How to Respond When Your Kids Complain: “When Am I Ever Going to Have to Use This Math in Real Life?!”
My head hurts.
But, more on that in a sec. I just realized that some of you might be here reading our blog for the first time as part of this spring’s One Room Challenge series—and if you are, thank you! We’re really happy to have you here and we hope you’ll join us each week leading up to the big reveal on May 9th. It’s definitely a whirlwind 6 weeks!
So I thought it might be helpful if I quickly introduce myself, Annabel, and Trim Design Co. before we dig into the progress that’s been going on here for our One Room Challenge.
Annabel and I are both former teachers with a love of vintage, one-of-a-kind treasures. We love mixing these pieces in with more modern furnishings in our own homes and our clients’ homes. That’s what make our rooms sing! If you were to ask each of us what our favorite past time is, I’m pretty sure we’d both answer, “trolling estate sales!” (much to my husband’s dismay—if he never had to step foot in another estate sale for the rest of his life, he’d be a very, very happy man!).
When Annabel and I became interior designers, we knew that if we ever started own design studio, we’d lean hard into our love of all things vintage. We launched Trim Design Co., a boutique, online interior design studio, in the fall of 2018. At Trim, we combine the best of traditional, full-service interior design with the convenience of technology. Our clients get the stellar customer service you’d expect from traditional, full-service interior design with the convenience of working with us primarily online. And the best part? We include vintage and one-of-a-kind pieces into each and every room design we do. Check out this recent rendering Annabel did of a clients’ living room. That vintage rug is the real showstopper, right?
Our favorite thing to hear is when someone walks into a space we’ve designed and asks, “Where’d you get that? Can I get one too?” And all we can really say is, “No.” Because that piece is either vintage, one-of-a-kind, or custom made, or maybe you could possibly find a piece like it…IF you were willing to spend hours and hours trolling estate sales, flea markets, antique stores, Craigslist, Chairish, 1st Dibs…because it takes A LOT of time and patience and sleuthing to find those special pieces that will set your home apart from the rest. But we think it’s totally worth it! We love the hunt, and we love the result.
If you love vintage as much as we do, you should check out The Shophouse by Trim. That’s our online shop where we sell a curated collection of our vintage treasures! And you might enjoy our top ten tips for navigating an estate sale if you want to join in on the hunt yourself.
O.k., thanks for bearing with me during my long spiel, but I’m just a really firm believer in getting away from cookie-cutter homes, so I get all excited talking about vintage! But now, on to our challenge!
Why My Head Hurts
If you’re one of those people who was so happy on college graduation day because you thought you’d never have to use math again…DO NOT become an interior designer. Ahem…I may or may not have been one of those people myself, and I love interior design and wouldn’t want to do anything else, but here I am with an aching head. Why? Because we do a lot of math. All. The. Time. And especially during these planning phases of a room design.
Week 2 of the ORC has been all about the planning. And the math. From measuring to space planning to budgets, our heads are swimming with numbers. And let me tell you, the devil is in the details. So, if you’ve got kids and they complain when they’re doing their math homework, you tell them Jen Dulac assures them that they will indeed use that math again. From my 1st grade daughter’s math HW of simple addition and subtraction, to my 4th grade daughter’s math HW of figuring out perimeter and area, to my 7th grade daughter’s unfortunate math HW of converting decimals to fractions to inches and (YIKES!) even some algebraic mumbo-jumbo…we are doing it all! (not that I’m errr….complaining, right?!).
Our Room Layout
If you remember from week 1 of our ORC, we’re dealing with a tight fit in this home office-turned-bedroom. So it’s imperative that all the furnishings we hope to include in here actually fit—and fit well. Space planning is key. Here is the to-scale floor plan we came up with. We developed it using the dimensions of the room, windows, etc. as well as the dimensions of pieces we know are going to go in there: an existing bed, 2 existing bureaus, 2 floating night stands we’re having made (more on that in a minute), a rug, wall sconces.
Once we had it in our space planning software, we taped out the important things in real life to double check everything.
When In Doubt, Tape It Out
First, notice the built-ins are out! That demo took place this week and it opens up a bit more space for us!
O.k., The big middle rectangle is the head board of the bed. Now, notice something in both the real room and our space plan. This is the true piccadilly of this space. The window is pretty much centered in the room…BUT (and this is a big but), it is NOT centered under the tray ceiling because of the small alcove and closet they put in. This has been a real challenge for the space because we want the bed centered under the tray ceiling (plus that’s the only way we’re going to be able to move around in there and get to the bureau). But we don’t want the window to look off-center of the bed.
Sooooo, after a lot more noodling, here’s what we decided to do. We taped out what it would look like if there were a bigger window centered under the tray ceiling (you can see that in the above pic). We plan to hang woven roman shades inside mount in the actual window for privacy. But then we decided that to trick the eye into thinking the window was centered, we’ll hang linen drapes like this (excuse my really crummy marking up of an iPhone photo!). I hope it at least gives you an idea of what I mean…
Now, ordinarily we probably wouldn’t have chosen to do this. I think visually it’s going to be kind of crowded behind the bed with the window and the drapes. But we had to weigh whether it would be more visually disconcerting to have the window off-center, or to have it a little clustered back there. You’ll have to let us know what you think when we do the final reveal!
It Takes A Village
Even aside from the usual suspects (electrician, painter, plasterer, wallpaperer) we depend on so many amazing skilled people to help turn our designs into a reality. Take the drapes we’ve got planned for this room. Guess who’s making those for us (not to mention the throw pillows and bed runner)? My very talented and generous mother in law, Becky Dulac! She offered to do all the sewing for us and she even came with me on multiple trips to Zimman’s—an amazing fabric store near here. I’m so grateful to have her helping us along the way and I just know her work will turn out beautifully!
Then we have a local craftsman building our custom night stands (more below), and a local furniture refinisher turning two vintage bureaus into showstoppers (more on her and those bureaus below as well!).
Really, without all of the amazing skills of the people involved in this project, our design would forever remain a fun picture on paper…just that, a design!
Floating Night Stands
We mentioned back in Week 1 that small, floating night stands seemed like the best choice for bedside tables. They’ll take up less space than traditional night stands both physically and visually (and I think they’re pretty darn cool!).
If you look to the right of the above pic (or the space planning pic) you can see that a bureau (it’s depth taped out) has to go in that small alcove far right in the room. Our biggest fear was that the nightstand and bureau would overlap. A big no-no design-wise, but more importantly function-wise. We wouldn’t be able to open the bureau drawers if the nightstand was in the way. But, if our math is correct, it should work out (a tight fit that we probably wouldn’t recommend for a client, but in my own home I’ll deal if it means all three of our daughters being able to have their own bedrooms upstairs and us getting a small sanctuary downstairs!)
But here’s the fun part I want to share with you! Our nightstands! A local craftsman is making them to our specifications (15”L x 12”D x 12”H)—and they’re looking beautiful already! They’re walnut and we’re waiting for them to be stained. We decided to go with a simple hole opening for the drawer to keep it streamlined (and because the hardware on the bureaus—I’ll show you that next) is a little ornate, so we didn’t want to compete with it. Here’s a little video of just how they’ll work.
Faux Bamboo Fetish
Now for one of my favorite pieces: the bureaus! You now know that I love all things vintage. And one of my biggest vintage fetishes is anything bamboo or faux bamboo. When I’m trolling Craigslist and I find a good deal on faux bamboo furniture, I tend to stockpile it (again, my husband really doesn’t love this tendency of mine, because he’s the one that ends up going to pick up heavy pieces I find, but he does like the result).
These are the two bureaus we’re having painted in a high-gloss finish in a dark olive green for the bedroom. The brass hardware will be stripped as well so the natural brass will shine through.
And our furniture refinisher? If you’re local to the Marblehead, MA area, check out Becky’s Furniture By Design (@BeckysFurnitureByDesign). Becky learned the art of furniture refinishing working with her mom as a young girl. She loves it and decided recently to turn it into a business. We’re really excited to have her working on these bureaus and we can’t wait to share some progress pics soon!.
Here’s a quick pic of a piece I had refinished a while back. Isn’t it fantastic?
Phew! Well, I think that’s it for week 2. The electrician is coming to do the wiring in a day or two, so next week I’ll fill you in on just how we decided to place those sconces. And I’ll be sharing pics of the vintage rug we found for the room (I’m super excited about that—it should be arriving later this week!). We’re still working on which materials to use for throw pillows, but I’m confident it’ll all come together and next week I hope to have a more finalized mood board to share with you.
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