Friday, August 26, 2011

Bedrooms 101

master bedroom with four-poster bed

When decorating the bedroom -- the one room in the house meant for relaxation and rejuvenation -- simplicity is the key to serenity. So no matter what your particular style is, all you need to do to create a sumptuous oasis is heed a few basic but important design ideas.

blue and white bedroom

Paint Color
First, start with the paint color, aiming for a restful hue. "If you paint your bedroom red, it’s a hot and fiery place," says Diane Burnett of Renaissance Interiors. "Choose soothing colors. Use the colors of the lake or the ocean on the walls. If not on the walls, then use this color palette for your bedding. Or use a shade of brown, which is a warm, comforting color. And it’s always nice to mix cool colors with warm colors."
Lisa Flake of Caldwell-Flake Interiors advises her clients to paint their bedrooms white. "White is a soft, relaxing color. But if you don’t like white, soft blues and grays work well to create a serene setting." Some of her favorites include Benjamin Moore’s Gray Cashmere,  Martin Senour’s Smokescreen and Tidewater, and Sherwin-Williams’ Linen Cloth. And don’t forget the ceiling when painting your bedroom. Make this commonly overlooked area a focal point by painting it a lighter shade of the wall color.

bedroom with gold draperies and bedding

Bedding Basics
A canopy or tented bed creates a sense of luxury and privacy, while an upholstered headboard ensures a comfortable spot to read. Flake prefers soft headboards and says for those who like a lot of pillows, hide the functional pillows behind a couple of square European shams, then place two king-size pillows in front before completing the luxurious look with a 60- or 76-inch bolster pillow about 10 inches in diameter. For a more minimalist approach, hide the functional pillows underneath the bed in a storage box, and simply place the bolster pillow against the upholstered headboard.
For both styles, fold the duvet at the foot of the bed or place underneath the coverlet. A bench at the end of the bed is convenient for changing shoes, or a simple footstool facilitates getting in and out of bed. A bedroom rug doesn’t necessarily have to be large: A small rug beside the bed provides a soft landing and the perfect place to wipe feet before slipping into the sheets.
Fabulous linens help set an indulgent mood in your tranquil retreat. Dress your bed with high-threadcount cotton sheets in the summer and flannel sheets in the winter. Use solid colors instead of busy patterns, preferably white or beige. Tranquil pale blue or light greens work, but avoid bright colors. Make sure your blanket blends with the sheet color, so when the bed is turned down, you’re presented with an array of similar shades.

Wreaths of fresh greenery bring a touch of the holidays into this New Orleans master bedroom, which features a 19th-century English four-poster bed.

Furniture Placement
Arrange the bedroom with furniture that fits the scale of the room. If you have low ceilings, a large four-poster bed is overbearing, so choose a low headboard instead. However, if you have high ceilings, a tall bed is perfect. Always opt for a bedside table that is the appropriate height for reaching your book or glass without fumbling. Flake says the standard height for a bedside table is 28 to 30 inches and the typical bed is 30 inches high. Flake likes a pair of lamps, but if you mix and match different sizes, stacking books under the shorter lamp is an easy way to make the two lamps the same height. Also, arrange furniture with adequate spacing between pieces to keep from overcrowding. In a small bedroom, an oversized mirror propped against the wall gives the space a larger feel. If you have room, create a special sitting space to curl up with a good book in a cozy chair next to a small table and reading lamp.

When decorating this Mexican hideaway, designer Myra Hoefer wanted the house to look like it had been abandoned years ago, and the sand and sea had swept over it. All of the items in the house would have been washed up from a shipwreck on the beach. “Spanish settlers would have brought these beds over with them,” Hoefer says of this iron four-poster bed with an almost colonial look to it.

Lighting Options
Different sources of light for different functions are important. Recessed lighting on a dimmer allows you to control the overall mood. A table light on a chest evokes a pleasing atmosphere, and two pin lights on each side over the bed on different switches allows one person to sleep while another one reads. Window treatments, whether draperies (with blackout linings), shades, or shutters, need to darken the room enough for a peaceful rest if you are not feeling well or lucky enough to be sleeping in.

Sweet Guest Bedroom

Simple, Organized Space
Do not over-accessorize your sacred space with too many dusty trinkets. Rid your bedroom of any pesky children’s toys, and forbid from entering your sanctuary all unnecessary technological intrusions such as computers, cell phones, or even telephones. (Place the telephone nearby in the hallway.) Bedside tables with drawers or doors work well to keep your reading matter, glasses, lotion, and other sundry items hidden. Keep out-of-season blankets, extra pillows, and your yoga mat in a trunk at the end of the bed or in storage boxes under the bed concealed by a dust ruffle.
A well-organized, clean closet is imperative to streamlining your morning ritual. Dressing for success is not supposed to be the first stressful event of your day, so hang clothes in the same direction while grouping them by colors and categories. Display a few of your treasured keepsakes and special family photographs on your dresser. Surround yourself with your favorite art hanging on the walls. Fresh flowers are always nice, but silk flowers work as well.
By incorporating a few simple design concepts, wake up each morning and fall asleep each night in the comforting cocoon you now call your bedroom.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Slip Cover Style



Slipcovers can be made from so much more than cotton. Sure Fit offers soft leather options like the slipcovers seen on this sofa and ottoman.


Are you holding on to chairs that don't work with your new decorating style? Help them make the transition by adding a pain-free slipcover. Photo courtesy of Sure Fit.


The ottoman, dining chairs, easy chair and sofas in this warm living room are all covered in slipcovers from Sure Fit.



Overlay your cream slipcovers with bright colors and patterns. From polka dots to stripes, this energetic living room design boasts an array of textures and patterns. When mixing patterns, having a constant color or design will help ground the space and bring all the pieces together. In this particular area, brown is used repeatedly and helps build a unified space. Design by Claire Watkins


White slipcovers are the perfect backdrop to a colorful assortment of pillows. In this Spanish-style living room, rustic red and burnt-orange pillows are laid on top for an added splash of color.

easy living great room

Slipcovers are a great choice in high-traffic areas. In this living space, oatmeal-colored slipcovers not only refresh the look of the furniture, they also protect the pieces from spills and stains. Design by Susan Fredman


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Under the Stars

Penthouse suite terrace, AKA Central Park, New York City (© Halkin Photography LLC/Courtesy of AKA Central Park)

How many travelers can peer at the legendary Manhattan cityscape from their outdoor beds? My guess is that the number is small, perhaps restricted to those who stay at AKA Central Park, a New York apartment hotel that offers the option of outdoor terrace beds for those who book penthouse suites. The hotel also has indoor bedrooms for nights when the weather is inclement. The package includes the loan of a telescope, helpful for spying on stars in the neighborhood, if not the ones in the sky; too much light in midtown Manhattan for the latter.
Star bed, Loisaba Wilderness, Nanyuki, Kenya (© Loisaba Wilderness)
Camping out is fun, but it’s also possible to eat and sleep under the stars in comfort and style. Here are some hotel and restaurant options from New York to Kenya.

“Star beds” — the name says it all. At this combination resort and working cattle ranch at
Loisaba Wilderness Lodge in Kenya, guests retire each night to open-air beds set on platforms 10 feet above the ground and about 100 feet from the next guest to guarantee privacy. You’ll sleep extremely well; the beds are cushy and the days are highly active with camel safaris, game drives, mountain biking and visits to nearby Masai villages, some of which are home to the staff here. Profits from the resort go to support conservation efforts in the area.

Ocean-view yurt, Treebones Resort, Big Sur, Calif. (© Treebones Resort)

I highly recommend visiting the Pavillion Rooftop Bar in Charleston SC, lovely panoramic view of Charleston and the harbor. It is located on the top of the Pavillion Hotel near the market.
Make like a bird and sleep in a human-sized nest at Treebones Resort, Big Sur, Calif. Or go Mongolian in a yurt, a tentlike dwelling of wood lattice and fabric that allows guests to enjoy the stars through sky domes. Those are two of the options, along with regular camping, that this very "green" resort, set on one of the most glorious stretches of the California coast, offers its guests. Visitors spend their days sea kayaking, trekking through redwood forests, attending concerts, dining at the resort’s organic restaurant or kicking back with in-yurt massages. A haven of tranquility.
Casa Triangular, Hix Island House, Vieques, Puerto Rico (© Hix Island House)
“The outdoors become indoors,” promise the folks at Hix Island House, an innovative Caribbean resort in Vieques, Puerto Rico, which offers chic, minimalist concrete lofts with rolling metal doors to allow nature unfettered access to the rooms. Beds are swathed in mosquito netting and Frette linens to keep guests comfortable; showers are open-air.  Located in a serene nature preserve on this lightly developed island, this isn’t the place for partiers. But if your idea of big excitement is a yoga class in the morning and bird watching in the afternoon, you’ll enjoy the vibe here.
Outdoor movie & dining, Foreign Cinema, San Francisco (Courtesy of Foreign Cinema)
You don’t have to worry about keeping your date entertained when you dine at Foreign Cinema, a hip Mission Dolores neighborhood eatery in San Francisco. Instead you can watch one of the movies, complete with subtitles, being screened on the wall of the outdoor garden. You may find it hard, however, to peel your eyes from the food which is terrific and includes fine local vegetables and seafood. This is one of California’s most fun and most gourmet outdoor eating experiences.
Chris, I want to go here the next time we are in SF, have you been here Son?
Sky Terrace, Amangiri Resort, Canyon Point, Utah (Courtesy of Amanresorts)
Not only will you gaze at the moon from the comfort of your open-air bed, you’ll feel as if you’ve landed on the moon itself, so austere and stark are the striated rocks and mesas that surround this opulent resort. Those who book an Amangiri suite have the option of sleeping on the “sky terrace,” which features beds protected by three walls and covered with comforters thick enough to take on the desert chill once the sun has set. Amangiri Resort in Canyon Point, Utah, is within driving distance of the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Grand Staircase-Escalante national parks, as well as Lake Powell.
Open roof bedroom, L'Albereta Relais & Chateaux, Erbusco, Italy (©  L'Albereta Relais & Chateaux)
It’s the height of romance: a four-poster bed covered with fine linens and above it, a sliding ceiling that can be opened for a view of the stars. For those who book this resort’s Honey suite in L’Albereta, Erbusco, Italy, the starry sleep is just the end of an aesthetically pleasing day spent enjoying treatments at the on-site spa, wandering the resort’s vineyards, tasting the superb wines created here and dining at L’Albereta’s Michelin-starred restaurant. The resort is approximately an hour’s drive from Milan.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fall Colors

Fall Trends 2011

A soft, neutral color palette is given a refreshing and fall-inspired burst of color with hues of orange, copper and wine.



 By tying in bronze hues from the ceiling, wallpaper and draperies, she emits a calming, yet formal atmosphere.



This formal entryway was given a cultural awakening and a splash of our favorite fall hues. The columns display a copper tone also reflected in the floor-to-ceiling draperies. A warm, red Venetian plaster surrounds the focal point of the room: a framed Indian textile. A soft golden wall color tones down the bold orange sofa and red room accessories.



Chocolate-brown furniture and accessories complement the large pumpkin-orange sofa and surrounding beige walls. An animal-print area rug pulls in the entire palette for a unique and funky twist.

traditional carefree living room

A fall-inspired orange accent color adds vibrancy to the tan walls and gray fireplace surround. Exotic patterns, colorful fabrics and sheer chocolate-brown draperies make this space elegant and visually appealing.

curved staircase carves out space for ornate bar

Designer Shelly Riehl David uses a vibrant color palette in this hideaway bar tucked under an elaborate staircase. Yellow-green walls soften the deep brown cabinetry and pink-striped barstools. Hues of forest green and wine in the barstool fabric display a warm, seasonal flair.