Round #2: Caitlin And Jess’ Race To Complete Their Bedrooms (Here Are The Rules + The Design Plans) – Emily Henderson

Round #2: Caitlin And Jess’ Race To Complete Their Bedrooms (Here Are The Rules + The Design Plans) – Emily Henderson


Here we are again! Two gals with two unfinished spaces that clearly need some competitive moral support and a strict timeline to get these suckers done. In case you weren’t around in 2022 or may have forgotten, Caitlin and I (Jess) were wildly uninspired, not knowing what we wanted to write or what any of you would wanted to read. Then a stroke of “genius”! Why don’t we make over our little weird balconies with a strict deadline and see who can finish first? Done. So with a mere 5 weeks to transform our spaces, we were off to the design races. Here’s a reminder of the finished products…

caitlin’s before and after
jess’ before and after

So here we are again but now it’s not really about being uninspired (THANKFULLY!) but more that we are grown adults that want finished pretty bedrooms like yesterday. So a little fire under our butts seemed to work great last time and at the end of the day, we love a little healthy competition:) Oh, and I’m ready to have an actual bedframe and Caitlin’s boyfriend (who is moving to LA soon!) would like someplace to put his clothes. Both of those dreams seem pretty achievable.

Let’s get into the plans…

Jess’ Bedroom

As a refresher here is my room. I love love love waking up in here but it has soooooo much potential that I need to tend to.

The light is the best and those windows (that lead to my balcony) make me feel like I’m in a dream. Oh and don’t worry that fan is LONG GONE since I didn’t need it anyway.

This is the view from my bed (well from my wonderful mattress from Tuft & Needle). The mirrored door leads to my bathroom and the other is my main closet. And after a lot of back and forth, I’ve decided to keep the “original” sconces:)

You also might remember my “How To Layout A Bedroom For Optimal Rest: 5 EHD-Tested Layouts + Help Jess Choose Hers” post and ultimately I think this is the best layout for me. I don’t need a ton of storage (I’m lucky that I have a few closets) so a small to medium-sized dresser is plenty. Plus, I can always add another if need be.

This is still basically what it looks except I bought new bedding that is comically similar. I decided to take advantage of those Black Friday sales because that duvet cover had a ton of holes in it. Not a great look, Jess! Ultimately I still want it to be calm and serene but with more style, more personality, and ideally more vintage:) I pulled a handful of inspiration photos to give you an idea of the feeling that I want moreso than an exact design, obviously (although I love everything in these photos).

I am truly such a fan of Crystal Sinclair. She doesn’t know this (ha) but I feel like over the years I’ve been following her, we’ve been stylistically going in the same direction. Every time I see one of her finished projects I think, “This woman is in my brain!! I love this so much!” She is always so kind which just makes me love her more. But with this room, I love the juxtaposition between the Old World antique, midcentury vintage, and minimal organic. That is very much my direction. Sadly, I won’t have a large antique tapestry for this room but maybe someday:)

Another beautiful room by Crystal Sinclair Designs! I love the depth of this green because it’s rich yet calm. I want to have some pops of color that do just that. Actually, the whole design is both layered and cool, but so soothing to look at.

This living room by Maison Cotidiano makes my heart smile. I love the warmth of the woods, that chic shelving unit, and the pop of the graphic rug! The room is chic but inviting which is how I want my bedroom to feel – not overly fussy, a little elevated style-wise, but most importantly a room I can’t wait to be in at the end of the day and wake up in.

Ok, it’s moodboard time!

Tile | Metal Shelves | Noguchi Pendant | Bed Frame | Rug | Bench | Statement Lamp | Duvet Cover | Sheets | Velvet Blanket | Gold Pillow | Lumbar Pillow

Is it bold? No. Is it redefining the design world as we know it? Also, no. But it is what I consider a dream bedroom for my life right now (ok, if it had a marble fireplace then it would actually be perfect:)). So as you can see the main pieces are pretty neutral but then I have some fun with the textiles and my most favorite wooden check lamp (non-vintage category).

Ok first things first, I wanted to reuse some of what I already owned and loved – the Noguchi Pendant, my family’s gold mirror, and my $100 chunky wooden chair score from the Rose Bowl 5ish years ago. Then if you read my Etsy vintage finds post, you saw that I got that little vintage Japanese dome lamp (well, 2 of them) for $80 at last month’s Rose Bowl! Oh, and that’s the duvet cover and sheets I bought during Black Friday that I’m hoping will work. Now, it wouldn’t be a Jess Bunge room if I didn’t customize something and/or decide to do a painfully annoying DIY that usually ends up being worth it (my patio tiles, the bench cabinet in my current living room, etc). If you are curious about those green square tiles at the top of the board, I am planning to do some kind of tile border right under crown moulding. The likely painful part will be that I want to attach them (in a renter-friendly way) individually. I feel very passionately about it so I have a lot of trust in myself that I will figure it out and that it will be worth it. Only time will tell!

I also am in talks with one of our favorite custom furniture builders, Buildlane, about making a bed. I honestly want something pretty similar to the style of the bed on the moldboard but with one or two “special but simple” details added. Oh, and I am also completely obsessed with the idea of finding vintage fabric panels to layer over the main curtain. Arlyn, how do you feel about getting out that sewing machine?? The moment I saw that curtain photo I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. It’s such a smart way to add art in an unconventional way.

Some other new pieces I’ve fallen for are those incredible metal shelves. I think they are the perfect modern contrast in both material and style to the other more vintage pieces. I also think that bench is beautiful and the texture is so cool and fun. And of course, I want to use one of the rugs from our rug line! It would be so special. And who knows, maybe I can get one in from launch #2 if they are ready in time???

Finally, let’s talk about those nightstands. They are Italian midcentury modern beauties that I am kicking myself for not just buying. They were pretty affordable until the whole “they ship from Italy” price was added. Hahaha. I’ve been looking every day on Craigslist, Nextdoor, and Facebook Marketplace, and have gone to some shops but understandably I haven’t found anything that holds a candle. If you see any in the continental United States that aren’t crazy expensive, feel free to shoot me an email: Look, A GIRL CAN DREAM!

Well, that’s all from me. Caitlin, take it away!

Caitlin’s Bedroom

Remember that time that life got in the way and I spent a full year procrastinating on my bedroom design in favor of other real-life priorities? SAME! Last time we chatted, I was catching you up on my black mold nightmare…

You can see above where my wall and moulding were cut out and replaced (just next to the window on the left). After spending about 4 months living on the floor of my living room, having an actual bedroom to sleep in again took priority over my decorating dreams. Plus, in the last year, I’ve paid off all my credit card debt – not a ton, but constant travel racks up the balances higher than I’d like! – and I’ve prioritized living life outside of my home.

But now, my boyfriend Dennis is slated to move in after over 2 years of long-distance dating. (Don’t cry for me too much – we both work from home, so we get weeks of IRL face time almost every month. He’s fixing one of my cat’s toys in the kitchen as we speak!) To that end, I’d like to finally finish this space so we can just hang out and relax in peace.

When I last left you, I had most of the major pieces in place – a 9×12 rug, a king-sized bed, and a vintage 9-drawer dresser. Since then, I’ve added some great Serena and Lily-style nightstands that complement the shape of the bed. On my to-do list? A dresser for Dennis (to fill the space formerly occupied by my old bed frame), a simple wall treatment (paint? Wallpaper? TBD!), some new lighting (ceiling and, potentially, some sconces above the bed), some updated window shades, and art. I think it’s going to be manageable and affordable enough that I am willing to agree to the terms of this challenge with Jess. Wish me luck!!!

Ironically, none of my bedroom inspiration comes from an actual bedroom. Despite my best efforts, I struggle with things like “restraint” and “minimalism” and “neutrals,” but I’ve come to accept it. This bedroom is going to turn out pretty freakin’ bright, but that’s okay! I’m hoping to keep it partially restrained by focusing on texture and color, without a lighter focus on pattern. I love the vibrancy in this room – it’s based around 4 colors (a deep blue, an olive, a baby pink, and a warm gold) but they have such a high impact.

Beata can do no wrong! Similarly, I love the modern takes on classic shapes. (Did you spot the sofa? It’s a fresh, special take on the timeless English roll-arm. I hope my bed is channeling something similar!) I’m also drawn to the subtle color blocking. I wish I could deliver something this tasteful and mature, but we all know I’m going to fall back into my love of whimsy

This is my sweet middle ground – a little whimsy, a healthy dose of color, and a few trendy nods. (I see you, squiggle carpet!)

Mirror | Dresser (vintage) | Bed | Nightstands | Rug | Green Dresser

Jess and I often joke that we balance each other out – we’re both Libras and we often find ourselves on the opposite end of any given subject. She’s super warm and conscientious; I can be a little more harsh and numbers-minded. But there’s also a lot of love and respect there, so it’s a productive dynamic instead of a contentious one!

To that end…I am, once again, on the opposite end of the spectrum from Jess, who has a beautiful and actionable mood board. I have no idea what’s going on here, or how I’m going to execute the rest of the room, or what other pieces are going to make it in – but I think that might be okay! The reason? I love vintage, and that makes it a little tricky to form (or stick to) a plan.

What do I know? I’m looking for a dresser that’s about 5′ wide – ideally in olive, like the Studio McGee version above, but I’m open to alternatives! – and a vintage mirror, ideally in brass (and a cute shape, like this Rejuvenation one, would be a bonus!).

I’d love to find a colored light fixture. Which color? No idea! I’d like it to take up a little bit of ceiling real estate – I have a bummer builder-grade fixture in right now, and it’s dwarfed by the size of the room – and I’m open when it comes to the texture (glass? Enamel? Porcelain? Metal? I’ll know it when I see it!). I think that’s the thing I love most about sourcing secondhand pieces for my home – it feels like a collaborative process with the universe. It’s all luck! I love not knowing what I’m going to find, and I love the surprise of falling in love with a piece that I never would have expected.

The downside of vintage? It can make the decorating process feel a little slow, or laborious, or disjointed. It’s frustrating to not know how things will come together! Case in point: I’m putting my paint and window treatment decisions on the back burner while the rest of the furniture pieces fall into place. I need to see what I can find first so I can use the walls and windows as a unifying element, rather than trying to shoehorn vintage furniture into a space where it might just not vibe. I am trusting the process right now!!! And honestly, a deadline will be helpful – Dennis is planning to move in after we finish this challenge, so the timing couldn’t be more perfect. LET’S DO THIS!

It’s Jess again! First off, Caitlin is extremely warm and conscientious lol. But style-wise we are a bit different which we think makes this little challenge all that much more fun (and nice since we aren’t searching for the same things:)). So here’s the deal. We have until April 22nd and need to write at least 1 – 2 update posts along the way. I know having a little over two months seems like a long time but with our burning desire to find cool and affordable vintage pieces that feels like no time at all! Be rest assured that both of us have already started our daily Craigslist/Facebook Marketplace checks so the fire has been officially lit. Wish us luck!!!


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