Captain’s bedroom – Art and Afters

After putting everything in place in the captain’s bathroom turned closet/bar, we were both ready to close the book on this makeover and finish this space for our first house guests who are coming this weekend! That meant getting the art up on the wall and digging through the boxes of accessories that have been patiently waiting for a home.

In the dresser area, we bought a simple black frame from for our $10 map and opted for UV glass to guard against fading. Then I pulled in some driftwood (which we dragged home during this photo session, I love how white it looks against these walls.) A little radio tube lamp my dad fashioned for us and some old sign holders round out the accessories. I tried to keep the flat surfaces pretty clear so guests have a place to set things. The big mother-in-law’s tongue (some people call it a snake plant) is still hanging out nearby, but eventually we might get something with more height or bring in a plant stand.

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I also pulled all of our books out of storage and decided that this section of the dresser was a perfect spot for a hidden library. I left a few out on the desk, and the rest are tucked here for easy access for us or our guests.


Over the Mr. Chair we hung a black and white St Louis map that Aaron gave me for Christmas a few years ago. We considered a few pieces for this area, but loved how the black and white popped against the brick. We still want to find a small side table and maybe a lamp for this area.

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Over the desk, we finally hung this huge piece of art we scored at Rocket Century many, many months ago. I layered in some books and a few glass pieces, including two vases with old radio tubes in them. We scored a whole bin of radio tubes at an antique mall for just $20!


Something about this space feels a little off… so I wouldn’t be surprised if things get tweaked.


I stuck a few good books between stone book ends (I think we picked these up at the South County Antique Mall.)


The globe bank was a gift from Aaron, and the air plant and holder was a housewarming gift from a friend. I’m pretty happy that I’ve managed to keep it alive!


We’re always looking for interesting photo books, especially Ansel Adams. All of these are antique mall finds except the Uelsmann, which we picked up at Powell Books (as you do) on our trek across the Pacific Northwest last summer.


Here’s a closer look at the vases and radio tubes. I also stuck this cloche-like glass cylinder here to make it an odd set of items. I’m a big fan of odd numbered  pairings. They feel more natural than even numbered ones.

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Getting the art and accessories in place really makes the whole space feel complete. It’s a far cry from where we started this project, and even though I’ve shared a million pictures of this space, I love complete before and after shots.

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I mean, seriously, the transformation is like a breath of fresh air. You don’t even notice the exposed brick in the original shot.

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It’s also nice to corral some of the clutter and give every part of this space a real function.

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Axing the closet is one of my favorite changes in this space.

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So that’s it! It’s DONE! It always feels so good to finalize a space. Sure, we might tweak some accessories and swap out the side tables by the bed, but those adjustments are a pretty natural part of our design process.

The captain’s bathroom becomes… a much more versatile space

We have a HUGE post for you today. Lots of pictures and lots of words. But when you give one non-functional space three distinct purposes, I think that happens. So grab a drink and settle in. Let’s take a tour of the captain’s bathroom turned closet/vanity/back bar.


Oh, it’s important to note (in case you’re not freakishly categorizing the details of the firehouse) that the pipes in this space were filled with cement at some point before we bought the place, effectively rendering it useless as a bathroom. We figured our guests would be happy to use the communal bathroom that’s right next door to this room, which left us free to re-purpose this former bathroom space. We started this makeover by giving the walls and trim a coat of Pantone’s June Bug to match the captain’s bedroom.

Ok, back to the tour. When you enter the room the area to the right used to house a sink. You can see the cleat and pipes for it below the mirror. We thought this space would be perfect for a vanity – a space to do your hair or makeup (hello window light!) away from some of the goings on in the communal bathroom.


Back in April we stopped by Ikea on a trip to Chicago and snagged a few cabinets (I’ll show you in a minute) AND we lucked out by finding the perfect floating vanity in the Ikea showroom.


The Besta Burs wall shelf may have been intended to house DVDs, but it was the perfect size for our vanity area. It earned bonus points for coming in the same high gloss, gray finish as the cabinets, and at just 100 clams it was an easy decision to bring this home.


Seriously it looks like it was custom built for this space.


(Unintentional selfie…)

After assembling it, we removed the sink cleat to make way for the piece. We’re trying to minimize damage to the existing stone, but in this instance the installation required three holes and anchors to attach it to the wall. I think it was well worth it.

I added a hair dryer, some extra toiletries and a box of kleenex. I’m sure there are some other goodies I could tuck in here for guests, so send me any ideas.


This area still needs a new light fixture and possibly some more mirrors or art. We’re still noodling that and awaiting the opening of our very own Ikea in St Louis. Then we’ll have lots of affordable mirrors at our fingertips! I also feel like this space needs a little something in way of accessories… but I’m not sure what yet.


Here’s a shot standing in the area where the toilet used to live.

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The window sill also got an upgrade with some sweet, sun loving plants.


This guy has exploded since I put him here/gave him the sun he really wanted.


Opposite the sink-turned-vanity area, the space is divided in two: shower on the left, former toilet space on the right.


Part of the rationale behind removing the closet in the captain’s bedroom was that we knew the shower stall would work perfectly as a replacement.


We installed a bar in each section (in the front where you would hang your towel and in the back where the actual shower happens) using construction adhesive on both ends.

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This gives guests a spot to hang their clothes and us an area for our winter coats (I promise we have more than 1 coat each… I didn’t want to put too much weight on the bars until the adhesive had more time to cure.)

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We also added a luggage holder in the guest section. We scored this guy many moons ago at a furniture re-sell warehouse that has since moved. It was one of those places with SO much junk, but we walked away with this guy for $10 and a HUGE whiteboard that Aaron uses in the studio for (maybe) $50. We’ve never had a good spot for this guy. In fact, I think I’ve promised to give this to my mom about 10 times… so sorry, mom, we’re (for real) keeping it. We gave it a rub down with some Restor-A-Finish and called it good.

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Rounding out the trio of functionality: a coffee bar and back bar area.


Our bread rack turned bar is still one of my favorite things in the firehouse, but it doesn’t offer any covered storage for things like extra bottles and mixers. We also needed a home for the soda stream.

Also, we bought a mini fridge for Aaron to use in the studio, and since we moved here we’ve become very spoiled by having it on the second floor. Once we’re done snacking on something chilled, we don’t necessarily have to walk all the way downstairs to put it away. #lazy We also tuck bottles of white wine in there for easy access. #lazyandtipsy It has been living in the guestroom, but with all the new furniture it didn’t have a home… and who really wants to stare at a mini fridge? Not me.

So we decided to dedicate this former toilet section of the room to a back bar/coffee bar. Crucial to this part of the makeover was running an outlet for the fridge. While the electrician was here rerouting some things in the living room, he agreed to install a run of conduit from the light fixture to the bar area for a few extra bucks. Here’s the ceiling before:


And after. You can see the conduit extending to the back of the wall.


We also grabbed an inexpensive fixture from Ikea to finish off the space and add a little more light.



We grabbed an upper cabinet from Ikea that fit between the conduit and the wall. We also snagged a lower cabinet to sit next to the fridge. We knew we would need a countertop for the lower cabinet, but once we set it in place, it was clear we needed more.

The bottom cabinet is deeper than the fridge, so we pulled it forward to be flush, which left about a foot of space behind the fridge. I knew this area was ripe for things to fall behind, especially with my klutzy ways. Sure enough, before the counter was installed I managed to drop one of our soda stream carafes and the flashlight I used to see if the soda stream carafe was intact (good news, it didn’t break) behind the fridge. It was the first, but surely not the last, time I’ve wanted one of those old people grabber things that seemed to be promoted in every commercial break during the early 90s. Holler at me 90s kids. You know what I’m talking about. We rescued both items by bending a metal hangar into a hook… although Aaron admitted to losing the metal hangar behind the fridge at one point. It might still be back there….


To remedy this problem, we purchased two project panels. They happened to be the perfect depth, so Aaron just needed to cut the length to create two flat surfaces and a waterfall in between. He notched each piece for biscuits, stained them and then glued the whole thing together before installing it.

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Aaron even went the extra mile to add some trim to the back.

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This space also gave us a use for our extra Keurig. Now our guests can enjoy a cup of coffee in their room at any time of the day! It’s like we’re a real hotel, you guys.

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So that’s it! One space, three uses (and a TON of pictures and 1,200+ words.)

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A dresser for the captain’s bedroom

New furniture was not on the list for the captain’s bedroom makeover. But when everything was painted (walls and floor), new duct work was hung, and a cool light feature was added, the miscellaneous furniture that was occupying this space looked… even more miscellaneous than it did before. (Perhaps the orange walls were blinding us?)

When we visited South Jefferson Mid Century Modern to snag THE desk, we took a look around and spotted a Broyhill Premiere dresser that would be perfect for this space.


The dimensions were great, and while it had some wear it was in spectacular condition. I hope I have as few dings as this piece when I’m 50+

Also we are majorly in love with real wood furniture. It’s so durable and classic, and don’t you just feel like an adult when you buy it? I do. It feels like an investment… even though the pieces at South Jeff MCM are rarely a splurge.

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The surface had a few scars and the legs needed some help.

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So we consulted the interwebs and landed on an overall cleaning with Murphy Oil Soap. This stuff smells SO good!


The legs got some glue and a little clamp action.

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Originally we tried rubbing it down with Danish Oil, but when that didn’t give us the results we wanted, we opted for a coat of Restor-A-Finish.


It’s not perfect, but we think the imperfections adds to the charm.

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It’s a great spot to store our extra linens. And that wood against the Pantone walls! Just stop. Love it!

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We were waiting to get this piece in place to decide on art, accessories and plants. (We would love something with some height in that sun-filled corner.) Once that’s done, I’ll call this space 85% done. We’re still on the hunt (albeit a slow one) for matching side tables for the bed, a side table for the Mr Chair and maybe a lamp for that nook too.

Mr chair and some better shots of the captain’s bedroom

THE desk wasn’t the only thing we bought after seeing it on Instagram OR the only new purchase for the captain’s bedroom. Allow me to introduce Mr. Chair.


But, really guys, that’s the name of this chair. Mr. Chair® is a plycraft lounge designed by George Mulhauser.

I noticed this guy on The Future Antiques Instagram feed and it popped out at Aaron on Facebook. You might remember that we picked up this Eames lounger last year from TFA with plans to redo it. Since then, Aaron fell in love with the look of the Mr. Chair. So when this one came up for a good price, I agreed on the condition that the Eames chair finds a new home. One house only needs so many loungers.

Between you and me, I like this chair a lot more. I think it has more style and the condition is top notch. There’s a small tear near one of the buttons in the seat, which we may be able to repair ourselves. Either way, it’s a piece of furniture that can be used immediately… in contrast to the dressers we’re planning to refresh that have been hanging out in the studio. (More on those in a future post.) That alone makes it a winner in my book!

We’re not sure where it will ultimately live, but it looks at home in the captain’s bedroom. Once we removed the closet, we figured this corner would be perfect for a comfy chair and this definitely fits the bill. This corner still needs a lamp, small table and art to cover up the electrical box cover.

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The room is starting to come together. We still have a dresser to add. Once that is in place, we can work on art and accessories.

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We’re also on the lookout for matching side tables for the bed. The typing cart, which we still love and will have a home somewhere, is looking a little “shabby chic” now that it’s on a rug. The round table on the other side is so old it was surely a Bed Bath and Beyond purchase many moons before we realized what kind of aesthetic we really enjoy.


So that’s where things stand right now. It’s SOOO much better than the orange and blue hodgepodge we lived with before.


Yeah. That. It hurts my eyes.


Ahh! Much better!

In fact, this room looks SO good, I sometimes want to move our master. It’s not functional enough for that (closet space, adjacent bathroom, etc) but it makes me happy knowing our guests will stay in a place that I’d be thrilled to inhabit on a daily basis.

The closet also goes green

We’ve been focusing on the bedroom portion of the captain’s suite, but the bathroom turned closet is also getting some love during this makeover. Here’s a reminder of where we started: gray walls and ceiling, weird pink window trim, plaster damage.

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Oh and a “sweet” light fixture…. NOT!


After Aaron fixed the plaster, the painted portion of the room got the green treatment. The walls, window and door trim, and ceiling all got a few coats of Pantone’s June Bug to match the bedroom.


Everything is looking so much more rich.


The green goes really well with all of the existing stone, which we have no plans to remove.

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Ok, everything is looking great except the overhead light fixture, but that’s getting replaced.


We grabbed some pieces from Ikea to make this into a multi-functional space: closet, vanity and back bar. It sounds weird, but I promise it will make sense. As soon as I wrangle the 100+ Ikea parts into working cabinets, I’ll show you what I mean.