Every once in a while you get an assignment that terrifies and thrills you to your very core. It keeps you awake at night. Then, the moment you fall asleep you have a stress dream and wake up, PANTING. I had an experience like this recently while designing the master bedroom at Jaime Derringer’s gorgeous Southern California home. I’ve known Jaime for a few years (after meeting her with Emily at Alt Summit a few years ago, I fell in love with her immediately).
For those of you who don’t know Jaime, she’s a major power hitter in the world of design content. She singlehandedly created the site DesignMilk, which has become the online authority for modern design inspiration (in addition to Emily and Homepolish of course). Jaime is a super smart woman with a quick wit and an INSANE amount of talent. She’s a writer, a curator, a boss, a mother, and an incredible artist. Needless to say, I was terrified to design her bedroom.
Why, you ask?
It’s one thing to design for non-designy people. They’re usually very appreciative of almost all my ideas. But the notion of designing for someone who lives and breathes design was slightly more daunting. Jaime knows her stuff, so I had to be on my game to impress her and knock her socks off with a design that represented her (very advanced) aesthetic.
Jaime moved out to California a few years ago with her husband and their daughter (who looks exactly like her and is literally the most dynamic and charming human being I have ever met). They moved into a gorgeous, light-filled home that was kind of a blank slate. Jaime has done an incredible job decorating the rest of the house, but felt stumped when it came to her bedroom.
I know what you’re thinking. That I closed the window treatments for these photos to make it look more depressing and lame. But no, Jaime sent me those pics. IT WAS ALL HER, PEOPLE. I may be exposing something I shouldn’t here, but she’s one of those people who doesn’t always open their blinds. So I’m writing this right here, right now to tell her once and for all that I want her to open her blinds and LET IN THE LIGHT. That’s right, I just online bullied the inventor of DesignMilk. I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE.
Where was I? Oh yeah, it was a dark and dreary night in Jaime’s bedroom. Even though it was noon. Her goal was to give the room a little more life without freaking out her husband, who has more classic taste than she does (to get an idea of Jaime’s aesthetic, check out her GORGEOUS art. And then buy some). Her husband is a laid back lawyer who didn’t necessarily want to have laser beams shooting all over his bedroom like Jaime and I did. Gurl, we crazy.
Because I’m obsessed with Jaime’s art, I wanted to use it and nothing else in the bedroom. Because she is a totally humble, normal human being she thought that would be weird and wanted to use her bedroom to showcase the work of another artist. She’s literally a saint you guys. Is it weird that I’m gushing over her so much? I’m uncomfortable. We ended up choosing a gorgeous piece by Aimie Herbert from Saatchi, which hangs over the dresser and looks great.
We decided the best way to incorporate her art was to do a mural above her bed. We mulled over this idea for a long time (check out our Pinterest board to see other ideas we were exploring). The added benefit to doing a big mural above a bed, especially if you’re in California, is that it won’t fall off the wall and cut your head off during an earthquake, leaving your decapitated head on your pillow to terrify your boyfriend when he wakes up and you’re still talking even though your body and head aren’t attached to each other.
This process was pretty simple. Basically we played with shapes by taping them out onto the wall, then pressed the tape firmly into place once we’d made our decision. We painted three layers of paint to make sure the colors were consistent and perfect. The colors are Benjamin Moore Thousand Oceans and Benjamin Moore Dusk to Dawn.
Here is where I remind you of one of the most common lies told by the media. Have you seen commercials for tape where they rip off the tape after painting and the edge is perfect and amazing and they’re totally done with their painting project and they get to sit down and drink wine, give a little smug shrug, and be all pleased with themselves? That literally never happens in real life. In real life, no matter how hard you press on the tape or how tenderly you paint, there will always be a little bleed and the line will not be perfect. It’s just a fact of life. So the best thing to do is to get a little flat edge art brush and fix the areas that bled, like Jaime did here. DON’T BE DESTROYED BY UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS OF WHAT IT’S LIKE TO USE PAINTERS TAPE.
This bed, (that Jaime found at Clay’s Classics) which I’m obsessed with, caused a considerable amount of stress for both Jaime and me. For Jaime, the stress came from the fact that it came in the wrong fabric even though neither of us approved it. For me, the stress came in that all this happened while I was on the first vacation I’ve taken in my adult life, and I was trying to fix this problem from Paris with a vendor that “doesn’t do email, ” no cell service, and a time difference of a million hours. I literally lost three nights of sleep about this bed, worrying that my client was going to get over charged for a mistake that wasn’t ours. It was a big deal, because any time you’re spending someone else’s money, you feel bad when something goes wrong and you want to make it right immediately.
The mix up with the bed ended up being a hugely stressful thing that overtook my vacation with phone calls in the middle of the night and constantly trying to get in contact with the manufacturer for days one end. Which was a really good thing in the end. Because it kind of helped me figure out how to deal with the stressful things that come up in design and in life. I tend to be a very high strung person and I take things very personally, especially when I’m worried I’ve disappointed a client. As Emily used to say “Well, nobody died!” Sometimes you have to put things that stress your out into perspective and trust that you’ll figure out how to make things right, for yourself and for your client. (It worked out in the end, the vendor ended up reupholstering the bed into the original correct fabric, and Jaime dealt with the whole thing like a champ). These are the things that keep designers up at night, people. WE ARE ALL HUGELY AFRAID OF DISAPPOINTING PEOPLE.
I loved this dresser for Jaime, because it’s totally NOW but also has some mid-century references. It’s from CB2 and the light color of the wood perfectly compliments the bright, airy color palette we went for in the room.
Shown above (clockwise): Throw from Happy Habitat, Tray from A+R, Glass Knot from West Elm, Black Pyramids from AllModern, Black and Brass Ball Sculpture from AllModern, Succulent from Home Depot, Brass Hands from AllModern.
The sumptuous drapery we added from Barn & Willow added some contrast and softness to the room and was way fuller and more luxe than we expected (we actually replaced the curtain rods to thicker, more substantial ones after the shoot to support the full black out drapes). The pink sofa from CB2 gave us an opportunity to add a little pop and also to occupy the large space at the end of the bed. People often don’t know what to do at the end of their beds, so I recommended a sofa even though Jaime figured they’re probably just lay in bed to watch tv. Sometimes, you have to decorate for the life you want, not the life you have. So that you can look at your sofa ever day and imagine yourself luxuriating on it, eating macaroons and drinking tea while yelling at man servants to rub your feet.
Jaime is an avid runner, so we moved this bench from her living room to give her a place to tie her vibrant running sneakers. We also snagged this 90z modern planter from Home Depot to liven up the bench area. The geometric ball sculpture is from AllModern).
That’s it people. Jaime’s new bedroom. I’m sorry for shaming you about the keeping your blinds closed thing, Jaime. It’s not your fault you’re a vampire.
For more from The Design Milk Makeover: Family Room