Designing For Cozy Comfort: Tale of a master bedroom suite transformation

We reported earlier on the bathroom transformation. Now the master bedroom becomes a warm, inviting retreat.

I am a child of the Berkshires and mountain living, and I often ache to recreate that comfortable warmth that defines home. For me, it’s a perfect balance of smells, textures, patterns, and elements from the past and present that stand together to create a sense of nostalgia that speaks to you. My clients’ wishes are no different. They want their home to reflect them. I take this responsibility seriously with tailored choices of custom furniture, upholstery, and room design.
My latest project was the transformation of a master bedroom, which seemed lifeless and lacked an identity. My clients are amazingly warm and personable people. The space needed to be a sanctuary for them, which would reflect their warm personalities. My mission was clear; to create a true Master Suite full of warmth, color and that something special which I try to give all my clients with our Vintage Farmhouse appeal, custom furniture, and finishes.

My process begins by choosing the colors and patterns for the space. This is my favorite part of any design job and the heart of the entire project. Over the years, I have learned to listen to my initial instinct of what a room wants to wear. This voice is the driving force behind all my designs.

Colors, patterns and textures provide character and coziness that withstand the test of time. Photo: Samantha Gale Design

This room was no different. The client had a few heirloom chairs she loved so I jumped at the opportunity to use them! I love it when I can give my client’s heirloom pieces a new life, adding their soul and story to the space in a way they couldn’t before.

The first phase of this project turned the master bathroom into a highly functional step back in time, using classic large-scale white subway tiles and rustic wood to bring a clean, comfortable feel. The adjacent Master Bedroom required a similar transformation. Pale yellow walls, honey oak floors, brass hardware and dated white ceiling fans blandly defined the room. My clients were clear that this room needed to be a sanctuary for them because they loved to entertain and were desperately in need of a retreat that would provide a refreshing, tranquil escape.

A convenient gas fireplace provides a cohesive focal point for the room. The fireplace has vintage-inspired soft indigo patterned tile, wrapped in rough-cut white shiplap and topped with a weathered oak beam. Photo: Samantha Gale Design

For the overall design, I presented a pallet of tan and cream tartan plaid upholstery fabric with burlap accents that contrast with the violet, indigo and lush lime green textiles for the drapes, pillows and throws. I like staple, vintage farmhouse materials, such as richly textured grain sack pillows with linen partners, to add varying textures, patterns, and pleasing colors. Contrast is essential with color palettes rather than color matching. Color matching is easy but doesn’t usually inspire. A bold, unique design provides character and coziness, and will stand the test of time.

The fireplace and the cozy reading (and snuggling) nook as seen from the bed. Photo: Samantha Gale Design

The bedroom required three key updates: new lighting, a custom gas built-in fireplace and overhead beams. The beams served to break up the odd ceiling angles of the room caused by the existing dormers, and to define the different sections of the room. I saw the room being broken up into three cohesive spaces, a sleeping area, a sitting area, and a reading nook with a twin-size cushion perfect for lounging, afternoon naps, and snuggle time with the grandchildren.
We refinished the honey oak floors in weathered oak to take that yellow sting out of the room. The walls were changed to a neutral, creamy beige and the trim was refreshed in a classic white. The custom beams were mounted in the creases on either side of the sleeping area to tone down the large, continuous, white sea of ceiling and bring in the rustic charm of the Master Bath.

Custom sliding barn doors with classic iron hardware replaced the interior doors. Overhead, we strategically added pot lights, a rustic/industrial chandelier over the seating area, and two iron wall sconces for the reading nook. It’s important for each area to have dimmable lighting, which allows the client to control the ambience depending on where they are relaxing in the room.

The reading nook, with coziness enhanced by the light of metal sconces. Patterns, textures and pallet also help. Photo: Samantha Gale Design

An interior fireplace can be a bit intimidating but this room begged to have one for a focal point. Once completed, my clients were able to enjoy the warmth and coziness of a convenient gas fireplace with vintage inspired soft indigo patterned tile surrounding it. The build out was wrapped in rough-cut white shiplap. When the weathered oak beam was added as a mantle, all of the colors and textures came together to form a beautiful, relaxing, cohesive focal point for the room. Mixing the rustic wooden shiplap with the pop of color in the indigo tile created a unique marriage of warm and cold, rustic and refined. This sort of marriage is a staple found throughout my designs.

The rest of the room was outfitted with furniture that carried the Vintage Farmhouse essence, balancing sophistication, coziness, and purpose. I chose rugs that were different in size and color as well as material to help define the different sections of the room.

It was time to add the finishing touches. I included tasteful décor accessories and custom artwork in the space. The most satisfying moment is the joy and surprise of pleased clients as they walk through the room, discovering it for the first time.

The new sitting area, again combining textures, colors and patterns, frames the view across the balcony to the view outside. Photo: Samantha Gale Design

The end result was a room full of surprises in texture, pattern, and color. The design balanced plaids with stripes, linens with grain sack, wood with stone, heavy hand knit chunky throws with classic smooth linens to blend into a warm, welcoming space.

Designing spaces is a very personal process. It is a lot of pressure to go into an individual’s private space and say “I can make this a home for you” and deliver that vision. I often design by a feeling, not a rule or a book. People, their personalities, and their possessions inspire me. When creating a unique space, I don’t shy away from taking chances and making bold choices, which my client might never have considered on their own. When something evokes a feeling of joy as you gaze upon it, it should be incorporated into your everyday world. If I can give my clients an extraordinary space that resonates with their personalities, I know I did my job.

I always say Home is the Best Destination there is. It reflects you. You should never feel like you’re trapped in a stranger’s home. When recreating a space, follow your heart and the rest will fall into place.

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