Monday, July 2, 2012

Two Sisters, Two Bedrooms

Earlier this winter, I had the opportunity to help sisters Hannah and Sarah redecorate their bedrooms.

Do you remember the bedroom of your youth?  If you were like me… and Hannah and Sarah… your bedroom was used for much more than just sleeping.  It was probably the place you read and studied, completed your homework and daydreamed and played, dressed and primped, entertained friends and hoarded all your stuff!  It was a haven… a little escape from parents and other siblings.  And it was probably the one space in the house where you had some control over décor.

Hannah and Sarah’s parents wanted to provide them with more organized rooms that could serve all the functions listed above, reflect the girls’ individual spirits and be stylish enough to last for many years.  The sisters needed significantly more storage, display areas and lamplight.  And we hoped to redecorate rather quickly, so we sourced sturdy, flexible furniture and accessories from affordable companies like West Elm, Pottery Barn and IKEA.  Instead of shopping for only “kids” or “teen” gear, we looked for adult furniture with simple lines and a smaller scale and relied on hand-me-downs that had already worn well.

Hannah’s Room
Hannah has the smallest room in the house, and the goal was to make it feel larger and calmer by introducing symmetry, defining tableaux within the room and offering a variety of storage options.  We centered Hannah’s new bed on the only uninterrupted wall and flanked it with small, matching storage chests and petite lamps.
A tall wood bed from West Elm is much more durable than a metal frame
but without the confines of a three-sided daybed.
A wicker trunk from Mom’s single days serves as ottoman or coffee table but can be moved easily if friends want to sleep over.  The coordinating chest of drawers still looks great and stores a ton of clothes.  It is surrounded by cherished family photos and new bulletin boards where Hannah can post other photos and mementos.
Hannah’s Parsons desk is positioned in front of her large window to take advantage of natural light and a view of the garden.  Fringed burlap draperies frame the scene.  A Parsons shelf fits perfectly in the space between her bedroom and closet doors.  Hannah used to have to store her collectibles and trophies in the closet!

Hannah is interested in nature and Asian cultures, and as we worked on her room, I kept thinking about the colors of a sunny day… clear blues and greens, soft yellow, all grounded by earthy browns.  We chose Benjamin Moore’s Bird’s Egg for her walls.
Bed linens and decorative pillows, some hand printed, are organic cotton that remind me of vintage kimono fabrics.  A favorite lamp from her grandmother lends a little history.

Although there’s a lot of pattern, it’s texture that dominates the décor: the lacquer-like finishes of painted furniture contrast with soft cotton, rustic cork and burlap, crinkly paper lampshades and thick wicker.  The room is at once cheerful and peaceful, chic without being trendy.

Sarah’s Room
Sarah’s décor was kind of stuck in “little girl mode”.  The furniture was too small to serve her needs and she lacked a workspace.  She had compiled inspiration pictures of pretty Swedish bedrooms… very white and silvery, but she was also drawn to bold graphics.
Before we started, this was Sarah's only drawer space and table surface.
Instead of traditional white-washed walls, we chose Benjamin Moore’s Spring Iris for a soft, slightly shimmery cocoon.
We upgraded Sarah’s twin bed to a full, and as in Hannah’s room, placed it on the least-interrupted wall to create a focal point.  An upholstered headboard from Ballard Designs gives it a more finished look.  And a slipcover extends the life and usability of the headboard: it can be easily cleaned when dirty or replaced if she wants an update.
Sarah’s wish list included a chandelier over her bed, and this tiny one in metal and crystal adds humor and glamour.  Plus the extra light is vital for night time reading and studying.  The chandelier is simply hung from a plant hook in the ceiling.  A regular lamp plug was attached to the chandelier’s hardwiring and a silk cord cover dresses up the long stretch of cord.
New bed linens include a washable silk quilt in muted gray.  And a double dresser and desk, handed down from Hannah, were freshened up with glossy paint in a much paler, hazy-cloud-gray.  The new shelving units, stationed on either side of the window and desk, provide much-needed storage and display space.  The window is actually off-center, so we had to find coordinating bookcases in two different widths.  At a glance, they look like twins.

Floral fabrics and accessories, in purple, orchid, charcoal and black with white backgrounds, are simple and strong, and take inspiration from almost deconstructed Art Deco patterns instead of the blousy, sunwashed florals typically used in bedrooms.  Once again, white textiles and blond wood are used as accents to pull everything together without looking too precious.

I think the bedroom we created successfully combines everything Sarah wanted.  It is feminine but not frilly.  It contains a few grown-up elements but is still practical enough for heavy, everyday use.
Admit it, you'd love a microphone in your room as well.
It was great fun to help Hannah and Sarah redecorate.  But we must say a “big thanks” to their mom and dad who tracked down accessories, dealt with online orders and assembled furniture to make the rooms wonderful and witty in a very short amount of time!

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous! Moving back to VA next summer!! I will need a decorator!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.