Bedroom Design: The Power of Two

Post by Erin Sears.

Many years ago when I was an art student I took a course in the Art and Culture of Western Africa. My professor was a lovely man and a consummate storyteller. One of the tales he shared with us was about the Yoruba people of Nigeria. The Yoruba have the highest rate of twin births in the world. Twins are revered in their culture and seen to be fortunate. They are given special names and the entire community rejoices at their birth. The story that stuck with me the most is that for Yoruba people, the first twin born is actually considered to be the younger twin. This twin enters the world and checks things out, letting the older, more dominant twin know that it’s safe to be born. Throughout the years, amongst twins I’ve known, I’ve seen this pattern repeated time and time again. The firstborn twin is the twin that is more extroverted and active, while the second born twin carries a quiet wisdom and confidence.

What does this have to do with bedroom design? Twin beds show up frequently in good design. Just like with their human counterparts, twin beds add something special to a room. Twin beds give a room symmetry and balance.  They are both a bold and an innocent choice, reminding us of our youth and the good fortune of having enough room for everyone. Twin beds are not just for children; they are often enjoyed in vacation homes and guest rooms- joyous spaces that are meant to be shared with others.

Here are some of my favorite sets of twins:

Source: http://myoldcountryhouse.blogspot.com/2012/07/monday-makeover-twin-beds.html

The graphic prints of the headboard and the two rugs really attract me to this room.  If you head over to the blog, it shows the transformation of these beds from yard sale find to what you see above. Really cool DIY idea.

 

Source:  House Beautiful

The sweet sophistication of this room makes me want to curl up in one of these beds and sleep for a really long time. Clearly, the room pictured is for a child, but what I find compelling is that the room also has real “adult” furniture and accessories that make it versatile. Anyone could sleep comfortably here.


Source: http://www.nuevo-estilo.es/espacios/img.htm?404/404_4_10g.jpg


Turquoise! Tufted velvet! These unique twin headboards could be dressed up with different linens for adults, but are totally kid appropriate too.

May twin beds bring good fortune to your home.

For more on the Yoruba people of Nigeria and their magical twins: http://www.randafricanart.com/Yoruba_Customs_and_Beliefs_Pertaining_to_Twins.html

Posted in Bedroom Design | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Bedtime Stories: My Dad is Big and Strong, BUT… and Piiips!

 

My Dad Is Big and Strong, BUT…: A Bedtime Story by Coralie Saudo, illustrated by Kris DiGiacomo.

Hey look, kids! It’s a proper bedtime story! I just picked this one up at the library and though the humor may be lost on my son, I think it’s pretty darned funny. Maybe he doesn’t recognize what a pain in the butt he is, but I sure do!

This is one of those role-reversal books. Narrated by the son, it begins: My dad is big and strong, BUT every night at bedtime it’s the same routine. You can guess where it goes from here. Dad wants just ONE more book. Dad doesn’t want to go to sleep in his room. Dad’s afraid of the dark! Maybe every parent goes through the same nonsense every night, but this story was so close to our daily reality that it was pretty remarkable. My kid apparently did not see himself in that decryption at all; ironic given his demand immediately afterward to read just ONE more book. Kids!

Preparing to write this review, I learned that the author, Coralie Saudo, is a French author which is interesting because the book reminded me very much of another French picture book called Piiips! in which a mother and father bird are tormenting their poor baby bird by calling him out of bed multiple times for various little demands. Perhaps this is a strong French literary tradition. Or, maybe it’s just these two books. Well, if you read French, Piiips! by Anne Isabelle is a fun read, and if you don’t read French then you can stick with My Dad is Big and Strong, BUT

Posted in Bedtime Stories | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Movies in Bed: Film Studies 101 High Noon

Post by Josh Zinn.

Retired Marshal Will Kane has a problem. Having made a name and reputation for himself as man whom the residents the town of Hadleyville depended upon to establish a peaceful, orderly community, he now finds himself, in a time of personal crisis, essentially ex-communicated from those whose safety he fought so diligently to ensure. Reduced to pleading with longtime friends, forced to defend his recent marriage to a Quaker woman in front of the church, and betrayed by his own deputy, Kane is left humiliated, abandoned, and defenseless by the men and women whose lives he had once sworn to protect. Like a respected employee whose work history and job security are eventually trumped by a company’s bottom line, Kane’s legacy is simply not enough for those whom he served to place their well being on the chopping block along with his. A victim of the very placidity he helped engender, Kane is now a lone man amongst “friends.”

It is within this setting devoid of loyalty and camaraderie that “High Noon,” a classic of its genre, establishes itself as an example of an anti-Western. Rather than feeding into the mythos of larger-than-life men and a “rootin-tootin” landscape popularized in Westerns before it, “High Noon” claims its concerns with the ways in which members of a community might actually respond to one another in light of a larger threat. Instead of guns a’blazing and horses grazing, the town reacts to the impending arrival of Kane’s nemesis, outlaw Frank Miller, by shuttering their windows and closing themselves off from having anything to do with the well-being of one another. Whether this is done out of fear, greed, or in the name of the community’s “best interest,” the eventual outcome is the same: In Hadleyville, it’s every man for himself, regardless of whether someone gets hurt along the way.

This depiction of deceit and disloyalty, while cynical in comparison to other films in its genre, may also be seen as a response to the political climate of the time in which it was made. While comparisons to anti-communist blacklisting efforts (with film community members being forced to turn upon one another in hopes of saving themselves) of the time are certainly warranted, what continues to make High Noon relevant is its unflinching examination of what might lay behind the façade of American idealism. Rather than simply celebrating the pioneering spirit of people who dared to stake claim on a new life for themselves, the film makes the case that, in fact, this entrepreneurial spirit also allows our values and sense of community to take a backseat to doing what needs to be done in order to ensure our own personal success. Since the security of Will Kane’s life rests, in part, on the ability of those around him to stand up for him, it becomes apparent—through the townsfolk’s inaction—the American dream is not collective, but rather a collection of individual desires far less altruistic than it pretends to be.

While some may claim that, like Marshal Kane, they too possess the content of character that would stand up to seemingly insurmountable odds in support of another, the truth of the matter is that human nature often turns a blind eye to problems that are not our own, hoping they will eventually go away. Because Kane had done so much good for his community, he believed his community would respond in kind when he needed help the most. Unfortunately, he is to learn that that train has long since left the station.

Posted in Movies in Bed | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Things We Like: Grand Bedroom Design at the Hearst Castle

Post by Kyle St. Romain.

If you enjoy experiencing high design, then the tour of the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California should be on the top of your to do list. Two weekends ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Hearst Castle for myself having first learned about it from an episode of the History Channel. Pictures hardly do it justice, and the drive up there is breathtaking.

If you don’t know about the Hearst Castle, it is the largest private estate in California. Donated by the Hearst Corporation in 1957, the castle was originally constructed by William Randolph Hearst and designed by renowned architect Julia Morgan in the early to mid 1900s. It is the west coast’s answer to the Biltmore estate in North Carolina, though the climate is much nicer in California and the ocean views are unmatched.

The Hearst Castle took over 28 years of continuous construction before bankrupting WR Hearst, and it was never completed. It is estimated to have cost nearly $10,000,000 (about $133 million in 2011 dollars); however, the exact cost of construction is unknown. The castle, which is more a village than anything else, features 56 bedrooms sprawling over 100 acres. So, as you can imagine, I got to see a lot of different bedrooms on my tours; each one designed with its own unique theme. As a regular writer here at the Charles P Rogers blog, I was sure to take a lot of pictures to share with you.

What surprised me the most about the bedrooms at the Hearst castle is their size. I knew they were going to be luxuriously appointed, but didn’t imagine them being so small. The beds are even quite small by today’s standards. Why is this? Space was certainly not an issue, as the entire estate encompasses more than 90,000 square feet, so it had to be something else.

While I don’t have the architect’s notes to give you a definitive answer as to why the bedrooms were designed so small, my guess is that it is a combination of utility—bedrooms had a more a singular purpose then—and design conventions of the era. Also, while the estate featured state-of-the-art electric heaters, it gets pretty cold on top of the mountain during the winter, and a smaller bedroom would have be easier to keep warm.

I left the castle dreaming of one day owning a home as grand as one of the many guest cottages scattered throughout the property. However, that is unlikely as I imagine international treaties prohibit the importation of the antiquities you’d need to decorate your bedroom in similar style today as many of the architectural features were salvaged from European churches.

If you’ve visited the Hearst Castle, we’d love to hear what you think. We also welcome ideas about other marvelous homes to visit. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Posted in Things We Like | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Breakfast in Bed: Dinner Roll French Toast

Post by Alison Hein.

You gotta love food history – it’s just plain confusing. Take French Toast, for example. Invented in France, right? Non! The very first reference to a dish of bread soaked in milk appeared in the Apicus, a historical collection of Latin recipes dating back to the 4th or 5th century. The Latins called it Aliter Dulcia, or “another sweet dish.” A German version that appeared several hundred years later was called Arme Ritter, “poor knights,” and it’s not until the 14th century that a French recipe for Pain Perdu, or “lost bread,” shows up.

The bottom line is that cooks from all generations and geographies shared a common understanding: stale bread can not only be revived when dipped in milky eggs and grilled to a crisp, but can even be made delicious.

Dinner Roll French Toast is a fun variation – a mini-breakfast sandwich, stuffed with plump, juicy berries, dusted with powdered sugar, and drizzled with thick maple syrup. Have your young chefs help you cook, and magically turn stale rolls, or hotdog or hamburger buns, into something spectacular. Like our ancestors, they can turn “lost bread” into an amazing find – a delicious, grilled-to-a-crisp breakfast in bed.

Ingredients
1 cup milk
2 eggs
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
4 small dinner rolls, sliced in half (Challah or brioche are good choices)
2 to 4 tablespoons butter
1 cup mixed berries, or other fruit
Confectioner’s sugar, for garnish

Preparation
In large, shallow bowl, whisk together milk, eggs and cinnamon. Dip dinner roll halves into the egg mixture, turning once to completely saturate. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in heavy skillet. Add rolls and cook over medium to medium-low heat, turning once, until golden and cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes, adding more butter as needed. Place one dinner roll on each of 4 plates, and top with mixed berries. If you like, place some fruit on the bottom of the roll, cover with fruit, and cover with the roll top. Sprinkle lightly with confectioner’s sugar. Serve warm with maple syrup.

Makes 4 servings.

Posted in Breakfast in Bed | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment