Chateaulando: Planning the Master Bedroom

Dear Design Diary,

The description (from the Benjamin Moore website) for the wall color I chose for my new bedroom is “A romantic pink that’s light and luminous, this soft, feminine shade adds a sweet finishing touch to a little girl’s room or a powder room.” Nowhere in there does it say “This butch, masculine color for dudes will make sure you find a new boyfriend in a matter of minutes. The second your suitor sees your bedroom he’ll know you’re the masc bro he wants to spend the rest of his life with.” And I guess that’s kind of why I painted my bedroom that color. It was kind of a FUCK IT moment.

But lately my whole entire life has been a FUCK IT moment, where I’ve realized I have little to lose so I can be a bit more adventurous with how I approach designing my space. I wanted the bedroom to be an expression of my autonomy. Almost like a way of telling myself, YOU ARE FINE, It’s okay to be alone. I’m not fully feeling that right now, but I do think it was a good idea follow my instincts in designing the bedroom. I have no one to answer to so I can do what I want. And as much as I’m still in mourning, missing my ex, there is at least a bit of excitement in knowing I get to do whatever I want with my space.

Anyway, life is terrible. As a refresher, this is what the bedroom looked like before I moved in:

And here’s what it looks like now that it’s painted pink:

We finally took that ugly fan down last week. I was so satisfied and happy. I actually like ceiling fans for how efficient and effective they are but for a space like this I wanted something pretty to look at. I plan on using a stationary fan in the summer when it gets too hot. I hired a random Taskrabbit with questionable skills to do a lot of my lighting installation and it’s quite possible I will die in an electrical fire because of that decision.


Sources: Bed from West Elm, Rug from RugsUSA, White Linen Bedding from Parachute, Pillows custom and from Loloi

The first thing I chose for the bedroom was this really awesome bed from West Elm, which is upholstered in a sandy colored velvet. It’s beige. And I never thought I’d be into beige but beige and pale pink are a wonderful, unexpected pair. The bedding in there is the same bedding I had at Orcondo, simple white linen from Parachute. For the pillows, I wanted to keep it warm and light so I’m going with some ivory bird pillows my mom made and an ivory beaded pillow. Finally, the rug is also ivory and soft, with a sophisticated traditional pattern on it that counter-balances some of the more playful elements in the room.

To add a bit of masculinity to the room, I chose these flat roman shades (in “Fog”) from Loom Decor. I love romans as a more masc alternative to drapery and these look really wonderful in the space. The trick to using grey is to find hues that are light enough. A lot of the greys I’m seeing out there are too dark, but I love how light and luminous this one is.

Sources: Paintings by Hey Sosi, Pillow from Urban Outfitters, Eyeball Planter from Curated Living, Coil Sculpture by Ben Medansky, Smiley Pot by Jen Kuroki, Cut Out Fat Guy from Art on Block

One thing I definitely wanted to make sure of is that I injected as much personality as possible into this space. Since it’s a place that I will sleep in alone (forever, until I die), I want it to be the kind of place where people walk in and go “THIS IS SO ORLANDO.” And what screams “Orlando” more than lots of creepy smiling faces staring at you?

I don’t know when this happened, but I have somehow become obsessed with any accessory that has a face. I’ve always liked things that are playful and fun and I think we’re finally living in a time when it’s easier to find accents like that. Like all the sudden smiling objects are available everywhere. Maybe because everyone stares at their phones all the time they want to see a happy, smiling face when they look at their pottery.


Sources: Art and Pottery Lamp are Vintage, Spear & Stem Lamp Lamp from West Elm, Bamboo Pendant from Ikea, White Ceramic Lamp from West Elm

For lighting, I wanted to add materials that would up the warmth factor even more. I basically want this space to feel like a giant, cozy cocoon. So I chose a simple, inexpensive bamboo fixture for the ceiling fixture and ceramic bedside table lamps. The ceramic lamps are from a vintage store in North Hollywood and I’ve had them for years and always loved them (they were in the guest bedroom at Orcondo, where I rarely got to hang out with them).

I chose the inexpensive Ikea pendant mainly because I ran out of money while doing my NIGHTMARE KITCHEN PROJECT but I was surprised at how much I loved it in person. It’s a pretty great piece for $60! My theory with stores like Ikea is that if you see something there that looks like high design you should buy it, because more often than not those pieces are the first to get discontinued.

The dresser I chose is pretty ridiculous/amazing. Full disclosure: I got it for free. There’s no way I could have fit this in my budget with all the money I had to pour into the disaster kitchen and all the other furniture I had to buy for the apartment, starting mostly from scratch. But I’m completely obsessed with it. It was designed by Egg Collective for Design Within Reach and it’s basically the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life. It has a marble top and weighs a million pounds. One thing I didn’t anticipate about moving out on my own was that whenever you want to move a piece of furniture you have to call a friend. There’s no boyfriend there to come and help you move the dresser two feet to the right. So my life for that past few months has basically just been me staring at furniture pieces wondering if I can move them without getting a hernia. More often than not, I err on the side of risking hernia.

Sources: Spear & Stem Lamp and White Ceramic Lamp

I’m still deciding on which lamps to put on the dresser. These are the two main contenders. I like how the stem and sphere one brings a bit of graphic edginess to the room but I also like how warm-yet-sculptural the ceramic one is. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

My bedroom design is pretty much complete, now I just have to implement everything. I fell into a depression this week, have just been overworked and overwhelmed with all the changes happening simultaneously. I have had a lot of work for my book, keeping up with design clients, habitually having all-encompassing money anxiety, and trying to get this blog back off the ground. And I haven’t had time to workout, which was the one thing keeping my chemistry from dipping into depression (I was combatting the depression hormones with endorphins, which totally works). Generally, I’m just feeling pretty lonely and despondent, as depressed people often do. The emptiness of this new apartment, of living alone, waking up alone, upsets me. But the pink paint on the walls helps a bit. It doesn’t completely cheer me up, just provides a little bit of a comfort. Kind of like when you’re sobbing and a friend puts her hand on your back. Color can be surprisingly reassuring.

On that depressing note, BYE! (Sorry).


Images Via: Coastal Style, Husomhelst, DecorAid, Complete Home, MyDomain

25 thoughts on “Chateaulando: Planning the Master Bedroom

  1. Oh gosh I love this so much. That dresser has been a favorite of mine for a while now. I also LOVE that spear and stem lamp but with that large marble top I think I lean more towards a warmer lamp? I also bought that Ikea light for my bedroom but the scale was a little too big for my small space and the sketchy wiring in my apartment I uncovered when I took down the previous light stopped me from putting it up. Now the sad rental light is back up and the nice Ikea light is sitting in my closet waiting for a bigger place without wires duct taped together and painted over!

  2. Have you thought about getting a pet? I am very much a loner/hermit who prefers to be very alone in my Alonetown kingdom – population me, 99.99999999% of the time, and that means pets, too. Cats for me are too clingy wanting to be on you all the time, dogs are too much work for me right now, so I got myself some birds. Birds are not for everyone, of course, but I could see you having a very lovely aquarium with beautiful fish in it! I know fish and birds aren’t exactly the snuggliest of pets, but I think having another creature (or a few) around to care for really does help with the loneliness.

  3. Orlando, I’m sorry you’ve been feeling like a pile of poo lately, but there are people all across the world rooting for you, and you can count me as one! I’m prone to the same sort of thinking as you when disasters arise, and I find that after wallowing in it a bit that if I make a running list of things I want to get done with small enough components as to be able to cross of a lot each day, the sense of accomplishment starts to override the feelings of ick. It sounds like you’re busy, which is fantastic, but definitely keep trying to fit in that workout, like first thing of the day, and hopefully you’ll start feeling better overall soon.
    As for your design content, major heart eyes over here in Miami! I’ve always loved your style. you should follow your instincts and keep saying FUCK IT! Paint is impermanent, but what a difference it makes. Love your cheerful bedroom!

  4. This is beautiful! And never underestimate the zen that comes of looking at yourself in the warm pink glow of your walls and seeing the healthy complexion of a newborn baby. In this bedroom, you are a masculine gorgeous man with the perfect skin of a baby. #Swoontown. But in all seriousness, the design looks killer and very true to yourself, which is important and brave. Even when you don’t feel either of those things.

  5. Beautiful bedroom! SO ORLANDO!!!! I’ll come sleep over anytime. I really like the blue/red paintings on the pink wall. You must be a designer bc I never would have thought of that but it works so well! The spear- stem lights are SO ORLANDO.

  6. I love the use of pink in a space, especially at night. The color is flattering to every skin tone, and waking up to a space you love is important. Best of luck with everything that is coming your way. I’m elated to have you back to blogging.

  7. Orlando, I just have take a minute to say that I LOVE the direction of your blog right now, and I love your honesty and your incredibly refreshing voice here. I literally laughed out loud several times while reading this post. We have very little in common, you and I (straight midwestern suburban soccer mom here with a more traditional design style than yours)- but your personality is the reason I’ve been reading since your days of working with Emily. Just wanted to offer you some encouragement and tell you that I think all this change is leading you somewhere big and important. (Not in an “everything happens for a reason” way because I hate that crap.) Just because I think you’re hilarious, authentic, so talented- just generally a bright shining star in the universe! Never change, please. Also- I rarely comment on blogs so you must really deserve it. 😉

    1. Ditto to everything Erin said, including me never commenting on blogs. Your recent balance of awesome design and transparency about your current feelings about life in general are both really beautiful to read.

  8. You should definitely buy a set of sliding robots. They are little plastic discs that you can use to move furniture. I think mine were $10. I was able to move an 8ft wide bookcase by myself with them. Not as good as a boyfriend but better than a hernia.

  9. Thank goodness for projects to take our minds off of exes. Inevitably tho that lonliness comes around to bite us in the butt. We can’t run for long as it rears it’s sappy head. I have found the best way to deal is to be present with the emotions.. and give myself permission to feel them as long as needed. Once I do that I find i dont want to stay there that long. It’s all baby steps…and baby steps are progress and are good enough!
    This to shall pass and you will be on to some fabulous man who will absolutely fall in love with everything about you,, even pale pink bedrooms. You are working your way to each other. IN the meantime fall in love with you. You are one of a kind and amazing!! You are right where you are supposed to be!

  10. Are you in my brain? There’s been a voice whispering to me to paint one of my rooms pink. But… pink is so tricky for mere non-designer mortals like myself. It so quickly goes from fab to… grown woman that never grew up and keeps plastic tiaras in her closet. But you convinced me to run out and pick up some paint chips in pink!

    BTW, you have totally gotten this blog back off the ground. I now check on Emily Henderson first, and, when I finish reading, I get all sad because it’s over. But then I think, oh wait, Orlando has been killing it recently. I bet he wrote something awesome this week.

  11. Good for you for choosing a color you love. How does the pink look throughout the day? Does your bedroom get a lot of natural light? Mine is a dark, dark, dark cave and the landlord painted it tan. :'( and installed tan wall to wall carpet :'(

    I hope you find comfort in feathering a new nest. I went through a bad breakup a few years ago and moving was one of the most healing things that I did for myself. (I didn’t have to move just wanted to move.) best wishes for you.

  12. Oh my, O! I am sending you love from Paris. I do love your bedroom reno, and I think I will paint a bathroom pink after seeing your room. You do such lovely work. Love the pillow also. If I weren’t so far away I would happily do amateur electrical work for you for free. And have my husband help you move furniture.

  13. I just painted my bedroom “My Sweetheart”, a lovely light pink. While picking up the paint, the adorable older gentleman at the paint counter inquires “who is the lucky little sweetheart getting this paint for her bedroom?” to which I responded “that would be me; it’s going to be very hip for adults, you just wait and see”. I’m loving it so far; waking up to pink makes everything start is such a dreamy, pretty place.

  14. It’s fabulous AND romantic. I love it! May I ask which direction your windows face in the bedroom? I’m wondering if the color is rendering cooler or warmer than it would in my own room. Thank you!

  15. Hi Orlando,

    I just wanted to thank you for writing so candidly about your breakup, healing process and transition to your own space by yourself. I am currently going through a very similar situation. My boyfriend of two years completely blindsided me and broke up with me the day before we were supposed to sign the lease on an apartment and move in together. The few months afterward were filled with turmoil and now I am finally settled into my new little studio apartment. Its tiny, but its mine, and designing a space for yourself can be very therapeutic (especially for an interior design student like me). Reading about your experience has been very helpful to me and I cannot thank you enough.


  16. just want to give you a virtual little hand on the back. loving the blog again. hadn’t read it in years until Emily’s recent shout out. checked it out, loved it, and back read it to even before your recent traumas. loving it all (I mean, not that you are having personal angst, but that you are writing so honestly about it). keep it up.

  17. PIIIINK PINK PINK – sorry that week sucked but at least you have a smashingly pink bedroom? It’s OK to mourn the death of your relationship – but don’t ever let a man ruin your life – F that noise. Rise, up and out & decorate the F out of everything.

  18. omg I love this!! Where can I get that sad candle and happy planter man on your nightstand? Plz don’t tell me they’re one of a kind or something cause I need them D:

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