Allegorical Art Celebrates the Feminine



When Carol’s daughter grew up and left home, she wanted her daughter’s room to be done over as a guest room that her daughter would still want to enjoy when she came home to visit.  She asked her daughter to choose a new headboard, and when it was in place, Carol felt stymied about what to do with the rest of the room.  That’s when she called Emery & Associates.

Meagan HDBD Wall

The headboard itself was a strikingly unusual wooden piece that was painted white, and we thought it would look lovely against a softly painted spa blue background.  Once the wall paint was in completed, we needed the usual night stands and lamps, but Carol also wanted some art that would represent her daughter.  Although I don’t usually look for art for clients because it is such a personal thing, Carol and I had worked together so long that I felt I knew her taste well enough to make a search.  When I found the piece (above), by Michael Manwaring, I was immediately smitten.  Titled “Portlandia,” this graphite and acrylic on canvas composition incorporates nature and organic decoration that relate to the feminine in powerful, classical statements.  Both Carol and her daughter loved the piece, so it became the first art work in the room, positioned just to the left of the bed on a wall that angles away from the headboard wall.

The choices for all other furnishings  flowed from the reversed figure/ground color scheme.  White linens, night stands, and lamps keep the tranquil, serene feeling that is so desirable for bedrooms.  Since Carol wanted guests to have a work space (and the room was large enough), I found a double pedestal white desk with mirrored drawers that added some reflective interest to the room, and a white leather and chrome desk chair.  The next challenge was finding another large piece of art to go on the desk wall that wouldn’t argue with the Manwaring piece across the room from it.  I suggested to Carol that we visit the studio of watercolor artist Jane Campbell.

Meagan Desk Area


When Carol and I visited Jane’s studio, she found one piece of art that she loved (on the right, above).  Problem was, we really needed TWO pieces of art that size, and there was nothing else in Jane’s studio that was a good fit.  Carol asked if she could commission a second painting to pair with the first one, and Jane said “Of course!”  She added that if Carol didn’t like it when it was finished, she would not be obligated to purchase it.  You can see the beautiful result above.

Here’s the room BEFORE:

Meagan B:4

Guest Room BEFORE

And here is the same view of the room AFTER:

Guest Room AFTER

Guest Room AFTER

Art can be the jumping off place for a room makeover, or it can be the final touch that makes the otherwise impersonal room come to life.  Working collaboratively with the artist AND the homeowner is one of the most satisfying ways to achieve a beautiful result.  Please give Emery & Associates a call if YOU are stuck with a design project.  We’d love to hear from you.





There are 8 Comments to "Allegorical Art Celebrates the Feminine"

  • Jim says:

    One of your most stunning before and after contrasts. And you know that I love Jane Campbell’s work. A beautiful job!

  • Holly Chamberlain says:

    I so love, love, love the idea of making the room be especially welcoming to the adult daughter. What a great tradition to start. Of course, the room is beautiful, too!

  • Donna Pizzi says:

    Love the way you’ve found artwork to compliment the headboard’s style and a desk that echoes it. Desk chair is stunning as well. Most of all, I love reading about how you plan a project. It’s done with as much panache as the beautiful transformation itself. Now… A few accessories beneath the portrait will be next on your agenda for these long-time clients. Don’t let 5 months go by again before you post. Love your work and your writing about it.

  • Kathia Emery says:

    Thanks Jim, Holly, and Donna, for your kind words. Donna, you are so right about the room needing more accessories, which is probably the reason I didn’t publish these photos 3 years ago when we did the project! But they have some very good aspects, so thought they would be of interest.

  • I have to agree, it has been a long hiatus from these opportunities to see your work! I love the reasons behind these makeovers, and this one is particularly compelling. The mirror is a stunning change and hints to the headboard. There is a definite drifty sleepy-time feel in the room. The artwork is lovely.

  • Camila Medina Mora says:

    Beautiful job, Kathia!
    Love the colour palette and the details.
    As Jim said, a striking contrast between the before and after pictures.

  • Kay Davin says:

    Lovely rest, retreat for guests.
    The transformation is amazing.
    Your work is magazine quality.

  • Barbara Shettler says:

    I really enjoy looking through your website. Its better than browsing through a high end house and garden magazine because it includes your comments, as well, which add a human touch and also the reasons for your response to a situation. Keep creating these websites. You have a devoted following!

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