House Tour: Our Bedroom Retreat

There is no better way to be inspired to redo your bedroom than a contest. Thank you Apartment Therapy for being a huge source of inspiration. Without your “my bedroom retreat contest”, I may never have felt this inspired to share our most private space with the world. And while we are at it, Pinterest, for the countless images that gave me more ideas than I could possibly handle.

As a homemaker with 4 kids, our 12’x13’ bedroom needs to be a private oasis that makes my husband and I both feel like we can switch off, reconnect and recharge. Truth be told, I had been thinking about redoing our master bedroom for almost a year. Call it the seven year itch of being a homeowner living in the same bedroom with the walls the colour that the previous owner so carefully and personally selected. It was a dijon colour, called none other than “Dijon” by Benjamin Moore. I figured it was high time to make our room something special and personal to us. In my haste to get started on the makeover, I forgot to take “before” pictures other than what you can see in my post about the elephant in the bed.

I also have a another secret. Please keep it to yourselves. My husband IS Superman. He valiantly saved my day and our bedroom by helping to do all the painting (OK, I cut in the edges), hanging of brass wall lights, blinds and curtains. He also gets all the credit for the pièce de résistance, our stunning floating mahogany headboard. It is solid mahogany that has been in the family for over 70 years with a lovely story…

Cunard Line

During the German invasion of Czechoslovakia in the late 1930’s, my husband’s grandparents fled to Africa where they lived in Lagos, Nigeria, running a rubber plantation for several years. Eventually they migrated on Cunard to Toronto, Canada with their three children (my husband’s mother being one of them). In the journey to bring their personal possessions over, they packed 23 crates in solid, one and a half inch mahogany. His grandfather’s plan was to use it to build furniture for their home once they settled. He put the rough sides of the mahogany on the outsides, with the smooth sides facing in. This piece was given to my husband as the largest piece leftover. We stored it in our garage for the last 10 years always knowing we would do something special with it. My husband felt a certain amount of anxiety over getting it “right”, doing it justice, keeping it true. What he achieved is nothing short of spectacular. The brass wall lamps add just the right light to show the stunning grain in the wood.

Since our room is the first thing you see when you go upstairs, we always “try” to make the bed. The built in closets keep our clothes hidden. Every room needs at least one chair or bench to keep clothes and pillows off the floor at night. The built in narrow bookcase not only allows us to maximize usable space but it also addresses the raised section of the headboard wall. Painting the walls out in a flat white finish helps to make it disappear. My weakness is for well organized, calculated treasures… the beach glass and shells were collected as a family on a trip by to my homeland of Barbados and my eldest made the little wired tree and swing on the shell as a gift for me. Since we read to our toddler every night in bed, we keep a stash of his books in a basket beside our bed so he can easily reach for them. Candles are calming and we use the lovely teal Czech wine glasses to burn tea lights for a spa like feel.

And like the tradition one shares with a bride to be, I would like to share our room in similar fashion:

Something Old: Our 70+ year old mahogany headboard and 1989 brass swing arm wall lamps originally from Sescolite (thank you, Trevor!)

Something New: The walls (Benjamin Moore White Dove OC-17), bamboo blinds (Walmart), brass curtain rod (Levelor found at Home Depot), and throw pillow shown in previous photo (LAPPLJUNG RUTA from IKEA)

Something Borrowed: The bedspread from my mother who picked it up on a trip to India, the brass rooster that was given to my son from our dear, late neighbour, Helen, who sadly passed on the day our little “Superman” was born.

Something Blue: The blue painted footstool (BEKVÄM from IKEA) in BM Jamaican Aqua (2048-60) which happens to be my Mother’s birth place. Below are some teal Czech wine glasses we got in a garage sale and are perfect for tea lights and also happens to be my mother in law’s birth place.

We love that the combined effect marries the history of all our family roots together.


One Reply to “House Tour: Our Bedroom Retreat”

  1. Rachel, this is a wonderful family story that
    I can say I am happy to be a part of.
    Knowing that you captured all the history
    Of the family is what makes the whole
    Thing special and a true treasure!
    Amazing job to both you and
    my brother, Tony.
    Much love , angela


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