The Inside Man: James' Treehouse Bedroom

The Inside Man: James' Treehouse Bedroom

Maxwell Ryan
Jul 22, 2010
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Name: James Omedo
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Style: Cool, calm bedroom

With the help of Valspar Paint, I'm helping five guys across the country re-do a room. James recently moved into this home with his wife and newborn son, and they've been buried under all the new demands on their life.

While James' wife has taken care of the downstairs living areas, he's been left with their bedroom and things have stood still. A small, cozy room with lovely windows, I loved the space, and during my visit we spent over four hours together starting the cure.

I thought that it would be difficult to find a color that would both work well for James' bedroom and that he would also love. In fact it was easier than I expected. I always push people to consider cool colors for their bedrooms, and often get a lot of push back as it's a natural desire to have your room be bright and cozy with warm colors (for my theory on warm and cool colors, please click here). In addition, I sometimes find men a little hesitant to choose colors that are too "colorful," and which might be considered too "feminine." James, a designer who was born and raised in Uganda, had none of these preconceived notions. Instead, as I went looking for color inspiration and began pulling shirts out of his closet, we quickly both centered on a beautiful lavender shirt that was getting too old to wear, but which has been a favorite.

Holding chips up to the shirt, we came up with a few possibilities which made sense to try. Even if you think you've hit the nail on the head with color chips, it's essential that you try at least one other color that's close to it. Why? When you move to real paint and it's dry on the wall, it's often very different than the paper sample, and your second choice may become your first choice. This has saved me many trips back to the store.

1st Choice
Cooler: Early Lilac 1002-6A
Cooler: Classic Lilac 1002-5C
Cooler: Evening Lilac 1002-5B

2nd Choice
Warmer: Pleasant Violet - 1004-6A
Warmer: Amethyst Purple - 1004-5C

After a very quick decision on color (which I was really excited about, as I thought it would envelop the room in a very sexy and calming glow), we faced what turned out to be the biggest challenge: reorganizing the room. Unlike the other mens' rooms in this tour, James' had the unique distinction of being really full of stuff that we needed to figure out what to do with if we were going to really transform the room. With not much storage space in the whole house, his bedroom was packed with every door and drawer concealing more than it could comfortably hold.

So, while the big move in this room was to switch the bed to the opposite wall (which would provide a much nicer view upon entering, but also allow them to face the doorway and get out of bed and to the nursery next door more easily), we had to bust out the vacuum and paper towels and clean everything as we went.

Building a temporary Outbox in the downstairs hallway, we began editing as well as cleaning. We moved the bed and dressers with an eye to "lightening" the room by the end. Everything was considered, and by the time everything was in its new place, the room was dust free, the doors on the closet had been fixed, the dressers were looking spiffy again, and there was a large pile in the Outbox.


Deep Cleaning: The cure for this room more than any other is going to be deep cleaning. While adding a beautiful color and rearranging are crucial and can make the room "look" a lot better, the feeling of the room will depend on James really utilizing the Outbox and letting go of a lot of unnecessary things so that his room is truly a calm, cozy retreat. It is very typical for a new family to get snowballed in the first year and fall behind in the domestic sphere, but the end of year one (their son recently turned one), is a perfect time to reclaim your space.

Add Bedding and Headboard: In addition to the editing, we're going to do a bunch of simple things to really jazz the bedroom up. First we're going to go shopping for some really nice bedding that will go with the new wall color and add some life to the room. Then we're going to install a headboard, which will anchor the bed (and keep it from moving around), and add another opportunity for a visual "moment" as you enter, not to mention it will make the bed much more comfortable.

Add Good Light: The room has two bedside tables, which is good, but only one lamp. We're going to make sure that the room has its recommended three points of light by adding one more beside the bed, AND probably upgrading both at the same time so they match. We may even look into skipping the table lamps and going with sconces to open up more room.

Add Curtains: Finally, we're going to add some beautiful, gauzy white curtains to these unique windows which will not only soften the room, but also emphasize their lovely height and make them seem taller than they are.

This small room is not going to call for any significant new furniture, and the small touches we're going to add will make all the impact. Most importantly, however, I'll be aiming to make the room feel BIGGER with all of this, which means that everything we add will be carefully chosen to increase your sense of space as you enter.

• Headboard for queen sized bed
• Full set of bedding
• 4 curtain panels (windows are 100" tall) & one rod to cover all windows (11'4")
• 2 easy rugs for either side of the bed
• 2 new table lamps or sconces
• New flat television (the existing one is very, very bulky)
• White cotton curtain panels to replace doors of closet (optional)

As we wrapped up our meeting, I left James with some things to consider over the next couple weeks:

Edit, edit, edit! While the paint samples to test on the walls are on their way, his big job is to go through all his closets on the upstairs floor and take the month to do a deep cleaning. I'm sending a copy of my first book, The Eight Step Home Cure, to aid in this effort as well as lot of support. I know that this is the toughest thing to do!

Now the clock is ticking! Time to get to work. See you next month when we reveal the final room.

We've teamed up with Valspar Paint to create The Inside Man, a special feature dedicated to daily (Monday – Friday) posts from Apartment Therapy and GQ about men’s color conundrums and style questions. From sofas with cup holders to brilliant bachelor pads, we’re focusing on the décor dilemmas men often bring to us.

• See my introduction to James here.
• Read more about guy style at
• Check out GQ's guide to guy style at

Photos: Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan
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