A Rustic Yet Refined, Small-Space Bedroom Makeover

Lonny contributor Cat Dash turns her tiny New York City nook into a restful retreat

Mix-and-match striped linens from Hedgehouse and Serena & Lily dress up the bed in the Williamsburg, Brooklyn, apartment of Lonny contributor Catherine Dash.
Mix-and-match striped linens from Hedgehouse and Serena & Lily dress up the bed in the Williamsburg, Brooklyn, apartment of Lonny contributor Catherine Dash.

After completing my dining room makeover last year, other areas in my compact New York City apartment that I had been complacent about suddenly started to feel lackluster, if not downright dreary. The first project that had to be tackled stat was my 10-foot by 15-foot bedroom—a space so limiting that only one furniture configuration really worked. Getting creative with my decor and storage options became the focus, as was creating a cohesive yet distinctive extension of my newly finished dining room.

Before & After: A Rustic Yet Refined, Small-Space Bedroom Makeover
A pared-down dresser-top vignette with artwork by Permanent Press Editions (front) and Matthew Korbel-Bowers (back).
A pared-down dresser-top vignette with artwork by Permanent Press Editions (front) and Matthew Korbel-Bowers (back).
This custom headboard made by Sean Alan Designs is inspired by jewelry designer Melissa Joy Manning's signature stud earrings. 
This custom headboard made by Sean Alan Designs is inspired by jewelry designer Melissa Joy Manning's signature stud earrings

My first order of business—after dreaming up a wall-mounted driftwood headboard that was nowhere to be found—was to get someone to make it. Luckily, there was Brooklyn-based designer Sean Alan: not only did he have a well-weathered railroad tie that turned out to be the perfect piece of wood, but he was also able to interpret my unconventional idea flawlessly.

FROM FAR LEFT Dash's nine-year old papillon, Lulu Dash-Mapes, enjoys the completed makeover. A detail of Anthropologie's leather-and-metal drawer pull. West Elm's Pivot storage bed makes for an excellent small-space solution.
FROM FAR LEFT Dash's nine-year old papillon, Lulu Dash-Mapes, enjoys the completed makeover. A detail of Anthropologie's leather-and-metal drawer pull. West Elm's Pivot storage bed makes for an excellent small-space solution.

In an attempt to stay true to my New Year's resolution to replace my rental apartment's standard-issue flush-mount lighting with considered pieces that work with my decor, I reached out to the Urban Electric Co. Their newly relaunched quick-ship program means that custom, made-in-the-U.S. light fixtures can be produced in just two to four weeks (get a behind-the-scenes look at how my pendant was made, here). My Dover Ball pendant, customized in antique brass with an opal glass, has a shortened stem that's just right for the height of my bedroom.

As no makeover project would be complete without a little DIY, I chose to resuscitate the vintage dresser that I’ve been holding onto since college. A couple of coats of Farrow and Ball’s Stiffkey Blue in dead flat, plus new leather-and-metal drawer pulls from Anthropologie, did the trick. My dresser-top vignette also got an upgrade with layered artwork by Permanent Press Editions and Matthew Korbel-Bowers.

A vintage Turkish rug from Frances Loom—with its color palette of blues, beiges, and corals—served to tie the room together while lending a little extra soul to the space.

Additional finishing touches included sconces for nighttime reading in bed (which I scored from Urban Outfitters for a shockingly affordable $34 each), a macramé wall hanging by CB2, and new linens. Inspired by the mixed-stripe set in the Ohio home designed by Leanne Ford, I pieced together a hodgepodge rendition of my own that includes Hedgehouse’s life-changing headboard pillows and a collection of Serena & Lily sheets, duvet cover, and blanket—all done in navy and white with different line weights.

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