Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Stage Set For Our Dreams

The Stage Set For Our Dreams

When The Songwriter and I married, we moved into our cottage with nothing but a baby grand piano and a bed. Our priority boxes were ticked and, as far as we were concerned, we were starting out with the most vital of possessions.
Music and the perfect place to sleep.
Really, what more does one need?
As an unabashed and inveterate nester, the bedroom is always the room I decorate first, long before the more public spaces are considered. They are the rooms most personal, most illustrative of who we are when no one is looking. Bedrooms are our sanctuaries, our havens -they are the stage sets for our dreams and as such they should always mirror the purest, most colourful, parts of ourselves.
A beautiful bedroom is, in my thinking, crucial to the well-being of the psyche. One should always be able to banish the rigors of the world to the other side of the bolted bedroom door and retreat to a spot where the provisions of beauty can be found in abundance.
This is where the best books should be stacked on the downiest chairs.
Where the loveliest paintings should hang on the walls and the sweetest photographs grace the polished bedside tables.
Here, the fragrance of fresh flowers should always float in the air and, weather permitting, the windows should always be open.
There should be a windowseat for daydreams and a magical bed, lavender scented and dressed to the nines, to snuggle inside when the dark darkness falls.

I’ve felt this way since I was little. I was most particular about the arrangement of the Teddy Bears and Babars that shared my bed - one wrongly placed paw could have thrown the whole thing off. Of course, when I was little, the penultimate bed was a canopied one. No surprise, I suppose, that my bedroom contains a paneled, well-curtained, four poster today.
Growing up, I would get lost inside the rooms of fiction, imagining the London bedroom of Jane and Michael Banks with patterned carpets on the floors and a dappled rocking horse in the corner.
I would conjure the opulent bedroom of Countess Olenska in New York, giving it red damask walls, silk sheets and white lilies.
My mind simply danced when I considered the treehouse bedroom, lit by boatloads of stars, that belonged to that lucky Swiss family by the name of Robinson.
And how I loved the delightful description, in My Family and Other Animals, of little Gerry’s bedroom at the strawberry-pink villa in Corfu, where the tangerine trees hung thick with flowers just outside the shuttered window and an ash- grey owl named Ulysses slept each day away atop the window pelmet.
I have no doubt that all those literary wanderings greatly influenced my preferences today, although I must admit that I do now prefer my owls outside the window rather than in.

When traveling, where I sleep is infinitely more important than what I eat. Quite candidly, I often forget to eat, especially when it comes to lunch, which is but one more reason I love to travel in Britain. Their afternoon tea is so perfectly timed for someone who’s forgotten to eat since breakfast. But where I lay my head is another matter. Before booking into any hotel or inn, I scrutinize web photos of the bedrooms as if in preparation for an exam. I read guide book after guide book, choosing carefully in order to find a writer who obviously shares my proclivities for comfort. I mean, after all, who wants to spend an enchanting day out under the skies of a new world only to return to a room devoid of any sort of magic? No matter the strength of the wifi connection, or the thread count of the sheets, if a room doesn’t have the right ambiance, I am as miserable as that poor princess and the pea.
Fortunately, The Songwriter indulges this persnickety peccadillo of mine, and we’ve stayed in some truly wonderful rooms as a result, often over the protestations of the proprietor who attempted to place us in a more “modern” room, insisting that the stairs were too steep to get to the tower. Ah yes, but the climb was so worth it!
My recent trip to London was no exception to this rule and I thought you might like to see the room I chose for this solo adventure.
Believe me, it was like sleeping in Aladdin’s lamp itself!
Do tell me about your bedroom!
Any owls?

The Ellen Terry room at The Draycott Hotel, Chelsea

and a teeny glimpse of my own,
where there is also a wee bit of tartan,
and a fat, paisley dog bed.

There's still time to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the page.
Drawing is on the 17th!


  1. I chose my current flat because of the bedroom, which has a cupboard bed that is six feet off the ground. We stuck glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling. We will be moving soon, but "the skybed" will always be a charming memory.

  2. My bedroom is my haven. I have my favorite colors (yellows, oranges, and a bit of red), two 8 ft bookcases filled to the brim, a cushy chair with a footstool, my desk, and my bed with my favorite blanket, comforter (isn't that the perfect word for what it is??) and lots of pillows. Pictures on the walls, photos on the shelves. I need better lighting these days because my eyes don't work so well in dim light anymore. Nevertheless, it's my "little room" (and it is small) and I love it!

    Also I've always wanted to stay in lovely old hotels with cozy and interesting rooms, but I don't travel much (won't fly anymore), so I'll live vicariously through others who have the time, taste, and money to do so! Ah well, I'll just curl up in my comfy bed and read good books that take me around the world. It's not the same, I know, but it's better than nothing!! :)

  3. oh how right you are Pamela!

    My bedroom opens up onto the front deck of my boat... in the summer I leave the door open so I can see the ducks, geese and swans outside - and step out to feed them if the fancy takes me. It is decorated with pretty bright curtains and paintings created just for us... and there is a tiny cubby hole filled with only our most favourite books (space is tight!)... the bed we built ourselves and it is at window height so that when I lay on it in the day to read I can see the water flowing and boats passing by... it never fails to soothe my soul.

    It may be small, but it is truly our sanctury :-)

  4. What beautiful images. And Edward is just adorable. Found you from Collage of Life :) XOL

  5. I am as obsessed with bedrooms and their decor as you... The place you stayed is incredibly beautiful and cozy. From the glimpse of your own room and description I can only imagine it is divine! Edward's doggie bed sounds fabulous too!

    I am fortunate to have a few bedrooms in my home, but I am not so well off to have them decorated to a finished state of beauty... yet it is my dream to complete them. The room I sleep in now has a beautiful antique Rosewood French bed and a little night stand that matches. The rest of the room isn't "done" and really needs help. Another room has a dreamy antique venetian painted bed from the 1800's but the bed isn't set up/put together yet. The head board is painted with a charming scene from Psyche and Cupid... and it is part of a large bedroom set of furniture from Italy. Indeed bedrooms are one of my favorite rooms as far as interior design, comfort and dreams go too.

  6. Hello Pamela

    My bedroom is simple. I love the color sky blue for my bedroom--I have a desk and a small book case. I do not use curtains--only blinds. I have lots of blankets on my bed and a few pillows.

    Have a great week-end!

    Tracy :)

  7. I am just working out the last details for our new bedroom design!
    You post is wonderful!

  8. The glimpse of your bedroom is just lovely, Pamela. Somehow I just knew your bedroom would be magical. Canopied, paneled beds are the most romantic of all.

  9. Great post........lovely rooms to view........thoughtful musings!

  10. The walls are painted "antique gold" in non gloss paint. I had a quarter of a can of paint left after painting the walls, so I added enough water to make it half a can and washed the white ceiling with the thinned paint. The nongloss paint gives it all an old world plastered look. The bed tables are mismatched -- the one that came with the bedroom suite on the "visible from the door" side. When I got my new thicker queen-size mattress, I got another taller one for my side -- the finish matches. Atop them are a mismatched pair of brass lamps, one big, heavy and tall (with two bulbs -- for reading in bed) on my side, the other thinner and shorter, both found at charity shops, polished and rewired. I covered their lamp shades with a floral print fabric with a gold background that matches the walls, patterned with dark red roses. The walls are covered with groupings of pictures of my family and my ancestors on both sides, including an heirloom large oval photograph of my maternal great great grandmother. All the furniture is dark cherry with brass pulls. The bed was high to begin with and now is very high with the new mattress. The curtains for the room's only window I made from a gold damask banquet size tablecloth with a gold damask table runner with boullion fringed ends swagged over the top. The window is behind the head of the bed so the curtains form a lovely backdrop for the tall "turtle back" headboard. I wish the floor was wood, but it's wall to wall blah beige carpet (I rent, but I'm allowed to paint), so I've put down a red kilim rug at the foot of the bed and gold floral runners along the sides. In winter I have a thick Chinese red comforter patterned with metallic gold, in summer (currently) a candlewicked undyed cotton spread. The highboy chest of drawers has a dark cherry stained wooden book rack thing that slides apart to whatever size you need to contain the books in the "to be read" stack. I never use the ceiling fan light, but always light it with the bedside lamps. It's my cozy haven for reading and watching DVD's on the TV in the armoir at the foot of the bed. Oh, and the bedroom door has a catflap in it for my 3 kitties so I can shut out the world without shutting them out as well.

  11. Dear Pamela,
    The Ellen Terry bedroom looks wonderful and, a little reminisent of a bedroom in Dennis Sever's house !!.....only with a few more modern conveniences methinks !!
    From your recent posts, I think that you really enjoyed your time in London. I'm so pleased.
    Our bedrooms all have Victorian iron sister's bedroom has a fourposter, like you have. Sorry to mention it again but, my sister got her four poster after she had visited Dennis Sever's house. It truly inspired her. XXXX

  12. I am redecorating ours as I type. Nothing major, but crisping it up a bit. Your little peak of your room is exactly what I would have thought for you!

  13. You're right, bedrooms should be sanctuaries. I've always found myself in the middle of someone else's sanctuary - and although I scatter enough of myself around to make it mine, it never has been quite exactly how I'd have it, left to run free. Gosh how I dreamed about the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse. And what a beautiful room at that hotel! Right, next time I am holidaying at home I know where to go. :)

  14. Very wise words Pamela...the bedroom is so important to our well being.....Love your English snug .....xv

  15. I can relate completely Pamela. I love my bed, it is so cozy and my bedtoom so soothing to me!! That is where I read to go to sleep.....always dreamy visions!

    Really beautiful !!!

    Art by Karena

  16. My bedroom right now is a barren that I can't wait to turn into a cozy, beautiful sanctuary. I admire the fact that you made yours a priority, the peek looks lovely!
    xo J~

  17. romantic loveliness abounds. How beautiful and poetic your life is Pamela. Your words are so enchanting and put me quite a pensive mood.

  18. I'm sitting in my bedroom blogging. We spend a lot of time in here and are very fortunate to have a fairly large space. I recently moved my sewing area into our bedroom. Love the little bedroom that you featured in your post.

  19. I always loved the image of the Princess and the Pea, the little princess in her high, high bed.
    Two cats and a dog, plus a stack of bed-time books to either side of the bed, and against two walls boxes of paintings (which are best stored flat),all rather complicate the dream of acheiving a truly elegant bedroom. But it is pink and white with lacey curtains, with a very pretty peach-glass (makes me think of Thumbelina's lilly pad) light fitting.
    Enjoying reading everyone's bedroom descriptions. Books are a common theme!

  20. There is no question that it defines you Pamela, everything here does! The sign of a very creative woman:) I started Monarch of the Glen last night, love it!! Thinking of you when I do:)

    Jeanne xx

  21. I would think the bedroom has to be the most relaxing and secure room in the house. I say secure because a Doctor once told me my fetish with the canopy bed was insecurity. Don't believe everything you are told..Think I will build a bookcase in my bedroom. Love the Princess and the pea.
    Kiss your dog for me.

  22. My bedromm is white, with a four poster bed (white) but without curtains. The best thing in it is the light. I have a window and a door that looks onto the "galería" or long balcony that runs along the main façade of the house. And the entrance door. I can see a beautiful valley and a little church from the bed. And the distant sea!

  23. And... the hotels in London are really expensive!

  24. The bedroom is the nicest room in the flat, though not the tidiest i have to admit. I have stayed in some wonderful bedrooms on my travels, my favourites being a large bedroom with four poster bed and lounge area and views over Oban and a large, light room with wonderful flower arrangements and a huge bookcase (full of books) overlooking the Mediterranean in Italy

  25. I live in my bedroom, study in bed, especially on cold days and have too many heavy books there and the computer (thank goodness it is a laptop), I drink tea in bed, answer the phone. There are excellent quality pillows, two good duvets and good quality if washed out bedlinen (you can't afford silk when going to school - later). The grand piano (I used to be a pianist) is not in the bedroom though, I wish it was.

  26. Dear Pamela, you are so right. It is vital to get the bedroom perfect. I'm very fussy about pillows and take one with me when I travel. I know I'd love your bedroom. The Ellen Terry room is gorgeous, very English xx


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