bedroom Nightstand Window.jpg

The IKEA RAST nightstands that I stained and painted for our apartment are holding up great. Jarrod’s side of the bed features a Chicago hawk illustration by Diana Sudyka, commissioned by WBEZ for a web feature. When he’s not out birding (like he was when I took these photos), his binoculars hang on the peg rack.

Bedroom Nightstand.jpg

My side of the bed includes¬†a vintage dresser, plants, and a photograph of my mom and my aunt taken in the 1960s. I picked up the¬†perforated metal tray¬†at H&M last week. They have some really nice home items these days and, if you’re in Chicago, the newly-redesigned Michigan Avenue store is much less of a hellhole.

Bedroom Dresser and Plants.jpg

Bedroom Dresser.jpg

The closet area is pretty much the same ‚Äď the mirrored doors don’t look as bad now that the purple is gone, but I’ll probably¬†replace them at some point.

Before:upstairs6

After:Bedroom Doors.jpg

Before:upstairs14

After:Bedroom IKEA Dresser.jpg

This clearly isn‚Äôt a fully finished room! Those IKEA storage bins aren’t part of my forever plan, and someday I’ll get around to unpacking that box.

My long-term plan includes:

  • Remove the light kit from the fan. The fan is fine as-is: it’s inoffensive, and it’s quiet, but I do not need an additional three overhead lights¬†on top of the four recessed¬†lights. No one wants seven¬†overhead lights in a bedroom! Removing the lights will make the fan even more inconspicuous.
  • New/vintage¬†nightstands
  • New/vintage dresser to replace the IKEA bins, and/or reconfiguring the closets to maximize storage space
  • Upgrade to a king bed. Eventually, this white¬†queen bed will¬†move to¬†the guest room (which currently has a full size bed), and we’ll ascend to a kingdom.
  • Unpack that box

There’s no urgency for¬†any of those things, however. Especially that box. If I haven’t needed¬†anything from it in a year, maybe I should just¬†bring it to Goodwill and let them unpack it…

 

Two-Person Desk and Gallery Wall

Hey-oh: we’ve got a proper desk¬†area in our living room! I prefer having our computers in our main common area (instead of sequestered upstairs in the guest bedroom, for example), and this side of the living room seemed perfect for an office setup. I wanted a¬†functional, comfortable, dedicated workspace for two people. No more camping out at¬†the kitchen table!

Two Person Desk.JPG

To see what the living room used to look like, check out this post.

The Desk Setup

All of the components for this 8 foot desk¬†came from IKEA: I used the 98″ KARLBY walnut countertop, the ALEX drawer unit, and LERBERG trestle legs. IKEA used to carry the ALEX and LERBERG¬†in black ‚Äď which I prefer ‚Äď but they transitioned to gray this year. I was able to snag a black drawer unit before they went out stock, and I spray painted the metal trestle legs black.

IKEA Desk Components.jpg

Putting together the desk was super simple: the countertop simply rests across the legs and the drawer unit. It’s a big, solid setup. Hanging frames and wrangling cords was the time-consuming part. Oh, and I built a frame for the first time! Let’s start there.

Building a Floating Canvas Frame

I already owned most of the art I used in this project. But I knew I wanted to add a large antique oil painting to the mix, for¬†some texture and warmth. I dug through eBay until I found a painting that I really liked. Good lord, there’s a lot of crap art to wade through on eBay. Filtering¬†by time period (1900-1949) helped a little.

Oil Painting Frame Before.JPG

The original frame was overly ornate and, in my opinion, distracted from the painting. To replace it, I built a simple floating frame using cheap pine from Home Depot. It was a lot of careful measuring and cutting and making it up as I went along.

Making a Picture Frame.JPG

I stained the wood black to match the moodiness of the painting, and to help balance the black wall-mounted monitors.

Staining a Picture Frame.JPG

I totally winged this entire process, and¬†I’m really happy with the way it turned out!

Oil Painting in Floating Frame.JPG

Cat inspector on the job again.

Cat Inspecting Oil Painting.JPG

Hanging the Gallery Wall

Having wall-mounted monitors meant the gallery wall¬†needed to be planned out pretty well. It’s easy to tweak the placement of a frame by moving a nail a few inches, but I wouldn’t have any flexibility with the monitor placement¬†once heavy-duty toggle bolts were in the wall.¬†So, I over-planned, as I do.

First, I did a real crappy job of Photoshopping my two¬†options: gallery wall vs. picture ledge. For the mock-ups, I used Chris Loves Julia’s picture ledge¬†and¬†our previous dining room’s gallery wall.

Office Wall Options.jpg

Then I solicited input from a friend who has good taste in nearly everything, with the exception of appropriate footwear.

text-thread

I used a mix of white, black, and brown wood frames. The art is a mix of screen prints, paintings, and photos that I’ve collected over the years, and there’s a bit of a theme to it ‚Äď mostly plants,¬†houses, and birds (thanks for the Japanese ducks, Kei!).

I fussed around with the frame arrangement on the floor.

Planning a Gallery Wall on the Floor.JPG

I also did the thing the internet suggests you do: used paper to visualize the frames on the wall.

Planning a Gallery Wall.JPG

This step seems excessive for most purposes, but it was helpful here. I did not want to regret my placement of the monitors.

Gallery Wall in Progress.JPG

All hung!

Gallery Wall Over Desk.jpg

Gallery Wall Detail.JPG

Hiding the Cords

Did you notice what you don’t see on that office wall? ¬†All the cords. A whole lot of wire¬†wrangling went into this. If I could make a living hiding cords, I would change careers. So gratifying!

On the wall, I used a raceway for the monitor power and DVI cords. That monitor arm is a cheap guy from Amazon, by the way:¬†VideoSecu TV Wall Mount Articulating Arm Monitor Bracket. It lets us push the monitor back when not in use, and pull it forward when we’re working / wasting time on the internet.

Wall-Mounted Monitor.JPG

Under the desk, I added a¬†J channel cable raceway¬†‚Äď I bought one and cut it in half to use on either side of the cabinet.¬†The raceway routes all of the wires to a power strip¬†I mounted on the wall behind the cabinet.

Belkin Surge Protector.JPG

I bought the¬†Belkin 8-Outlet Pivot Surge Protector with 6-Foot Cord¬†(based on The Wirecutter’s recommendation); the pivoting outlets are awesome and crucial for this setup.

Wall-Mounted Surge Protector.JPG

This hidden surge protector powers everything ‚Äď my Apple charger, Jarrod’s Dell dock, the monitors, the desk lamp, the Jambox ‚Äď with only one visible cord. To make it even less conspicuous, and because crazy, I wrapped it with white ribbon.

Under Desk Cords.JPG

The Finishing Touches

The Kurdish runner rug is vintage from eBay. The rolling chairs are from Overstock:¬†Porthos Home Monroe Adjustable Office Chair. I would have preferred something vintage, but finding a pair of reasonably-priced¬†vintage adjustable chairs was not happening. These Overstock chairs are sturdy and comfortable, and they’ll do until I have a lucky find.

Office Chairs.JPG

I did have a lucky find in the floor sample pile at Room & Board: this Nell wall sconce. At 30% off, it was still a splurge, but I love it so. It provides such a nice glow.

Nelson Sconce.JPG

I also added a Threshold Two Head Task Lamp from Target. The rattan stool is from Target as well РI plan to add a plant on top.

Desk Lamp.JPG

And that¬†brings us to where we are today, and where I’m typing this blog post right now.

Office Wall.JPG

It looks something like this:

Office Action Shot.JPG

Thanks to Jarrod’s dad Rodger for the action shot, and for letting me experiment with his camera this weekend! I also borrowed my friend Carolyn’s camera (thanks, buddy!), so¬†I have a lot of photos in the hopper for more posts in the coming weeks.

Plants in the Bathroom

I wanted to do three quick follow-up posts related to our bathroom makeover: plants, shower curtain, and hardware.¬† Let’s start with the bathroom plants.

ZZ Plant in Bathroom
We have a ZZ on the tank tray – ZZ plants always appear on the lists of hardy, low-light plants. I already have cuttings started, so when this one gets too big for the space I’ll swap in a smaller/younger ZZ and move it elsewhere (though my “elsewhere” options are running low, I admit).

For the hanging shower plants, I have a pothos and a fern.¬† Pothos is the comic sans of the potted plant world – it’s overused in office settings and people love to hate it – but I don’t mind it. It’s indestructible, it grows quickly and it’s a cheap, easy way to add a lot of green to any spot in your home.

Hanging Plants in Shower
As for the fern, Home Depot’s plant vendor has started labeling some of their plants like so:

Plant Tag
So helpful! So scientific! Genus: Houseplant. Species: Foliage. While leads to me Googling things like “broad leaf fern rippled edges” to learn that this guy is a birds-nest fern.

Birds Nest Fern

I had an ivy plant in this spot previously, thinking it was a good fit for low light and high humidity. Wrong!: Spider mites loved the lack of air movement (we don’t have a bathroom fan and that window isn’t open during the summer when we have our AC on).

Spider Mites on Ivy Leaves
Spider mites! Infinitesimally small and master web weavers – they enclosed the leaves so completely it was like they had been wrapped in plastic wrap. There was actually a sheen to the web. RIP ivy plant.

Spider Mites on Ivy Leaves
One more thing: someone commented on Pinterest: “I can just see hitting your head on that plant holder every time you step in to take a shower.” Don’t worry, Internet Good Samaritan: they are hung high enough even for Jarrod to avoid hitting his head – see?

Jarrod Loves Plant(He’s giving a thumb’s up but it kind of looks like a finger gun, which may be how he really feels about posing for this photo.)

Granted, if you’re 6’4″ and you’re showering at my apartment, you may bump your head, but that’s on you. 6’4″ is too many.

Reminder: Today is your last chance to participate in the Cape Horn Illustration giveaway. I’ll randomly select a commenter this evening.¬† Your deadline to comment on Cape Horn post is 7:00pm CST. Delurk and win!

Cape Horn Illustration Giveaway

Do you like architecture, beer bars, your childhood home or Lake Michigan? ¬†If so, you’ll be interested in this blog’s inaugural giveaway! If not… I’m so sorry.

 Cape Horn Two FlatThe Chicago Two-Flats by Cape Horn Illustration

As I mentioned yesterday, our Apartment Therapy tour offered a glimpse of some new artwork we have hanging in our hallway:

Taxonomy of Local HomesPhoto by Carolyn Purnell

I discovered Cape Horn Illustration several months ago when Jarrod forwarded me a link to this illustration in Center Square Journal. ¬†Jarrod’s batting average on daily email forwards is 0.04 (that’s bad, right? I don’t know anything about baseball) but he scored a touchdown hit a home run with this one.¬† I love that it’s not just Chicago architecture, but architecture specific to our particular neighborhood: Lincoln Square / Ravenwood, where Phil Thompson and Katie Lauffenburger (the married team behind Cape Horn Illustration) are also based.

Taxonomy of Local Homes

Much of their work celebrates Chicago heritage and culture, from residential architecture, to beer bars, to the city’s industrial history.¬† I reached out to Phil prior to the publication of the tour to give him a head’s up that I would be linking to their website in the resources section of my Apartment Therapy tour.¬† We exchanged an excited series of emails, resulting in my first-ever giveaway.

Neither Cape Horn Illustration nor Marti “Project” Palermo were paid or perked for this partnership – I simply wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to promote such talented local artists and to thank readers of this blog. Phil and Katie are generously donating the unframed print and I will cover the cost of shipping.

To enter the giveaway: click on over to Cape Horn Illustration’s website to check out their work. Then, return to this post and leave a comment with the title of the print you’d like to win. Jarrod’s favorite is the Ravenswood Industrial Corridor.¬† My friends Emily & Pete love the Chicago Beer Map, as they hit all of these places on an average Tuesday.

Chicago Beer Bars

You can choose:

  • Lakefront Currents
  • Ravenswood Industrial Corridor
  • Siblings: The Chicago Two-Flats
  • Chicago Beer Map
  • Taxonomy of Local Homes

On Friday, September 6th I’ll randomly select a commenter to win the print of his/her choosing.¬† Let me know if you have any questions!

P.S. In high school I hired a talented friend to do a portrait of our home as a gift for my mother.¬† She loved it and it’s been displayed on her bookcase ever since.¬† Now you too can be as thoughtful a gift-giver as I once was: Cape Horn Illustration offers portraits of current homes, childhood homes and storefront facades. Each work results in an original, signed pen & ink portrait. Pricing depends on size and complexity, but standard home portraiture starts at $130 (which seems really reasonable to me for custom, original artwork).¬† As a favor to Project Palermo readers, they are happy to offer 10% off a commissioned portrait. Just mention this blog when you contact Phil and Katie. Thanks!

Project Palermo on Apartment Therapy

Welcome, Apartment Therapy readers! (And thanks for sticking around long-time readers!)

Project Palermo on Apartment TherapyProject Palermo on Apartment Therapy – photo by Carolyn Purnell

Thanks for clicking through to check out my blog. Don’t worry, that plant won’t kill my cat.

Some of the projects that were featured in the tour include:

IMG_8044Building a Picture Ledge for a Neon Sign

DIY Fabric HangingThe Framer’s Intent: DIY Scarf Display

IMG_1976Wall-Mounted Bottle Opener

IMG_2739A Harmless Dresser-to-TV Stand Conversion

IMG_0438CATHOLE: Litter Box Closet Cat Door

You can also check out the recent posts page and follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Finally, the tour included one recent addition to our home that I haven’t mentioned on my blog yet: this awesome Taxonomy of Local Homes illustration¬†by Phil Thompson of Cape Horn Illustration.

Taxonomy of Local HomesPhoto by Carolyn Purnell

I wanted to do something fun to celebrate the tour and a giveaway from an artist in our neighborhood seems like a perfect fit. Please check back tomorrow morning for details!

TaxonomyPrint