Jun 17, 2011

Starting a sanctuary

Okay, I know it is très cliché to call your bedroom a sanctuary. (Thank you Oprah for putting that buzz phrase in our minds and psyches.)

But all hype and hyperbole aside, I fundamentally agree with the premise. When Sons Number One and Two came along, I was adamant: no babies in the bedroom. If they needed us in the night, we (well *I*) went to them. I went so far as to make a pallet on their floor occasionally during bouts of illness or a bad lightning storm.

Then came Baby #3. We were older. We were busy keeping up with two jobs, three kids and all sorts of projects and volunteer efforts. Those are our excuses, and I'm sticking to them.

She was a thrasher, so not only did she wind up in our bed, she often wound up the ONLY one in our bed. One night, Mr. Official and I found ourselves trying to catch at least a few winks on a sofa while the baby rested in our queen-size bed.  We are not large people, but a typical sofa is just not conducive for two full-size adults to get a decent night's rest.  After that fitful night we had an epiphany.

Baby in her bed?


Guess again.

A king-size bed!

Pure genius.

It was the best decision we ever made. Well, one of the best decisions we ever made. Convincing our daughter that big girl kindergarteners do not sleep with mama and daddy ranks up there as another GREAT decision.

In the years that followed, our bedroom became a place to rest, but there wasn't a lot of thought (or time or money) given to making it into that idyllic "sanctuary."

Now that swimmer girl is only a couple years from graduating and leaving the nest, I am finally working on creating a more peaceful retreat within our bedroom. The first thing before we moved in was to change the wall color in the master bedroom, from this to this:

It was a decent start.

Then we rushed to move in furniture and everything else had to wait a few weeks. (We've been a little busy.)  This has been our bedroom scene since mid-May:

It's been functional, but now it's time to start adding the soft touches that make it a truly restful and peaceful place to relax at the end of the day, or get geared up to face a new day.

I should preface these shots with a disclaimer: I struggle with confidence when selecting art work. Self-doubt creeps in when I look at a painting or photo: Is it too gaudy? Too pedestrian? Too overdone? Too matchy-matchy?  All those doubts and fears swirl together into a congealed mass of paralysis, and when that happens, I put off buying or hanging anything.

The pictures in the collage frame are of Mr. Official and me: our engagement photo, one taken on a 25th anniversary trip to NYC, and a shot taken last spring in Charleston.

I liked the sepia-toned print when my eyes first fell on it.  It is evocative of the walled gardens in Charleston that I absolutely positively adore peering at, even through keyholes and fence holes.  (When Mr. Official saw it, he said he initially thought it was a shot we had taken.  We're like peas and carrots, the two of us.) 

And yes, there are some things missing from the room (you know me and loose ends):

The center supports for the curtain rods.  I've seen them since we moved - I just need to remember where.

Artwork. I've got three more photos that I'm having matted and framed to hang on one of the walls you don't see in this photo.  And I'm leaving a blank spot on the wall just for a painting I'll be creating in a few weeks at Faithful Strokes. I just hope it turns out worthy of hanging on a wall. (Stomach churns at the pressure, but they promise you will like your result and I had decent success the last two times I painted something there.)

The final missing piece is the biggest one of all: a low dresser that I stripped last fall and I *am* going to finish this summer, then refinish our tall dresser to match. I'll post a followup when they're done and installed in here.  But in the meantime, we're definitely closer to having a grownup place to retreat to whenever we choose to.

Happy decorating!