“On a bedside table, place a single flower bloom in a simple glass, a nice clock, and a selection of books suited to your guest’s taste,” Martha says. I wouldn’t know where to begin with books, beyond guides to Austin. Be certain sheets are of the finest cotton you can afford, keeping them “starched and ironed for hotel crispness.” Do people really do this, iron their sheets? I read an article recently which detailed the misconception that thread-count indicates quality. In it, an upscale provider of linens (where I get mine) reveals that many of her clients have their bedding cleaned and pressed at Madame Paulette. These are the same people who get their meat ground at Lobel’s on Madison for their designer dogs. I’m sure of it. Who the hell has time to iron her sheets? I can’t even imagine hiring someone and telling them to iron my sheets. Would they raise their eyebrow? My mother used to clean just for days when she knew the cleaning woman would be coming. “It’s not fair,” she’d say, “to leave her with this mess.” Maybe she was considerate. Maybe she was afraid of what people would think of her. Maybe it was a little of both. Ironing sateen bedding is the only way to have the sheen reappear after washing, and let’s face it, a wrinkled top sheet is a little unnerving. I can’t help but try to pull at it once I step away from a newly-made bed. My gaze can’t escape it. “Well I don’t have time,” I say, and then I leave the room, unable to look at it much longer. Do you iron your shams and flat sheet? I just want to know; no judgments here. Maybe I’m living the wrong life.
It seems a life tucked behind starched Egyptian cotton is somehow a better life. Your life is cleaner when things are stowed away into their neat labeled compartments. It’s hard to procrastinate, or overeat, or make excuses when your bed is tucked into high-fashion order. I’d be hard-pressed to complain if I always had a bed like that for the taking. A crisp bed is a luxury, and I love the idea of providing it to the people I love as they stay in my home. It’s a fantasy though, a life lived in catalogs. It’s right up there with declaring that I’m going to make my own baby food and do my own sewing and darning of socks. I just don’t have time, or rather, I make time for more important things. Like writing. Or breast feeding, soon enough. Or for Grey’s Anatomy.
Towels tied with ribbon, toothpaste and a new brush tucked into a plush hand towel, embroidered with the word, “makeup.” Guests get towels in Marthaland, and an assortment of pillows ranging from firm to soft, to accommodate for those stomach sleepers. A specific towel alerting guests to keep their makeup where it belongs, off her hand-hooked white towels. This is what ‘s become of me. I’m obsessed with home decorating magazines, certain to create a luxe guest room with personality. Model homes are best, really, for inspiration. Though their rooms almost always feature a “horseback riding room.” Paintings, tapestry pillows, mirrors framed in leather with horse-bit accents. Even a pair of actual riding boots with matching hat will find their way into the room. These things are merely for mood, staging really. As a guest, I suppose I’d find it questionable if my host supplied me with my own whip.
I’m determined though. I think it’s all about the products. If I offer guests a full line of Kiehl’s or Molton Brown products they’re going to be psyched. A line of Fresh, Bliss, or Philosophy products will serve nicely, too. The key, I believe, is selecting a single coordinated line of products within a single brand, offering your guests an upmarket liquid hand soap with a matching scented hand lotion. No one likes to use a bar of soap in a guest room. All I can ever think is, “how long has this been sitting here, and whose crack did it wiggle its way down last?” I hate having to twist it from its holder, or worse, as a redhead, inspect it, only to find small curly dark hairs. I’d rather not shower. Or wash my hands. Or be there in that moment at all.
For one of our guest rooms—I fashion it “the spa room,” complete with steam room and sauna—I’ve supplied only Aveda products. I love this shit. Rosemary Mint Hand and Body Wash. A smoothing Aveda body polish with exfoliating gloves sit upon a shelf, for the taking. Rosemary Mint shampoo and conditioner. A few sprigs of fresh rosemary from our garden might just appear in a tissue vase beside the sink. A soy wax candle might be appropriate, and it gives you an excuse to include some matches without saying, “please light one from time to time.” Though I shy away from offering guests facial masks and pore-minimizers. A girl’s gotta draw the line somewhere; it shouldn’t be at the ones on another woman’s face.
Waffle weave. Say it with me. I love this touch, offering your guests robes and fresh waffle weave slippers. I’ve rolled up white washcloths and layered them in a trifle bowl. An Aquis super-absorbent hair towel. Fresh cut flowers, bedside. Lavender drawer liners. And somehow, I don’t know why, nothing says guest room to me like a wooden styling brush. It’s just so spa. My sister and I were raised on Mason-Pierson brushes, but there’s always hair to untangle and pull from its orange webbing. A wooden brush always looks clean, even if the only use I’d have for it would be to brush it against the backs of my thighs. Like brushing out a hickey, you can comb out cellulite too. Okay you can’t. I wouldn’t know. I never bother. However, no girly guest bathroom is complete without a stylist essentials toolbox. Hollywood Fashion Tape, a lint brush, foot petals. Your basic essentials. Just add water.
How nice is it to arrive somewhere, where your room already includes a small bottle of polish remover, some cotton pads, a file, and a bottle of Nailtiques? On your nightstand, beside a crystal tumbler and a carafe of fresh spring water, you’re provided with intense hand lotion, a pot of cuticle cream, and moisturizing gloves, not to mention, silk eye masks, all the better to sleep with my dear. No, not a mitt. If it were up to Phil, and maybe this is because he’s a man, or maybe it’s because he’s Phil, he’d leave guests with one pillow each, one towel each, and one bottle of Jack Daniels. This is why the post belongs under the category “preening.”