(Panama City, Florida)
View from the Doorway
My husband and I were living overseas on Guam and our bedroom furniture that had been given to us when we got married was, unfortunately, badly damaged. Over the next three years we tolerated the aging furniture as much as possible until the time came near for us to return to the United States. We knew our cherished, California king sized waterbed wouldn't make it. After having been married for nearly 7 years and giving our three boys the best rooms any kids could image, we decided it was time to pamper ourselves with a complete bedroom makeover.
Being in the military has a lot of perks including discounts on furniture sets, but sometimes the selection is nothing that Better Homes and Gardens
would ever give a thought to featuring in their magazine photos. My ideal bedroom included a canopy bed like I had growing up, and we knew we wanted solid wood furniture with a cherry finish. We felt it would go best with all of our crimson bed coverings and sheets as well as the rose wall decor and wreaths I had made over the years. The biggest hurdle we faced was price. Four-poster beds imported from the Far East or even the US were pricey. There was only one company on Guam who even did anything close to what we wanted, but we didn't have $10,000 for the entire bedroom set.
During the search, I was with a few women at a fellow church member's home and she was giving us a tour of her house. The bedroom was nothing too impressive at first glance, but then something caught my eye. Hanging from the ceiling were drapes of fabric coming down from a small box frame that extended about a foot from the wall creating a mini canopy over the bed. Seeing THAT resolved my canopy bed quandary and price dilemma.
I decided I wanted to take the mini canopy idea not only to the next level but over the top in size. My husband and I ordered a lovely cherry stained bedroom set for about $2,300. (It ended up coordinating well with my great-great aunt's antique, sewing machine table and stool which I eventually placed in the room. When I was not displaying the machine we used it as a "laptop desk".)
While we waited for the bedroom set to be shipped and delivered I set to work on buying the wood for what would be my crowning jewel accent that would literally top it all off. What it took included three 6” x 8’ x 1/2” boards and ten 1” x 8’ x 1/8” bordering trim strips. We measured the full length of the bed from the wall to the end of the footboard and added 2-˝ to 3 inches to the total. We then measured the width of the bed at the end and added an inch on either side. We laid three of the strips equal distance apart on the 6 by 8's length-wise plus positioned two pieces to edge the sides, (I used an extra piece to break up the flow a little in the center and also act as a guide). Additionally, we used two pieces of stripping for a higher edge. Finally, we nailed them together and stained it all to match the cherry color of the bed.
Anchoring the pieces to the ceiling didn’t take much either. Basically we just used 12, four-screw L brackets to attach it to the ceiling and boards. On the back sides all it took was attaching 6 inexpensive pole rods and adding 12 curtain panels/sheers to the poles. All in all, everything cost us about $150.
The elegant form and the crimson colors really made our bedroom look as if it were fit for a king and queen, and it sparked a new fire of romance for us. The effect also made using the Oriental decor items that we had collected from the island coordinate well in our room.
When we eventually moved back to the United States the ceiling fans in our new military house prevented us from reusing the "canopy" part of our bed so we gave it away. We may replace it some day. In the meantime we have reused the sheers on the windows.
It has been four years since we’ve moved back and I am excited because for Mother’s Day my children and husband have bought me new bedding and window treatments. So once more I will be designing a new room. Who knows what I might showcase next.