Whether it reminds you of your granny, of dresses from when you were three or of hundreds of years of royals, velvet is a fabric that lends pomp and circumstance to whatever it touches. A bit romantic, a bit old-fashioned, always a little bit sensual, I love the way that velvet can class-up any piece of furniture, or an outfit. When well-chosen, it’s dreamy and elevated, mysterious or regal. My favourites are lushly- upholstered slipper chairs and headboards, a nice roll-armed sofa, or in more unexpected places…
Our guest suite is an eclectic blend of global inspired pieces, unified by a palette of white, green and teal. Gilded metals and lots of texture help to make it an polished, but relaxing space. One corner of the room is a sleek home office, where a glossy Ikea desk is a work space, or dressing table for guests; the room is also full of books and plentiful throw cushions, perfect for propping up in bed and reading. Admittedly, our pillows are much nicer than the ones I included in the mood board (pictured above), but the overall vibe is the same. Sweet and serene. With souvenirs, original art and a sepia toned map of the world that charts our travels, this room is really going places. It’s a far cry from the dark, forest green room full of hockey paraphanelia that was the former home owner’s shrine to… nineties suburban decor.
People said, “Don’t paint your powder room an obnoxious colour.” I assume by ‘obnoxious’ (see also, bold, vibrant, individual) they meant fuscia, the bold, unsellable to anyone but you, shade of raspberry that I chose for our main floor bathroom. I promptly ignored this advice and painted the walls ‘Fandango’. Every bit as dramatic as the name.
In this small space, with white toilet and pedestal sink, chrome faucet and taps, the punchy colour is overwhelming… in the best way possible. So, I didn’t stop there: I loaded every wall with framed photos, everything from pictures of our parents as glowing youth, photos of the cat, magazine tear sheets and anything that caught our fancy. Throw in a gorgeous hand woven towel from Greece, white with flecks of red, green, yellow, pink; a scarf (also hand-woven) from India, in white, but bordered in purple, red and other lush hues, with tassels at one end – made into a window treatment; the vanity mirror is a black painted wood frame, intricately carved; purple glass votives and bud vases line the window sill. It’s over the top, but somehow really works.
It’s always evolving and new pieces find their way to the wall as we acquire them. Don’t be afraid of colour, especially not in tiny spaces.
I finally have my dream bedroom. Bed: West Elm. Bedding: mix and match, tapestries, quilts and throw pillows. A big white duvet. Chair: a slipper chair from my granny. Bed side tables: painted antiques and an IKEA standard. Paintings: Frida Kahlo inspired piece from my sister in law and a piece from my Granny’s collection.
Our custom couples portrait. A chair from Jamaica is nestled into the corner and was painted white to soften the original black frame. Jewellery boxes and framed photos add personality to the dresser.
This piece was painted by my sister-in-law and was exactly what we’d hoped for.
Girl with red stockings in chair. An original oil painting from my grandmother’s collection.
I’m a pillow queen (pun intended).
A restored slipper chair, originally from my grandparents’ home. Painted antique washstand and hat box for storage.
One of the tapestries we drape across the bed is a cream and gold metallic ‘Thinking Eye’ piece from Urban Outfitters. The pillows are raw cotton with printed flora and fauna. Gilt mirrors on either side of the bed were picked up for a dime and repaired with paint to fix their chipped edges. Frames from world travel and art with safari animals (above the bedside tables) brings a global vibe to the girly master bedroom.
The chandelier was moved from our dining room, repainted white and hung in the center of the room for great illumination. Depending on the bedding we choose, we can take this from a crisp all-white bed scape, to a mauve and brown with feather trimmed pillows, or bright green and gold, woven Aztek blanket and mismatched pillows or even further – by adding a large scale print of a pair of cockatoos in a jungle setting, with bright woven cushions, this place feels just like a Hawaiian beach escape.
Repurposed old book shelves now house first edition literature, candles, bird cages and paper bouquets.
Pretty bottles, bound books and calling card cases from my granny (bottom right).
Shelves from my wife’s old apartment provide a place to display paper bouquets from our wedding, perfume bottles and my grandparents’ old editions of Jane Austen and Shakespeare, beautifully detailed with gilt gold lettering. The the heavy dark wood dresser is an antique with carved details and big white knobs. Either side of the bed has sheepskin rugs to cushion cold feet in the morning.
Lots of patterns, bright colour, textures and mixed materials – bother old and new- combine to create a retreat that feels like a restful haven. White walls keep this room serene, even with the busy patterns, wood floors gleam and a big double window to the right of the bed lets light in, unless the blackout curtains, in patterned white, are drawn to shut daylight out. It’s a place I like to come to at the end of the day, and definitely a change from the dark beige walls I inherited from the previous owner!