On the Porch: All Want for Christmas Is…a Canopy Bed?

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I knew what I wanted for Christmas—a white canopy Princess-style bed with the purple ruffled bedspread and matching canopy cover from the Sears catalog. It had been my dream bed for my entire life (15 years and counting). I had never dared hope it would ever be mine, but my parents finally agreed that they would buy it as a Christmas gift.

I had to pinch myself to ensure I was really awake, and it was really going to happen. I knew my dad was a man of his word. A promise is a promise.

We had just moved back to Texas, and I didn’t have many friends. After living on the East Coast, life in Texas still felt foreign to me. I remember mostly the smell of the pines, the Tex-Mex restaurants and the funny green stuff they called “guacamole.” It took me a year to build up enough courage to try the gooey substance, which, despite its resemblance to a squished frog, turned out to be delicious.

I felt like a foreigner in a strange land. Kids dipped snuff during class and wore cowboy boots to school. Everything was “Texan this” and “Texan that.”

Most of the kids at school drove Camaros and Z-28s. Some of them even had Corvettes. I, on the other hand, had no car.

My dad, who was always ready with a solution, decided he could fix my transportation problem. Did he offer me a new, cherry-red Z-28? No. He gave me his motorcycle. This “generous offer” didn’t exactly help me fit in. In case you’re wondering, high heels and motorcycles don’t mix. Don’t ask me how I know.

Still my bed was ordered and would arrive just in time for Christmas. It was the thing that kept me going. I checked the phone every day to see if there was a message about my bed delivery, but the call never came. There was delay after delay. My dad called and sent letter after letter.

Then one day he gave me the bad news. The bed wasn’t coming. It had been discontinued. There would be no bed, no canopy and no purple ruffled bedspread. I sensed that the move stretched my parents financially, so I never suggested that they buy a different bed. The dream was over. It was dead.

I wasn’t exactly sleeping on the floor. I had a mattress on a Hollywood frame, but there was no headboard, no footboard, no canopy and no purple ruffled bedspread. I conceded defeat and selected another bedspread, but it wasn’t the same. It was just a boring blue quilted bedspread like anyone could have.

Life went on.

I started working after school and focused on getting into the college of my choice. Soon I moved into the college dorm, and my fantasy bed was all but forgotten. I graduated and married. We moved into our first home then seven years later moved into our second home.

By now I was getting close to the big 3-0, but I still didn’t have a headboard for my bed. I remembered the canopy bed that was never mine. By then I no longer wanted a canopy, but I realized my bed didn’t have a permanent feel to it. It felt like I was just crashing in someone else’s house on the spare bed.

I was an adult by all measures, yet I didn’t have what I considered an “adult” bed. I decided it was time. I no longer wanted a canopied, purple-frilly bed, but I did want something nice. I found a brass and iron bed that was perfect. It was a serious splurge. Finally, though, I felt I had closed the chapter on a weird part of my life.

Mastering the Master Bedroom
I feel strongly about creating a bedroom that’s a haven. A well-designed bedroom is more

than just a place to sleep. It’s a place to feel safe. It’s a place of calm and peace. It’s a place where you can feel pampered and special.

I like to use a neutral palette for a calming effect. Then add a few pieces that have special meaning. One of my favorite accents in my bedroom is an authentic Louis Philippe mirror from France. The mirror has a fabulous patina.

I also added a comfy and very French settee to my bedroom. My 15-year-old self would be proud. It’s a comfy place to sit and read, but also it gives the room an elegant feel.

I also like adding things that are personal and beautiful to my bedroom. I never could find the exact bedspread I wanted, so I made it myself using oatmeal-colored Italian linen. It’s a one of a kind “Anita original.” I also added some vintage monogrammed pillowcases and antique French bedding.

An antique pine armoire works beautifully to store our bed linens and quilts. I found a large portrait a few years ago and knew I had to have it. It reminds me of my two daughters. When I brought it home, my daughter had a different take on it. She said, “Mommy, that looks like me and you.” It’s perfect.

Life is full of second chances. I didn’t get the bedroom of my dreams when I was a teenager, but I did get it eventually, even though my tastes are slightly different now. (Well okay, very different.) It all came out in the wash as they say, and maybe having to wait made me appreciate it even more.

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article and photos by Anita Joyce, Cedar Hill Farmhouse