Introducing Gretchen’s Bedroom MOTO: A Dream Partnership, Three Moodboards & A Million Fabric Samples

I write this, truthfully, on the other side of the finish line, and the race to get here has been a bit of a blur! Three months ago I moved into a new place after living four years in a spot I loved dearly, but had inevitably outgrown. The laundry was shared and paid for in quarters, the floors so creaky they could wake the neighbors, and the paint? Well, it covered just about every hinge, knob, and hard surface in all 600 sq ft. 

But I made the most of it and loved that apartment despite its many quirks. So many wonderful opportunities came my way because of it–a feature in Apartment Therapy and this J-O-B with E-H-D to name a few. And although I’m so grateful for my time lived (aka decorating) in that space, I couldn’t ignore the nagging feeling inside me that it was time for something new. Fresh blank walls, a challenge or two—plenty of room for a design project.

Cut to early December, my dear friend Janet and I are curled up sipping coffee on her comfy couch, looking around her sweet new home (a true craftsman with thoughtful updates and a touch of that “DIY” charm I love so much). I couldn’t help but envision a home like this for myself—but on my budget, that dream would have to be a little less “three floors and a mortgage” for now. I mention to her my desire to move apartments soon and she takes note of my checklist:

A space bigger than my current spot. One that isn’t inherently “modern” or “out-of-the-box-brand-new”. Read: charm. A PLACE WITH A WASHER & DRYER IN-UNIT PLEASE DEAR GOD. And I wouldn’t say no to a dishwasher. Wood floors throughout would also be ideal. Any kind of outdoor space, a plus. And hell—a second bedroom would sure make a nice studio space! Read: a place for all my collected crap

Well it was as if we’d manifested it right there on that couch, because 5 minutes into my drive home, Janet sends me this text:

I followed the link to the listing and (metaphorically) sh*t myself. Not only did it have EVERY last thing on my wishlist but it was in my price range and funky in all the right ways (do you smell a project or three, because I did!) Spoiler alert: it’s mine now and the projects? Honey, they start today! Introducing: Baby’s First MOTO…my bedroom!

When Article reached out asking about a potential bedroom makeover, someone jumped at the opportunity right away. And it wasn’t me. Emily threw my name into the hat faster than I could say “Yes, please!” And approx. 30 seconds after seeing that Slack message come through, I had put together a deck with three potential design directions. What can I say? I was excited. I’m pretty sure I mocked these up before officially accepting her offer, and thankfully it still worked out in my favor! The only problem was it needed to be ready to publish in 10 weeks and I had big ideas (and a full-time job). 

My first moodboard began with an extremely pared-back color palette and a quiet, calm vibe. I love this bed TERRIBLY, but quickly discovered it was too large for my >100 sq ft room. If you have a larger space, don’t skip this one! The reason I loved it so much was its integrated storage drawer, hidden away in the front of the bed. 

My second design took a turn for the vibrant. Inspired by my beloved arched headboard I used in my last place, I knew Article sold an upgraded version of my DIY. An arched, paneled headboard done in green velvet with the nightstands built in? YUM. But I realized I was wasting an opportunity to lean into a new look, and instead pulled together a room that landed somewhere in between the two moodboards.

In the refined design, you may notice that the dresser stuck around. It was the first thing I was absolutely sure of. The lines are too goooood and the amount of storage was just what I needed. The woven rattan headboard felt like a perfect balance of the two from before–sophisticated lines, with built-in nightstands, but with the feeling it could be a timeless treasure, just like I knew the dresser would be. And luckily, I found a different bed frame with storage drawers that integrated perfectly and didn’t overwhelm the room. 

I had barely started playing with accessories and additional elements. I snuck in a few Emily Henderson x Rugs USA options, but couldn’t get a larger rug to work in the actual space. In the first two boards, I included old pendant lights I had on hand from IKEA, but ended up choosing this sleek, black swing-arm sconce.

I had one non-negotiable when designing the space: Fabric on the walls. No, this wouldn’t be some Trading Spaces straw on the walls reveal, it was actually going to look good and I knew that for two reasons. 1) I’ve become a bit of a pro at this technique, having experimented with it in multiple rooms at my last place, perfecting each step along the way. And 2) because I already did it and it does actually look good. But the reveal post comes tomorrow, and for now, my process of getting there will have to suffice! 

In yet another freakishly manifested destiny, days after moving forward with the Article pitch, Spoonflower reached out to see if Em had any spaces that could benefit from their vast selection of wallpaper. Well, my ears perked up, because I for one, knew Spoonflower for their infinite fabric options. This could be my “in” for enough fabric to cover the room. So together Em (and Caitlin) and I floated the idea: fabric as wallpaper–and they agreed! 

I sent for a “few” samples, a little embarrassing to say how many in total, but more than 10 and less than the 1,000,000+ options they have on their site. When the samples arrived, I held them up against my new Article furniture and took a photo of each one. My phone crashed.

Just kidding. But there were so many!! And at this point, I needed to recruit Em to help me narrow them down. We eliminated a bunch right off the bat for various reasons: wrong colors, repeats that didn’t work well, a too-small pattern that would likely read as polka-dots on the wall. Suddenly we were down to three, so I mocked them up on my iPad. 

Option One:

Mid Century Eye Fabric

Option Two:

Block Print Flowers Fabric

Option Three:

Large – Baysan – Turtle/Midnight Blue Fabric

We both had a favorite, and thankfully we were on the same page! Then Kaitlin, our photographer, stopped by and also chose that one. Even my mom agreed it was the best of the three. Can you guess which one made the cut? Come back tomorrow to find out and see the whole room reveal 🙂 Thanks for sticking with me through this novel! 

Sincerely, Gretch

*Design by Gretchen Raguse (me!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *