COTE DE TEXAS: RULE #1 FOR BEDROOM DECORATING

RULE #1 FOR BEDROOM DECORATING

 

Last week I showed a very large master bedroom that is typical of today’s oversized rooms – the bedroom looked bare and unfinished.  These oversized, large rooms are typical today – smaller rooms seem to be found mostly in older houses.

Why are we designing oversized rooms?

It is, as if we are building and living in big houses without any regard for the space that humans truly need or seek out.  A generation ago, a family of four seemed happy in a house that measured 1500 sq ft.  Today, that size is considered woefully small. 

When did we decide we needed more living space?   Was it around the time that builders decided they were also architects and started selling McMansions like the house above?  Was it also at the same time when these builders started installing windows and gables with no regard to architectural need or integrity? Was it at the same time that builders decided the bigger the better – quantity over quality.

 

This photograph above illustrates the differences between a classic mansion and a McMansion.  None of the rules of architecture have been followed in the design of the McMansion.    This image comes from my favorite Tumblr blog: “McMansion Hell”  where the author thoroughly (and very humorously) contrasts proper design with poor design.  It’s a great lesson in architecture and reading it you will learn as much as any course you might take on the subject.  HERE.

With so many suburban neighborhoods now filled with these large houses, designers are faced with furnishing their oversized rooms.  One mistake many owners and designers make is not placing enough furniture in the room to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere.  The master bedroom is often the most obvious example of this.  The days of a bedroom needing only a bed, two nightstands and a dresser are over.  Today, many of these large rooms call for a seating area or two, a desk, a chest, an armoire, and/or other accent furniture.

 

For instance, this vast master bedroom is so large, using just a bed and a dresser would not be enough.  When designing an oversized room like this – you must be sure to put in enough furniture!    This room probably requires two seating areas as opposed to even one.

 

For example, in this oversized master bedroom, Ginger Barber set up several sitting areas. Against the window is a sofa and chairs and in front of the bed is a bench and a large console table with a chaise and chair.   Linen curtains and shades further warm up the room, as does the canopy bed.  In what could have been an underfurnished, cold room, Ginger has turned it into a room with an atmosphere its owners probably hate to leave.

The answer to properly designing an oversized bedroom? Enough furniture to fill it up along with curtains, and an area rug or two.

 

Here is another large bedroom, properly furnished with a sofa, two chairs and ottomans, and a desk.  The curtains and shades add more warmth – imagine how bare windows would look here.  The curtains and shades add much warmth.   Thomas Pheasant.

 

Another bedroom – with a canopy, again.  A sofa, two chairs, a bench, and a screen.   Without the extra furniture, the room would be underfurnished.

 

Houstonian Julie Dodson furnished this large bedroom with an antique settee and two club chairs.  Again, the curtains and canopy bed help warm up the space and bring it down to a more human scale.

 

And here’s a large bedroom by Mark Sikes, one of the hottest designer right now.  Sikes used two sofas and two chairs and assorted tables to fill out this room – and it looks great, warm, inviting and cozy.  Just as a large room should.

Mark Sikes is “it” right now.   He just wrote a #1 design book, created a fabric line for F. Schumacher and debuted a line of furniture for Henredon that was a huge hit at market last week.  Go HERE to preorder his line at discounted prices from “Best Prices For Furniture.”

 

Mark based his line, seen above, on his own house’s furniture and it’s going to be hugely popular for Henredon. 

While Mark is a top-notch designer, he does have a very accessible look that appeals to most.  His portfolio shows that he understands that properly furnishing a large room is visually appealing. 

But, his budget and his client’s budgets are more than most can afford.  So, how do you furnish a large room without spending a fortune?  Can it be done? 

Of course it can!  Today with so many copies on the market, it is much easier to copy an expensive room on the cheap.  I thought it would be fun to take Mark’s own large master bedroom and try to recreate it without spending a lot of money. 

Mark’s house was recently remodeled, including his master bedroom.  At that time, he covered the walls in Gracie handpainted paper, which probably cost more than a large car.  The gorgeous paper is not something most of us can afford, so I had a hard time sourcing a substitute but I did.  Finding copies of his furniture was easier.

Here’s his large bedroom in his house that everyone loves:

 

Sikes’ master bedroom with a canopy bed.  Canopy beds are great in a large room because they create a room within a room.   At the end of the bed, he used a love seat and a chair and ottoman with an accent chair and oriental chest.    The focal point of the room is the Gracie wallpaper.

 

Sikes used apple matting instead of seagrass, which is more expensive and honestly – I don’t know if it’s as indestructible and stain proof as seagrass.   There is a lot of blue and white porcelain which is Mark’s trademark.   Here the wallpaper looks more blue than aqua – either shade will be ok to copy.

 

Against the wall is the chinoiserie chest which is also hard to source on a budget.  Mark’s furniture line has two pieces of chinoiserie – a screen and an armoire: 

I’m curious as to how much this piece and his screen will retail for?

 

Here is his room restyled for One King’s Lane last week.  A bit different with an area rug and the glimpse into his bathroom. 

Here’s what I chose to use to copy this room on a strict budget:

I started with a white slipcovered sofa.   Finding a light blue sofa is a bit harder – and a white slipped sofa goes great in this room.

Wayfair.com – under $470!!!  HERE.

 

Ikea does make this slipcovered blue velvet love seat that would also  look good.  They have another one that is even lighter blue.   It’s a bit higher than the white sofa at $699.  HERE.

 

And the white slipcovered IKEA choice above is always great.  You can order extra slipcovers for practically nothing and there are companies that make more luxe pure linen slips for the IKEA sofas. The IKEA sofas are always a great choice for a tight budget.  You can’t go wrong with a white slipcovered sofa.  It can be classic or contemporary based on the pillows and accessories in the room.  No wonder this is probably one of the most popular sofas in the IKEA catalogue.   If you choose the blue sofa, you could use the white chairs from this line.

 

This chair would be a beautiful addition next to the white sofa.  HERE – on Walmart’s online shop.  Do NOT go to your local Walmart looking for this!!!  Online only!!  You could use two along with the sofa – or choose two chairs instead of the sofa depending on the room available.

 

This line of furniture is from Pier 1 and I LOVE it!!  For the money, look at the trim detail and tufting and curved arm.  It comes in sectionals, chairs and chaises.  Now, I’m not sure I would put this light seersucker fabric in a family room, but for a room without a lot of traffic, like a bedroom, it would be beautiful!  And you can’t beat the price.  The same styles also come in more user friendly blue and olive green velvet, brown leather, and many more fabrics!   Only $650.  That’s a lot of look for what amounts to a few meals at fancy restaurant.    LOVE!!!  HERE.

 

To copy Mark Sikes’ bedroom,  mix this chair or two chairs with the white slipcovered sofa.  You’ll get the same muted look in tones of light blue.  HERE.    To see the entire collection at Pier 1 in all the different fabrics, go HERE.

 

Sikes uses a round ottoman instead of a coffee table – and I think an ottoman is a softer look in this room.   His is brown leather, which I’m not crazy about.   Instead I found this option which I love – in the soft blue, again a good mix with the white and seersucker fabrics shown above or the white slipcovered sofa.   Plus I love the French lines, of course!  I found it at its least expensive price on Amazon HERE.  $360.

 

There is this round ottoman that would go with the white sofa/chair or Pier I settee.  HERE.

 

Mark uses a lot of blue & white everywhere.  It’s one of his trademarks (he has several!)   You can find examples to buy all over the internet, but this is the least expensive garden seat I could find that I actually liked, a lot.  HERE.

If I was going to buy this one – I would buy a few – I think the garden seats look best in a room, when they match.

 

For $149 – this is my all time favorite kind of blue & white stool.  It’s out of stock everywhere.  I wonder if it’s because of Mark Sikes’ book being #1 at Amazon???  OKL says it will be in stock early November.  Worth preordering, IMO.  HERE.

 

The wallpaper in Mark’s master bedroom is the hardest element to do on the cheap.  There are stencils that you could try yourself to emulate the Gracie handpainted paper in his room.  And there are companies that copy Gracie and deGournay papers HERE and HERE and HERE.

But, those companies are still expensive and hanging this kind of wallpaper will cost a small fortune – trust me!

So, I looked for traditional wallpaper that you can buy and hang yourself to save the money.  I found a few papers that gives the look or atmosphere of the handpainted paper in Sikes bedroom.

 

F.Schumacher at Wallpapers To Go:   HERE.

What you want to look for to emulate the Gracie paper is a blue, aqua or green background and you want the leafy, stem, vine element with an open feel to the paper.

 

Anthropologie has this paper that would look great in a bedroom to emulate the Gracie paper.  HERE.

 

This Brunschwig & Fils paper comes in green and blue.  HERE.   I love this option.

 

The above Brunschwig & Fils comes in a lighter blue too.

 

Thibaut Nemour HERE.  This would be pretty and subtle and the light colors would be good.

 

And there is always this option – handpainted wallpaper panels!  Simon Paul Scott sells these in all different colors.  Talk to him and tell him exactly what you want.  He’ll have it made for you.  Simon is the man who made my own bedroom’s hand painted wallpaper.   HERE.

 

Simon also has these smaller paintings – in a huge assortment.  This would make a great thing to mass together – or use alone.  You could even layer a few over the wallpaper.  Go HERE to see more.

 

Now, the canopy bed.

 

Here is a canopy bed that is very inexpensive – and looks great!   Shock at the price $450/500 for queen/king.  Love the headboard which makes it easy to read in bed.  HERE. 

You can find these types of beds at any price, but since we are going budget friendly – this is the winner and it would be really hard to beat.  The lines are good and the headboard is very nice looking.. 

Again – the canopy beds are rooms within rooms and make an oversized room much more cozy and inviting!!

 

At the windows – try Ballard Designs Buffalo Check panels.  For a larger window – double the panels for more fullness.  These are lined, but to customize them even more – find a seamstress and have her sew in a blackout lining which will add luxurious weight. 

Now, for the panels on the bed – you could add these same check panels OR you could buy a white panel with tabs that make it very easy to take down and clean.  Notice that Mark’s panels are not that fancy – though he did add a trim and a backing fabric.  The more custom you make these, the more they will cost.

 

In my daughter’s bedroom, I used a simple cotton panel with ties.  It gets dusty so, a few times a year we take it down and wash the panels.  Very easy.  This won’t look nearly as custom as Mark’s – but it would make a nice copy.

 

 

OK – next, the Chinoiserie cabinet.  This was HARD to source!!!  Most new cabinets are FUGLY and cheap looking and just something you would never put in your bedroom, no matter whose style you are copying and how small your budget is!

Now, Mark has this armoire in his new Henredon furniture line.  This is a copy of the first antique he ever bought and one that he still has – and this look has become one of this trademarks.  Yes, another trademark!

This armoire is beautiful – and you will be able to pre-order it HERE from “Best Prices For Furniture” – for High Point discounts – BUT I don’t know how much it is.

 

So, for a similar look – at a great price, from Amazon HERE.  This is actually a wine bar – but I like its muted colors and I think it’s good looking for the bedroom.

 

Now, this is at Chairish - HERE.  And it’s even less money than the wine bar and it’s fabulous looking.   It’s only $600, it was bought on auction – so it’s one of a kind.  If you want another one – search Ebay and Chairish, they have much more reasonable prices than 1st Dibs – of course. 

 

Overstock has quality seagrass rugs in all sizes and styles.  For 9 x 12’ for $250.  HERE.  This was the least expensive I could find.   Getting a discounted rush matting rug like Mark has is not feasible on a budget, unless you live in England where it is more common.

 

Another item is the Chinoiserie styled chair.  Frankly, I think you could use any number of styles here including French or English or even a dining chair like this: 

This is a good copy, in asst. colors from Ballard Designs around $300.  A look at Chairish and Ebay pulled up a lot of other choices though – and much cheaper.

Finally, I think with the wallpaper choices, the seagrass rug, the slipcovered sofa/chairs, the ottoman, the oriental chest, the blue & white porcelain, the canopy bed, and the curtains – I think you could copy this room on a strict budget and have it look really, really good. 

If your room is oversized – you could fill it with enough furniture – sofa, chairs, seating areas, etc, and still maintain a tight budget and have a beautiful room.

Agree? Or not?  Comments welcome!!!

AND!!!!!!!!

 

One of Instragram’s breakout stars is artist/interior designer William McLure of Birmingham.  He is a hugely popular person on Instagram mostly because of his ever changing apartment and art work, both of which are fabulous. 

OKL just photographed his apartment – and then he promptly moved!!!   Here is your last chance to see the apartment – and to buy his goodies too!!

HURRY!!!

HERE and HERE

49 comments :

  1. Great post, Joni! I am working on one now: "How Mark Sikes Drove Me To Bankruptcy" I swear!

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  2. Just a note to everyone regarding that fish motif blue and white stool... I just purchased two stools from One Kings Lane (b/c of Mark's curated sale) and they arrived a few days ago. The quality of their hand painted design is SIGNIFICANTLY less than the one pictured. We are talking dark blue blobs instead of finely detailed leaves. I was very disappointed! However, for the price and the intended location (my sunroom, which I am currently turning into a poor man's blue and white Mark D. Sikes extravaganza copy) I decided to keep them rather than dealing with returning them.

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    1. hi - i ordered that same stool from Legends of Asia last month and I guess you could say it's more blobby than the picture - but it looks great. I don't expect it to be finely painted! hahah!!! I think they all come from the basically the same source. anyway - send me pics of your room !!!!!!! ARtie is copying Mark too!!!! dying to see it!!!

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    2. Uh girls! Everybody copying is bound to turn out wrong! (just my old-lady opinion!) try "not copying" Just finding things on your own that are unusual.......just a suggestion! Then you may not want to throw them in the dumpster.. in a few years........that has been my observation!! Publicists do a lot!

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    3. ...this old lady agrees with penny on this...blessings...laney

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    4. I think copy is the wrong word. I've been inspired. No way I could copy on my woefully small budget! LOL!

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  3. Also!!! www.muralsources.com appears to be a good source for cheap chinoiserie panels. I have not purchased anything from them, but I have my eye on a set of two or three of their panels for a guest bedroom. Artie, Mark Sikes is also driving me to bankruptcy! I look forward to your post!

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    1. I would advise to be very careful of "cheap chinoiserie panels". They could be seriously hideous...and you may have no recourse....stay away from things like that.. or at least see them in the "flesh"!!!

      Mark....do you agree????

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    2. Karen, muralsources is affiliated with the talented muralist Paul Montgomery. His work is stunning. Just Google it. The murals on muralsources are copies of his work. AND you can get samples before you buy. I am saving up to buy the Virginia sepia landscape panels for my powder room. Can't wait!

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    3. Karen, I know, right!?!? Like Penelope said in a later reply to a post, Mark has brought back traditional interiors, and in such a fresh way! I love that he's turned the decorative movement on it's head, and it's alright to have pretty rooms again - filled with layers and color! These rooms of gray were really starting to depress me! I keep working on my new space, with Mark in mind, asking myself when I get into trouble: What would Mark do? Followed by What would Joni do?! LOL! Joni has had several frantic emails from me! Subject line: HELP! I've got a paintbrush in my hand!!!

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  4. I love this! I am going to do French McMansions vs. real mansions. There are many--yes, they exist here! Some friends just bought an enormous house that is typical--it has a turret, and the upper floor has just one bedroom and a bath (because "plein pied" -- all the same level--is extremely coveted here). The downstairs is enormous, YET the stairs are crammed into a tiny (open) space and are so steep that our 60-ish friends have a hard time negotiating them. If that doesn't qualify as McMansion, I don't know...
    I appreciate spacious, airy rooms, including bedrooms. I don't understand why one would want one or two sitting areas in one's bedroom. These are not the days of Downton Abbey or of Scarlett O'Hara taking to bed and receiving visitors there. I can see a chaise longue in the bedroom for when you want some privacy, to just get away and get lost in a book for a while. And a bench or something for putting on shoes (for the older ones). But a sitting area? Let alone two. Do you invite friends to your bedroom? Not here. In France, it's a faux pas to even use the bathroom at your friends' homes. After more than a decade, I know the insides of their kitchen cupboards by heart, but I have never seen their bedrooms. The châteaux I see have bedrooms in the 30-35 square meter range (320-380 square feet). That's nice and roomy. But some of these bedrooms seem far bigger. Also, back in the day, a "lady" would have had many servants coming in to prepare the bath (since there were no bathrooms) and to help the lady get dressed in her many layers. Lots of people working require lots of space. No, the McMansions are big for the sole reason of being ostentatious. And that is never chic. Personally, I would spend for higher ceilings and give up some of the floor space.

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    1. Brilliant! That is exactly the difference between "McMansions" and lovely old houses that were called "mansions"!

      The "mansions" had lovely proportions.....great architects designed them.....they fit with the land.....they had acres around them of woodlands and gardens.....they were appropriate...and gracious......They were designed by people who understood proportions..and built by people who were not "ostentatious"!

      There it is!

      McMansions....are built by people who want to show off. It is simple. And they build monstrosities because they do not hire skilled architects.......and they use builders who encourage them in every hideous way to add "crown molding" (made of foam); "Gorgeous french doors!" which are the wrong proportions for the poor house! "How about some 'stone'"???? Fake stone all over the place.

      No taste......no scale.....no cozy....nothing. Nightmare from hell pretentious houses......showing off wealth. No cozy...no nothing .

      They will not even last 20 years...they wlll be torn down (and should be) as wasteful, horrific symbols of money over taste, style, and any sort of warmth in a house. A house is shelter for a family.....and a refuge and cozy place for a family to be close. These monstrosities do

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  5. I love that Mark Sikes has "trademarked" objects that my family has been living with for generations! I might have to contact my lawyers for copyright infringement.lol

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    1. Huh? "Trademarked"???? I don't even think Mark would like that! Maybe you mean "Branded"? I don't think that is it either! Mark is bringing back lovely traditional things....and they feel like "home.
      ". Comfort.....lovely proportions....the opposite of "McMansions"; and the opposite of "Pretentious decorating"! We welcome him! He is great!!!

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  6. Wow that McMansion Hell blog is just the gift that keeps on giving. Absolutely loving it!

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    1. so true! I discovered it an hour ago! Isn't it the best!!??! I have to tear myself away and go to bed! And then work on my decorating project in the morning........sheesh.....it is so good! It should be a class!!! Seriously!!

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    2. OMG! I just went to McMansion Hell. It is so wonderful,terrible,funny and sickening at the same time. I could only view it for a few minutes! It shows all the horrific things we saw when house-hunting and house-plan-hunting for a "French style" 3,000 to 4,000 sq ft house in Texas. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of McMansions in California, too. Sorry, what is this thing about brick, brick, brick everywhere in Texas? Or worse, red brick with stone that doesn't match???

      All we wanted was an old world feel with 9 to 10 foot ceilings but nothing higher except in the entry hall / staircase area. VERY, very few architects / builders have the tiniest clue about what a French country home should look like. Most of them use gabled ends and dormers every where! If we ever get around to building one, we will reference all the interesting old stone homes we have seen in France. The scale is determined by human scale with an economy of windows because they did not have central heating.

      Smiles from Charlotte des Fleurs

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  7. My favorite bedroom is the Ginger Barber at the top.
    McMansions are horrid. Then again, so is anything done without good taste or proportion.
    I find cozier bedrooms are easier to sleep in. A 12 x 12 with a queen bed feels snug and comforting. On the other hand, if i wanted to luxuriate on a chaise lounge during the day reading a good book, a glamorous bedroom with desk and tons of windows would be a marvelous indulgence:)

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    1. Yes, a 12 x 12 bedroom with a Queen bed IS snug. Depending upon the location of doors and windows, that could work for many people. It would accommodate the bed (5 x 6.5) and two night stands. I would use 3 foot wide chests for night stands topped by sconces rather than table lamps to free up the tops for a book, clock, flowers, etc. You could also have a settee, bench, small desk or Hope Chest at the end of the bed. However, you would probably have to choose between having a tall dresser or a chair for reading. For a Master Bedroom, 12 x 14 or 12 x 16 seems much better for two people. Tall ceilings (9 to 10 feet high) REALLY make a small room feel less confining.

      If you are a working couple, a bigger room (12 x 14 or 12 x 16) is de rigueur so both people can move around while getting ready for work.

      Just my opinion from having lived in / owned 10 different homes in my lifetime.

      Smiles from Charlotte Des Fleurs

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  8. Hate gigantic houses...guess these people all have cleaners. Who could be bothered moving all that furniture around to keep it clean and all that dusting. Less is more.
    Linda C.

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  9. Find the need for these types of large roomed houses odd . When historians look back it ll be interesting how they explain it. I understand have a large enough living/ entertaining space but why huge bedrooms . I suppose it's indicative of our lives now to ostentatiously show off wealth. Quite Kardashian

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    1. I like my large bedroom quite a bit; it fits an eastern king bed with side tables nicely. Having the space for seating works very well for me--if I'm sick yet bored of being in bed, or if I want to wander off and read in front of the bedroom fireplace when there are houseguests staying for a duration. I don't think it's ostentatious, but perhaps more multi-use than some prefer for sleeping.

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    2. I think it comes from the situation of working parents. I remember years of working 9-5, coming home, cooking a nutritious hot meal, doing homework checks, bath time, reading books, and then stumbling to our bedroom, exhausted. It was my sanctuary. I would tuck into bed around 9 pm (lol) and read for a couple of hours. So- there's the fantasy of your own haven that is an adult space. That said, we had a tiny room and didn't need more.

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    3. Please tell the size of your "large bedroom"! No one really knows......what you mean! It is so educational...and I thank you so much for sharing (this is how people learn about all this stuff!!) Just please give dimensions! It sounds perfect!!!

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  10. Joni.....you're a genius....great post! As always informative, well sourced and fun to read....N.

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    1. You are so right! Joni just hits the jackpot every time!! It is not an accident! Brilliant! She has her finger on the pulse!

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  11. Wow, Thank you so much Joni....you have given me new inspiration to copy my favorite rooms....you have proven that it really can be done on a budget, The Walmart chairs are gorgeous! I would never have believed it! I am excited to get started on my own bedroom.

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  12. While you did an excellent job of illustrating your point - how huge bedrooms need the appropriate furniture, it still boggles my mind. Why do you need a seating area with two sofas/settees/loveseats and two lounge chairs and/or occasional chairs or combination thereof in your bedroom??!! Do people entertain in their boudoir? I'm sure these houses have lots of gathering space in public areas as well as family areas. To me it seems like a ridiculous waste of space. This isn't a royal apartment. I can understand a comfortable chair if someone doesn't want to read in bed, or a chaise longue, but even that seems a bit like overkill, and a small writing desk, as well as the usual nightstands, dresser, and armoire, if the storage is needed (inevitably, there are huge closets as well). But beyond that ... I'd like to know how much these extra seating spaces are actually used. I also suppose there's an exercise room so one wouldn't need the floor space to do yoga or other exercises. But of course I have downsized to less than 1500 square feet, and I have neither the desire nor the means to live so extravagantly. I fault it on builders who make money on the square footage of the houses. With the cost of buildable land being high, they divide it into the smallest parcels feasible for big houses, and cram as much square footage as they can on it to make their profits. So even if someone doesn't really want a new house that large, they have little choice.

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    1. That is the point. But why does it bother you? You have selected to live in a house that is manageable for you! Good job! What is your complaint? I do not understand. Good for you...what are you criticizing????? And why?

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    2. I think Carolyn is just stating her observations, like everyone else is. Why do you have a problem with this, Penelope? JONI>>>> why do you allow Penelope to take over the comment section of your blog time and time again ?

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  13. About a decade ago I began having clients move out of their McMansions. All, but 1 so far, for the same reason. Too big, felt emotionally cold, not good for their relationships to each other. Everyone holed up in their own fiefdom.

    About the same time I noticed new clients moving into homes with built-ins, and removing them. Using furniture, typically antiques, instead.

    Compared to the early 20th century mansions, quality of the McMansions is quite poor and most McMansions are in the suburbs with a car needed for everything. Those earlier mansions proved their value, location/quality, beginning with the Great Depression. Chopped into apartments, inhabitants able to walk to grocery stores etc....

    At the start of my career, 1980's, had the delight/privilege of working in older mansion neighborhoods, coming out of their post Great Depression era of being chopped into apartments, turned into beautiful single home occupancy again. And, working in the 'new' McMansion neighborhoods.

    Aside from great difference in the homes I noticed a wide disparity in fragrance of each type of neighborhood old elegance/new huge. McMansions have deed restrictions, homeowners associations, demanding perfect lawns, clipped bushes, fresh mulch. Zero room for Nature. No fragrance, chemically treated lawns for fertilizer & insects & fungus killed the environment for pollinators.

    Another thing I notice about McMansion neighborhoods is the noise. Renovation construction, and yard crews. More recently, within past 5 years, have encountered some of those neighborhoods fighting back against the noise, and putting time/day limits on maintenance/construction crews. Older mansion neighborhoods don't have as much noise, they were not packed in as tightly as the newer McMansion subdivisions. In fact, the older mansion neighborhoods don't 'feel' like subdivisions, they just 'are'.

    That 1 client moved away from their McMansion post 2008, due to income changes. Bought a small historic home in a small historic district. Began homeschooling instead of private school. They should have been a reality show up front. The changes in their family, for the better, wildly beyond belief. She's had a few friends from her old neighborhood for lunch or dinner and decided to end the relationships. Why? Every one of those 'friends' told her it wouldn't last long, they would soon be able to move back, or move into a larger home soon.

    Their McMansion furniture would not fit into their small historic home, it's in storage. She said they would probably sell it all, donating what doesn't sell. They're income is nice again, they are renovating their historic home slightly, totally honoring how it would have been done in the past, zero desire for 'big', zero plans to move.

    Of course not including clients hitting their mid-70's and selling their McMansions due to aging & health issues. Had 2 of those phone calls this spring. Bittersweet phone calls, knowing life is good when you can leave a home by choice, ahead of major issues. Both clients were younger than I am now, when they 1st hired me. I know what their home/garden means to them. Those phone calls, first of their type for me, were much like someone talking about having to put a beloved pet down. It's ok, strong people, their new chapters will include much joy.

    Garden & Be Well, XO T

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  14. Hi Joni, We have had this discussion before, or at least several versions of this discussion. Most builders / architects are completely out of touch with what it takes to make a comfortable and beautiful home. It is a shame that more women are not residential architects.

    About 16 years ago we bought a semi-custom home that had not even had the slab poured. There was so much wasted space and odd distance between walls and windows. Many of the closet door opened the wrong way and light switches were in the wrong locations for right-handed people. It cost us several thousand additional dollars to have the changes made AND then the builder ended up using OUR changes in the other 9 homes that had the same floor plan. We have since added a bank of french doors in our family room to capture the view of the mountains. (The builder had just one little window facing that way.) We have also carved out a large Butler's Pantry from a huge pantry that was the size of a bedroom.

    For the most part, we love our home and our 6 acres but with kids grown, horses sold and no more dogs, we just don't need the space.

    I know decorators, home furnishings companies and remodelers make a lot of money on McMansions but what a waste of resources. Why have we done this to ourselves?

    Smiles from Charlotte Des Fleurs

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  16. From the few McMansions I've been inside, they're big on space and short on charm. Great post because the owners don't have a feel for how to furnish and make them warm and inviting. I'm redoing a 2,600 sq ft home I just bought from two guys who flipped it as an investment. Everything they did is cheap and full of shortcuts whether it's painting, electrical or plumbing. To make matters worse, one of them is my new next door neighbor. Grrrr.... Brenda

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  17. Absolutely adore your blog! I look forward to reading it. Thank you so much!

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  18. I wish I'd read this post a couple of years ago when we moved into this house (with an oversized master). All the rooms you have featured are just beautiful.

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  19. Wonderful tips, thanks Joni! Great post as always. :)

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  20. Joni! I love that site mcmansion hell! I swear he has been looking at my house! LOLZ

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  21. What a fabulous post! As I was reading, I kept thinking that these bedrooms could double as small apartments. If the owners just treat the bedroom as though it were a studio apartment and furnish it likewise, it should turn out well.

    I live in a 1500 square foot house and finally have a bedroom that's big enough for more than just a double bed and a bedside table. I love having an armoire, a chair, a very large tree and a Chinese garden stool so I can sit and read in my bedroom. But my wonderful bedroom would probably fit 3 times into one of the bedrooms you showed here!

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  22. Thank you, Joni, for this great post! Always so informative and educational!

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  23. We have a seagrass rug inside our front door and everyone says they're indestructible which makes me feel like an elephant. Ours is a hot mess....reminds me I need to replace it! I've been looking for an antique oriental for ages but can't find one thats right size (and price). the seagrass was a huge disappointment though as it just looks like garbage at this point.

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    1. Couldn't agree more! In my experience, seagrass and sisal are horrible about staining! (Ask me how I know---umm, two kids who were potty trained and two dogs who were housebroken and who I nursed through various stomach ailments. Those stains do NOT come out of seagrass or sisal rugs. And when you try, you end up with a lighter/bleached round mark. Several years ago, I finally got my husband to haul the huge cut-to-fit living room sisal out to the curb one night in disgust!)

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  24. Preach! :) We custom built our house and I specifically designed our bedroom to be a "cozy" 15'x'12'. Enough room for our bed, 2 nightstands, and a small chair in the corner. We did splurge on a fireplace, much better investment than extra "space" that wouldn't get used.

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  25. Hello Joni,

    I appreciate that you have suggested our company, Griffin and Wong, to your clients- but please note we are not a company that copies others -and take offense to that suggestion. We are certainly a more approachable alternative for a Chinoiserie wallpaper project, but our designs are either original or an adaptations of earlier 18th Century designs that are Chinoiserie classics from the Chinese tradition. Please remove the link, or refer to us as a more economical choice only. Thanks for your cooperation, and enjoy your blog.

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  26. Great post! Give me my 1920's Colonial over a McMansion any day. So much more satisfying to furnish a reasonably-sized well-built historic home with quality pieces from Hickory Chair and other higher-end furniture manufacturers (ordered through Best Prices for Furniture, of course) than to have to fill a McMansion with cheap pieces from Pier 1, Ikea, and Amazon!! (Not to knock your post -- I know some folks are "stuck" with gargantuan master bedrooms -- but maybe someone out there is contemplating the purchase of a home to raise their family in and will consider the cost of furnishing/maintaining/heating and cooling said home when deciding what size home their family really "needs").

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  27. Your insight and resources and explanations are SUPER HELPFUL. You have such great taste. I love and appreciate that you offer suggestions on how to copy an expensive look on a budget. More PLEASE!

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  28. Mark's room is beautiful. I enjoyed reading your suggestions. However, is it just me, but walking to the other side of the bed seems awkward? You have to walk around the sitting area to make your bed?

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