Projects > 17 Bedrooms

From 2011:

My family made major out of state or geographically significant moves when I was 4, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, 24, and 26 years old, mostly due to my father’s career. Minor home relocations occurred at ages 3 and 9—moves to new houses within the same community or town. Transitional moves to different college dormitory rooms or off-campus living spaces occurred when I was 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22 years old.

To ease my nervousness and fear of moving to a new place, my mother always made the promise that my new bedroom would be customized and decorated however I wished, resulting in a series of “themed” bedrooms including and not limited to farmyard pigs, vintage hot air balloons, and palm trees/Hawaiian luau décor. In this way, especially with the moves that occurred in my mid-teens, my bedroom became my individual sanctuary and safe-zone, providing the privacy and isolation that I desired during adolescence while simultaneously expressing my interests. My bedroom remains the sole place where I can peacefully and temporarily retreat from demands at work, bills and deadlines, and everyday stress and anxieties that negatively affect my life.

This catalog of spaces includes 10 relatively-simply designed bedrooms in suburban, single-family homes; four college dorm rooms—two overly crowded with roommates and furniture, and two small yet cozy single rooms; one unique studio apartment; and two bedrooms shared with my future husband.

The project is based on my memories of these 17 bedrooms and a perceived accuracy of their scale. I began by measuring all dimensions of my current bedroom, Roland, as well as the furniture included in the space. Roland’s measurements determined the relative scale of the sixteen other rooms. While the illustrations are to scale (1 inch=4 feet), the rooms’ actual dimensions, Roland being the exception, are subject to inaccuracies. Without the availability of the actual rooms, the depicted spaces are approximations based on my recollections of the spaces.

In addition to memory, I used several concrete strategies in determining the rooms’ dimensions:
-Researching the standard dimensions of interior architectural elements (windows, hallways, doors, etc), kitchen appliances, and bathroom fixtures.
-Locating the dimensions of specific pieces of furniture from the manufacturer’s website/catalog, e.g. Ikea.
-Photographic evidence provided by my mother.

Many hours were spent constructing and examining each floor plan, especially making sure that furniture arrangements are true to memory. Furniture is only included in the diagram if it has been remembered in that particular space. It is my assumption that the earlier bedrooms included more than two pieces of furniture but since my memory has failed to recall any additional examples, those pieces are withheld from the illustrations.

Brief biographical information as well as any remarks regarding perceptibly significant events having occurred in a particular room will be provided if memory of such an event exists.

Color is perceived and representative of furniture and textiles. Certain shapes of color may reoccur in different illustrations, representing the same piece of furniture or bedspread being employed in a different space. Due to its foundation in memory, color may also prove to be inaccurate.

Despite the anxiety and inconvenience of frequently moving, I’m thankful for the sense of adventure and curiosity those experiences instilled in me. Enrolling in new schools forced me to come out of my shell as an adolescent and shaped my independence and self-awareness as an adult. I’ll never understand what it’s like to grow up in the same house in the same town, but I’m okay with that. While I look forward to the day that my husband and I buy a home and settle down, moving frequently doesn’t frighten me largely because I know wherever we end up, there will be the refuge of a bedroom.

About 17 Bedrooms