Hi Everyone! My name is Kristen Dowd, I am a 30 something mommy from Dallas and I own Gypsy Soul Interiors. Grace Mitchell, who was featured last week on Sadie and Stella is my business partner in the vintage furniture aspect of Gypsy Soul. I am so excited that Lindsay asked me to contribute one of my favorite spaces to her blog series. I have loved reading Sadie and Stella for a while and hope you all will enjoy my spaces. It can be really hard for a designer to chose their "favorite" because, after all, if I designed it, well then I love it. There are two spaces that stand out above all others because they literally were a labor of love (42 weeks and 39.5 weeks respectively). My sweet children's rooms are so special to me and truly the most cherished rooms in our home.
I'll start with my beautiful daughter Cici's room. We overhauled her room before her brother was born. She was 3 1/2 and old enough to understand what was going on, so I wanted her to feel like she had a special new big girl room. I truly let her be a part of the design and implementation. I feel very strongly that if you let your children be a part of anything, be it cooking dinner or decorating a room, they will take ownership and respect the work that went into it. First off, I asked Cici what color she wanted her room to be. Being the most feminine 4 year old of all time, it was no surprise that she chose the color pink. Ok folks, pink paint, es no bueno. I mean, it looks bueno when you finally find the right shade, but finding the right shade is enough to make you lose your mind. We went through 9 sample shades and finally decided on, “Apricot Ice from Valspar”. One would think that having the word “Apricot” in a heading would mean orange, but it was a perfect warm pale pink. Some of you may say a green or a beige would have been easier to match, and yes, maybe it would have been, but it wouldn’t have been “right” for the room or the girl.
I found this gorgeous bedding at Horchow Finale, Ferran Vines, and loved how sophisticated it was while still girly and juvenile. I picked out the bedding completely on a whim, which is also how I work. If I love it, I buy it. I worry about how things will “go together” later. I had an awesome pair of green campaigners at the Gypsy Soul Store and actually had a client who needed to use just one, so I decided to use the mate and the greens were perfect. So I now had bedding, and a nightstand.Then came the actual furniture situation. I knew I wanted a chaise, or as Cici calls it a “princess chair”. As much as I am done with overly French feeling furniture for main living areas, there is no better place for a curvy elegant French chaise than in a 4 year old’s room. Luckily my super sleuth friend Grace found exactly what I was looking for on Craigslist. So I hoofed up to cattle country Texas and brought home the perfect “Princess Chair”. Actually, I didn’t bring it home, I took it straight to the upholsterer where he did his magic, covering the chair in a tan/ white all weather trellis fabric. As luck would have it, I found the coolest vintage wicker canopy bed, also from Craigslist. I spent a week sanding and repainting this monster. I did a lead test kit because there was some question as to whether it was manufactured before or after 1978 and then I painted the whole thing with my pregnant a** sitting in the tall grass. At one point I thought to myself, “this grass is pretty tall and our winter has been pretty mild, I hope there are no snakes”. And then after the painting was done when my husband was helping me move said bed, his face turned pale and he said for me and Cici to get inside immediately. Ben doesn’t get worked up about much so I knew there was either a dead body or live snakes under the bed we were moving. It happened to be the latter. Oh well, several dead snakes later, the bed was fully painted and put up in her room.
(Craigslist pic of awesome canopy bed! I could see the potential.)
To round out the room, I used a great antique vanity that my mom had found at Eastbrook Flea Market (shout out to the ‘Gump) in my hometown. Eastbrook is a treasure trove in Montgomery, Alabama and you must hit it up if you happen to be in the area. Hint : Skip the entire main floor of Eastbrook. It sucks. Crappy hot pink and black painted French Provincial pieces and your grandmothers antique washstands are what you will find on the main floor. Head downstairs to where the rent is cheaper and the good “junk” can be found. I finished out the vanity with a vintage Drexel chair that had the original vintage Waverly ikat fabric on it from the late 1960′s. Chair was an estate sale find about 2 years ago.
Now, on to my sweet sweet baby boys room... Banks' is his name and he came into our world 9 months ago and completely stole our hearts! His room is so incredibly soothing to me. If you have been following me for a while, you will recognize the crib and glider from Cici's newborn nursery. Since we were keeping the main pieces, I had to find a paint that would make the slightly ornate furniture more masculine. We settled on Delicate Mist by Behr and I absolutely love it. The piece of furniture in his room that I will always love most of all is the Serena and Lily slipcovered Hayes glider. I nursed Cici for 15 months and Banks for 9 months so far in that chair, so we've definitely gotten our use out of this purchase. It was one of the more expensive pieces in both their rooms, but I love how the cover is washable and the chair is just about the most comfortable chair I have ever sat in. It was definitely worth the money. I couldn't bear to spend the additional for the gliding ottoman for several reasons. Mainly, because you cant use them again in other rooms. I found a $39.99 cube ottoman at Homegoods and had Sew Jesse make me a slipcover to match the white upholstery. I was lucky enough to find a very similar white fabric at Fabric Yard in Carrollton, Texas. The houndstooth pillow is about 7 years old and from the Storehouse "Going Out of Business Sale" in Atlanta. The silhouette pillow is from Homegoods. Mirror was a Craigslist find, but is Horchow. The "Keep Calm and Cowboy Up" print is from Etsy and the Confederate soldier silhouette is from The Unicorn Shop in Montgomery, Alabama. Lamp and tray are Homegoods, and they are resting on a custom Greek key X bench from Again and Again here in the Big D.
Below is a shot of the wall where Mr. Banks' bed is nestled. Before yall go and get fired up about how he will take that cool a** "b" off the wall when he can sit up, I just put it there for staging the pic :) It usually will be on top of his armoire. Ben found the vintage letter when we were in Austin a few months ago. I think it is so cool and masculine! Next to his crib is my favorite wall lamp eva. It is the White Stingray Sconce from Horchow. I found one with a small crack in at at Horchow Finale about 3 months ago and knew I had to use it in his room. The houndstooth pillow is the same one above and the monogrammed pillow is a case from Pottery Barn outlet and I had my sweet friend Meredith Grabham monogram it. I wish I knew the name of my crib or the name of the store I bought it at. I do remember it was in Canton, Georgia and I ordered it, but thats all I got. I actually think the manufacturer went out of business.
It always bugged me that I did not have a place for others to sit in Caroline's old nursery, so I made sure to include a comfy chair for a second adult in Banks' room. Some of you know that I saw this chair at Homegoods, passed it up, and then begged and pleaded for y'all to help me find it again. I was so fortunate that one of you had seen it at a different Homegoods store, so I headed over a picked it up. The art work behind the chair is something that Caroline and I made. It is actually a 5 ft by 5.5.ft bulletin board. We covered the inside with vintage Simon and Garfunkel sheet music using Mod Podge and then stenciled my favorite song lyric on it in black. I wish I had room for the whole verse of "The 59th Street Bridge Song", but alas I didn't. The whole verse is " Got no deeds to do, no promises to keep, Im dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep, let the morning time drop all its petals on me, Life I love you, all is groovy". If you graduated with me from Saint James, you may remember that this was the closing of my baccalaureate address. I just love this song. Garden stool is from Homegoods and the rocking horse is vintage from The White Elephant in Dallas. The rug is from Ballards Backroom in Atlanta.
Love the vingnette below. The changing table is also from Ballards Backroom in Atlanta. I don't miss much about the ATL, but I do miss the Backroom and obviously Lewis and Sheron. If you live near Atlanta, you must go to Ballards Backroom. The Holcomb Bridge location (exit 7B off Ga400 if I remember correctly), is the one to go to. Its majority scratch and dent and usually there are no scratches or dents and the pieces are deeply discounted. They also have an amazing linen section at this location. I did exchange the knobs for some white glass beauties from Anthropologie. Cute rabbit lamp is one that my parents were getting rid of from their beach place. I love the window dressing in this room. The panels are actually twin matelasse bed coverlets that I had trim sewn on to. They make excellent curtains for a nursery because of how thick and opaque they are. The relaxed roman was made by Sew Jesse here in Dallas. If you need anything custom sewn for you, I highly recommend her. You can see some of her amazing work on her website.
I hope you all enjoyed a little peek into two of my favorite rooms. I enjoyed working on these two more than any others in my career, because these two clients are my two favorite people in the world!