My friend Patrick has created the most cozy and welcoming guest room (womb) that no one in their right mind would ever want to leave. I met Patrick because our husbands work together. He and Ed live about a mile away from us, so after you've toured this room, you'll understand my problem -- how to finagle a situation where I would be forced to stay in this incredible space. Snowstorm? Tequila shots? Dead car battery? Poltergeist? Help me out here.
Patrick purchased the metal four-poster bed from a blacksmith in Milwaukee who used orange juice and peroxide to create the unique finish. Patrick paid a reasonable price for the bed but then he had to move it. Twice. The wall color is Benjamin Moore Citrine. Patrick likes colors that aren't colors. "This is a weird dirty greenish muddy gold. At night, it's warmer -- more camel -- and a big reason why the room is so cozy."
Sun pouring in dramatically lights the Curtis Jere-style brutalist metal sculpture of seagulls in flight. Patrick is a fiend for midcentury modern design and has been collecting pieces long before the rest of us mortals caught up to the trend. He and I have gone antiquing together (we call it martini-tiquing), and he is definitely a master of the hunt. He said, "Sometimes I like to create a conceit or a limitation that helps me sift through the clutter. But that didn't stop me from buying a blue laundry basket full of doll parts. Because who wouldn't for ten dollars?"
Inside the drawer of the bedside table is everything you would need if you were stranded here because of a snowstorm or too much tequila: aspirin, chocolate, lighter, flashlight, and a remote for the Sonos. By the way, if you download the app for Sonos, you can listen to your own playlist. Oh, and there's even a box of thank-you notes. I've got mine already composed in my head. "Dear Ed and Patrick, Thank you ever so much for letting me take refuge from my kids in your guest womb. I promise not to make it a habit. Walter isn't due back in Wisconsin for a couple of months so you're safe. Love, Mithra."
The sitting area is just the right amount of symmetrical. Not enough symmetry and a room lacks balance. Too many pairs and a room can feel churchy. Patrick innately understands this. I do not. I have not a single pair of end tables and lamps in my house. I'm over fifty, so it's time to get on that bandwagon.
In the photo above is Ed's childhood binoculars and their original leather case. Patrick said that they are for looking at the flora and fauna, even though he knows we won't.
In the nook by the bed is a desk and chair where one can write one's thank you notes. Sitting on the desk are two pieces of Monmouth stoneware pottery with the characteristic gorgeous caramel-colored salt glaze.
Patrick has quite an eye for art. But he never gets too terribly serious about collecting it. I asked Patrick about the bowl of softballs. He believes that a room must have a sense of humor: "If there isn't something that makes you smile, then your room is d-e-a-d. Dead."
This is Max perched on the window seat. He is a very good dog and of course, his coloring matches the decor. Max's doggy siblings are Penny and Gus. The trio love their big backyard, which Patrick has dubbed "Buck Thorne Acres."
An assemblage by California artist Mark Brudzinski. I think the dangling feet are a little macabre but it would be almost ordinary without them! The collage is a testament to the truth that Patrick will never be anything but a luster of objects. His friend Shelley once told him, "In your heart you want to be a minimalist. But you can never be a minimalist."
An embroidered satin Taj Mahal pillow plopped on a hardback theater seat. Such a fun contrast - the most ostentatious building ever erected sitting atop a very utilitarian folding chair.
I saved the best photo for last because guess what is inside the closet of this guest womb? Costumes! There's muumuus, caftans, kimonos, embroidered Nehru jackets, jumpsuits, and all sort of vintage apparel. What a perfect use of a guest room closet. No one will want to leave. I certainly won't!
Here's to my future stay in Patrick's irresistible womb room. Please knock before entering because I'll probably be trying on caftans.
If you enjoyed the tour of Patrick's place, you might also like the newsletter I send out every Friday. It contains links to great antiques around the web, home tours, funny writing, cool finds, and lots of other tidbits. Hundreds subscribe. Try it!