Story of Our Stuff: What do our rooms say about us?

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Story of Our Stuff: What do our rooms say about us?

Rhonda Mak

The stuff we own says a lot about us. Then where better to look than the place where most of us keep our stuff: our bedrooms? Here’s a look into three students’ bedrooms, and what each room says about each student.

JUNIOR EMILY LEUNG

Relaxed,” said junior Emily Leung. “I feel really relaxed in my room.”

From a radio, Sam Smith’s rich voice wafts in the air, mingling with the scent of coffee, reminiscent of a chic coffee shop. Bright red reminders and notes are scrawled onto a mirror on the wall. An espresso machine steams in the background. Leung lies on her bed with her laptop, sifting through her homework, quite at ease.

Relaxed.

Junior Emily Leung writes a message on her bedroom mirror. Leung writes reminders on her mirror regularly using lipstick. Photo by Rhonda Mak

Junior Emily Leung writes a message on her bedroom mirror. Leung writes reminders on her mirror regularly using lipstick. Photo by Rhonda Mak

Reflections

While other students may write reminders in their planner, Leung leaves her messages on the mirror, a tradition since the beginning of high school. She writes on her bedroom mirror in bold, red lipstick. Some of the crimson streaks are notes to herself: “Huck Finn”, “APES” and “APUSH,” among others.

“I just thought of it one day, honestly,” Leung said. “I’ve seen other people do it, and I thought it was cool.”

Espresso shipping

Sitting on top of a cabinet is an espresso machine, sleek and shining in the light of the window. In a box on the side lie neat rows of small cups in subdued colors like maroon and dark orange: individual espresso flavors. Every morning, Leung turns on her espresso machine and does her morning routine while the rich coffee drips down into a glass mug. When she finishes washing up, a hot, steaming cup of espresso waits for her.

“Coffee addiction.” Leung said with a laugh. “Major coffee addiction. It’s the thing that gets me going.”

Leung's Nespresso machine sits by the window, coupled with small cups of espresso flavors. Leung drinks a cup of espresso every morning. Photo by Rhonda Mak

Leung’s Nespresso machine sits by the window, coupled with small cups of espresso flavors. Leung drinks a cup of espresso every morning. Photo by Rhonda Mak

Radio Ga Ga

On weekday afternoons, Leung plays songs from her work playlist on Spotify. Though she is not bound by one genre, songs from her three favorite artists Sam Smith, The Script and One Republic show up frequently in the play queue.

Leung's radio sits adjacent to her Nespresso machine. When her radio isn't on, Leung listens to music on Spotify. Photo by Rhonda Mak.

Leung’s radio sits adjacent to her Nespresso machine. When her radio isn’t on, Leung listens to music on Spotify. Photo by Rhonda Mak.

Trophies

Glimmering trophies from a myriad of sports proudly shine on her top shelf: volleyball awards, gymnastics medals, cheer awards and most of all, Wushu, a form of Chinese martial arts. Leung had been practicing Wushu since she was a child, and over the years the awards accumulated, each one a milestone of her progress. One that she’s most proud of is a trophy she earned as JV cheer captain in her sophomore year.

“It was a lot of work,” Leung said. “I was proud that I was able to commit myself to that responsibility.”

SAMSUNG CSC

Leung displays several trophies on the top shelf of her bookshelf. Over the years, Leung has earned trophies for volleyball, soccer, cheer and Wushu, a form of Chinese martial arts. Photo by Rhonda Mak.

 

Makeup

Neat rows of lipstick and lip balm, cups of brushes and pens and stacked bags of makeup supplies line another shelf of Leung’s bookcase. Every morning, Leung pulls up a stool to this shelf and does her makeup in front of a mirror she props up on the shelf.

“Makeup is art on your face,” Leung said.

Leung's makeup collection on her third shelf.

Leung’s makeup collection on her third shelf.

Shoe shelf

Just under her makeup shelf Leung displays rows and rows of shoes: glittering high heels and glossy platform shoes with clear bottoms. She runs into her brother’s room and returns with a pair of high-heeled combat boots: her Jeffrey Campbells, a gift from her uncle. He had given her a gift card with a large sum of money on it, and she decided to spend it on her boots.

“These are my favorite,” Leung said. “I’d been eyeing them for a long time, and I wanted to get something I’d never get.

Leung's Jeffrey Campbell boots sit proudly by the window. These are her favorite pair of shoes that she owns. Photo by Rhonda Mak.

Leung’s Jeffrey Campbell boots sit proudly on her shelf. These are her favorite pair of shoes that she owns. Photo by Rhonda Mak.


SENIOR RACHITA HABBU

Senior Rachita Habbu is a designer. She declared design as her major in college and experiments with interior design as a hobby, stemming from her frequent HGTV marathons. We asked her to design her dream room, and this is what she came up with.

Senior Rachita Habbu designs her dream room. Habbu plans to major in design in college. Illustration by Rachita Habbu.

Senior Rachita Habbu designs her dream room. Habbu plans to major in design in college. Illustration by Rachita Habbu.

The floor plan

“When you’re designing a room, you [need] to make sure that there [are] multiple purposes to a room,” Habbu said, words flowing out of her animatedly. “I think it’s a waste of space to have just one purpose for a room when you can find creative and useful ways to have multiple purposes.”

Habbu believes in having more than just a bedroom: she organized her dream room into different sections. A space to work, a space to sleep, a space to read. Her hate for clutter extends even to the layout of the room; nothing overlaps. Even if she could easily do her reading on her bed, Habbu makes sure to separate the purposes of each section.

Deep purple

“Purple is my favorite color,” Habbu said regarding all the purple in her dream room. “It has a very deep undertone; it could have a happy feeling and a sad feeling.”

Habbu’s love for the vintage style is the primary reason for her choice of purple: she feels that the subdued plum embodies the rustic feel vintage objects tend to have.

Bulletin board

“The design is very sophisticated, so there’s not much room for personality.” Habbu said. “The bulletin board is to show what [I’m] all about.”

On it, she hangs photos of her friends and family and several of the awards she has amassed from karate, traditional Indian dancing and singing.

Desk

The minimalist design of the desk matches Habbu’s dislike for clutter. She tries her best to reduce mess and chaos by choosing the simplest designs for her furnishings.

“I think clutter is disgusting,” Habbu said. “I just can’t go to sleep without [the desk] being clean.”

Ottoman

The white ottoman is Habbu’s reading space. Habbu deliberately placed the ottoman by the window to take advantage of the natural lighting.

“I’ve always wanted a reading space,” Habbu said. “Anyone can sit on their bed and read, but I like making use of the space by the window. It’s a place to relax and destress.”

Large Window

Habbu kept the large window from her current room’s design. The long, dramatic curtains serve to draw attention to the window.

“I love looking at the weather,” Habbu said as to why she chose the large window. “I don’t like blinds being shut. I’m that kind of person who’d open the blinds all the way. When it rains, I love the weather… When it’s sunny, I love the sunlight too.”

Habbu’s idea of a perfect afternoon is to get under a warm and fuzzy blanket, drink a cup of coffee and listen to the rain. The ottoman by the window is the perfect place for her to cuddle up.


 

SENIOR SABRINA TSUI

The centerpiece of senior Sabrina Tsui’s room is her bulletin board, with numerous memorabilia pinned onto it. Here are just a few that she listed.

Senior Brina Tsui's bulletin board hangs in her room, displaying different mementos. Souvenirs from trips, gifts from her friends and photos are all displayed on the board. Photo by Brina Tsui.

Senior Brina Tsui’s bulletin board hangs in her room, displaying different mementos. Souvenirs from trips, gifts from her friends and photos are all displayed on the board. Photo by Sabrina Tsui.

Plush flower (bottom right) 

The oldest item on Tsui’s board is her plush flower. In her freshman year, Tsui participated in Monta Vista’s Saturday Night Live. After the show, her friend senior Emma Schneider surprised her with this flower.

“It was a pleasant surprise,” Tsui said. “I didn’t even know she was coming to watch.”

Park Map and Pressed Penny Collection (bottom right)

Over breaks, Tsui, her family, aunt and cousin travel to national parks, such as Yosemite. She collects the maps and pennies as mementos of all the parks she’s been to.

“One time we got really lost in this state park [in Arizona]” Tsui said. “We didn’t have flashlights or a map. Luckily there were some locals also hiking and they helped us out.”

#octothorpe (center)

In large bubble letters is the word #octothope, a reference to the popular web series Vlogbrothers (octothorpe is one of the many names of the # symbol). Tsui got into Vlogbrothers at the recommendation of a friend last summer.

No Negotiating! (left center)

Tsui and her sister argued about how many songs Tsui’s sister was allowed to put on Tsui’s MP3 player. Tsui only allowed two, while her sister wanted three.

“No negotiating!” Tsui said.

Later Tsui’s sister drew Tsui a picture cartooning Tsui’s non-negotiable statement. Tsui was angry about the situation before, but after seeing the drawing her anger dissolved.