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My husband and I have lived together in 10 places before this, our first home that has been ours. Even factoring in the dorm room, I think this is the smallest bedroom we’ve lived in. I mean, cozy . . . real cozy. This information is not presened as a complaint; we love our home, but as context.
When living in a small space, it’s even more essential to lean into simple living: inviting things into the space with great intention and releasing the clutter. It also feels even more essential to design the space with great intention so that it reflects your personal brand of happy and functions efficiently based on your personal needs.
We started with a barnwood feature wall to invoke that raw nature feel juxtaposed with clean whites and cozy ultra soft heated flannel bedding with some industrial gray metal. I swoon hard over white shiplap but something about clean, warm, soft linens against lighted barnwood just sings me to sleep. I feel like a woodland fairy.
We ran the same driftwood flooring, modern white baseboards, and warm light gray paint from the rest of the house into the bedroom. My husband ordered Plank & Mill reclaimed wood with easy peel and stick install that was really fun to do together. Then we got a gray metal king bed frame, white wood nightstands, and wall-mount lights from Ikea. We dropped in the most comfortable and inexpensive memory foam mattress I’ve ever owned and made the bed with our LL Bean (ultra soft flannel) linens. We hung a white basketweave, grommet top curtain from JC Penney to lighten the space and laid down a soft rug.
Hanging on the wall I have the framed jewelry pegboard that my husband and kiddos made me. It makes functional artwork of my jewelry, most of which has sentimental value. (JEWELRY PHOTO COMING SOON)
Then we added a low profile mattress under the bed that slides easily out for kiddos. Each of our kids have their own bedroom with a bed but they are welcome to sleep in our room any time they need closeness (or fall asleep during family read aloud or movie nights). Even in a tight space, we’re clear on our family priority of connection. We spend a lot of time here cuddling together as a family. It’s perfectly us.
After the bedroom was all set, we turned our attention to the closet, which is a very, very small and awkward L-shaped walkway to our master bathroom. It’s smaller than our kids’ closets, just for comparison. We had already removed the sliding closet doors, run white driftwood vinyl plank flooring throughout, since it led into the bathroom, and added the baseboards, paint, and white hanging bar. So this is what we started this phase with:
Our goal was to get rid of the large dresser that was taking up so much precious real estate in the bedroom and house all of our wardrobes, shoes and accessories included, in our closet. First, we needed to rip out all the pointless soffits and framing to open up the space completely. This went perfectly on my side of the closet. Looking bigger already, right?
Then we hit a wall, or structural stupport beam, more accurately, on my husband’s side of the closet. Apparently, his closet is holding up the entire attic and roof. We had a framer buddy come over and confirm what we already knew: that we would have to reframe the entire top of the house to remove the last header from his closet, which would cost a fortune in money, time, and work, which obviously made no sense to do to only gain a little more openness in one half of a closet. So we removed what we could and moved forward. Some f bombs of disappointment, a good dose of laughter, and optimistic drive seem to be our renovation recipe.
We relaid the floor to cover the holes, patched all the drywall, and painted. And this time by “we,” I really mean Joshua.
Then it was my turn to take over by designing the new closet system. I chose the Pax system at Ikea and used their online software to lay out the whole thing. We had ourselves an Ikea date to finalize all the details and pick up the million cardboard boxes. At this point, my brain was struggling to follow the logic of how bringing a thousand pounds of stuff into our small closet would somehow create more space . . . ?
I am the family Ikea assembler, but the structure for the closet system was definitely a 2-person job, especially in his side of the closet where the framing that couldn’t be removed left for a tight fit. The husband went totally off book and MacGuyvered that shit. Gorilla Tape was involved and that’s all I’m sayin’. I installed all the interior components and then my husband went the extra mile in trimming out the closet systems as built in pieces, which really elevated the whole project. That man is freaking impressive.
Then I got to bring in our wardrobes and give every piece a home. It felt amazing. My husband stood there watching me, smiling, and said, “This is your favorite part, isn’t it?” Moving into a freshly renovated space that you and your love built with your own creativity and hands is one of the most satisfying experiences. Plus, I Monk out when it comes to organizing.
Not coincidentally, I was finishing up reading a new book called The Curated Closet, working on a new edition of my Minimalist Wardrobe for Earth Mamas class, and updating my own wardrobe while renovating our closet. The timing couldn’t have been better. If you want to learn more about the specifics of my wardrobe system, check out that Minimalist Wardrobe for Earth Mamas class. The new edition is a workbook that walks you through exactly how to get from where you are today, to your personal version of the above. It’s mama self care at it’s finest.
Next on our list is to replace the upstairs interior doors and trim, so forgive those in this shot, but it’s the only way for you to see the whole setup.
Mission Accomplished. Every piece of both our wardrobes fit with room to spare. We removed the dresser from the bedroom. We could not be happier. It’s hard not to be joyful and productive when you start each day with such efficiency. Yes, I’m a dork.
Next up, the Kids’ Bedrooms.