We broke our bed

Our main living spaces are mostly done and entirely livable. We’re missing things like trim in the living room and crown molding in the kitchen. Those little things have been keeping me from sharing these spaces because they’re SO CLOSE to being perfect. For now, let’s talk about how we broke our bed.

After our trip to Iceland (another post I need to share!), we came back refreshed and ready to extend the hardwood floors into our master bedroom. We were not ready, however, to move our very fancy, very heavy SavvyRest mattress. We invested in it shortly before the firehouse hit our radar and absolutely love it…. except when it’s time to move. We’ve witnessed large moving crews struggle to get the mattress into the firehouse and up the stairs and then down the stairs and out of the firehouse. It has the weight and structure of three dead bodies wrapped in jello. (I imagine. This is unscientific as per usual with estimations on this blog.)

Rather than pull the mattress off the frame, we decided to use moving dollies to scoot the entire bed frame to one side of the room. Then this happened:

It was not our finest moment.

The press board bed frame is a hold over from our early married days when our style was not well defined and we sourced most furniture from Nebraska Furniture Mart.  We historically don’t put a lot of emphasis on our master bedroom. The only reason the master bedroom in the firehouse got a paint job was because a magazine threatened… err offered to photograph it as it stood. Similarly, we painted our current bedroom due to lack of options (and furniture and clothes and everything) when our moving truck was delayed. So it shouldn’t be a shock that the combining factors of 1) it works and it’s in the bedroom and 2) Aaron will likely build something but it’s not high on the priority list, led us to hang on to this bed frame well past when we loved it.

No tears were shed upon it’s collapse. Also simple bed frames are relatively affordable on Amazon. We ordered the Zinus Modern Studio 10″ frame and snagged the matching side tables, thus ending the  reign of the “temporary” Ikea shelf side tables, established 2013.  *face palm emoji*

With new “for now” furniture ordered, Aaron installed the flooring and we moved in the rug from the Captain’s Suite that we had been hording in hopes of it working well in our refreshed master bedroom. This rug really captures the difference in scale between the firehouse and our SoCal ranch. In the Captain’s Suite the rug did a great job defining the space, without overwhelming it.

In our 13′ wide room the 9′ x 12′ rug felt like we reinstalled wall-to-wall carpet. We let it sit for a few hours to see if it grew on us, but it was just too much rug for the space. Facing options like selling the rug for pennies on the dollar or trashing it completely, I had the brilliant (?) idea to turn the rug 90 degrees and cut off the excess. Because the cut edge sits against the wall, this option worked perfectly!

What didn’t work so perfectly was the new bed that lacked a headboard. After living with a very tall bed (too tall thanks to buying the wrong box springs many moons ago at, you guessed it, Nebraska Furniture Mart) and tall headboard, the shorter, simpler version made the room feel sterile. Aaron still wants to design and build a custom bed, but we didn’t want to push that ahead of some of the still unfinished details in the main living space. A little Pinterest surfing yielded inspiration for a design. This is yet another “temporary” solution, but if I’m blogging about replacing it in 5 years from now, I won’t have any regrets that it lasted that long. Viola!

This custom headboard is made of walnut strips for a minimal, yet refined feel. Aaron cut, stained and oiled all of the slats. They extend down the side, allowing for simple walnut shelves to be slotted between. We opted for two shallow shelves for each side. I am very in love with how this turned out. It’s functional and beautiful and so far I don’t mind the extra dusting.

I’m loving this before/after comparison

Can we also take a moment to talk about how stunning the floors are? It’s a seamless transition (read no transition piece) from the hallway to the bedroom and the floors extend into the closet, which feels super luxurious. I am totally in love with how the floors look next to the dark blue (Behr’s Opera Glass)  walls.

This whole space is feeling much more put together. Still on the list: some art (maybe some prints from Iceland) and a chair or bench.

New floors

Continuous flooring throughout the firehouse was never a real possibility, mostly because it was 5,000+ square feet and we are not made of money.  Taking on a much more modestly sized California ranch made a flooring upgrade realistic, and it didn’t take much online browsing to feel pretty certain that new floors would be a must in any home we bought.  It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Aaron “Master Sourcing Expert” Hawes jumped into the task with glee. Here were our parameters:

  • Click-together flooring  that we could float over a slab foundation
  • Solid wood (rather than engineered) so it could be refinished some day if needed
  • Hard wood – because Great Dane claws
  • Not hand-scraped or faux distressed – No offense if you have this style. We just don’t love it.
  • Mid-tone brown
  • Under $5 per square foot

Bamboo instantly jumped to the top of the list thanks to the hardness and price. The biggest struggle, and one of the most important considerations, was finding the right color. We love the warm mid tone brown that is common in much of the mid century furniture we gravitate towards. Real life: We ordered enough bamboo floor samples (usually free or really cheap) to floor a child’s play house.

Ultimately the winner was Warm Brown from Trinity Bamboo. (Top sample below.)

It’s a stunning tone that warms up our white-walled rooms. We also loved the matte finish and wide planks. It fit nicely in the budget at under $4 per square foot.

After chatting with the company, we opted to buy tongue and groove planks rather than click-together and glue them down. This provides a nice base for everything, like the cabinets in the kitchen. The glue works in place of the vapor barrier that would normally go under a floating floor installation.

Ordering was easy and delivery was prompt! That may be where the “easy” part of this story ends. Gluing down wood floors is HARD work. After pre-cutting the planks for a section, Aaron had to work quickly to trowel the glue and set and tape all the boards before the glue setup. Adding to the time sensitivity was the relatively short pot life (time before the glue dries too much) of the large buckets. The glue isn’t cheap so basically any time he opened a pail it was a race to use it all. The good news for you is that buckets have been discontinued. The glue is now distributed in much more manageable (and resealable) tubes.

It’s a ton of work but the end result is absolutely stunning! The boards have enough variation to give a nice natural feel and the color is exactly what we wanted.

So far he has finished all of the floors in the public spaces of the house, including new baseboard and trim throughout the kitchen, dining room and hallway. Our bedroom is up next and I cannot wait to tear the carpet out and extend these floors into that room!