Wednesday, December 5, 2012

He Said, She Said: The Perfect Bed


We’re back! Thank you for your feedback on our first “He Said, She Said…” post in which designer, Jon Call and I each gave our perspectives on some of the most noteworthy features in the November issues of the shelter magazines. Today, we’re back with the second installment of our new series and we’ll be focusing on what our must-haves are for creating the perfect bed.


{Miles Redd via}

Paloma Contreras: Would you say that your bed reflects your personal style?

Jon Call: Absolutely. My bed is very simple. What spells luxury to me the most at home is having a fresh and clean bed - so that is what I have assembled for myself. I guess it’s funny how designers live versus the work we show the public. At work, my projects involve rooms richly layered in pattern, color, and texture. At home, on the other hand, I keep things incredibly simple. One is not better than the other, they just reflect different attitudes.

PC: So would you say you prefer something that is cozy and casual instead of something more formal and tailored?

jon call2

{Jon’s Crisp Bed}

JC: I think so. I’m a big proponent of the white sheet, for example-- and it’s what I make my own bed with. I lived briefly in Europe and they never used a top sheet and since then I have always done the same. It just made sense - you know? I’m tall and top sheets always manage to get tangled around my feet at night! So, I just have a fitted sheet covering my mattress with a duvet on my comforter that I change weekly with my sheets. I like the visual lightness of it and it makes making the bed SOOO much easier.

PC: We are similar in that sense. I don’t like the idea of feeling constricted while I sleep. Every time I’m at a hotel and they tuck the sheets in under the mattress, I always pull them out because I don’t like to feel constrained. I have white linens, a white duvet, and I bring in color through other components in the room. I just got these beautiful new linens and we got them monogrammed in a chocolate graphic monogram on the duvet and on the euro shams.

JC: That sounds beautiful - I want to see a picture! Where do you resource your duvet covers? That’s always a big challenge for me.

paloma monogram ladolcevita

{Paloma’s New Monogrammed Linens}

PC: Well, I love a good deal, so I’ll turn to Pottery Barn, Overstock, Homegoods... I’ll look for a nice thread count at a good price. Regardless of how often you wash, white isn’t always going to look as bright and crisp as it did in the beginning. I don’t want to spend a ton of money on my duvets for that reason. I have to change them out and keep them looking crisp without having them be a huge investment every time. And I get them monogrammed locally to elevate the look and make them feel special. In terms of higher-end linens I love Sferra, Peacock Alley, Matouk, and I dream of someday owning bedding from Leontine Linens.

JC: That dresses it up a bit and gives it that finished touch.

PC: Exactly.


{Percale vs. Sateen Finish Chart via The Linen Closet Online}

JC: Are you a percale or a sateen kind of girl?

PC: I think I like percale but I go back and forth. It depends on my mood.

JC: (Laughs) You’re non-committal! Love a girl who reserves the right to change her mind. I’m definitely a percale kind of fella: It reminds me of a man’s Oxford shirt. Percale launders well and has that slightly imperfect look that I am always drawn too. I alwaysbuy mine at Ikea.

PC: Really!?!

JC: I’m serious! Ikea is the only place I can find high thread count duvet cover that feels good against the skin. I think they’re like $49 dollars, so I can buy 3 or 4 of them and stock the linen closet full. When I strip the bed and throw my bedding in the laundry, there are always fresh ones ready to go. At this price, I can buy new ones often to keep them fresh without feeling guilty!

PC: I didn’t realize they had such great options, and you can’t beat the price.

he said beds

{Matteo Linens}

JC: Can’t beat the price, and they are a guilt-free indulgence. I keep trying to find higher-end options but I haven’t found anything yet. One day I dream of a Matteo bed: That would be my luxury indulgence. Their hand-washed linens with beautiful, mineral-like colors-- truly dreamy. But even a Matteo duvet might be a little too rough to use without a top sheet. I may have to reconsider my position on this eventually.

PC: The thing is, a linen is not going to be quite as soft and its very high maintenance because it wrinkles so easily. Not only do you have to be able to make the investment in those linens, you’d need to be able to invest in the daily housekeeper that goes along with it so she can keep it nice and pressed for you! Either that, or your new favorite hobby would have to be ironing!

JC: And, a lot of time they have those tie closures that look so beautiful when you purchase them, but they begin to look dog eared after a few washes. The maintenance question is definitely an issue.

he said beds2

PC: Do you have a philosophy when it comes to pillows? My husband gives me a hard time about keeping so many pillows on the bed. They’re all decorative but we only sleep with two. In the morning, I think I put about 8 pillows on the bed.

jon call bed

{Jon’s Pillow Set-Up}

JC: I have a queen bed, and I’m single, but embarrassingly enough manage to have 7 pillows -- so you’re not alone. I keep four standards with white cases on the bed with three decorative ones stacked in front. For clients, we shake things up a bit with the pillows. There is this diagram that I posted to my Pinterest Board that shows all of the options for arranging pillows on the bed. A company named “Marissa Waddel Interiors” originally posted it, and I thank her daily for doing so. I will have to send it to you so you can check it out.


{Paloma’s Pillow Arrangement}

PC: That’s interesting. I follow a very similar formula to you. The pillows I have in front are more decorative. Everything is white with the exception of two 20x20 decorative pillows that I have in La Fiorentina in the bark colorway.

JC: I went through the Euro Sham phase -- but it always confused me. The Euro’s were meant to be decorative but they were placed behind the white standards. I never liked people having access to my private pillows. White pillows are like underwear: You’ve got to cover that stuff up!

PC: It’s a very personal thing. I thought it was interesting that you compared the bed to underwear, in the sense that it’s something that’s very close to you and personal. It’s interesting that you would think of it that way. Again, I think the way you compose a bed- is so personal. I’ve seen it so many different ways even though there’s a standard way--but while the euro typically goes behind, I have mine in front because they’re monogrammed. I love the way they look. I have two standard pillow cases and then I’ve got two king pillows in front of them. Then I have two decorative La Fiorentina decorative pillows and then the two Euros in front of them.

he said beds3

{Utility Canvas Throw Blanket}

JC: That sounds beautiful. I’m not there yet. I should add one more layer. Maybe a quilted coverlet. There are a couple on the market that are incredibly chic. There is a store in New York called Utility Canvas. They make these coverlets that look almost like moving blankets. They’re totally cool. I could cover my duvet with a quilted cover, dressing the bed up and concealing the layers that I use in the evening. You’ve inspired me!! What about your bedskirt? What do you do?

{Charlotte York’s Bedroom: SATC fans—remember when she and Bunny had the infamous blow out over the need for a dust ruffle?}

PC: I don’t have a bedskirt now. I have a sort of platform bed,I guess it’s raised. I’ve chosen not to put a bedskirt on. We have a king sized bed, so I got an extra king size fitted sheet and I put that over the box spring and you barely see any of it.

JC: I love that.

PC: I like a really clean look and I have a sort of grand, curved, feminine, upholstered headboard with a nailhead detail. It’s very feminine and if I added a bedskirt it might be too much.

box spring cover

{Bedroom via House Beautiful}

JC: For clients, I generally do a tailored skirt with an inverted pleat at the corner so its very clean and architectural. I have been inspired to use solid or patterned fitted sheets to wrap the box spring and it’s really a thoughtful touch -- especially for guys. It’s a fun place to bring design in in a way that people don’t necessarily notice.

PC: You definitely have to pay attention to the details. That’s what separates a beautiful space, or a beautiful bed in this case, from a regular one--paying close attention to every last detail but making it feel easy and effortless.

JC: Both you and I are talking about such simple beds, composed of essential pieces that focus on quality of materials and consider realistic daily use. So, it really does matter about the details--its a very thin line between something looking utilitarian and something looking actually considered and comfortable. I think those are defining choices, elevating it above something run of the mill.

{Do you make your bed everyday?}

PC: I couldn’t agree more. Do you make your bed everyday?

JC: Well, I guess I do. I just slap that comforter back on and fluff my pillows. In the evening, I have a tendency to place my decorative pillows on a chair adjacent to the bed. That’s what forces me to make the bed -- when I get up and see those pillows lying around, it drives me crazy and I have to tidy up. It’s a neuroses I think !

PC: I put mine on the chair too, stacked, in the corner of the room every evening. I try to make the bed every day, unless I’m running late, or it’s a weekend and I’m feeling super relaxed--I won’t say lazy--just relaxed. But making it every day sets a tone for the day, having the bed look crisp. I feel more prepared and ready to take on the world.

JC: I agree. It’s always so nice at the end of the day and fall into a freshly made bed. Like a cherry on top of a sundae, it’s just the perfect finish. How often do you change your sheets? I’m a once a week guy.

PC: Agreed. Once a week.

{Bedroom Designed by Barbara Barry}

JC: I always feel guilty. I remember one day I was reading about Barbara Barry and she said that she changed hers daily.

PC: How lucky! She must have a full time housekeeper. Who has the time? What a lovely luxury, though. Right?

JC: It made me feel so amateur. At least now we have goals. One day I will change my sheets every day! (Laughing) Just joking. I am going to stick with once a week. Do you ever iron your sheets?

PC: I hate doing it, but I do. I’ll iron the sheets for the guest bedroom if I have guests coming--I always press those. I’ll press my duvet after I wash it, and the shams because they always get wrinkled. I don’t always iron my pillowcases or the fitted sheet, you know—the stuff that people don’t see. It takes a lot of time and I hate ironing, but I really do try.

JC: I heard a great tip from somebody once. They take the sheets out when they’re damp to the hand--approximately 3/4 dry. Then they hang it and let them dry. Then you can just iron the border of the duvet and the shams so they don’t curl.

PC: That’s a great tip, I’ll have to remember that for next time


We’d love to hear your thoughts on what it takes to create the ideal bed! What philosophies do you subscribe to when it comes to bedding? What is your idea of the perfect bed? Which of these beds is most in line with your own design style?


CK said...

Fabulous tips! I also tend to keep my bedding simple, and all white. Thank you for the duvet tips as well!


Staci (LeatherandLeops) said...

I love the crisp all white bedding look.


Our Beach House said...

You said: "your thoughts on what it takes to create the ideal bed..."

My answer: The ideal partner.

Great post. Do more like this.

xo xo

Karena said...

Excellent! I have a Pottery Barn bedding pattern;with a lot of pillows; however I do want a new set of crisp white sheets!


Unknown said...

I love love love your new linens, and the look of your bed. I don't make mine everyday but I pull up the duvet at least and it looks decent, but the pillow thing, on and off, on and off, gets tiresome.
Happy Holidays Paloma!
xo Nancy

Grant K. Gibson said...

Love that Jon also has Ikea bedding.
I couldn't agree more. I have duvets and all kinds of things from them. Great price and shockingly soft and long lasting.


arrielle_p said...

Looks so charming and beautiful. Thank you for this tips! Hope I can put that view on the last photo on my Makati condominiums. :)

Lori said...

I love this column you guys! On linen bedding- it actually gets extremely soft with use, never scratchy and while it's wrinkly, if you dry it thoroughly and take them out right away the wrinkles are fine and allover so you can just embrace the look and not iron. I used to be a high thread count sateen girl but not anymore.

Robert said...

Hi Just comment on the no iron sheet thing, my cleaning ladies put the sheets on my bed damp, a little more than ¾ dry, early in the day, and early that evening, voila … no wrinkles .. it works like a charm

Robert Gauthier

Tera said...

Love "He Said, She Said!" Daily please (too much?!). Such great tips, and it's refreshing to hear designers talk about how their own home designs really live and are used. (Glad to know I'm not the only one who seems incapable of keeping white bed linens bright white!)

Laurel said...

I love all of these bedrooms!