Michelle Tirto
Staff Writer

Walking down Van Meter, I’d recently noticed a room on the top floor of Jeffrey with a makeshift periwinkle bed canopy. Upon investigation, this turned out to be Jeffrey 305, home of Olivia Brown ’16 and Rachel Brustein ’16.

Olivia Brown ’16 Relaxes on her makeshift canopy bed. (Photo: Michelle Tirto)

“I was determined to make a bed canopy,” Brown says, with a clipped twang. “I always wanted to have one, but my bed back home was too big. So for Goucher, I just cut up old bed sheets and hung them using Command hooks.”
The rest of the room is just as whimsical and crafty as the bed canopy. Little trinkets of home populate the area around Brown’s bed. Orange clothespins floating above the canopy secure photos of her family, friends, and pets; her mom’s drawing of a horse from Big Sky looks down on the green rug Brown herself spool-knitted, and on the ledge bordering her bed are a parade of baby plants, flourishing on soil from Brown’s house. “Plants make it feel more homey, because I had plants at home too,” she says. I poke a Venus fly trap that’s housed in a plastic cup Brown found and later colorfully painted, and it snaps shut. “I don’t know how well it’s doing, there’s no flies in here. I tried putting ants in there, but nothing happens,” she laughs.

Almost every part of the room has been colorfully personalized. Elephant symbols are pasted on drawers, flags from Chicago (Brustein’s hometown) and Washington D.C. (Brown’s hometown) flap in the breeze, poppy, patterned tape mark the edges of the furniture, and star sculptures shine on the walls. “I made the stars out of cardboard,” Brown says, “and I got it from a book called Big Ass Book of Crafts – it’s like my bible. I like being able to recycle things and not buy them, and in fact, I didn’t really buy anything for this room.

Environmentalism is a huge issue for me, and it can be fun!”

Brustein, Brown’s roommate (unavailable for the interview), has equally colorful decorations. The fridge, covered in black paper, is filled with Brustein and Brown’s chalked comments, and a variety of movie musical posters adorn her side of the room. Brown says, “After I finished setting up my stuff, Rachel [Brustein] went to the school poster sale and got a bunch of posters – she probably felt like she had to decorate more too!”



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