Old world meets modern; The Master Bedroom
There are bedrooms and then there are MASTER bedrooms. This is one of those. Maybe its the size, the amount of windows/light or maybe its the beauty of each antique piece – I don’t know. Maybe its the fact that once it’s obsessively styled and beautifully shot it is forever clean and just so perfect in my mind. I’m sure they don’t style the bed each morning and they probably have clothes laying on the bench at times, etc, but in my mind this bedroom always just feels like a pretty boutique hotel room in the South of France. And I want to go to there.
Shana, my client, has great taste and already had some pretty amazing pieces to work with. We just helped with the execution and pulled it all together (check out their living room and guest room)
When we met this room it looked like this:
Could be worse, obviously, but it was just big, blue and intense like 1997 prom dress, with less cleavage. We didn’t have to do anything structural to it – it needed to be painted, the floors need to be refinished and that was pretty much it.
We painted the walls ‘Swiss Coffee’ (a pretty warm white, that goes beige if you aren’t careful), and we painted the window frames that dark gray called ‘Deep Space’ (by Benjamin Moore). You might be surprised that I did that because generally I’m more of a fan of white frames and often painting window frames just creates big squares in the room. but these frames and mullions were wood and metal, and there were other dark wrought iron accents in the house (namely the living room and the upcoming dining nook) that simply wanted to be dark gray. I actually love how it broke up the space, accentuated the architecture and added drama.
We started decorating, by bringing in the pieces that she already had and supplementing with some new pieces. She makes me look VERY good because in this room in particular she had a lot of these pieces already. The bed is from Restoration hardware, and it is big and soft and jut so incredibly inviting, and the rug is a huge sisal that honestly I don’t remember where we purchased (maybe she already had it?). But everything else here is vintage or antique. So we started playing and playing.
Ready for a really sunny, bright new master bedroom? I rarely gush about my own work, but we just shot this last friday and going back into that room gave me a such a rush of calmness and pride. It’s just so big, warm, high-end and yet totally comfortable and laid back. It’s not the current style in my house but man, there is a huge part of me that wants to buy an old Hollywood Spanish-style house and get my old world on. Next house. Next house.
Click through to see the after …
There she is. It’s hard to go wrong with a room with 6 double windows, right? I think it works on a few different levels: The finishes are all warm and worn in, so while it is this beautiful high-end bedroom it doesn’t feel crazy luxe and pretentious. There is a good mix of warm tones – the light taupe walls, the wood flooring, the bedding, the theater seats, and cooler tones – the blues on the bed, the gray of the windows and the dark steel of the dresser. The french night stands are really delicate and feminine, and the dark dresser and the theater seats shake it up and keep it from going to girly.
Really this room is all about a simple neutral palette, with a healthy dose of darker tones and more modern things layered on top of it. Last time we shot it (for the book) it was completely neutral and I kinda loved that, too, but when we came back she had added those beautiful blue linens and I was obviously really happy. For a neutral room it has a lot of soul – probably because the dresser, chair, side tables and theatre seating are all really worn and aged.
I found those lamps at Inheritance and man, I love them. Yes, they are planters. She admittedly (accidentally) kills them every couple of months but just replants them, and they add a lot of life to the room. And they are weird and every room needs a bit of weird.
I don’t know too much about French antiques but those nightstands are so ornate and beautiful, what with their caning and all. It’s just refreshing to work with people who are young and hip, but embrace old world antiques. Sure those pillows are clearly hip right now (I sound like a mom, so ‘hip’!), as is the industrial furniture, but the nightstand and the chair take everything into such an interesting direction and I think make this space look really unique, and still modern.
The dresser is from Big Daddy’s and it makes a pretty good case for aged steel. It’s just so indestructible and has so much character.
The theater seats were purchased off One Kings Lane. We played with them in a few different locations before deciding that this bedroom needed something to shake it up and add some edge. These speak to the industrial style of the dresser and media unit, and add warmth with the dark brown tone.
Plus clearly this massive tv needed some theater seats.
The old Emily wouldn’t have taken (or posted) this shot, but the new Emily (since I’ve had a home) is obsessed with showing all sides of the room because that’s what I want to see in magazines or other blogs. I think it bums photographers out because obviously this would never be in anyones portfolio, but its such good information. Tessa is always an amazing sport and she does a great job of capturing the whole room, tv wall and all.
In case you are thinking, ‘Why is there a huge TV in their bedroom?’, I’d like to remind you of two things: 1.they are both filmmakers, and 2. they chose to not have a TV in their formal living room. They have one in their basement, which is a playroom/family room, but this is where they hang and watch movies at night.
Meanwhile on the last side of the room you’ll see the entrance into the master bathroom, which I’ll get to later, but i’d like to be in there right now taking a bath.
That chair in the corner is funny because during the process there were days where I really wanted to recover it in a simple pretty linen – like a ticking stripe or a solid cream, but other days when I loved how original and old it was. This is one of those days. I think it adds a lot of age and soul into this room. I think when you have a beautiful bed, perfect drapery, matching side tables, etc, the room starts rushing towards ‘perfect’ really fast, and this quirky antique piece just does something really beautiful to the room.
Again, most of the pieces in the room are one of a kind, but there are a few items that are new and purchasable (in the ‘get the look’). Remember if you are going to for this look (especially the look for less) that anything too faux aged can be tricky and needs to be mixed with some actual antiques. I think that Wisteria, Restoration hardware and Pottery Barn all do ‘old world’ just fine, especially for large retailers, but getting an old world feel with only new pieces can be tricky (and can look tacky) to say the least so make sure you are mixing in a lot of antiques. They don’t have to literally be 19th century french, but even if they are just more rustic pretty American antique pieces, it will help the room feel more authentic, and give it more integrity and soul. And that’s my lecture for the day.
The only thing I would change is the ceiling fan. This was the one that the contractor already had purchased (probably left over from another job) and they installed it. We had intentions of upgrading it, but just kinda ran out of time (baby came) and will. Do I wish it was a beautiful ceiling fan? Sure, but its so not bad.
We pulled together a couple get the look boards for your viewing and shopping pleasure.
So, there’s the master bedroom – one of my favorites in all of the land. I’m still working on our bedroom (we’ve had some hiccups) and there are days when I just want to pack it up, crawl into this bed, slowly nudge them off of the bed, roll them down the hallway and put them to sleep in their guest room. I suppose I’d have to drug them first, but then that bedroom will be mine and I will sleep like a little french angel.
*All those beautiful photos are by the lovely Tessa Neustadt