By Interior Designer Sara Kirby
I’m not afraid to take design risks. I’m also not afraid to admit when that risk has run its course. In 2009, I was adamant that our master bedroom needed to be cloaked, wall-to-wall, in damask wallpaper. I did the installation myself, my first foray into wallpaper hanging. I was proud of my handiwork and lived for the look. Then one day, the pattern wasn’t thrilling me anymore. It was overwhelming in an area where I wanted to feel anything but. So in a fraction of the time it took to put up, I tore it all down. It was super satisfying and the room (and I) breathed a sigh of relief.
A significant change was afoot. The new mood I hoped to conjure in my bedroom was one of relaxed refinement; casual, like a favourite pair of jeans, but not lazy, like joggers. Pulled together, but comfortable. I am a subscriber to “the bedroom is a sanctuary of peace” school of thought, and this go-round I was going to lean into it -- hard.
Periodically taking an inventory of the things in your home is always a smart move. I started my quest for a serene sleep space by considering each piece. Criteria to stay were that I had to love it absolutely, it had to serve a purpose and it had to be beautiful. After review, two large furniture pieces needed to stay: the upholstered bed and a sizeable dresser.
My main grumble with the dresser were the dated and boring handles, so I sourced new ones that were black leather and brass perfection. Armed with a drill, some great tunes, and a bit of downtime one Saturday afternoon, I installed them. I was immediately wowed by how a simple project can completely transform a tired piece.
On the list of new items to bring into my bedroom: practical and pretty nightstands, fun lamps, an attractive rug, a few cherished family photos, and a handful of useful décor items and greenery.
Creating a mood board for the refreshed room was next. Uniting items from different design styles is something I love to do, and a mood board is a perfect medium for testing out combos without any expense or commitment. Merging pieces from different eras helps a space to feel more curated and personal. The lamps were chosen because of their great mid-century modern vibe, convenient USB plug-in and pull-cord (no more stretching for the off switch when you’re ready for shut-eye). The nightstands I selected were a better fit for the height of the bed. They had drawers for storage, but felt airy thanks to their open bottom shelf. None of the large furniture pieces in the room were identical in style or finish, but they complemented each other. Clear acrylic photo frames, décor accessories in neutrals and brass, and a few touches of greenery kept things fresh.
With furniture in place, I turned my attention to the walls. I knew I wanted a dark paint colour and millwork. After a lot of deliberation, I landed on #teamshiplap. Installing shiplap vertically felt more modern and helped to visually stretch the wall height. The bedroom windows look out over the cliffs of Middle Cove and Torbay, and the vistas and light are ever-shifting. Years ago, I fell deeply in love with a painting that pays homage to those views. It’s been in the space since it was built, but relocating it above the dresser made it feel new again. It’s moody blue hues and the landscape outside informed the paint colour choice for the shiplap wall. I sampled three deep blue-greys and landed on Gravel Grey by Benjamin Moore.
The final elements left to consider were textiles, soft finishing touches that make a room feel cozy and collected. I have an enduring adoration for beautiful linen bedding; nothing imparts a relaxed, elegance quite like it. A linen duvet cover in pure white and a quilted linen coverlet in natural was all I needed. I referred back to the focal artwork to inform the choice of the throw pillows and rug. Desaturated, watery blue-greens provided subtle pops of colour and cultivated calm. The broken black and phentermine pills lumbar pillow acted as the exclamation mark on an otherwise understated bed.
Now, when I open my bedroom door, I feel completely at ease. I love to linger here and enjoy a slow, Sunday coffee or a quiet weeknight reading in bed. In the homes I design, I strive to create ever-evolving spaces. Rooms are really a kind of invitation to create an open-ended oeuvre that is continually responding to the needs of its occupants, in ways subtle and substantial. How my bedroom will shift over the years will be interesting to see. For now, it feels like a warm hug, and that makes me very happy.