Brentwood Mattress

In January we bought a new mattress from Brentwood Home for our master bedroom and, now that I’ve had some time to sleep on it, I’m sharing a few thoughts! Excuse our in-progress homemade bedframe. We haven’t framed out the platform in walnut yet so it’s looking a little stark and unfinished at the moment…

I had zero previous experience with foam mattresses before this bed arrived at our back door. Our old spring mattress had crapped out, sagging badly in the middle, and I was waking up with major back pain. Mattress shopping sucks so I was attracted to the online shopping aspect of foam mattresses, including the amazing return/exchange policies of most companies. But reading comments about foam mattresses when you have never touched one in real life is confusing. You hear things like, you’ll fall off the bed when you sit down to put your shoes on. The most confusing of all comments was the person who claimed their mattress (I forget where I read this nuttiness) was so soft and squishy that they couldn’t sit up in bed and watch TV in it so they “only use it for sleeping”. SO MANY QUESTIONS. When you read stuff like this without a frame of reference, you really don’t know what kind of outer space bed adventure you may be embarking on. I’m happy to report that the differences between spring and foam were far less dramatic than my imagination and no one has taken a spill off the edge!I went back and forth between the Bamboo Gel 11″ (medium-firm) and the Bamboo Gel 13″ (medium, and widely popular). I ended up purchasing the Bamboo 11″ on Amazon. I’m a firm mattress kind of girl and traditional spring mattresses labeled “firm” never seem to live up to the name so I erred on the side of caution, against side sleeper recommendations, figuring you can always make a firm mattress softer with a topper, but its impossible to make a soft one firmer. Brentwood isn’t messing around in the firmness department! I’m actually surprised this isn’t the firmest mattress they sell. While I love this mattress as is, my husband mostly jokingly refers to it as sleeping “on a stack of magazines.” He would prefer a slightly softer sleeping surface, so we’ll probably get a topper. I crowd sourced my mattress questions (thank you so much IG friends who weighed in!) and got a quite a few friends who mentioned that the secret to mattress happiness was getting a value-priced firm mattress and then topping it with a mattress topper, so everything is A-OK. (I have to say that I love how this mattress is only 11″ thick. The ridiculously thick 20 inchers these days can’t pull off long and low modern at all so thanks for the normal thickness, Brentwood!)First things first: my back doesn’t hurt anymore! At all! I’m seriously amazed. Initially, I woke up after the first two nights with back pain, and so did my husband. We were so bummed and thought we had made a big mistake. But the pain was different from my normal and quickly subsided a few nights in…an adjustment period? Since week 1 or 2 I’ve had absolutely no back pain, which was really my most important must-have in a new mattress.I have one complaint, though. Kind of a biggie. One of Brentwood’s biggest selling points is that they don’t use chemical fire retardants and, while they use foam, it is “certified non-toxic“. I’m a hippie with stuff like this and hate bringing toxic chemicals into our home so I was all over this. I know all foam is chemically and will off-gas, but I had hoped it would be minimized with the natural claims, which factored heavily in my decision to buy from Brentwood. BUT. But but but. There was insane amount of off-gassing. I’m probably more sensitive to smells than average, but even my husband agreed that this mattress reeked. For close to 4 weeks, making it miserable to sleep on initially. Mattresses are made to order, vacuum sealed, and shipped to you days later. You have to take the giant thing out of the box and packaging in order to off-gas. Ideally this would happen outside. Outside was off-limits because it rained for like a year straight in California. Our garage was off-limits because we were in the middle of gross sawdusty projects. So we had to do the dirty work in our room, windows open, in the dead of winter. While I appreciate the use of natural fire retardant, major off-gassing is probably unavoidable for all foam mattress (and remember, too, spring mattresses have long been called out as one of the most toxic things in households) and I’m feeling like the non-toxic certification business is a marketing ploy that took me for a ride. This wouldn’t stop me from buying again because I’m very happy otherwise, but I was annoyed and wished I had been better prepared for the long off-gassing period.Nevertheless, I’m an incredibly satisfied Brentwood customer, especially considering the value. There are many reputable and popular foam mattress companies out there which, I’m guessing, all sell comparable products. We were looking to spend around $1000, which for a king is in the low-mid range, but happily we spent even less with Brentwood! It looks like the Bamboo line is now exclusively sold on Amazon, but I recommend viewing the mattress stats on Brentwood where it’s much easier to compare firmnesses. I think my mattress radar is probably way skewed because I’ve been sleeping on crap mattresses for so long, and I can’t compare to other foam mattresses (I’m so curious what a top of the line foam mattress is like?!), but I know what a really nice spring hotel mattress feels like. And this is only a step down from that, in my opinion. Vacations these days (NOT spent at fancy hotels, FYI) leave me excited to return home to our incredibly comfy bed. I can’t believe how cheap it was. Or how easy it was to shop for. Or how fast it showed up in a box on my doorstep 3 days later. Or how I carried a king sized bed into my house by myself. I love this thing so much.

On the subject of beds…king beds, where have you been all my life???!!! I always thought kings were an over the top luxury that was unnecessary for simple us. Looking back, insanity! The weirdly large size of our house’s master bedroom was the catalyst for popping for the monster bed. Design wise, it was a good move. But I didn’t anticipate just how much it would improve my sleeping. Having space to sprawl is amazing! My only regret is not getting one sooner.With this memory foam mattress success, we’ve also had a failure too. Soon after getting our mattress I started to feel guilty that our aging dog was still sleeping on the smelly, lumpy dog bed he’s had for years. Forty bucks later, a new memory foam dog bed appeared in it’s place. But he won’t touch it. It’s as if the dog who has never met a mat/rug/blanket/cushion he didn’t love is suddenly afraid that he may fall to the depths of the earth if all of his body weight shifts onto this scary space mattress. We prematurely threw out his old bed, which he slept on every night and for much of the day, so now old man Jackson spends much of his life on the cold hard floor. Isn’t that a strange and sad story?

Thanks for stopping in friends!!!

(P.S. What do you think of those new copper nightstands I’m contemplating as stand-ins while I wait out my dream ones? They were only $20 at target, so that’s an obvious yes, ya?)

Easter Weirdness

I don’t always decorate for Easter, but when I do, I keep it weird and simple. This is as far as it went this year. Less strange than last year’s web, but same eggs holding tight! Lucky us, we have a glass hoarder AND a stick hoarder living in this household, so this modern take on an egg tree was way easy to throw together on our dining room table.
Happy Easter everybody!!! xoxo

Dining Room Too

Hey everybody! We spent some time in lovely San Diego last week, where I said 1000 times “Ya, I could live here.” It’s going on my Ya I Could Live There List, joining San Luis Obispo (the place where I actually live and fully endorse) and Palm Springs (a questionable addition where 50% of me is positive I could live there and the other 50% is willing to roll the dice). I was born and raised in OC, not far from San Diego, so an exciting part was hitting up old shopping haunts. My lucky shop in Oceanside, where many a treasure have been scored, was not only still in business, but had just what I didn’t know I needed: a 100 pot stash of not perfect but decent white Gainey planters for very cheap. Though tempted, I didn’t come home with 100. Just a very restrained four. We somehow managed to tetris them into our already packed car without breaking them and now all I need is more plants. (This is the process of becoming a crazy plant lady when you don’t even really like plants but pottery is your favorite.) This week, in contrast, has been rough. Rough at home and so rough in the world. More on that at the end because I hear post intros aren’t supposed to be horribly depressing…

So, fluffy dumb stuff first: my dining room! Since sharing my family room last time, I figured I should give a look at the other side of the coin, the dining room. They occupy the same space, separated by only a step and a railing. Only a few changes since the last time I shared: the pass-through has been framed, new artwork hung, and the buffet was swapped out for the bookshelf in the last great rearrange.

I’m gonna be honest, this room is a waste of space. We rarely, if ever, eat in here. I really want to change that because my kids are probably old enough to not cover every surface in food mess. And nothing irks me more than keeping things around (especially room sized things!) that you don’t use. But this room isn’t super functional for us. The furniture is tight and heavy, doing the opposite of making you want to linger around the table. While the large rectangular Heywood Wakefield table is one of my favorite pieces that I don’t want to ditch, I’m accepting the fact that it may not be a match for this particular dining room. A round table would work so much better. And while I’m heading down that road, I may as well request a more durable surface, possibly one that is white to lift the blandness currently going on. You see where this is going? A large tulip table. But how many tulips are too many? Do I then need to find a new coffee table? Because I don’t want to. And another concern: generic is never the right choice and I’m seeing tulip tables everywhere lately (or is it only on my dining room pin board, a sign that I love them enough to get one?).

And then there’s the walls themselves stumping me. That odd pass-through wall, which by the way goes to the desk in our kitchen – a very inconvenient point for food passing. Previous owners had a massive china cabinet covering the hole, definitely grounding the space more successfully than I have. But I refuse to lose the light it provides. The bookshelf, though an odd choice for a dining room, offers some welcome lightness and color. That wall is just hard. I still love the grasscloth wallpaper I hung after opting out of the 70’s green floral wallpaper that once graced the walls, but the whole room is suffering from monochromaticity.

In all of these complaints it’s unclear whether contentment or functionality is the right path to choose. Unless a tulip table knocks on my door, which I hope it does, I’m not planning any major changes in here for at least a while. The front yard is calling, and then a string of more pressing projects.

Dining Room To do:

  • Remove carpet
  • Swap out old light for Nelson saucer
  • Paint trim
  • Remove wallpaper
  • Paint ceilings and walls
  • Hang grasscloth wallpaper
  • Frame out pass through
  • Put some weird woodwork in the pass-through
  • Build room divider
  • Walnut curtain cornice boxes?
  • Finish wood floors
  • Baseboards!
  • Paint the pocket doors

But wait there’s more…

Now, this has absolutely nothing to do with a house blog and is in stark contrast to all that superficial complaining above. I know I’ve said it before, but I can’t do dumb posts about dumb rooms without saying this. If you are sick of watching in helpless HORROR at the atrocities going on in the world, I encourage you to do something! I’m guessing if you read my blog you have necessities like a roof over your head and also have luxuries like some extra time and money to even think about improving your spaces. I for one, have a relative abundance of these things compared to many in the world. Don’t underestimate the power of throwing some cash, even what may seem like a small amount to you, at the good people doing good work during bad, bad times. I’m loving the hard work that Preemptive Love is doing in Syria and Iraq, and that they offer the opportunity to people like me sitting in my dumb dining room across the world to help in some small but actually practical way. And there are so many other worthy and effective charities that are meeting needs in all regions of the world where people are suffering. Sorry for the rant, but it feels very dirty to complain about my dining room table considering world events. I believe in the power of good design or else I wouldn’t be blogging about it. And I know “the world still turns” and all those lame sayings. But good design and cheesy rhetoric amount to nothing for those who don’t have homes or health or safety or loved ones or life. I know death happens. But it shouldn’t be from chemical weapons. Or famine. Or whatever other atrocities corrupt governments and leaders are handing down. Geez world, let’s get it together already.

On a happier note that also has nothing to do with my dining room, my best friend since like forever (we made some pretty artistic hamster music videos in our day, featuring our real live hamsters) is adopting a daughter from China and is raising money to bring her home. Her family’s story is a beautiful one. There is so much good in this world too.

Join in something good somewhere, okay? Okay.