DESIGN TIPS & STORIES
BEHIND THE SCENES
"I HAVE THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD. AFTER MANY YEARS BUILDING MY REPUTATION AS A PROFESSIONAL DESIGNER…
I find it's important to show the serious side of design and inspire others to create engaging homes. But another important lesson learned is to enjoy the moment and find time to have a good laugh. It is my team of talented, hardworking people that manage to keep me—and each other—laughing."
THE SOUL OF A ROOM
MY FAVORITE PROJECT
BEDROOMS PART I
BEDROOMS PART II
My most challenging bedroom project ever started quite innocently enough.
With 3 kids and all of the upstairs bedrooms spoken for, my clients were looking to turn a room in their basement into a posh guest suite where many of their out-of-country relatives could stay comfortably for extended periods of time. It all seemed pretty straightforward until they led me down to see the intended space – a cold, damp storage/utility room with not a stitch of natural light – yuck! Nothing in this space even remotely said “welcome, relax and stay a while” but Hubs was quick to mention that he considered it to be perfect “as-is” for his In-Laws…I thought it better to let that one go!
With nothing worth saving, the space was gutted, re-framed, re-wired, insulated and dry-walled. I have to say I really don’t like this stage of this or any project as it seems that more than half the budget is gone and you really have nothing “pretty” to show for it – this is where clients tend to get a bit cranky-pants!
Adding visual and physical comfort was key to the design solution and an ample use of both natural materials and nature-inspired motifs were the elements that provided it. Large format cork floor tiles were installed right over the old vinyl and are a great choice in cold damp basements since cork has the warmth of wood but is much more stable.
Custom cabinetry that included a long mahogany vanity/desk and open shelving provided much needed storage and was positioned beside a raised gas fireplace clad with wood-grain embossed ceramic tiles.
At the bed, an alcove housed a dramatic floor to ceiling tufted headboard that added a sense of luxury and established the bed as the focal point.
Lastly, a warm palette of cream and cognac with accents of blue-gray complemented the warm tones of the cork floor and wood cabinetry… this basement’s cold and dreary past was a distant memory.
However, with not a window in sight, the real design star in this space had to be the lighting. Recessed halogen lighting around the perimeter of the space visually pushed the walls outwards and was carefully planned to accentuate the tufted detailing of the headboard and surface texture of the wood-motif tiles. Sconces mounted onto mirrors created a feeling of spaciousness in addition to freeing up valuable space on the bedside dressers.
Flanking the in-mirror TV at the desk are beautiful Mercury glass pendants that serve the same purpose as table lamps. This lower level of lighting is essential to creating a feeling of comfort and intimacy in any space.
Lastly, back-lighting accented the translucent “sky and floral” graphics that were printed on translucent film and applied to the wall of glass closet doors as well as the sliding doors leading to the new ensuite bathroom. The effect was magic – you’d never know that this gorgeous guest suite was situated 10 feet underground!