Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Old Man Winter Meet My Shabby Chic Defense

Winter is on its way. You can already feel it in the air outside. Time to start the nesting process. And this year an ambitious streak arrived at just the right time to make this chore a little more enjoyable. All my winter clothes are out of storage and - oh who am I kidding. This is New England. They never made it in to storage to begin with. All I did was organize them. But I did decide to scrub the bedroom down and rearrange a little bit. I moved the bed away from the window - partially for warmth - and partially to stop my dog from standing guard and barking hello at everybody who walks by. A lot of people live around here. That noise gets old really, really fast.

So now my bed is in the corner. Warmer, yes. Quieter, definitely. But now I'm kind of weirded out by the ceiling. It's an old drop ceiling and of course, the section right above my bed has buckled a little. So naturally I've convinced myself that it's about to collapse and kill me in my sleep at any given moment. It won't. It's just old and settled. But that doesn't slow my morbid imagination down one bit. I think, "if only I had a canopy bed. This would solve my whole dilemma. I could sleep away the winter like a warm and snuggly princess beneath a billowing cocoon of happiness". This definitely sounds a whole lot better to me than staring at the killer ceiling every night preparing myself for death. The only problem is: I don't have a canopy bed. I don't even have a bed frame. I have a mattress and a box spring on the floor.

Yeah, nothing about this says billowing cocoon of happiness

Fortunately, this is where the creative process kicks in, and I start getting an idea: Maybe I can make myself a canopy. But how will I do it? What materials will I need? And how much is all this going to cost me? I'm pretty much completely broke. So the answer to that particular question essentially needs to be zero.

But then I think about that box of mismatched linens in the closet that's accumulated over the years from various bedding and curtain sets. I grab the box and rummage through the contents, and it proves to be a goldmine for the idea that's forming in my head. So now I give myself a challenge: Create a beautiful canopy for my bed using only the contents of this box and other items that I have around the house, and build it entirely on the ceiling. 

Head first into the box I go . . .

I started with an old bed skirt. Using screw hooks I secured it to the ceiling in the corners, sides and center, allowing the ruffles to drape around the edges. The material in the center of the bed skirt is pretty cheap since it's usually just going to be between a mattress and box spring, so I hung an old flat sheet on top of it for lining. This added extra volume to the canopy, and also makes it prettier to look up at while I'm in bed. There. The base of the canopy is now in place and I've only almost fallen on my head twice. Given that this was the most challenging part of the project, I'd say I'm doing pretty good.

The overhead light and its horrible glare are about to disappear

 The inner lining of the canopy

Now it was time for the next element: Lights. Yes! This meant a trip to the Christmas closet! I knew I'd find a reason to get in there early.

Hmmm ..... This is going to take a while. So here's a little music for your entertainment while I dig . . .

 (is it just me, or is everyone in this video disturbingly sedate?)

Meanwhile . . .

Eventually, I made it to the lights. Naturally, they were in one of the tubs near the bottom of the pile. But I finally got there. I took two strands of white lights out, spent several minutes wondering why I had packed so many strands that no longer worked, then headed back to my project and began to drape the lights around the canopy from the hooks. On the outer edges I draped the lights along the outside of the canopy, then continued on the inside along the inner walls. In the corners I let them hang a little longer for added effect. I had to add an extra screw hook next to each of the center hooks on the outer edges of the canopy in order to drape the lights along the outside, as the hooks holding up the bed skirt on these sides are hidden beneath the ruffle. I plugged the lights into a white extension cord, and hid the cord by tacking it along the window frame behind the curtain. 

 All that is visible is a barely noticeable 2 inch section of extension cord. (This'll be what my friend Dave notices first)

Finally, I used valances for the outer border. First, I used four white valances for the longer sides. I folded two of the valances in three pleats beginning at the ruffle and working my way up, then pinned the ends together in the back with safety pins. I had four curtain tie backs with large bows that I had saved, and I tied one to each of the valances to cover the pinned together ends and add a decorative touch. Then I attached the valances to the center first by simply hooking the safety pins on the back over the screw hooks. Once I had the center secured I pulled the top edges of the valances tight to either corner and secured each one with safety pins. I let the extra fabric drape at the corners to give the canopy a more enclosed feel, and because I thought it was pretty. Again, I hung the valance on the outer edge along the outside of the canopy, and the other one on the inside along the wall. 

At the foot of the bed I used the same technique using another pair of white valances I'd saved, and pulled the look together with one of the bow tie backs. The valances conceal the lights and hooks and give the canopy a nice straight edge all around, while the safety pins work great for attaching the valances to the hooks, and keeping everything securely in place. 

All that remained was the head of the bed. At this point I was out of white valances of any kind. So, what to do . . .  I still had materials though, including one remaining tie back bow, as well as the center panels of the curtains they originally came with. So, I decided to go with those. I folded and pinned them together as I had with the valances, leaving the ruffles exposed because I like them. Then, I pulled the top of the panels across to the corners, gathered the remaining fabric, draped it up to the corners as well, and secured it all with safety pins.

I finished with a fresh set of linens for the bed, and by repositioning the wall art a little. 

And there I have it - a lovely, cozy canopy for my bed created entirely from materials I already had. Cost: Zero. I love it. It's enchanting and unique. Tres shabby chic. I like the way the lights shine through the material like stars, giving the room a soft, warm glow. And I especially love the way the canopy surrounds me and makes me feel as if I'm in a magical nest when I'm in bed. And the best part of all is not a hint of the ceiling is visible anymore. Only billowy fabric and beautiful lights. I wanted a canopy bed to escape to for the winter, and now I have one. And it's the only one like it in the world ♥ 



Dianna Doles-Petry said...

This is so awesome! I'm so glad you shared this!

Indigo Blues said...

I love it. Can't believe you were able to make something so beautiful out of older stuff. Really awesome!