Sunday, March 31, 2013

Keeping Up With The Trends: Don't Get Caught With Your Pants On The Ground!

The Story:

I have always hated those icebreaker games that are often played at parties to facilitate mingling. You know, those silly diversions where guests are forced to go around in a circle and tell everyone their name and what animal they would be, if they were an animal. Or worse yet, the one where a partygoer is compelled to introduce himself by relating his most embarrassing moment to a room full of barely acquainted people.  

I usually find a convenient excuse to refresh my drink or hide in the bathroom to avoid being drawn into these types of festivities. A party is definitely not the place for such intimate details of one’s personal life to be revealed to strangers. Lucky for you, that sort of story is much better suited to a blog post.

My most embarrassing moment occurred over twenty-six years ago. I was a young nursing student at the Christ Hospital School of Nursing in Cincinnati, Ohio. One morning my alarm failed to go off and I awoke in a panic because I had a big test that day in my nutrition class. Fortunately, I had woken up on my own and if I hurried I could make it to class on time, take the test, and save my GPA. I quickly rolled out of bed but soon realized that almost all of my clothes were in the laundry.  Just like most college students, I had procrastinated to the point that I didn’t have anything left hanging in my closet to wear. Luckily, some of the pile had made it into the dryer. I ran to the basement laundry room stripped down right there and flung the dryer door open. The first two items I could get my hands on were a t-shirt and a pair of my favorite parachute pants. I hastily put them on right there standing in front of the washing machine, then ran out the door barefoot with my shoes in hand.

For those of you who are too young to remember, parachute pants were one of the huge fashion trends of the 1980’s. They where usually made of nylon fabric and had large roomy pants legs that ballooned at the narrow ankle.  All the rock stars and cool kids were wearing the unisex fashion statement and I had to have a pair too.

I made it to my class in the nick of time and slid into my seat as the instructor was passing out the exam. Quickly, I got out my pencil and dived into the many pages of thought provoking questions. I have a nervous habit of crossing my legs and bobbing my foot when I am in deep thought. As I sat there over the next thirty minutes trying to answer one hard question after another, my foot was bobbing furiously. I had made it through about two thirds of the questions, when I suddenly thought I saw something fall out of my pants leg onto the floor. When I looked down to see what the object could be, I was mortified to realize that it was a pair of my own bikini underwear!

I quickly swooped down and grabbed the panties stuffing them in my pocket and scanned the room with a red face to see if anyone else had just seen my unmentionables. Fortunately, everyone was struggling with the difficult test and had their heads buried in their papers. I could hardly finish the remaining questions as I was too worried about whom might have seen my briefs and how I might be the subject of panty jokes and/or snickers about my knickers! When the test concluded I darted out of the room, hoping to avoid contact with my fellow students, and headed straight for the bathroom to hide.

 When I arrived at the restroom, I dashed into a stall and pulled down my parachute pants to make sure that there was nothing else that might fall out and embarrass me at an inopportune moment. Much to my surprise and horror, I not only found another pair of underpants but two t-shirts, a pair of tights, and three socks, all contained in the voluminous pants legs. I had just unknowingly brought half of the contents of my dyer with me to school in the wide-open spaces of my trendy parachute pants. It was at this point in my life when the hidden challenges of managing open spaces became blatantly apparent to me.

The Design Topic of the Week:
Wide Open Spaces: Creating Interesting Harmony

Just as parachute pants were a popular trend in the 1980’s, open concept floor plans are a popular trend today. Currently, one can’t watch a television home renovation show with out hearing the words ”Open Concept “. Show after show depicts clever contractors and designers suggesting the removal of walls to their doubting, squabbling clients.  And although I am a great deal older, I have to admit that I still like new trends and I have thrown myself willingly onto the open floor plan bandwagon.  I love the free feeling that comes from living in a wide-open space and I especially enjoy the way the spaces flow together when entertaining.  The open concept allows everyone in the family to interact with one another while performing a variety of activities. However, it is important to note that just as my fashion forward, roomy trousers had hidden problems; open floor plans come with their own set concealed design challenges.

When we moved out of our first compartmentalized home and moved into our next custom built, open concept home, I thought that the transition would be a piece of cake. After all, the new home would have much more square footage; surely it would eat up all the furniture contained in the old house with room to spare. However, as the drywall went up in the new home and I started to try and plan out where my existing furniture would go, I realized that open space meant less walls. This would definitely be a challenge because I already owned many pieces of furniture that needed to sit against a wall. Although the square footage in the old house was less, the compartmentalized rooms had each offered four walls on which to place cabinets, sofas, and artwork.

I knew that it wouldn't be a good idea to have five movers with two large trucks of furniture standing around waiting on me to decide where things should be placed. So I devised a plan to determine, in advance, where specific items would be used in the house and where unused items would be stored.

Here is my process:

  1.  The first thing I did was to sit down with graph paper and blue prints and make a scale floor plan of the new space. When creating a scale layout the process is much easier if you make one foot equal one block on the graph paper. My space was large, so it was necessary for me to tape together four pieces of graph paper to construct one large sheet.  If you are not building the home, you may not have access to the blue prints. In this case,  I recommend buying a good tape measure and recording exact measurements of each wall in every room when you go onsite for the home inspection. My husband and I did this when we purchased our current home and it was very helpful.
  2. Next, I went around my home with a measuring tape and recorded the width and depth of every piece of furniture I owned. Once I had the list of pieces and measurements, I used graph paper and cut out scale representations of each my furniture pieces. Again one block equaled one foot. I labeled each representation with initials as I cut them out. It was then easy to lay out the small  furniture renderings on my graph paper floor plan to see what would fit and where it should be placed.

  3. One thing to note when working with scale representations: a comfortable walk way is three feet wide (three graph paper blocks).  You must allow at least three feet distance between objects that sit in an area that will be the main traffic pattern through the room. A distance of 18” (1.5 graph paper blocks) is standard minimum distance between seating and a coffee table.
  4. Once I had moved my paper representations around several times and found the right placement for my things, I copied the names or initials of those objects directly onto the graph paper floor plan. This became my guide on moving day. As the movers brought pieces into the house, I referred to my homemade floor plan and could tell them exactly in which room and on which wall to place the furniture. This process takes a bit of time and preparation, but in the long run, moving paper blocks around in a paper room is much easier than moving around hundreds of pounds of furniture.
Another challenge when designing the interior of an open concept home is harmonizing the color palettes of individual defined areas with each other. And by “harmonizing” I don’t mean matching. There is nothing more boring than touring a home where every room in the house has the exact same color scheme. Just as different notes come together to make a beautiful cord, defined areas should have their own interesting, distinct look and palette but all should work together and have an easy visual transition from area to area. 

My new home in Pittsburgh was especially troublesome as far as blending diverse color palettes. The living room, dining room, and entry hall are all one, giant, open space with only two columns that divide the areas. My great room also opens onto this space with the view only partially obstructed by the staircase.  I decorated my new great room from scratch and desperately wanted a fresh color palette. The adjacent areas were comprised mostly of furnishings that I already owned and I was locked for the most part into the existing colors of furniture and rugs. My dilemma was, "How do I design a brand new room utilizing a new color palette when it is clearly visible from three other areas that already have an established color scheme?"

The color palette of the front areas is a sophisticated spectrum of neutral shades from white to cream to beige to tan to brown. In addition, there are a variety of green hues, punches of dark rusty reds, and black accents. The great room, on the other hand, has a palette comprised of cream and charcoal neutrals, teals, aquas, and a pop of apple green. 

I found my solution for the seemingly opposing color schemes in the transitional area between the two spaces. Although the entry, living room, and dining room are one big open concept, the columns that divide the space are positioned in a way that they create a defined open hallway between the living/dining area and the staircase.

The hallway and staircase areas predominantly share the color palette of the front of house spaces, so I deliberately peppered in a few aqua and teal elements to reference the hues in the great room . The pencil drawings of my three children are matted in a pale aqua and can be seen from both spaces.

The hand embroidered picture that hangs in the transitional hallway was made by my mother.  The intricately beaded cross-stitch is a glorious combination of all the colors from both schemes and a key component in pulling the two spaces together. When you have two opposing palettes, a colorful piece of artwork that contains the whole spectrum of hues can be helpful in harmonizing the spaces.

For an additional color nod to the great room palette, I have subtly added shades of blue into the dining room by displaying my Grandmother's "Blue Onion" china behind the glass doors of the secretary. 

When designing an open concept space it is important to make sure that the areas are well defined. The best way to do this is by giving each area its own focal point. The dining room seen above draws attention with the lighted secretary which is surrounded by an artful collage of antique mirrors and filled with blue china. The living room space pictured below captures the eye with it's massive antique cabinet that displays my old world Santa Claus collection. The Santa's live behind the glass doors throughout the year and come out to play during the holidays.

One of the main reason's my husband and I bought this house was because it had the perfect place for my Santa cabinet. The antique European bookcase is almost nine feet high and nine feet wide. We had searched for years to find an antique cabinet that would be large enough to hold my precious Elaine Roesle Santa Claus collection and there was no way that this prized possession wasn't coming with me from Cincinnati.  Our real estate agent was, at times, a little taken aback with us when we would walk into perfectly lovely houses, take one quick look, and walk out noting that there wasn't a wall large enough to hold the cabinet.

The twelve foot ceilings and the large blank wall worked very well as far as Santa was concerned, but the area itself isn't particularly large. In addition, I didn't have a separate living room in the old Cincinnati house and didn't own any sofa or chairs that would work in this room. The cabinet itself was taking up so much of the area and there wasn't really going to be ton's of space left over. The position of the dividing column was also restricting the furniture placement. I had never imaged that the large open floor plan could actually have space constraints and I wasn't totally sure at first how to furnish this area. 

After some thought, I decided that two large chair-and-a-half sized chairs were the best option. They are slightly smaller than love seats but can each comfortably sit two people. I placed a square, glass-top coffee table between the chairs.  Initially, I was concerned because the table is fairly big in size, but after setting it in the room, I realized that the large scale allowed the table to hold its own with the oversized chairs and immense cabinet. A smaller table would have looked dwarfed. The glass top keeps the table light and airy and prevents the space from looking overcrowded. 

There would not be any extra room for end tables and there was no overhead lighting, so the twin stacked-crystal floor lamps seemed to be a good solution in a room that was quickly filling up with furnishings. They added much needed light and their contemporary style keeps the antiques and traditional  pieces looking updated. The have a nice impact in the room but the clear crystal lamp bases, like the glass-top coffee table, take up less visual space.

My husband and children have nicknamed this room "The Conversation Area" because it is a perfect comfortable place to sit and talk in a TV free environment. Our friends and guest have taken to the nickname as well, and often request to sit there and talk when drinking a cup of coffee or glass of wine. At one point, good friends who were visiting for the weekend, were sharing a drink with us in "The Conversation Area" when our kids came over, sat on the floor, and joined in the lively discussion. My friend, in her wisdom, suggested that perhaps I could get two poufs to sit next to the chairs to provide additional seating. I thought it was a brilliant idea and the next week I found these two identical rusty red leather ottomans at Pier 1. They completed my mirrored symmetry design perfectly, were just the right size in the small space, and were comfortable to sit on. They also serve a dual purpose as end tables when extra surface area is needed.

Another way to define spaces within and open concept is to use area rugs. Remember the rugs don't need to match. In fact, I think it is much more interesting if they don't. As long as the rugs share a few common colors within the palette, feel free to mix up the styles and patterns. The carpets in my entry and dining room are hooked rugs with a fruit and flower motif while "The Conversation Area" rug is a tradition-pile Persian carpet. All share accents of black with touches of green and red despite numerous and blatant differences. You don't have to be twins to play nice together in the same sandbox. Unique friends with common interests can easily get along harmoniously.

Close up views of some of the rooms accessories

Antique EAPG covered compote collection placed on top of the dining room secretary
Antique full length mirror passed down from my husband's Grandmother
Antique mirror  collection displayed as an art wall collage in the dinning room area

Antique mirrors in the dinning room create ever changing framed artwork
by reflecting design and architectural elements in the room
Entry hall chandelier 

Collection of Elaine Roesle Old World St. Nicholas's
Antique hump back steamer trunk
Unlike parachute pants, I believe that open concept homes are a trend that is here to stay. They offer an amazing opportunity for better family interaction and endless possibilities for entertaining. If a wide-open floor plan is in your future, whether through a new home purchase or a wall-removing renovation, just remember that there may be a few hidden challenges:
  • Wall space will be at a premium so make sure that you plan well for your most treasured pieces. 
  • Don't let open views keep you from mixing up the color palette. Make sure you subtly pepper in hues from both color schemes in the transitional space between the areas.
  • Define areas within the open space with the use of rugs. They don't have to match, but they do need to share a few common colors with each other in order to work well together.
  • Each defined area should have its own unique and dramatic focal point.
  • And finally, remember that just because a space is open that doesn't mean that there won't be constraints in some of the defined areas. Choose furniture that accommodates seating and functions well, but doesn't visually overcrowd the room.
Keep these tips in mind when designing your wide open spaces and you'll be living large in no time at all!

My parachute pants exploit taught me a few lessons about life that I have applied to home design. I leave you this week with the moral of my story.
  1. The reason I got caught with underwear falling out of my pants was because I was in a big hurry. When planning the design of your open concept floor plan, take your time! Think things out. Prepare a scale floor plan and measure your furniture. Skipping steps and rushing will only cause frustration later.
  2. Good thing I decided to double check my pants or I could have been dropping undergarments behind me, like Hansel and Gretel's bread crumbs, all day long. If you run into a problem or challenge during your design project stop what you are doing and explore your options before moving forward. You'll be much happier in the long run if you correct the mistake now and don't continue down a faulty path.
  3. Don't let a little static cling keep you from being a Rock Star! Sure, I had a little challenge with the wide open legs of my parachute pants, but I didn't let that stop me from wearing them out to a party the next weekend. A little Bounce dryer sheet with a thorough pre-party inspection and I was looking 1980's fabulous without losing my panties. Don't let design challenges bring you down. Set a plan for dealing with them and you will enjoy the results.

Below I have created a collage of products that have similar looks to design elements used in my rooms. If you want to recreate a similar look for your own home, you can click on the collage or the thumbnail links to shop online. Enjoy!


Thanks for stopping by! 

Dont forget to check out my Designerelish Crock Pot and Designerelish Pantry pages for more great design ideas to use in your own home.

Drop in next week when the design topic will be 
Going Under Ground: Elevating Your Lower Level

Sunday, March 24, 2013

So you found Prince Charming. Now where is he going to sleep?


Many little girls dream of the perfect princess bedroom; fantasizing about the poster bed with an ornate tester, pink and purple color palette, precious floral prints, and glitz galore. Although we may eventually give up on our tiara and magic wand ideations, as we become young career women, wives and/or mothers, we secretly never let go of our inner desire to live in a space fit for a princess.

The blessing and the problem comes for some of us when “Prince Charming “rides into our castle, tossing his shining armor on the chair and trampling on our royal décor with his white horse. Now someone else has to live and function in our fantasy home and he often dethrones our preconceived design sensibilities. Merging glamorous feminine style with masculine bravado can be an especially difficult dilemma when designing a particularly personal space like a shared bedroom.

Once upon a time I was a young woman. I married my “Prince Charming”, and we built our first “starter” castle together. The castle was nice, but fairly cookie cutter. All the walls where adorned in the not-so-royal shade of builder off-white and we had very little furnishings. We spent most of our free time trying to make our mark on the home. Gradually, we painted and furnished the rooms one at a time, starting with the public spaces; living room, dinning room, family room, and kitchen.

Suzy and Pat Ziller on their wedding day, May 28,1988

After two years of living in DIY bliss, I had given birth to our first heir, and was eight months pregnant with the spare. By this time all of our public spaces were looking fairly put together and we, of course, had the nursery and “Big Sister” room completed as well. It was finally time to take on the master bedroom. We had purchased a queen size, rice-carved, poster bed early on, but had never moved any further with the interior design. This was the moment I had dreamed of since girlhood. I was finally going to get my dream bedroom. Lucky for me, I was pregnant! Although my “Prince Charming” may have had an eye roll or two at my décor choices, there isn’t a husband alive who is brave enough to challenge a woman with swollen ankles, heartburn, insomnia, and Braxton Hicks contractions.

My mother handmade for us a beautiful black and rose quilt and that was to be my design inspiration.  Spending hours at the wallpaper store, mind you with a toddler in a dirty diaper making havoc in the play area, I painstakingly chose a large-scale wallpaper border with giant rose-colored cabbage roses and black accents. There would also be a rose and white stripe paper for the bathroom with a smaller cabbage rose companion border. Please don’t judge, keep in mind that this was the early 1990’s and I was, as always, on the cutting edge.

I sat on my little throne outside the bedroom door supervising; careful not to inhale any harmful paint fumes. My “Prince” rolled the walls in the perfect color of deep rose. Only much to my dread, when the paint dried it turned a shade of dark mauve that was reminiscent of a bad mother-of-the-bride dress.  I tried my best to convince him to repaint, but the fact that I was uncomfortably carrying his child was not enough leverage to get him to agree. However, with a flood of hormonal tears, I was able to talk him into trying this new and trendy paint technique called “sponge painting”. Again, please don’t judge.

Under my meticulous tutoring, he bitterly dipped an enormous sea sponge into white paint and dabbed it over every inch of the mauve. The result was a look that resembled giant, foggy, pink cotton balls and I was ECSTATIC! The next weekend we put up the wallpaper and the border, I made girly window treatments, and we bought two pink wingback chairs to complete the sitting area. I now had my early 1990’s dream bedroom and only an end to my false labor could have made me happier. Unfortunately, the glee would be short lived.

Dorsey Marie Ziller Born February 15, 1994
A few weeks later, I gave birth to our beautiful second daughter and we brought her home from the hospital. As is customary, we were bombarded with friends, family, and well-wishers all stopping by to see the new baby and bearing gifts. One morning the doorbell chimed and I was pleased to see one of my neighbors at the door with a smile on her face. She had small children of her own and we spent the next thirty minutes talking about labor and delivery, children, life, and home. Some how the topic of my newly decorated bedroom came up. She was dying to see it.  So with great pride I invited her upstairs to take a look at my other new baby.  Her reaction was not what I expected. Upon seeing the room she remarked, “It’s very pretty, but how in the world did you get Pat to agree to this. I could never get my husband to sleep in a pink room with all these flowers!”

I couldn’t believe what she had just said to me. Her pin just popped my bubble and I was so insulted.  How rude! Wasn’t the fact that I had just given birth to our second child evidence enough that I had absolutely no problem getting my husband to sleep in our bedroom? Fortunately, the baby began to fuss and my not-so-polite nieghbor politely excused her self and went home, leaving me doubting my choices in a post-décor-partum depression.

As time has passed, I can now laugh at my era-specific design choices and myself. In retrospect the room was extremely feminine. The fact that I had a wonderful “Prince Charming”, who cared more about me than where he slept, was not a good excuse for foisting my girly dream room upon him. Although I was quite indignant at the time, I must admit that my annoying neighbor’s words have stuck with me over the years.  Each time I start a new interior design project, I recall her words and ask myself, “Who will want to live in this space?” Now that my girl’s have left for college, it’s just me, my husband Pat, and son Cory. I am acutely aware that the testosterone outweighs the estrogen in my home at this point.

As I have matured in my design sense, I’ve realized that the best interior designs incorporate both feminine and masculine design elements. Well-designed rooms should be welcoming, appealing, and comfortable to all who spend time there. Good design has something for everyone, prince or princess alike.


Masculine vs. Feminine: Designing Shared Spaces

I am a firm believer that everyone should treat themselves to a beautifully decorated bedroom. So often, it is the most neglected room in our house. We tend to spend most of our time, energy, and budget on the public spaces in our home; convincing ourselves that nobody important spends time in our bedroom and that we should concentrate on the areas that entertain and impress our guests. I maintain that this is faulty thinking. 

Most of us only entertain guests once a month and some probably far less than that. However, we all use our own bedroom everyday. It is the place where we retire each evening to rest and recharge for the next hectic day and the first place we see when our eyes open in the morning. Our bedroom has always been my little place of quiet escape when the kids and the chores got overwhelming. It is a place for alone time and romance. We all need to tell ourselves that we are important and that we deserve a room that relaxes us at night, inspires us in the morning, and promotes romance in our relationship all year long.

Originally I thought that I might call this post "The best things I know, I learned in a hotel" but I didn't think my mother would approve. However, it is a very true statement for me when talking in terms of bedroom design concepts. I travel a lot for work and have stayed at all kinds of places, from the worst budget-hotel to the nicest four star establishment. My husband and I have also been fortunate enough to have taken some really nice trips prior to the onslaught of college tuition. It has been my personal goal to make our room feel like a very nice hotel. We all know how good a vacation makes us feel, well I am greedy and I want to feel like I am on vacation 365 nights a year. If you have a stressful job or existence, a well designed bedroom can change your life. Here are my tips for making your room a vacation spot.

  1. The hotel doesn't know if the guest checking in is a male or female, so the designer combines masculine, feminine, and neutral design elements in the execution of the room's decor. That way everyone feels welcome regardless of their gender. I recommend doing the same in your own room, especially if you share it with a person of the opposite sex.
  2. I have never seen a bed with a footboard in a hotel. I believe this is because a footboard makes it harder to change the bed linens and it takes up visual space making the room seem smaller. Opt for a dramatic headboard and avoid using a footboard. It will open up your space and make your chores easier.
  3. Often hotels have a bench at the end of the bed so guests can sit and remove their shoes or have a place to drop the items they are carrying. It finishes off the look of the bed like a footboard but is much more useful.
  4. After a hard days work when you return to your hotel room, the bed is always made and the room is always clean. Get in the habit of building ten extra minutes into your morning routine to make your bed and pick up your room. You'll thank yourself in the evening when you are tired and want an uncluttered space in which to relax.
  5. When making your bed, let your top sheet hang longer at the top so you can fold it over the edge of your bedspread, blanket, or comforter. That way the only thing that touches your face is the smooth sheet.
  6. Hotels only use white sheets. For that four star look and feel, donate those colored and printed sheets and buy yourself a set of white sheets in the highest thread count you can afford.
  7. Many hotels turn the covers and sheets down when making the bed. I find that very inviting. It's like the bed is just waiting there neatly and patiently for me to slip under the covers. Also, turning back and exposing the sheets contrasts the spread or comforter and adds layered interest to the look of the bedding.
  8. Hotels usually keep the artwork simple, not filling every inch of wall space. I recommend using only a few special pieces of artwork to keep the space feeling light, uncomplicated, and relaxed.
  9. And finally, I love those blackout curtains that many hotels have under their draperies. If you don't have blackout drapes, make sure you install good blinds or shades to keep out those pesky rays of light that ruin your occasional well deserved sleep-in.
When designing my own bedroom I have implemented all of these great hotel tips and it has made a big difference in my stress level. I have also made a lot of progress since my days of pink cabbage roses. My current bedroom now reflects both the feminine and the masculine point of view and my husband and I both feel equally at home in the space.

When we moved our life to Pittsburgh almost two years ago, we came with the large amount of  furnishings that a twenty-three year marriage accumulates. Although my greatroom dimensions required us to purchase new furnishings to fit the space, I knew we could not afford to start over with new in every room of the house. We had some really great pieces and I had to find ways to make them work with the new floor plan.  When renovating the master bedroom last summer I was successfully able to use pieces of furniture that we already owned.  In fact the only things that I purchased for this room were paint, new bedding, a second-hand occasional chair, ready made drapery panels and hardware, and a few accessories.

Years earlier I had swapped out my old, tall, four poster bed for this unique head board. In fact, the head board isn't really a head board at all. It's a large rustic wall mirror with a primitive painting at the top. The feminine touches in the floral painting and the sparkling glass are counter balanced by the masculinity of the rough hewn wood, square shape, and sheer massiveness of the mirror.
The coverlet's sheen and delicate embroidery give a lovely ladylike impression which is offset slightly by the neutral color. The ladies prevailed on the bedding but the gentlemen won the walls which are painted in boyish Copenhagen Blue (Sherwin Williams SW 0068).

The armoire, which houses a television set, was originally used in the great room of my old house. In this house the TV is built in over the fireplace so this grand old cabinet had lost it's home. Luckily, it works perfectly across from our bed and it counter balances the visual weight of the massive headboard. The wardrobe's simple detail and clean lines provide a manly ambiance.
Dont worry though, the artful display of colored jars girly it up just enough.

This antique dresser is a piece we have had for about twenty years. My husband and I bought it at an antique store in Cincinnati for about $350. It has lived in three homes with us and has the scars to prove it. Above it hangs an early 1900's mirror that belonged to my grandmother. Both pieces are simple and lean more toward the masculine. 

                          The women's touch is again brought in with the accessories. 

The vintage aqua planter has an art deco motif and provides a great place to hold miscellaneous necessities like my husbands wallet, keys, and sun glasses. The 1920's make-up jars and glass dresser tray lets everyone know there is a lady in the house.
These wedding photo's of my husband and I have sat on the dresser in our bedroom since the day we were married in 1988. They are very grateful to have survived the cabbage rose room and are ecstatic to look as young as ever in this new master bedroom.
The boys score a point with the simple burlap drapery panels and antique bronze hardware....
....while the girls counter with this dainty occasional chair. I purchased the chair from a second hand store for $45 dollars and recovered the seat. The cushion fabric is a pale blue, Greek Key pattern. The fabric is neutral like Switzerland; it doesn't take sides.
I tried to make sure that some of the vintage art pieces were depictions of couples. It's equal representation under the design law. I found this vintage print at a local antique store for $20. It was already framed and all the colors in the parasol worked perfectly with my room.
In addition to the walk-in closet, this room originally had a closet with sliding, mirrored, glass doors. The closet had a lot of space but the small door opening made most of it inaccessible. My husband and I demoed the closet and made the opening larger. Then he and I built in these beautiful wardrobes from Ikea and dressed them out with molding and antique bronze door pulls. We all want more romance in the bedroom and I think that one of most romantic things a man can do for a woman is give her a great closet!
When designing this room I almost bought a pair of second-hand chairs in a feminine yellow print fabric. However, I already had this pair of nice quality leather chairs that formerly lived downstairs in the basement man cave at the old house. I wasn't sure if they might be too manly for our room but when paired with the embroidered botanical throw pillows I thought they were just the right mix.

The Room's Accessories In Close-up

This reproduction Art Deco print, purchased at, hangs next to the armoire (left). 
Stacked hat boxes make a corner-filling vignette and are useful storage for out of season clothing and other important stuff. The cigar box purse is a great example of merging masculine and feminine (right).

Next to the bed, three smaller vintage pictures create a large piece of artwork when stacked by graduating size (left). The large ceramic birds, on both night stands generate dramatic symmetry. They were purchased for under $20 at Home Goods. A vintage pattern-glass candy dish holds my night time necessities; lip balm, reading glasses, and cell phone (right).

I am a silhouette addict and I must have one in every room. 

The Victorian fireside bench, that sits at the end of the bed, was inherited from my Uncle Roy. I have recovered the seat three times since owning it. This time, I used the pale blue, Greek Key fabric to coordinate with the occasional chair's seat cushion.

The neutral bedding purchased on sale from the Martha Stewart Collection at Macy's gets a pop of color with throw pillows bought at Pier 1.

As you can see I have come a long way since my days of wallpaper roses and girly pink chairs. It's been a lengthy journey but I have learned from my experiences along the way. I've learned that living like your on vacation is better than living for your vacation, I've learned that sometimes you need to treat yourself with the same graciousness that you give to your guests, and I have learned that a feminine room designed for a princess isn't really my dream room after all.

If you've been inspired by my master bedroom and would like to shop for similar items that you can purchase for your own home, just click on the thumbnail links below. Enjoy!

Designerelish Master Bedroom Accessories

Thanks for stopping by! 
Drop in next week when the design topic will be 
Wide Open Spaces: Creating Interesting Harmony
Don't forget to visit my Designerelish Crock Pot and Pantry pages 
for more design ideas that you can use in your own home!
Powered by Blogger.