If you live in Michigan like we sisters, chances are good that you've been "Up North." Basically, Up North is anywhere in Michigan more than an hour north of where you live that's not near a major city. We're talking lakeside, woody, third coast, cabin-in-the-woods kinds of places. Heading up north for a weekend or, if you're lucky, a chunk of weeks in the height of summer, is a well-earned right of passage for any Michigander (Michiganian? Michiganite?). We're lucky enough to have a few family cabins just yards away from beautiful Lake Huron.
One or the major influences of the time I've spent up north over the last few years is on my personal design style. I've always loved vintage style, but as I get older, that vintage love has evolved from the quirky (wacky vintage ashtrays and tourist souvenir plates) to the slightly more refined (amateur oil portraits and mid-century bar ware). The great pieces I've discovered in Northeastern Michigan's vintage shops, antique markets and thrift stores have honed my tastes from IKEA dressed up in quirk to what I've coined "eclecticlassic." What is exactly is that, you ask? "As I see it, eclecticlassic is a mix of furniture, textures and finishes from a wide variety of eras and styles all tempered with a classic design feel. Classic style is defined by balance and symmetry. The color combinations are simple and neutral. Clean and refined." I'm quoting myself here from a 2Sisters post about my bathroom makeover.
Every great room needs a great jumping-off point. And I found it in an amazing lamp and shade combination from an antique shop in Tawas, Michigan. The shade features a farm scene, complete with cows, sheep, a stream and a white fence. It's like a painting. I've never seen anything like it.
Yes it is country. But also, kind of weird and totally unique. These two factors outweigh the country factor in my eyes. At least it's not 80's country. This thing is fifty years old at least. The lamp itself, a thin wooden spool, was sold separately, but works perfectly. This lamp could go with any shade in any room and work just fine. Together, it's favorite my favorite lamp ever. Perfectly eclecticlassic.
I'd already decided to redo the guest room, which looked like this when the old family lived here before I moved in:
...and this for the next eleven months after that:
I decided to paint the room and moldings the same bright white as most of the other rooms in the house. Covering the weird green wall was incredibly satisfying.
I even hung some curtains I'd bought ages ago and never used.
The walls? So much better. And yet... I hated the curtains. They are far too juvenile and cute for my taste. Plus, the cheap IKEA fabric is weird and stuff and I just am not a fan. Maybe in a kid's room they'd be okay.
I went into a short creative slump while trying to figure out what direction to take. The ceiling and top part of the walls still needed to be painted. Then I saw this photo while pinning and I was sold:
I was absolutely taken by this rich emerald tone. I thought it would be absolutely killer on the ceiling. In the end, I skewed a bit darker because I wanted a really deep, saturated tone.
This is Behr's Vine Leaf. It is every bit as rich and saturated as I wanted. One of the best paint choices I've ever made. It's a very grown-up color and, with the addition of a schoolhouse-vibe light fixture (this one from Home Depot with a coat of gloss black spray paint), the look of the room quickly turned from juvenile to sophisticated. Of course, too sophisticated and it could turn cold. I wanted to warm it up a bit. When I discovered the lamp, the rest fell into place.
I started with these elements: a $10.00 chair from the ReStore, one of a set of three dressers that wasn't being used, and this IKEA lamp (a relic back when I thought every room needed a touch of red) I knew I'd be relinquishing to the garage.
I worked on the dresser first, adding 11 1/2 inch legs to bring it up off the floor.
I painted the body and legs classic black and the drawer fronts the same Vine Leaf.
Putting the rest of the room together was a snap. I made two coat racks from a piece of aged lumber from Goodwill and a pack of hooks from Walmart while the paint on the dresser dried.
I hung one high and one low for my nieces when they come to visit.
The dresser exceeded my expectations.
I started playing with styling. The rusty toolbox was a bit too red for my taste.
It didn't take long to put together in the end. Everything here was snagged from other rooms in the house.
The striped blanket is from IKEA ten years ago. The pillow was a garage sale find from 2003. The baskets that hold guest towels underneath the dresser are IKEA and used to hold winter hats and gloves in my entryway. The fake plant and planter is also IKEA. The stool, portrait, horse head vase, and other accessories are all thrifted... much from up north spots.
The set of four prints are special. They hung in the entry of my grandparents' house. I love them dearly.
I found the curtains at Walmart. They have a crinkled texture I really like, but I'm not totally sold on the color. Hopefully they grow on me.
I sprung for a new comforter, sheets and bedskirt for the bed. All from Target, all on clearance or otherwise cheap. $55.00 for all of it. The painting I bought when I was 19 at a thrift store in California on a road trip. The lamp is Target, and the green blanket is so old I have no idea where it came from.
So there it is. My new eclecticlassic guest bedroom. It's inviting, warm and welcoming. Come spend the night why don't you?