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Sunday, January 9, 2011

What makes a restful bedroom

I am working on a master bedroom just now for a wonderful client, a couple I like very much.  I feel responsible for not only creating good design, and a custom built in, but for a retreat from their hectic life. 

My bedroom which I share with my husband has creamy colors, monochromatic all but the golden fir floor and oriental rug.  I lie in bed, on the puffy mattress pad, listening to trains off in the distance, the creaking of this 1912 house, my cats purr and a few snores from my sweetheart - and the aches and worries of the day are absorbed and obliterated. 

What do you have on your bedside table?

Last year I designed a high padded headboard with a beautiful sconce buit-in.  Low enough for reading light, high enough to clear arm -over -head sleepers. This allows for more essentials to be at the bedside; a good book or two, a magazine, poetry, love letters, hand lotion.  I also like an essential oil, vanilla jasmine my favorite right now.  A clock, a family photo, and maybe a small bouquet.

I don't think bedrooms need to me huge.  I love older homes where dressing rooms and sitting rooms are separate.  I grew up near such a house in Darien Connecticut.  The house was a stone front colonial revival circa 1923.  I still think of that house; the wrapped grand staircase, the double living rooms decorated in Sister Parish tradition and a den.  Off the master bedroom was place to dress.  The bedroom itself was a soft wedgwood blue with antique furniture,  huge bed, a chair and ottoman and two bedside tables.  The dresser and vanity table as well as all the many closets were through a mirrored hall, so the bedroom was kept neat, clothing free and very relaxing.

I never hang big frames or objects over a bed.  After all, I live here in earthquake country.  And at a recent hotel stay I was disconcerted to open my eyes at 4am only to see a huge winged thing 6 feet from my face.  It turns out it was  heavy iron and glass ceiling fan.

What is essential in a bedroom?

I no longer have a TV in my bedroom. I never bring a phone or computer in there either.  I also clear out all my clutter from my guestroom when a friend is due for a stay.

What makes a perfect guestroom? 
I took advise from La Martha Stewart once and created a guest basket of soaps, tissues, lotions, booties, ear plugs, all sorts of things that were left untouched in the basket on the floor once the guests left.
So now I provide towels, face cloths and fluffy bathrobes, down free duvets and soft sheets. And of course room for their essentials.

I do like to travel or visit boutique hotels to see what they provide. WiFi? Monogramed shams?
I like a few harder pillows to prop myself up at night to read.  Without getting too personal I ask my clients about their bedroom habits; TV? WiFi? Readers? Journalers? Need total blackout to sleep?

I often think, just as I doze off, of the worst places I have slept.  Coach class on a 9 hour flight.  Camping in pouring rain. Polyester knit sheets in Wales. A couch that smelled like dirty feet in college. Then I take a deep breath and sink into my sanctuary, my old home.