Monday, April 21, 2014

Decorate Your Bedroom Like a Bed & Breakfast Inn Update

Now that we've lived in our cozy "petite penthouse" for a year, my hubby Steve and I are doing a few more small home spruce-ups, (like painting our bistro-ish dining nook luscious lavender), and since we've traveled together to over 65 Bed & Breakfast Inns (B&Bs)  in 17 U.S. states since 1987, we also decided it was time once again to add a  little more B&B style decorating flair to our current master bedroom as a reminder of our happy B&B travels.  (Click on post photos to enlarge if you want to see the details better.)

I made photo collages last year of all of our B&B trips and we hung the collages in our master bedroom and we've added a few more frames since then as our life evolves.   I work writing from our bed most of the time, so I enjoy looking up and seeing our happy travel photo reminders when I'm working at home and my hubby is away at his work office.   I chose photo collage frames that compliment our black bed, our mostly Old World antique-style furniture, and a round mirror we found together years ago on an antiquing outing.

BTW, I know couples have varying ways of setting up home, and decorating it, but for us, we enjoy working together on creating a style of home that feels comfortable to both of us and we've enjoyed finding antiques together over the years.  Fortunately we have similar taste in that we both like curved lines on furniture rather than straight legs and we collect art when we travel and we pick it out together.  Neither of us likes stark modern furnishings or rooms; we find them cold rather than streamlined.  We differ a bit though in that I like a little more embellishment and light wood and my hubby goes for a little more streamlined look and dark wood.  Not a big deal; we compromise by mixing it up and we try to be considerate of each other's taste.  (As a decorator and organizer, I DON'T believe in one person in a married couple having all the decor-taste decisions so that the other person feels they don't even live or belong in their own home, as I talked about in this media interview on that topic. )

Anyway, after we decorated our last master bedroom in all-white, I was hooked!  White is so fresh and it's easier to replace linens too when they get tired or stained as it's very economical to add just a new piece here and there, rather than to have to replace a whole matching bedding ensemble. The key to all-white decorating, in my opinion, is using different textures and weights of fabrics for all your linens, as well as varying shades of white and off-white paint on furnishings.   I'll explain more below.

We had several silky-style sheer curtains in varying lengths left from previous homes, and since these lengths of fabric work so well for varying kinds of decorating all over the house, I saved all of them, storing them in a plastic bin under our bed.   I always decorate for and around the particular room, and our current bedroom is tiny, has one curved wall, plus it also functions as my home office, so I didn't want too much foo-foo in our new bed "canopy" but I did want to add "a little something" up there to soften all the photo collages and make it look more finished. So my hubs simply mounted an Old World-style curtain rod up near our crown molding.   I found the rod at Tuesday Morning and when I saw it I bought it immediately because it looks antique and compliments our antique mirror, collage frames, and my French-style desk. 

I also bought the rod because it was long enough to extend the width of our California King-sized bed and that's not always easy to find in a curtain rod.  Especially for $24.95!   It was also easy for my hubs to hang a rod quickly rather than put up something more complicated since we're both leaning more towards simple and streamlined living these days. (Well, he made it look easy to hang, anyway.  I doubt I would have mastered that project at 9' ceiling height!)

Here's what I mean about texture being the key to decorating with white.  My 16x16 Euro-style square pillows have a nice silky swirly embellishment.  And the Shabby Chic bolster pillow is quilted with varying patterns and textures of white fabric, including lace.  And my new Peacock Alley cotton coverlet is my ultimate prize bedding gem with its beautiful deeply textured swirls.   I ADORE Peacock Alley bedding linens because they are high thread-count designer-quality and they wash beautifully over and over again.   At regular prices, you'll likely have to sell your first-born child to afford them, (see below), but Tuesday Morning, one of my FAVE discount home stores, sells them at great prices.  And I was even luckier to find my coverlet on the clearance shelf at my local Tuesday Morning, too.  I only paid about $48 for it and the regular price on the sticker was over $300 if I recall correctly. So I pretty much smiled my way out of the Tuesday Morning store that day after that little bargain!  (More money for my IRA; yay!)

I LOVE the texture, pattern, and quality of Peacock Alley coverlets.  LOVE.  Did I say LOVE?!   (Here's a similar coverlet to mine on the Peacock Alley website for a mere $875 for a King-size.)  Gulp!  Now you know why I was so thrilled to find my little discount $48 Peacock Alley coverlet, darling!

These pillows and shams are the Shabby Chic line from Target and they are so expensive looking and very nice for the price.  Love them!  And the pillows are included with the low price.  Wow!  I'm on my second set of four pillows in a few years since Target still carries them.  (In pink too, if you're into pink.)

Yummy texture, huh?!

The other two standard-size pillow shams below are also the Shabby Chic line from Target.  (Pillows not included with these shams.)  They wash up like a dream and last a long time; I think I'm on my third set of these in a few years now.  We use pillow shams instead of pillowcases and I wash them once a week.  We sleep right on them and if they are too embellished on the front, just turn your pillow over to the flat back, which is just like a smooth pillowcase so you won't have marks on that pretty face of yours.  (A girl's gotta get creative sometimes in order to sleep like Snow White!)    :)   Also, speaking of sweet slumber, these are my favorite affordable white organic cotton sheets.   Kudos, Target!

In a radical departure from my usual taste, but wanting to add a bit of glam-fun, our bed headboard is covered in a sophisticated shiny embellished white fabric.  See?  Fun!  Here's a close-up photo from last year when we moved in.   My hubs recovered the standard-store-fabric headboard for me.

Also, our nightstands don't match and I like it that way!  They have two different shades of white and off-white paint on them, as does our TV cabinet.  We found them at various antique stores over the years.   And they all have different, but complimentary,  hardware too.   Differing shades of white and off-white paint create more interest and avoid the matchy-matchy decorating look, which I have personally never liked.   Nor does my husband.  Pix of our varying shades of white-painted furniture.

Decorate Your Bedroom Like a Bed & Breakfast Inn: 10 Tips
Copyright 2005 by Kathryn Bechen.   All rights reserved worldwide.
We all need a romantic getaway weekend now and then. Even if funds are tight and time is short, with a little ingenuity and creativity you can turn your own bedroom at home into a romantic and relaxing "Bed & Breakfast Inn" retreat for you and your mate.
10 Tips to get you started:
1. Clutter Cutter.
De-clutter your bedroom when you begin your fluff-up. Nothing kills romance faster than a pile of dusty magazines and techno paraphernalia.
2. Maid Brigade.
Next comes the dust rag and vacuum. Turn on some music and make it fun!
3. Sensuous Sheets.
Purchase some colorful new sheets in a pattern you love with a thread count of at least 300.
4. Divine Duvet.
Invest in a pretty new duvet cover or bedspread. It will freshen up the room instantly.
5. Pillow Pizzazz.
Some new pillows and pillowcases that coordinate with your sheets and duvet will add softness to your bed.
6. Flower Finesse.
Buy some fresh flowers and put them in a favorite vase.
7. Candle Cozy.
A few flickering candles will add instant romance to your new B&B bedroom.
8. Music Magic.
Now for some light jazz or classical music to set the tone for the evening.
9. TV Tune-out.
Unless you and your mate purposely choose to watch a funny or romantic movie together, turn the TV off.
10. Tray of Delights.
Bring in a beverage and cheese tray with some fresh fruit, dim the lights, and you're on your way to a lovely and romantic stay in your very own Bed & Breakfast Inn bedroom. Enjoy!

More B&B style bedroom decorating examples and ideas:
You can also find great B&B bedroom decorating ideas by perusing websites like  I Love Inns.

Here's to creating Bed & Breakfast Inn bliss at home!
Kathryn :) 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Simple Salmon-Broccoli Egg Bake

I hope you all had a blessed Easter.  We kept our holiday at home purposely simple and quiet, yet a little festive.   We started by giving each other an Easter card at our brunch table.

My simple tablesetting was just a few egg candies for color, a colorful neck scarf that did double-duty as table scarf,  (washed after wearing, of course!), and a simple vase of purple tulips embellished with two treasures:

1.  A cross I bought years ago at our church gift shop which is no longer operating,


2.  A rhinestone butterfly pin that my author friends Alexandra Stoddard and Peter Brown so dearly mailed to me once when I was very ill.   Both the cross and the butterfly are symbols that remind me to overcome adversity and fly my wings!

I made a simple salmon-broccoli egg bake.  Recipe below.  And I also made an easy fruit salad of just our fave fruits put in compote dishes--I like simple and fresh food prep!  My hubs squeezed some organic SoCal oranges by hand and added 1/2 champagne to the glass as well as a fresh strawberry garnish so we could each have one refreshing mimosa.

Simple Salmon-Broccoli Egg Bake

Bake 4 salmon filets in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  When done, chop into small pieces with a spatula.

Grease a 9x9 glass baking dish with coconut oil, or other oil.

Layer salmon pieces on bottom of dish.

Sprinkle with 1/2 cup to 1 cup dried onion.

Cut up 2 cups fresh broccoli into small pieces.

Add broccoli over onion.

Put 12 eggs into a large bowl, add a little water, and beat well with an egg beater or large fork.

Pour eggs over salmon, onion, broccoli.

Sprinkle top with 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese.

Bake approx. 30 minutes at 325 degrees.  Test center with fork to be sure eggs are done.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

I literally made this off the top of my head with what I had in the fridge!  It smells delicious when baking and is just really yummy.

Do you know someone who's going through a tough time?  Why not send them a little kind memento today to remind them to have faith and hope and to fly their wings, like my butterfly still brightly reminds me, six years after I received it as a gift?

Fly your wings and sparkle!

Kathryn :) 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Have a Blessed Easter

I took these photos at various Episcopal churches we've visited over the years.

Happy Easter!

Divine Inheritance
Kathryn Bechen
Copyright 2004

Divine Inheritance
That’s what He gives
Gave His life on a cross
So that we might live.

Divine Inheritance
That’s what He gives
Comforting redeemer
Just one of His gifts.

Divine Inheritance
That’s what He gives
When pain on earth
We’ve no need to fear.

Divine Inheritance
That’s what He gives
Redeemer for all
We are His.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ravishing Balboa Park Roses

Okay, back to my tour of beautiful Balboa Park in San Diego, CA , where we walked...

across the bridge to their ravishing rose garden!    Here's my hubs holding his "Monet socks" I bought him at the museum gift shop.  Now he has "Monet socks" to go with his "Monet tie."  Too fun.    :)

This is some kind of succulent or cactus-thingy.  It must be very OLD to be this big!

Here's part of the rose garden, which was in full bloom.

Row after row after row of ravishing roses!

I couldn't stop taking photos of them, they were so stunning.  And so, I share all the pix with you here...

If you ever travel to San Diego, CA, be sure to check out the ravishing rose garden at Balboa Park!

Happy Spring!

Kathryn :) 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Woman's World Magazine Press Article

I was contacted recently by Woman's World magazine, the number 1 bestselling weekly women's magazine, to be interviewed for their article:  "Ask America's Ultimate Experts:  Help Me Take the Stress Out of Moving!"  Thanks to editor Kristina at Woman's World for doing such a great job with this moving article!  You can find Woman's World magazine on most grocery and drugstore newsstands around the U.S., or subscribe here.  I like this weekly magazine because it offers many encouraging and practical articles, tips, and resources for today's busy women.

My hubby Steve and I have successfully moved 14 times together during nearly 34 years of marriage and I've written several organizing and decorating books/ebooks to help others with moving and setting up a new home and home office.  Recently we spruced up our own dining nook and kitchen areas to celebrate one year of nesting together in our current small 710 SF apartment home!    Pix and product links.

Happy moving & happy spring home spruce-ups!

Kathryn  :)

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