When Shawn and I bought our first place together in Boston, I was full of ideas for every room in the house, except the second bedroom. We knew we didn’t want to use it as a guest room. And that was about all we knew. The room had lots of natural light and beautiful, dramatic views. It was a place you wanted to spend time, if you didn’t mind the lack of furniture. This continued state led to a series of Sunday mornings where we’d wander into the room in our pajamas, lean against the wall, and play “what if we made it into a…?”
As we talked, we always came back to the same idea of a quiet place to read and a cozy spot to catch up with friends. We wondered if we should add an office space or a television, but it felt right to have somewhere to get away and disconnect. We defined the room’s purpose by asking each other: “What do you want to be able to do in here?” “What would make you want to come in to this room?” And as we let the idea marinate, it began to evolve.
One night, my Uncle John invited us to dinner at the Somerset Club. The Somerset is a private social club that used to be just for men and it’s got an old-school allure. The club is grand, somewhat off-limits, and slightly antiquated but in the best way. It exists to give members a place to meet friends, read, and have a drink. I was inspired. “Let’s use the second bedroom to reimagine the idea of a men’s club.” I said to Shawn.
He liked the idea, so the next morning I thought through what I’d seen at dinner. Great chairs where you could read for hours. A library and a discrete bar in the corner. Cocktail tables for the inevitable drink. Beautiful Persian rugs and a few hunting trophies. You get the gist.
Then it was off to Pinterest. I didn’t have anything specific in mind. I just started searching for pieces that felt like the elements from the club with a modern twist. One of my favorite finds was a company that made three-dimensional animal heads out of plywood slats. The perfect blend of old and new. I pinned and we talked, refining the images on my board and evolving our idea.
Are you searching for inspiration? Start by experimenting. Even if its just playing around with ideas in your head. Ask yourself: “What do I want to do in here?” “What would make me want to come in to this room?”
You don’t have to know what to do right away. Go into the room and look around for a while. Move things around. Take everything out. Pin paint swatches to the wall. Imagine your furniture reupholstered or repainted. Bring in a friend or your partner and talk. Spitball ideas that may feel crazy but excite you. Flip through your favorite magazines and catalogues and pay attention to the settings for the photographs. Is there a look or a feeling you like? How did they capture it? Tool around furniture stores or museums and look for things that grab your attention. What, specifically, do you love about them? How could you recreate that feeling at home? Every day you’re surrounded by visual information. Take it all in with an eye towards inspiration. What do you see and how could you use it?
Inspiration is one part experimentation and one part exploration. But as long as what you find excites you, you know you’re on the right track. You don’t have to spend a lot of money; you just have to get creative. And if you’re stuck—talk it through with someone. Or ask me a question in the comments section. I’m happy to help. J
Want to see my inspirations for the room? See the board on Pinterest.
Next post: So you’re inspired, now how do you finish the job?
Tell me, what inspires you?