One of the questions we are frequently asked here at RHW is where the curtain in Opal’s room came from. Today we thought we would share what the textile is, and also give the inside scoop on where to look for one of your own!
The textile is called a toran. The word is from Sanskrit, and means a sacred gateway. Decorative torans range in size from quite large – ones made to span wide entryways – to smaller torans designed to adorn a narrow door or window.
At over 70 inches, Opal’s toran is on the larger side.
Torans are versatile pieces – they work well as a way to add color to achromatic rooms, but are also at home in bright, eclectic spaces. This room is restrained and antique-y, and the toran adds just a hint of playfulness.
As I mentioned in my post on Wednesday, our very own Katie Bennett is a finalist in the Design*Sponge essay contest! All of the finalists’ essays have now been posted, and it’s time to vote for the winner. I’ve loved reading the essays all week and seeing the differences and similarities in the ways that people define home (as it turns out moms are really important). These are talented writers sharing intimate portraits of their homes and families, and I’ve enjoyed them all. That said, Katie’s essay gets my vote, and not just because she’s my best bud.
What I love about Katie’s essay is that it is both tightly drawn and expansive. Her submission spans her entire childhood and adult years, and encompasses no fewer than eight homes, all in the space of six paragraphs. The essay is intensely personal and revealing, but also completely relatable. As it is here on RHW, her writing is funny, poignant, and even poetic, but also refreshingly straightforward.
In case you are wondering, Katie did not ask me to write this, and I’m sure she’s red in the face and cringing as she reads it. But just this once I’m adopting the mantra of the patriarch of Halibut Cove: Act First, Apologize Later.
To read all of the essays and vote, click here. Voting continues through Tuesday morning at 10:00 a.m. EST.
IMPORTANT NOTE: In case you missed it, my beloved, esteemed, dazzling, exceptional co-blogger Katie B. is a finalist in the Design*Sponge essay contest! The winner will be chosen by popular vote, set to begin on Friday. All of the essays posted so far have been great reads, but if you ask me Katie’s is head and shoulders above the rest. THAT’S MY FRIEND!
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Neither Chester nor I speak a second language or play an instrument, and we’re not particularly artistic, either. Basically we are boring parents whose idea of a good time involves eating oatmeal every morning and every evening watching 45 minutes of PBS programming while wearing non-constricting clothing (if you haven’t seen Poldark you haven’t lived!). Luckily for Opal our extended family more than fills in the dull and uncultured spaces (chasms?) left by us. We’re hoping that she will pick up some musicality from her trumpet-playing grandpa, a love of languages from her aunt from Thailand or her uncle from Serbia, and a creative inclination from her two artist grandmas. Cuz lawd knows she ain’t gettin’ it from us.
Chester’s mom Katy is a painter (who has her own blog which you should definitely be reading). She sends Opal the sweetest watercolor postcards, and we’ve amassed quite a collection. I have been trying to figure out how to display them for a long time, with an eye toward this blank wall in Opal’s room:
I thought about framing the postcards and hanging them here, but I was reluctant because framing would conceal the little notes on the back. The notes are so loving and totally magical to Opal — one of them has a small envelope taped to it that contains a little tuft of bunny fur that Granny Katy found in her garden. So I really wanted Opal to be able to look at both sides of the cards and interact with them and, eventually, read them.
The solution I came up with is inelegant, but it achieves the objectives of displaying the original artwork while not hiding the messages on the back: I velcroed them to the wall.
Because they are not framed, and because they are meant to be moved around and enjoyed by a three year old, I wanted to make sure the velcro pieces were evenly placed so that the arrangement would be as tidy as possible. I arranged the postcards on the floor and figured out the outer dimensions, and then drew a grid on the wall in pencil. I found the center of each box in the grid and put a half inch square of velcro there, and on the center of each postcard.
You can just barely see the grid lines in the photo on the right. Erasing them took longer than all the other steps in this project combined.
I really like the way it turned out; it makes the room feel more complete and, best of all, very personal.
Opal and Chester went for a hike while I was putting this together. She came home exhausted, with her pants on sideways and covered in chocolate milk and dirt, but here is a video of the first time she saw the postcards on the wall:
I’m with Opal, I like all of them, but here are a few of my favorites close up:
And here is Cromwell, happily bathing in the sunshine and demonstrating that the artist’s rendition is kind.
We also recently converted Opal’s crib to a toddler bed. I never thought she’d sleep for so long in her crib, but she did, happily and without incident. Then on a recent day she declared that she was going to sleep on the floor because her baby brother (who is imaginary) was asleep in the crib. We pulled the mattress out and put it on the floor, and there she slept for the next few nights until we finally took the hint and got the toddler bed conversion kit out of the basement.
So that’s the latest in Opal’s room. Thanks to you for reading along, and a huge thanks and much love to Granny Katy for sending Opal such beautiful original art in postcard form, and for letting me share it here.
Oh, and if you’re a RHW subscriber don’t be alarmed if you receive an extra email from us this week. It’s just me, reminding you to VOTE 4 K80 in the Design*Sponge essay contest!