Before: Dark and DatedKristine, Simon and their two young sons live in a traditional Georgian style house — a home they purchased because it reminds Simon of jolly old England.
Simon is an unabashed, dyed-in-the-wool Anglophile and loves anything and everything English. So when the couple decided their dark, dated master bedroom was in need of a renovation, they found themselves with a small problem. Simon wanted to redo the room in a medieval English decor (he'd put in a Union Jack and a moat if he thought he could get away with it), while Kristine wanted something more modern, luxurious and warm.
My challenge here was to walk the fine line between designer and marriage counselor and design a room that would suit both partners' tastes while maintaining marital bliss. So I got my design team together and set out to mix contemporary chic with formal English style: a fresh across-the-pond bedroom that would be perfect for a king and a queen.
After: Traditional English CountryI started off by giving the walls the royal treatment. I covered up the existing dark burgundy paint with two coats of crisp antique white. I then added some architectural interest by dividing up the walls into panels with molding that was inset with iridescent damask wallpaper.
Now that the space was lighter and brighter, it was time for an injection of color. I selected a palette of rich reds, elegant greens and boudoir-like taupes and mixed and matched these tones in a variety of sensual velvets, tone-on-tone chenilles and buttery soft silks.
The real focal point of the room was the beautifully carved wooden bed, so I dressed it up in regal style. I put in a soaring, full floor-to-ceiling canopy with a valance and chenille drapes lined with gorgeous silk gingham. I then topped it all off with a quilted red chenille damask cover, several throw pillows and even a special cushion that carries Kristine' and Simon's family crest.
To further brighten the space, I installed recessed fixtures around the perimeter of the room, installed some lovely sconces to read by, and affixed a delicate lantern-style fixture above the bed.
Next, I got to work on the practical aspects of the room. Kristine and Simon are avid readers, so I created two large bookshelves on either side of the window for their many books and built some closed storage below the window. I then united the two bookshelves with a gorgeous textured valance above and a long box cover below.
For some further architectural interest I installed a new vintage-inspired fireplace. I pulled a gas main into the house, cut a hole in roof for the flue and installed an English-manor style fireplace that boasts faux coal instead of logs.
The furniture in the old room was leftover from the couple's university days. I replaced it all with more contemporary pieces that included elegant wooden side tables, a functional armoire, a textured area rug and a comfy leather wingback chair and ottoman that is perfect for fireside reading and relaxing.
This deluxe master suite was now complete and ready to please both of its masters. The room contains lots of wood, crown moldings and architectural elements for Simon, but also features light walls, delicate wallpaper and warm touches for Kristine.
By using traditional fabrics and finishes, luxurious furniture and handcrafted style, this master bedroom said cheerio to dark and stuffy, and hello to jovial English country manor.
(Interior decorator Candice Olson is host of Home & Garden Television's Divine Design.)