FOURTH FLOOR WALK UP

Brooklyn based lifestyle blog by Lauren L Caron

Bedroom

SPACES | Beds: The New & The Old Part Deux

SPACESLauren Caron1 Comment
Our New Bed | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

Our New Bed | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

I wrote in my previous post, that I made the decision to go with a new bed, but of course it didn't come without any challenges. I don't know if it's because we went from a vintage to a new bed and had to make adjustments or if this is a common issue but, I wanted to talk about our silly experience of feeling a little like The Princess and the Pea (for a few evenings) and a lot like Goldie Locks and the three bed elevations...

New beds have much taller headboards than vintage or antique beds and that's often to accommodate the present day, thick mattresses, but also because it's a matter of taste with the mass population believing that bigger is better. If you haven't noticed new homes are larger and virtually all new furniture is larger in scale. Not a trend I'm particularly fond of and also something that just doesn't work in New York City. Our bed is the perfect example as to why. 

When we first swapped the new bed in, I felt a slight bit of hesitation and I knew it was mostly because the new headboard felt really tall! I had to take the advice I often give my clients when they bring something new home, and that was to let it settle in and not make any decisions until after a few days of living with it. The next move was to get a box spring or foundation that would help bring the mattress up slightly, to more within a proper scale of the headboard. My big dilemma though was to choose between a standard foundation and a low profile. My first instinct was to go with the low. I purchased this one from Amazon [here], and felt pretty good about my decision. Then after speaking with a few people and after a little bit of research, I noticed that NO ONE else bought low profile foundations. Especially those with lower profile mattresses which is what we also own. So that led me to call, cancel my first order and reorder the same foundation in a thicker profile. 

Warning, the next few pictures are going to all look like the same picture unless you look a little closer....

The day came when the box was delivered and ohhhh my god, what had I done? It was huge! I felt like I was (no offense to anyone) in middle America or worse yet in a McMansion. The scale of the bed with the full foundation and mattress were just too oversized for our small NYC bedroom. By the way, for NYC it's not that small, you can easily fit a queen size bed in there, which is a true selling point in the Brooklyn real estate market!

The bed with the too thick foundation | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

The bed with the too thick foundation | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

The second the delivery person set my mattress on top, I asked him about the exchange possibilities and he told me to call Sleepy's immediately (which is the company where the foundations were locally dispatched from). Lucky me, the customer service associate got the approval to exchange my box spring for a low profile for free! Due to my schedule, we had to wait a few days for the exchange to come and in that time my husband and I joked about how we had felt transported to a hotel, and that I were the real life version of the Princess and the Pea. The dogs could no longer lick my elbow in the morning when they wanted to go for their morning walk and Max couldn't possibly sneak into the bed in the middle of the night. It was definitely fun to live a different kind of life, but only for a few days, thank you! 

LESSONS LEARNED

Don't buy a mattress and box spring that is out of scale for your home, even if it seems like everyone is doing it.  In case you're looking for the right mattress - buy a Simmons Beauty Rest at 13" thick (rather than the common 18") and buy a low profile foundation at 5 - 1/4" high, if a box spring is necessary. The other possibility could be, had we already owned the ultra thick mattress, would be to not purchase a foundation with the bed. 

Second lesson learned, go with your gut! If I had gone with my first instincts, we would have had the right box spring in the first place! 

Same view but showing the bed with the low profile foundation/box spring | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

Same view but showing the bed with the low profile foundation/box spring | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

Our bed | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

Our bed | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015


To give you an update on my mother's bed dilemma. She also purchased a new bed from Restoration Hardware, because she wanted to upgrade to a queen sized bed. It's really hard to believe but she and my dad have been sleeping on a full bed for over 30 years. The one she chose was the Empire Rosette Sleigh bed, and don't worry about the crown, it's staying and she's figuring out how to make it all work with the new bed. As for the foundation, she also ordered the wrong thickness for her new bed, so they're waiting for the low profile to be delivered next week. 


SPACES | Beds: New & Old, What You Should Know Before You Buy

SPACES, VINTAGELauren CaronComment
My Parent's bedroom, The bed is my Great-grandmother's bed from the 1840's. It's a 3/4 sized bed with a classic full sized mattress. | Photograph by: Michelle Gardella © 2015

My Parent's bedroom, The bed is my Great-grandmother's bed from the 1840's. It's a 3/4 sized bed with a classic full sized mattress. | Photograph by: Michelle Gardella © 2015

Antique and Vintage beds are one of life's beautiful things. They can add charm, romance, glamour as well as sophistication to interiors, which often is difficult to evoke with your mass-market or even designer reproductions. Particular sized vintage or antique bedframes are easier to find than one would expect and even more surprisingly, they can run at a fair price. What many of us don't know however, is that these frames often come along with "issues" that must be dealt with before they can suit a modern lifestyle.  The most important issues to consider are size, support and proportion (which could also fit under size but I'm mentioning this more from a design perspective.) If you've ever looked at any of my bedrooms on the blog or from my instagram feed of my parents house, you can see that I'm an avid owner of antique and vintage bed frames. From the exterior one might think that I've had it easy and everything has worked out perfectly with every bed that I've owned. Unfortunately, that isn't true and I've been keeping a secret from you, as I'm sure other antique bed frame owners have as well. They can be a pain in the a**. . . and there have been several instances where I wish I could have just bought a new bed instead. Which finally, after years of sleeping on antiques I have recently purchased a new. But before I go into those details, I want to inform you about antique beds and if you are considering the purchase of one, what you should know before you buy. 

Our Vintage French Style bed from the 1930's. Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

Our Vintage French Style bed from the 1930's. Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

SIZING

The number one issue that I have learned about antique or vintage beds stems from their sizing.  Standard American mattresses today run accordingly:

Twin - 39 in. X 75 in.

Double/Full - 54 in. X 75 in.

Queen - 60 in. X 80 in.

King - 76 in. X 80 in.

New beds are made to accommodate these widths and lengths. In other countries and in the past however, mattress sizes vary from these standards. In the past fifty years mattress sizes have changed, I'm not sure exactly when but the why I am guessing is due to the size of people. People are taller than they were in the 50s, they're also heavier. So for anyone who buys an antique bed frame, beware.  To start, the twin and full sized beds of yesteryear are sometimes up to a full 6 inches narrower than today's standard frames. Surprisingly, this issue has seemed to not come up in my home but if you do perchance buy one of those sizes, Army/Navy surplus stores sell these size mattresses. Additionally, Military Supply House offers a selection of 30" and 36" width mattresses in both regular and extra long lengths.

Rita resting on my Great-grandmother's bed from the 1850's. | Photograph by: Michelle Gardella © 2015

Rita resting on my Great-grandmother's bed from the 1850's. | Photograph by: Michelle Gardella © 2015

The next size of double or full mattresses have replaced "Three Quarter" sized mattresses or as they used to be called "regular" or "standard". These typically run 47 - 48" in width which is up to six inches narrower than current full sized mattresses. Three Quarter sized mattresses can be found through some companies as custom orders from US Mattress and Antiquebedmattress.com.

Queen sized bedframes are on average a painful 4 inches shorter in length than today's standards. I say painful because lengthwise they fit a full mattress, but widthwise, a queen. That is the scenario that we ran into with our current antique bed. The only option here is to have your side rails lengthened or to live with the smaller difference (which is actually what we ended up doing.) There are some companies that specialize in lengthening and even widening antique bed frames [here].  You can see when you look at the picture of our bed how the mattress goes about 2" beyond the footboard pole. It's not totally obvious, but enough to drive me slightly crazy.

STRUCTURE

Structurally you have to consider the support system and construction of these antique and vintage frames. As one would guess, a 200 or even 50 year old bed (especially if the people sleeping on the beds have a good marriage ;) ) suffer from wear and tear. Also, in many of the vintage iron beds the supports no longer exist. That is because some of they came with that awful gridlike spring system, while others were made with ropes. The solution we found to fix this problem was to cut two pieces of plywood and rest 2 x 4's along the metal siderails. The Ikea bedframes have a similar system. Additionally, you may have to create a center support structure underneath the bed to ensure it will not cave in, which is something that we did. Last but not least, the joints may need to be restored and re-worked so that they are still in working condition.

Shown here is the center support structure Jack built to hold up the mattress, he also affixed two plywood boards for additional support so that the mattress would not sag. Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

Shown here is the center support structure Jack built to hold up the mattress, he also affixed two plywood boards for additional support so that the mattress would not sag. Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

SCALE + PROPORTION

The final issue which deals with both size, scale, and proportion is in regards to the headboards. We discovered that the headboards of today accommodate the ultra-thick mattresses and box springs of today. When I finally upholstered my headboard and we went through all the trouble of creating a new base for the frame, we discovered the mattress I purchased was not only too long, but also too thick. It was heartbreaking to see the beautiful Louis XV headboard that I sought out covered by pillows. To resolve this problem that we came across we had to search for a new mattress, one that was thinner first of all and we were hoping the length would be better as well. In the end we settled on a Simmons Beautyrest, which is the 11" depth a full 6" shallower than our ultra puffy one. It's just a comfortable and looks so much better. You can also see the same issue has arisen in my great-grandmother's bed. My mother has decided to ignore the fact that the headboard is completely covered and added a crown with drapery to pull the eye up, which also solves the issue of scale. One other, easy solution to consider, would be to only use the headboard and to mount it to the wall. However, in our case that wasn't going to work, since we have the chinoiserie screen mounted to the wall and the bed could not be mounted on to that.

Our bedroom with our antique bed frame | photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

Our bedroom with our antique bed frame | photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

After sleeping on our current vintage bed for the past 3.5 years we decided to purchase a new bed. I have been eying the Vienne Caned bed from Restoration Hardware, for what I think may be the same amount of time. It wasn't until recently that I decided to splurge on it, especially since there was an amazing sale the last week, which brought the price down from a whopping $2,000 to $1,400 (before taxes and shipping). I've decided hey, we're adults and we know we want a quality bed that will last us the next 30 - 40 years so whats the harm in spending $1500 on a bed? For your information, the details for size and finish: we purchased a queen Vienne, caned bed in weathered oak. I'm in the process of writing a follow up post specifically about foundations (box springs) next, so check in for that very soon, because after purchasing this bed we learned a few other very important details about that aspect!

The Updated Look | Photograph by: Lauren L Caron © 2015

The Updated Look | Photograph by: Lauren L Caron © 2015

In the end, I definitely still have a soft spot for antique and vintage bed frames and I no doubt will be putting my current frame into storage for when we have a guest room or (don't gasp) children... the latter is not in the plans but you never know. Hopefully, this information hasn't scared you too much and that you may still consider a vintage or antique but, please only do so if you know that's truly the look you're going for. My greatest advice would be to make the decision regarding how you would like to invest in your bed, if it is money, purchase new, or pay for a company to adjust an antique to fit a modern mattress, or you will have to invest time into making all of these adjustments yourself.


Bedding Details

I've moved away from any color with my sheets. I've been inspired by the crisp, white hotel sheets.  I have added a throw with a hint of color that I will be able to switch up on the foot of the bed, depending on my mood, but that's it. At some point I may also buy the sheets that have black edging. I'm definitely considering for my next investment and/or treat myself moment, the scalloped sheets by Crane & Canopy. I mean, the tiny bit of detailing is so chic! 

Currently, the quilt, blanket and sheets are from Target & the Euro shams are by West Elm. The silk velvet pillows are from Bergdorf Goodman, Dec Home and the Leopard pillow is something I made myself. 


Houzz Ideabook: Pink Crush

TREND, SPACESLauren Caron1 Comment

My Bedroom Vanity Lately I’ve been smitten with adding elements of pink into interiors. I know many often associate pink with little girl’s bedrooms or midcentury kitchens, but pink has been reinvented. Now it’s making appearances in the finest homes and the most mature spaces, energizing rooms with its warmth and brightness. To bring joy to your home, add the unexpected pink pillow to your couch, rug to your living room or taper candles to your next dinner party. For my latest Ideabook on Houzz and further commentary on my picks, click [here] or on the sidebar link to the right.

Crushing On PinkProducts: 1. Double Diamond Rug | 2. Gold Trim Agate Coasters | 3. Pink File Cabinet | 4. Robert Abbey Delta Schiaparelli Table Lamp | 5. Taper Candles | 6. Gratz Bench

 

Thanks for reading.

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Beautiful Blooms

SPACESLauren Caron1 Comment

Flowers are not only on my mind because it's Spring but also because I had to settle on a look for my wedding. I recently put these mood boards together and sent them on to my florist. I'm completely in love with romantic arrangements that are bit asymmetrical and 'undone'. What do we think? I'm swooning. Handheld-Bouquets

 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10

 

Table-Top-Arrangements

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

 

Lastly, had to snap a shot of my bedside table with the sample arrangement my co-worker Alexandra gave me a few weeks ago. It was just so lovely and I wanted to preserve the memory. Alexandra is a flower designer and operates a studio in the city. You can see more of her work [here].

Bedroom