Sutton Renovation Close-up: Dressing Room

The first version of this post was originally posted in November 2011 on the giftable designs blog.


Because it isn’t just as easy as picking out a color and waiting for the “after” photos, I’m going to start outlining each room, the process of design and renovation, and finally what I would change (or wouldn’t) if given the chance. I’m going to upload a ton of pictures with little descriptions, but if you just want the final run-down (or the finished pictures!), scroll to the bottom.

Almost done with Close-Ups! Here is the second-to-last!


As the smallest room in the house, measuring just 24 square feet (on a good day), this room should have been the easiest. It’s basically jut a mini-hallway that links our living room, bedroom, and bathroom, and provides some space for linens. But since it’s so compact, it actually made my job a lot harder. You can get away with much stronger colors and motifs in small rooms without them looking shocking or getting old quickly. The first time we saw this room, it was just a spot for the previous owner to store tablecloths and doilies, but we knew we wanted to have more fun than that!


I knew immediately I wanted a star-shaped pendant light. I don’t know why– it may have been a bit of an obsession. But it had to happen. I tried to order one from Pottery Barn, but as soon as I settled on it, it sold out. So I bought an outdoor light from Macy’s. I thought of using Flavor Paper’s Starglint wallpaper, but I couldn’t tell if the reflective wallpaper plus strange light plus small room would equal awkward and overdone. I eventually decided on only one star-themed accessory per room, so the wallpaper was sadly out.

Next we were going to paint it red. Like a deep burgundy red. I was hesitant because I had a feeling it would feel like being inside someone’s body, but we bought the paint anyway.

And then, the night before the crew was supposed to paint, we were out at a speakeasy in Chinatown that was entirely black– walls, ceilings, couches, and floors. It finally hit me that this would look awesome. Somehow it’s more neutral than the dark red, but it still makes a statement, and it doesn’t matter if it’s dark because it’s not a room you linger in anyway. I came in the next morning with a new gallon of paint and the crew literally thought I’d lost my mind. They spent about 20 minutes trying to talk me out of it, but it’s my space so I won (and we could always paint over it later, anyway!)

The black paint (it’s actually a super dark gray) is absolutely perfect in the space. It isn’t too dark, it doesn’t make the room feel smaller, but it does make me feel cozy and like I finally proved my doubters wrong. Even the contractor was saying by the end that it was his favorite room.

The other major change we made was also a mid-renovation decision. The room came with super heavy sliding wood doors, and I knew as soon as I walked in that I wanted mirrors. The doors take up a whole wall of the room and mirrors would reflect light, make the room look larger, and help turn it from a hallway to a “dressing room” (which is what it says on the original floorplan for the apartment and was originally a total joke). I was planning on ordering those sliding mirror doors that everyone (including me) hates– the ones that fall off their track and look like they belong in a rental apartment from the 80’s. But I couldn’t find a nice version of the same thing.

Then when they took the doors off to repaint the interior of the closet, I realized how HUGE it looked. Being able to open up the whole thing at once turned it from a linen closet to a coat/laundry/linen/cleaning supplies/extra paint closet! Just compare the photos above– which would YOU prefer?? I did some research and found sliding mirrored bi-folds at Lowe’s. When they’re closed, it’s a wall of mirrors, but when they’re open you can access 90% of the closet without wedging your body in an awkward position.



I also had them install a light in the interior of the closet, just in case the star light ended up inadequate. I’m really glad I did because we end up using this room more than I thought we would, and the extra light makes the black paint less of a potential problem. We also installed a frosted glass door between the foyer and the dressing room, which lets in light and also makes cool shadow silhouettes.

So there you have it. One tiny room, some paint, a light fixture, and mirrored doors. The art on the wall is by Paul Nassar— a local artist and good friend. I mean, seriously. Does it get more perfect than that?


Room Details:

• Light fixtureMarrakesh Star from Macy’s, $90

• PaintBehr UL260-23 Poppy Seed, eggshell finish

• Frosted glass door – Custom order from Home Depot, $200

• Mirrored sliding doors – Custom-made from Lowe’s, $250 (similar to these)

• Art custom housewarming gift by Paul Nassar

Things I’d Do Differently (or Keep the Same):

I wish I had wallpapered this room with a beige floral pattern and kept the standard issue 1953 bulb cover.

NOT.

I freaking love this room. It’s not for everyone, but it’s my apartment and so far everyone that’s come in has gasped at the awesomeness. There have also been comments about how there could be no more perfect spot for the flying pig painting, which is true.

We decided not to Elfa-out this closet, even though we did all the others. There are so many oddly placed soffits (vertical and horizontal), and the current layout actually works quite well. Once we got it properly lit, we had no desire to rip it out and start again. It also saved us a couple hundred bucks, which is nice.

Basically, the only problem is that the doors all knock into each other, but in a space this size that was never going to be avoidable. So far no major incidents between the bi-fold doors and the frosted glass pane, which is my major worry.

That’s all for now! Cheers!

ps. The living room Close-Up post won’t happen for quite awhile. It’s currently full of our remaining boxes and some furniture we found in the trash. Not in the chic, saving-an-antique way… but more in the freegan, dumpster-diving way. When we get around to finding some perfect permanent pieces, I’ll post about it 🙂 In the meantime, we’ve made some life-changing decisions that involve a HOUSE HUNT. Like, a real house. With multiple bedrooms. I have never lived in one of these things before, so it should be exciting!

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