An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Welcome to Armstrong Inn, part three

Last week my friend Anna Beth flew in from Louisiana to help me put the finishing touches on the guest room. We spent a couple of days driving around like crazy looking for some final pieces, and she may or may not have referred to it out loud as a “wild dooce chase” and I may or may not have spit into her breakfast cereal. She’s laughing because she doesn’t eat breakfast cereal, and I’m laughing because breakfast cereal is a code word for something else.


I always feel sorry for anyone who is around when Anna Beth and I are hanging out because the cacophony of Southern quacking that comes out of our faces could melt the paint off of a car parked a hundred yards away. I can’t help it, her accent brings out every molecule of Southern in me and next thing you know IRON has one syllable and TOUR has four.

Like I said before, I asked Anna Beth for her help with this project because everything she touches turns into fun. I told her I wanted a room that both women and men would feel comfortable in, but that above all else it had to have a tiny bit of whimsy. Is that term overused in interior design? Probably. Is this look on my face indicative that I don’t give a shit? Definitely.

So. Here is a mood board of the ideas we both agreed on:

Basically, we (meaning she) wanted to go for a balanced mixture of textures: wood, cotton, leather, and cowhide. There are two tones of wood in the room, both light and dark, and the contrast represents the masculine and feminine mood we were going for. That mood is also represented in the color scheme, one that is mostly neutral with a few dashes of bright color thrown in. What you don’t see are the touches of convenience that you guys suggested (mirror, towels, subscription to Playboy, lube, etc.). Those come in the final reveal.

One tricky part of the room that Anna Beth had a brilliant idea to overcome is the wall of windows. They aren’t centered. Wah, wahhhhh. Ah know. Could it be any worse than off-centered windows? You’ll show up to sleep at my house and be all, THAT’S IT, ARMSTRONG. Not only did I stick you in a room where the windows are all wonky, but I didn’t even put a lemon in your sweet tea. UNFOLLOW.

Solution: we ordered a whole bunch of really affordable fabric and had drapes made that line the whole wall, from ceiling to floor. It not only disguises that problem, it adds a depth and warmth that I don’t think we could have achieved any other way. And you guys, IT IS INCREDIBLE. When Leta saw the room after the drapes were installed she declared, “I don’t care what you say, Mom, I’m moving in here.”


This post is brought to you by IKEA and THIS IS THE OFFICIAL DISCLOSURE, WHAT UP, FTC!

  • kristanhoffman

    Well if it’s Leta-approved, then I’m definitely looking forward to the final reveal. 🙂

  • kristanhoffman

    WHOA was I really first?! Been reading for 5 years now and that’s never happened! WAHOO! It’s a LEAP DAY MIRACLE!

  • katrins

    I can’t believe you’ve tantalized us in this manner and then NOT GIVEN US A PHOTO OF WORK IN PROGRESS. I mean really, Heather.

    I’m a mother and a full time writer, and I read only two blogs religiously (busy, busy, you know the deal!) and Dooce is one of them. Your willingness to share your opinions is admirable, courageous, instructive and inspiring. Thank you for all your incredibly hard work. I’m also wishing you only the very best in your family life. XO

  • dooce

    @katrins thank you. That means a lot, and I really needed that this morning.

  • exante

    So. I’m not saying I get down in every guest room me+bf sleep in, but it happens. And when that happens, I always like it when the guest room trash can has a lid on it, so you can’t see what sort of tawdry things I’ve discarded. I am just saying.

  • katalia

    I can’t wait to see the full reveal! So exciting.

    I also wanted to let you know that you were featured in one of my dreams last night … I ran into you at a party someone was having, and we had a raucous time, and a good chat. I have no idea where the dream came from except for the fact that I am a dedicated reader.

    Happy Hump/Leap Day!

  • Janie T

    Yay! Can’t wait to see it. Loved the video. Oh, and the part about the lidded trashcan (this means you, exante) ewwwwww!

  • hala

    Love this project! Can’t wait for the end-result.

    Adding my voice to katrins – have been reading you for many years now and you have inspired me to be more honest/genuine/authentic in my own voice and life. Wishing you and your family the very best, always.
    Thank you for showing us a little more of our own selves every time you open up and share more of yours.

  • Kpengell

    Please tell me more about the wall art! I have been searching searching searching for a piece to go above my couch and want to see where this came from!

    I want to hang out with you and Anna Beth, as whenever I’m around southern women I tend to absorb their accents. Much more melodious than my Michigan accent!

    Looking forward to the full reveal. Always LOVE your rooms.

  • Caren Lynn Cross

    All I can say is the final reveal better involve video. And it better have Tyrant in it. Can’t get enough of your Southern accent. Thanks for sharing!

  • kaethend

    We have a house on the central CA coast that needs decoratin’. I’d like to hire AB, but only if she comes with you.

  • Sabine

    Yay! I can’t wait for the big reveal of the Leta-approved room!

  • momof8

    Ah wanna seeeee!

  • kraftykaela

    I LOVE this whole series on decorating your dream guest room. SUCH a great idea!

    I also love your Cami style posts, and your Chuck posts, and everything else you post, just for the record…

    You’re hilarious no matter what, and even when you’re being serious and obviously having a hard time, you’re still an excellent writer, and I love to read your interpretations of things, even if they aren’t comical.

    I’m so glad your writing/storytelling here brings you joy, and I hope you continue to do so for as many years as you are able, no matter how much negativity you receive from all those booger heads who are obviously whining about your blog from their mother’s basement. 😀

  • Maria E B

    You just made me say “Tooo-uhhh–errr” and “AHHRNN” out loud at my desk and now people are looking at me. The audacity on you.

  • makfan

    Ha ha, I was going to comment about AHHRNN and TOUHER too.

    I haven’t said anything much about your personal situation. I do hope that it resolves in a positive way for everyone, and I’m sorry y’all are going through this. I respect all of you and hope for the best.

    Love all the guest room ideas – I am going to adopt some of them around here.

    And oh yeah, Tyrant plays for my team, and he is HAWT.

  • specialkrispy

    I can’t wait to see it! I love the idea of curtains on the whole wall, centered windows or not. AND, I bought that same fabric with the dandelions in green (haven’t done anything with it yet). Samesies!

    I hope things are getting better for you.

  • luv and kiwi

    Ahhhh! I need pictures! It boggles my brain how you guys can just create and decorate and know…Can you tell I suck at that stuff? The next time you’re in LA Heather I wouldn’t mind your Southern cacaphony coming over and assessing my digs.

    Sheesh I need to get with the creative program!

  • Kirsey

    Is most of that IKEA? I love the side table bench, that is adorable. Will you have links to these things in the final post? LOVE it so far!

  • dooce

    @kraftykaela thank you. Means so much.

    @Kirsey yes, I’ll have a source list after the reveal!

  • tallnoe

    Pins and needles here… PINS AND NEEDLES.

    Okay, fine. I can wait.

  • LDD

    What?! You’re nearly finished with the room? That is some Mormon-esque efficiency…but I guess my frame of reference is ME, who takes forever to make decisions on decorating.

    I have so enjoyed this series…its been fun to watch unfold. Fantastic project!

  • filmlady

    There’s no way around it….
    I’m lichen it!

    BTW, you’re doing great. Just in case you weren’t sure.

  • SushiForBaby

    Loving how its coming together and that you’re making it a fun project for yourself!! You are, as always, amazing.

    Looking forward to the final reveal and coming to Salt Lake for the first time to stay over. Leta and I can snuggle.

    Just kidding, I’ll kick her out first.

    Just kidding, Mormons scare me. I’ll enjoy the post from my sunny window in California.

  • Midnight

    I just had to sound out how tour could be three syllables. Thank goodness I went to college in Virginia and can translate English to Southern! Still working on the one syllable version of iron, though.

    I’d be in favor of the work in progress photos too, just for the record.

    The mood board for the room looks terrific and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

    However things work out, I hope you and Jon each find peace and joy in your lives and with your children.

  • tinacolada97

    the curtain fabric with the dandelion print on it? I made a skirt out of that exact same fabric (except it was black flowers on khaki instead of blue on white). Mad-Men-esque…

  • ladygray

    HEATHER! when are we SEEING this ROOM?! (EXCITEMENT yelling, not, you know, the mean kind.)

  • Mama Kat

    I love the direction we’re going with this…however when I stay with you I’d really appreciate an adult version of one of these in the room:

    I don’t see why IKEA can’t make that happen.

    Also? I had no idea you had an accent until I saw your last “ahh knoowww” video. It’s like…I never really knew you. How can this be?

  • Becky Cochrane

    Smart idea with the curtains. Years ago, a friend’s parents did something similar in her basement bedroom and made the entire room look bigger and airier.

    You know what Bono would say: Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

    In fact, I dedicate that entire song to you for as long as you need it.


    One thing I always appreciate in a guest room is a few BOOKS. FOr if you can’t sleep because you have jet lag, but you don’t want to go barging around the house looking for a book. (It’s also a good place to put book-overflow if you have that problem!)

    ALso, It is nice to have a QUILT. Folded up somewhere or on the bed.

    a VISIBLE electric outlet is always nice, too.

    (Is that a FUTON on the bed? SURELY NOT! I bet it is a featherbed, right? You wouldn’t make your guests sleep on a futon!)

    Also, I TOO think you rule and are BRAVE and AWESOME. And CLEAN! So CLEAN! You are the VALEDICTORIAN of CLEANLINESS!

  • mmh

    Am I the only one who read that whole thing in a wonky Southern accent?

    someone who also pronounces crayon “crown”

  • WriterCat81

    I had a similar bedframe from Ikea (the Aneboda) and after two moves and 6 years, the damn thing still is indestructible – I LOVE it.

    Can’t wait to see how the curtain wall turned out – I’ve been tempted to do something similar.

    It’s amazing that with everything going on you still have put passion into this project. Go you!

  • mleah

    Did y’all see that Anna Beth is giving seminars so that you too can have fabulously decorated rooms?!

    If only DC was on that pie-chart my living room might not look like a thrift store threw up in there. Sigh.

  • Bea_OT

    I hope that room is big, because though that bed looks awesome, it wants to make you bleed for daring to have a small room. The sides and corner will leave a bruise the size of Alaska or if you’re real bad…it may decide to chip your bone.

    Otherwise, the room is looking awesome. I’m a real fan of IKEA. I have spent way too much money there. Since I’ll be moving with nothing but clothes pretty soon. I know I’ll be visiting for furniture within the next year.

    Love the idea of mixing light and dark woods.

    By the way, your sponsored posts are cool and interesting. Who cares that they’re sponsored? Don’t listen to them. They’re just jealous. No. Seriously. They are!

  • Circe74

    @Kpengell — I can’t imagine what you’re talking about! What’s more melodious than a Michigan accent? Saying “pop” with so much of a nasal twang that if you have a stuffy nose you actually can’t say it AT ALL. But that’s okay, because you wouldn’t ask for a pop if you were sick, you’d just want a Vernor’s.

    Best explanation of a Michigan accent I’ve ever heard was, a little bit Fargo, a little bit Nasal Chicago, and a little bit Canadian, with a touch of Southern Twang – The resulting mix is similar to a pirate from Kentucky with a head cold. “Admidit: you’ve alwayz waanted to tock like yer from Michigin. Ev’ryone secritly does.”

  • mommica

    Bed frame = Want. Next time you’re at IKEA, could you tell them that your fans in Alaska are in serious need of some furniture that isn’t made of moose antlers and birch logs? (OK, I’m exaggerating. But still! I dig that bed frame.)

  • dianemaggipintovoiceover

    you know that cheer guy (today’s :23 clip) wants to say at the end: yeah. fuck yeah.
    that was m-o-n-e-y.

  • SushiForBaby

    Comments are closed for “Hair, day fifty-three” so I’m posting here (I’m a shit, I know).

    You look FUCKING HOT.

    You’re killing it, Armstrong. Killing it.

  • AshesVonDust

    Your whimsy comment totally just reminded me of one of my favourite posts on a blog about sex toys, and I think you need to read it:

    Also, I love women with southern accents! I used to work in a call centre and my customers were Americans (I am Canadian) and I got excited every time I got a call from the southern states because it meant I could fake a southern accent and have the best conversations ever. Eventually, it caught on, and other people started doing it, too. Our boss was like “wtf is going on? Why are these people pretending to have accents?”

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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