My good friend Irving moved into a wonderful little old flat this past spring. It was quiet, cheap, well located, and with considerate and responsible landlords.
The paint, however, was horrendous. Bright green bedroom, red and black kitchen, a perpexling two-toned grey and blue living room that can only be described as, “crack-head mountain range”, and all connected by a brown ceiling and white walled hallway.
Oof. The decorator in me squealed with
I have already posted pictures of Irving’s dresser, and many more photos will come as the rooms become completed, but here is Irving’s bedroom before.
Since his flat is done in the railway style – that is, one long hallway with the rooms off to one side, his bedroom and living room are a double room, dividing by an archway. The palate is grey-blue, yellow, with small punches of red as an accent colour. Our goal was to decorate for cheap (not design-show inexpensive, but “I was raised on welfare” cheap). Neither of us is in that situation anymore, but I knew that a bachelor like him would not spend money on luxurious fabrics, nor fancy furniture, nor even well-made antiques (the way I would). As it was, I at least convinced him to buy a decent paint (Benjamine Moore), and to spend a few Saturdays browsing second-hand shops with me. It was fun, and I even gave him homework for all the DIY projects.
The goal was to provide a space that was pleasant enough to see for the casual visitor, as the bedroom has no closed door, but also comfortable. Primarily, I wanted to provide a more masculine space, and tried to avoid florals and hot pinks (although I certainly think a man can go pink, Irving did not quite agree). The customer is
always sometimes right. Here is the breakdown:
The bedding was purchased as a bed-in-bag from a large department store for $40. The extra sheets (yellow and white) for another $35 each. The white throw ($6), round end-table, which is actually a bench ($7), the cushion covers on the chair (they were meant for a sectional couch; we found them in the bargain bin for $5 each), and bedside lamp ($20) are all from Ikea. Asian-style pillow covers bought in Chinatown for 2 for $10.
The chair itself was found on the curbside, and left un-refinished. The bed is a box spring and mattress with legs.
The headboard was found as a dirty door in a pile of trash, spied while on the bus on my way to work. I texted Irving its location, and within 30 minutes, it was in his house. It was washed, lightly sanded, painted a high-gloss oil paint, and then mounted on legs bought at a Home Depot (paint $30/can, legs $8 each).
The artwork I painted as a gift because, A) Irving is a fantastic catsitter who indulges my crazy cat-lady whims, B) the space above the bed needed something striking to tie the room together, and C) it was cheap. I hear the artist does favours for friends who are nice to her cats.
The inspiration for the artwork comes from the following miniature set of Chinese Opera Masks, also purchased at a thrift-shop for $7:
I am actually a very poor artist (unlike my cohort Shade, whose talent boggles the mind!), so I simply copied the one on the bottom left side. It’s cheating, I know. Here is a close-up before it was placed in an inexpensive poster frame:
The overall effect is a hip and welcoming space, with a mixture of soft colours on the walls and bold graphic elements as accents. Not bad for a few hundred bucks.