Bobo Bedroom Revisited

This is an updated version of a blog post I wrote about my house as a sample for a job application. It’s a bit more descriptive and includes more photos than the original. I didn’t want to go the whole bohemian route as in an Anthropologie Catalog, and I couldn’t do the the sleekness of a full-fledged mid-century look, so I call it a “bobo” room, using New York Times columnist David Brooks’s term for the “bourgeois bohemian.” It’s in an apartment in a 1920s Victorian-style house, and there are some pieces from that era complemented by contemporary items and repurposed finds of unknown origin.

I think the best thing about modernism and even minimalism is a sense of space and breathing room, but I’d get bored with that if that was all it looked like. I also like the thrift store hunt and repurposing the occasional curbside find, such as the vintage typing table used as a nightstand. But then again, I do like some new, clean designs influenced by mid-century classics, such as the MUJI ash and metal desk found at the MOMA design store. There’s both a sense of design intent and an allowance for chance and evolution.

A mid-1950s Telefunken Opus AM/FM/Shortwave radio provides a nice full sound for listening to music or talk, as even NPR sounds better through vacuum tubes. It’s placed on a simple wooden bookshelf painted in gloss black for a contrast between vintage and sleek.  I used a base of black and white for the entire room but it doesn’t limit me. The room is also a mini-gallery for my own abstract landscape paintings and those of friends.

Atop the Muji desk I juxtaposed a 1920s lamp with a new Mac.The warm incandescent light of the older lamp serves to counterbalance the more efficient but cooler compact fluorescent light of a frosted glass IKEA table lamp, keeping the work area from seeming either too cold or too old. The poster above the desk is from a 1999 experimental music festival in Chicago and is signed by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth.

Just outside the bedroom door is Trashy, the paper recycling bin that’s an oversized copy of a Chinese takeout container made by an artist friend.

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