Simply The Best

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Author: Kara McVey and Andrea Wong

When the students of Occidental College move into their respective residences, they are provided with a bed, a desk, a dresser and a lot of empty space. While all students personalize their rooms to some extent, some Oxy students go to extremes to make their rooms unique. Going beyond common decorations like posters and desk lamps, they take the opportunity to transform their rooms from blank-slates to places that represent who they are and what they are passionate about. Whether they live in an older hall like Stewie, a brand-new one like Rangeview or even off campus, these individuals see no limit to what they can add to their rooms. By conducting a student-wide search for the “Best Room on Campus,” we hoped to find rooms transformed by Oxy’s innovative students. As we received submissions, our expectations were more than met. The rooms that we saw thoroughly reflected the spirit of creativity and originality that thrives on Occidental’s campus.

Avery Henderson (sophomore) and Andreas Bloomquist (sophomore) went all out when it came time to designing their room. They decided to do everything they could to make their room a center of relaxation and enjoyment.

After hanging 750 Christmas lights across the ceiling for ambience, installing two high quality sound systems for music and setting up both a Playstation 3 and a Nintendo Wii to entertain their guests, the Lodgers finished off the decorations with a vase of beautifully arranged flowers and a few tasteful posters. With great attention to detail, they even installed color-changing LED lights under the furniture and placed swaths of reeds in the corners and in front of the door. They nicknamed their room “The Lodge” because of its “serene and warm environment.”

Location: Newcomb Hall

Design inspiration: Modern apartment emphasizing comfort and style

General mood: Open, laid-back and relaxed

Key features: Two high quality sound systems, HDTV, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, upholstered couch, leather reading chair (which they have named “brown sugar”), piano keyboard and a pineapple plant.

Why they think their room is the best: The Lodge is the model of stylish and comfortable living. They declare that, “With the exception of running water, we have nearly everything necessary to sustain a comfortable living and socializing environment.”

They have expended every effort to give their room a home-like charm, including setting their big-screen television to look like a fireplace when not in use. Most importantly, they have made their room a friendly retreat for themselves and their friends. They say, “Our room is our home, and with that in mind, we’re deliberate in each small detail, creating not only a great environment for us, but for our friends, and their friends, and so on.”

Laura Beth Smith-Heimer (senior) took full advantage of living off campus. She utilized the extra space in her room to show off mementos of her three and a half years at Occidental, and to reflect the person she has become during that time. She has kept the same quilt that saw her through her freshman year, and has filled her bed with a large stuffed-animal collection. Colorful posters advertising Oxy events long-since passed cover every inch of her wall, demonstrating her Tiger pride and engagement with the community. Highlighting one her favorite college experiences is a tapestry that she received while studying abroad in Amsterdam last fall. In a room with so much personal meaning and so many sentimental items, it’s no wonder that she describes her room as “my space and place to feel safe and relaxed.”

Location: 4613.5 Paulhan Avenue

Design inspiration: Filling every inch of the wall with beautiful art and inspirational posters

General mood: Cozy

Key features: Large closet, wonderfully soft bed, colorful atmosphere

Why she thinks her room is one of the best: Smith-Heimer says, “An important aspect of a great room is the ability to make people feel at home.” She has put in a lot of time and effort to make her room as welcoming as possible.

From the little details (like her jewelry hangers) to the large details (like her collection of movie posters), Smith-Heimer has made her room her home. She says that whenever she comes in after a long day, “The bright colors, large windows and giant comfortable bed welcome me like a big hug from a loved one. That’s why my room is one of the best on campus.”

Jack Moreau (first-year) and Jake Steele (first-year) filled their room with everything that most college students wouldn’t think to bring. They brought a hammock for relaxation, a trampoline for fun and fold-out futon to encourage guests to stay over. The room’s stylized and hyper-chromatic decor shows off the students’ offbeat interests. On top of all the fun furniture, they chose to install black lights and hang trippy black light posters to match. All this plus some Christmas lights, good music and a very laid-back vibe, and you’ve got one of the chillest rooms at Oxy.

Location: Bell-Young Hall

Design inspiration: Rap music, counter-culture

General mood: Festive, psychedelic

Key features: Surround sound speakers, trampoline, hammock, fold-out futon, black lights and surrealist art.

Why they think their room is the best: The students say that their room is “a haven where all can feel welcome and accepted.” In their room, they can hang-out, work-out, chill-out and pass-out. Most importantly, their room is a place where they can be completely and totally comfortable. They say that friends and hall-mates often come over to “relax and stay as long as they like,” and that their door is always open for visitors.

Best Tech: Matty Yavorsky (sophomore) and Tyler Barhydt (sophomore)Yavorsky and Barhydt went out of their way to utilize technology to trick-out their room. The room includes multiple game systems, a fantastic sound system and a projector (which they built their own mount for and have hooked up to their computers) to play movies.

Best Wall Display: Virginia Parra (senior)Parra brought her artistic side to dorm decorating. She showed off her creativity by making a personalized display to cover the wall over her bed. The collage of photos, artwork, and magazine clippings centers around an illustration of Princess Peach.

Best Personalization: Alexander Kwong (sophomore) and Lorenzo Hidalgo (sophomore)Kwong and Hidalgo put their personalities into their room. Every wall is covered with posters and funny cut-outs, which Alex says help to distinguish the otherwise blank walls from reminding him of an isolation cell.

Best Vibe: Karla Garcia (junior)Garcia brought her Mexican heritage and culture to her off-campus room. She painted the walls bright colors and decorated the room with pictures of friends and papel picado designed with the image of the Virgen de Guadalupe (Virgin Mary).

Best Artistry: Teigynn Knight (sophomore) and Alexandra Coakley (sophomore)Knight and Coakley hand-painted every picture on their walls and brought their aesthetic sensibilities to the room’s simplicity, neatness and elegant decor.

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