Master Bedroom Makeover: Light and Luscious!

The young couple who hired Emery & Associates in 2009 to do the main floor of their 1903 foursquare home in Ladd’s Addition called me back this year to do their master bedroom.  ”It’s really dark.  What can you do to help us?”   I gave them the obvious answer:  add lighting!  They really didn’t want to do that, since the house is listed on the Historic Register, and they thought it might compromise the architecture of the house.  My next brainstorm was received with even less enthusiasm:  ”Paint all the dark wood trim a light color!” Here is what the room looked like  BEFORE:

So I did a colored sketch of my vision of what the room could look like, which included a beautiful, light-colored historic wallpaper and reflective surfaces everywhere–walls, furniture, window coverings, and bedding.  The wife loved it, but neither of them wanted the four-poster iron bed I had drawn into the sketch, and the husband hated the idea of wallpaper.  SO, back to square one:  add lighting.

I brought in Ken DeKorte, of DeKorte Electric,  whom I had met through my membership in the Architectural Heritage Center, to meet with the clients.  Because of his expertise in working with older homes, he was able to reassure the home owners that we could add recessed lighting into the space using low-voltage fixtures, and still maintain the vintage original fixtures that were originally gas lamps, now electrified.  Both Ken and I agreed that this historic space would be enhanced by added lighting.  You can see the dramatic results below:

While adamant about not changing the dark millwork, the clients were willing to go along with my ideas about changing out the window coverings to ivory tones.  I also recommended positioning the drapery above the picture railing, close to the ceiling, to emphasize the high ceilings in this space.  The antique dresser with mirror, which was a cherished family piece belonging to the wife, was painted and glazed by a family friend, so now you can see all the wonderful details on it, especially since the recessed lighting in that quadrant of the room adds illumination.  I also recommended moving the small area rug to another room, and bringing in a room-sized rug in pale tones to ground the space, which they found at NW Rugs.   We also changed the wall color from green to a pale, spa blue.

Last evening my window coverings installer, Ken Chupp, finished the installation, while the homeowners were still at work.  I received a text from the husband later in the evening:  ”Looks great, Kathia!  The color and scale of the drapes pulls things together.  We  now have a ‘grown up’ room.”

Ken installing Girard MBR

I’m so happy that they are happy, and I couldn’t do these magical transformations without the help of expert artisans like my sewer, Tracy Quoidbach, my installer, Ken Chupp, my electrician,  and all of my trade-only resources.  If you need your spaces transformed, give Emery & Associates a call, and we will bring our team to the rescue.

There are 10 Comments to "Master Bedroom Makeover: Light and Luscious!"

  • Marisa Schaer says:

    The creamy colors make the bedroom look more peaceful and inviting.

  • Karen Cleghorn says:

    Kathia’s done it again. Elegance updated. The “before” picture was truly gloomy. Your lighting expertise and deep knowledge of materials and colors brought everything together. This type of client is the best: although demanding, they challenged her to produce an outstanding product. Kudos to Kathia and all on her team.

  • Bonnie Messinger says:

    The transformation via rug, window treatment and change of bedding alone was huge. The old look was shabby!

    I’m not a big fan of painting antique furniture…I spent too many hours stripping paint off beautiful woods in my life as an antique dealer. But the effect is lovely.

    • Kathia Emery says:

      Bonnie–I agree that painting antique furniture is risky. It’s not something I would recommend for a fine antique, but this piece was one of two brown dressers (the other one is still in place but not in the shot), and along with the dark moldings, window trim, doors, and floors, was just too many dark things.

  • Shari House says:

    What a great new look..even the cat is impressed! Raising the drapes dispels the closed-in previous look and gives the room a big lift.

  • Mary Marglin says:

    You have a wealth of amazing resources. The chest looks lovely in a light color and is now much more dramatic. The recessed lights provide needed illumination but are hardly noticeable, so that was a nice addition. The drapes, hung near the top, lend a solid look to the room. They look pinch pleated, which I love… The pale blue walls are so mellow in a bedroom. I’m thinking about this color in our bedroom as well.

    Question: Why isn’t there any color to the bedspread? I see the pillows have color and carry the floor color, but I personally love an inviting color on a bedspread. Did historic homes have any colored bedspreads other than the hand sewn quilted ones?

    • Kathia Emery says:

      Mary–the short answer is we aren’t quite finished in the room yet. We still need to add accessories, artwork, and new bedding. Regarding your question about historic homes: depending on the time period, many colors would be possible for bed coverings. On this project, we are not attempting to reproduce a museum quality historic restoration, but rather to provide furnishings that complement the architecture and make the room feel inviting. Because the architecture of this Foursquare has many Classical Revival details, we are doing a fairly formal, traditional look, suggestive of English Regency.

  • Mimi Epstein says:

    It is lovely, Kathia. I particularly like the way painting the dresser makes the details pop.

  • Anne Munro says:

    The redecorated bedroom is lovely. I particularly liked the lighting changes. The room has an uplifted feel now. Good work, Kathia!!

  • Barbara Shettler says:

    Hello Kathia, Your rooms are warm and inviting. I like the new fireplace shown in about the first picture. It has style and elegance.

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