Their Bedroom Is Their Castle
The Beutels opted for a medieval theme in decorating their Thousand Oaks, Calif., bedroom.
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When Kasi and Todd Beutel got married in 1997, the festivities were like something out of a Renaissance faire: The bride wore a gown with flowing sleeves. The groom carried a sword. Costumed guests dined on lamb roasted on a spit and were encouraged to take part in a dance called Toss the Wench.
So when the Beutels began thinking about decorating their Thousand Oaks, Calif., bedroom, it came as no surprise that they opted for a medieval theme, something indicative of the days of fair damsels and knights in shining armor.
"We both love the time period — the architecture, the clothing, everything. It's very us," said Kasi.
Surprising, instead, was the fact they hoped to achieve such a centuries-old look in a brand new home, located in a development where some of the neighboring houses are still in the framing stage. Unsure of how best to proceed with their idea, the couple followed the example of other perplexed homeowners and offered their bedroom as a project for HGTV.
"There's no way we could do it ourselves and make it look nice," said Todd. "We're accountants, not designers," added Kasi.
Picking up the gauntlet, so to speak, were three professional interior designers: Lori Cunningham of Lori Cunningham Designs in Camarillo, Calif., Lynelle Henniger of Periwinkle Blue in Hidden Valley, Calif., and Brynja McGrady of Garrett Interiors Inc. in Westlake Village, Calif.
HGTV’s Designers' Challenge pairs homeowners with three interior design experts who come up with different ideas for the room in question. The homeowners choose one of the experts to do the job on the strength of his or her proposed design presentation, then pay for everything from bedsheets to the installation of new drywall. The selected designer, meanwhile, waives his or her fees in exchange for the publicity that comes with appearing on the show.
For the Beutels, designers presented their respective ideas in the couple's dining room, which is decorated with Todd's wedding sword and a tapestry that depicts a medieval wine-grape stomping session. The couple decided to go with McGrady's proposal, but fans of the medieval look can find useful decorating ideas in each of the designers’ presentations.
Textured fabrics, "royal" colors ranging from plum to midnight blue and antiquities both real and reproduced were common themes. Each of the designers also paid particular attention to the bed, envisioning it either as a grand four-poster swaddled in fabrics or framed by a regal canopy and drapes.
"Canopies were often used, as beds were large and canopies kept out drafts," Cunningham said. "Draperies demonstrated wealth."
Henniger employed plenty of gold velvet drapery in her design, which calls for using the fabric not only as a window covering but to create a visual divide between the room's sleeping and reading areas. She also envisioned replacing the couple's existing his-'n'-hers recliners with a bullion-trimmed fainting couch and what is known as a chair-and-a-half, a sort of love seat large enough to accommodate reading sessions with the couple's three young children.
McGrady went for a look she said included authentic "Renaissance, gothic, medieval" touches with a few modern twists. Among them: wiring the wrought-iron sconces on either side of the bed for electricity rather than risk placing candles so close to the drapery-festooned four-poster bed.
"Today, we have Mars and Venus," said McGrady. "But back then, they had armor and lace."
She included that idea, too: There, in the middle of a presentation board dotted with lace trims and fabric swatches was a photograph of a suit of armor.
Lisa Mckinnon writes for Scripps Howard News Service.
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