Minimalism vs. Unfinished Decorating: Daly's Bedroom Update

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The difference between minimal and unfinished decorating

I've been lying in bed thinking about this quite a lot over the past year. My life ritual is to swing from one extreme to another, then gently wander my way into middle ground. I did this with boyfriends. I did this with work. I'm doing this with my bedroom decorating, duh. So my once packed bedroom became quite a blank canvas this past year. And it's from this place, I have been contemplating the difference between minimal design and something not quite finished.

Well, it wasn't finished in a few concrete ways–our old drywall started peeling, so we needed to patch and paint that for sure. And our closet doors needed a paint refresh. Once that was taken care of, we had a very simple platform bed, lamps, THE MOST simple side tables, a long wall-mount shelf, some vintage landscapes, and a glorious, glorious round vintage mirror.

I think I say this a lot–I am a person who deals with a bit of anxiety and the more simple I can make my life, the better I can focus on my main life priorities: spouse, daughter, and small business. I can't quite remember what goosed me into getting rid of ALL my storage and stripping my bedroom of most everything, but I do know I want to very gently, very slowly ease my way out of my overly simplified space and into something decorated, meaningful, encouraging, calming, and happy. These photos show my tip-toeing forward. I'm ever changing and updating things, so I'm sure there is more, but I felt so happy with where it is now, I wanted to share.

What I added to my bedroom

Art

Another way it was unfinished was the lack of artwork. I knew I wanted something over our bed, but it is such a private, personal spot for art. I needed to care about this art. It would hang above our heads like a guardian angel–you have to trust that art for it to keep watch over you. Does that sound crazy? I was at a thrift store with my husband Ryan and daughter Harriet, and we saw it, this big landscape with a color palette I couldn't take my eyes off of–moody, earthy, meditative. Art to snooze under for sure. Thank you thrift store!

I always say you can't just go out and find art, it has to find you. Keep those eyes and heart open–when you feel connected to something, pounce! I love that I can see this painting in the mirror when I am snuggled under my covers. 

Speaking of art, I have ALWAYS wanted a mobile, so when I saw Tasha Ball's modern macrame mobile at her art show at Made, I was in love. I like that its emphasis against this room is the texture, all those many thoughtful knots tied by a dear, talented friend. Mobiles are funny hanging sculpture–an homage to giving space in your life to beauty for the sake of beauty. I wake up to that thought and go to bed to that thought because I am facing this lovely piece.

Family photos

I added family photos to the collection of landscapes on my wall mount shelf. Most the landscapes are vintage, but one is friend and artist Tyler Thrasher's work. Landscapes are calming and inspiring to me. Good ol' Nature, am I right? And family images–why get them taken if I am not going to print them? It doesn't hurt to be visually reminded of the two single most charming human beings to ever walk the earth, now does it? That's you Ryan and Harry.

Color and bedding layers

I wanted to add color. The art over our bed and on our shelf helped but the bed needed integrating into that start. I saw this blanket on Emily Netz's bed and fell in love. It matched the pinks from our living room, and Palmer and I had just been talking about stringing unifying design elements throughout our homes. So yes. And this pink with the art over the bed? Oh my gosh, yes. 

I sew, and it's become a happy illness. I can't seem to stop making things these days. I was perusing Owl and Drum's fabrics and my head filled with excitement at the juxtaposition of several fabrics and the other colors in my room. I felt elated, so I sewed bed pillows for us out of this pink, topographical Carolyn Friedlander fabric. I love that I found a reason to not only look at this fabric, but to nuzzle my cheek on it each day. God bless.

More bedding? Yep. Tasha Ball hosted an indigo shibori workshop, and I dyed that lovely blue and white fabric you see on the kidney pillows crowning my bed. I MADE IT MYSELF! It's strangely satisfying to create staples for your life–like pillows. I quilted and backed the pillows in a green that draws in the large art. I love looking at colors and patterns; it feels inspiring and strangely sexy–just how you want to feel in your bedroom. *wink*

Headboards, beds, what?

Palmer and I were discussing how she's never owned a real bed frame. It's a sad story for sure. I have owned several beds (not to brag, Palms), and this one does it for me. It's simple. My redhead made it, so that's nice. However, I'd run across the painted headboard idea and have been considering it for a long time. I can't remember now if I painted the headboard or found the large art first, but they take their cues from one another, and I feel really good about it. We used painter's tape to mark off a rectangle and painted it Jasper by Sherwin Williams. Which we later painted below our chair rail in my dining room (that post to come!). 

So that's it. Except, I had just taken these photos and then found some amazing small vintage green filing cabinets the perfect size for side tables. With this move, I also welcomed back more storage, but have yet to put anything in my drawers. I'm scared of hoarding and acquiring. Other people feel this way too, right? I'll share photos of those tables later.

The slow and steady approach to design

I'd say the "take it away and add back slowly" tactic is a winner. I'm definitely someone who would rather have nothing than too much, so it was a much more empowering and happy place to start from than my over-stuffed room. I'm sure you all feel better knowing that I am sleeping in a more finished space, and I appreciate your thoughtfulness. You're nice and so is living in a meaningful space. Cheers!

-Ashley Daly

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  Before

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After

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  Before

Before

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  Before

Before

  After (My baby is growing up so much! The doctor said that would happen!)

After (My baby is growing up so much! The doctor said that would happen!)

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  Much like making fire, creating your own warm, comforting and useful bedding is empowering. It also leaves you feeling your place in a long line of makers throughout history. It's a satisfying tradition to be a part of. That Carolyn Friedlander fabric is SO lovely. I marvel at the way it is geometric and organic all at once. 

Much like making fire, creating your own warm, comforting and useful bedding is empowering. It also leaves you feeling your place in a long line of makers throughout history. It's a satisfying tradition to be a part of. That Carolyn Friedlander fabric is SO lovely. I marvel at the way it is geometric and organic all at once. 

  My quilted  House Sparrow  shibori indigo pillows make me feel just as proud as my handmade standard pillowcases. I loved slowing down and learning the process of dying fabric and quilting a pillow. Thanks Tasha!

My quilted House Sparrow shibori indigo pillows make me feel just as proud as my handmade standard pillowcases. I loved slowing down and learning the process of dying fabric and quilting a pillow. Thanks Tasha!

  Look at my beautiful Foxy Pot's mug! I have some custom ones that were inspired by this headed my way soon, gah!

Look at my beautiful Foxy Pot's mug! I have some custom ones that were inspired by this headed my way soon, gah!

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