It doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day for a bedroom to give off proper romantic vibes. Increase your home’s sex appeal with fabric-draped beds, soft lighting, candles, mirrored furniture, soothing colors and, above all, a hidden television. Our four designers illustrate how to create a comfortable bedroom that stokes the fires of romance.
By Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub
DESIGNER: MARC THEE
PHOTOGRAPHERS: KIM SARGENT, ED BUTURA
One of Marc Thee’s most romantic bedrooms was for a VIP guest suite in a large oceanfront estate on Palm Beach.
“If I woke up in that bed, I would guess I was in Palm Beach,” says Thee, who was named to the prestigious Architectural Digest Top 100. “The bedroom is a little over the top. In today’s world, we embrace less is more. They wanted an extra treat for their guests. Canopy beds like this are no dime a dozen. It takes a lot of time and layering. It is a bit of a splurge.”
The key to this style, often found in European stately homes, is the structure that allows the fabric to hang from the ceiling. The padded headboard is covered in tufted cream velvet. Inspiration came from the muted tones of buttery creams, celadon and shrimp on the chest found at an estate sale in Louisville.
Thee designed a cleaner take on a guest room for clients in Delray Beach. The vinyl patent headboard is an exaggerated classical shape that evokes the work of design icon Dorothy Draper. It is played against truffle-colored walls of woven natural grass cloth. The chandelier is a soft glowing orb that casts an amber romantic glow.
“Comfort is the major contributing factor,” Thee says. “Beds should look very inviting, very romantic. They should present themselves as the star of the room. You don’t want the colors to be over stimulating.”
DESIGNER: CARLOS REBOLLEDO
PHOTOGRAPHER: JOHN STILLMAN
Carlos Rebolledo’s clients requested a bedroom design that was light, romantic and soft in their Bar Harbour residence.
He created softness with tone-on-tone velvets and silks and plenty of bed pillows. Nina Campbell’s Chinoiserie wallpaper from Osborne & Little is framed behind the bed. Matching mirrored chests as nightstands topped with hammered chrome lamps provide a touch of 1930s Hollywood Glam.
“A little bit of detail makes a design look custom-made,” he says. “The chrome lamps add a little more glamour and a jewelry effect like earrings on a woman. A little bit of detail goes a long way to create a soft romantic paradise as a retreat.”
Designers often say including a large flat-screen television in the bedroom can be a buzz kill. Yet some folks like to watch a movie or a show in bed. Rebolledo’s solution is a custom-made chest at the end of the bed that retracts the television when not in use.
He is adamant about not blocking off all the light in the room. The soft draperies allow light into the room. A blackout shade provides privacy.
DESIGNER: LORETTA FORER
PHOTOGRAPHER: DAN FORER
When Loretta and Dan Forer bought their home in South Miami, their goal was to transform it into what reminded them of their favorite vacation getaway in Key West.
“I wanted it to feel as if I were on an island,” Loretta says. “I wanted it to be open, bright and airy. When I am sitting in bed and looking out the French doors, I can see a waterfall. I can see the pool. I feel like I am outside. That was the point of the house we renovated. Wherever you are you feel like you are outside.”
The dark green walls are echoed in a cashmere throw. What makes her design so inviting and romantic are the Victorian bed linens in cotton, crochet and eyelet she collected from different sources. She layered an old piece of lace over the bottom of the cotton voile comforter. The paper Japanese ball lamp emits a soft glow in the evening.
“Dan let me do whatever I wanted,” she says. “When I am designing for a home with men in the house, I get the information from the woman. She knows how far I can go.”
DESIGNER: BARRY DIXON
PHOTOGRAPHER: EDWARD ADDEO
Barry Dixon’s clients loved visiting the island of Mustique, but it was too far from their main residence in Maryland. They wanted a second home in a sunny but closer location to relax for weekends.
Dixon found them the perfect spot – a waterfront lot in Manalapan. The high-school sweethearts, now in their 60s, wanted a sense of romance especially in the master bedroom.
“They wanted it to be romantic with masculine and feminine elements,” he says of the home featured in Barry Dixon Interiors by Brian D. Coleman. “Sometimes a bedroom can seem too strong or severe for a woman or too fussy or floral for a man. I like to have balance.”
The master bedroom’s water view is echoed in watery tones on the Venetian plaster walls and in the “China Seas” fabric from Quadrille draping the bed and on the slightly puddled draperies. The custom terrazzo flooring was made from sea glass and stone that Dixon selected to resemble the waters off Mustique. The lighting is on rheostats, which he suggests be turned down to 7 watts – the light of a candle. The mantelpiece was salvaged from a villa in Venice.
The most romantic symbol is the headboard’s fabric made from a 19th-century silk Tunisian wedding garment that Dixon bought in the Middle East. He upholstered the bed’s platform with matching linen velvet.
“What is more romantic than something made especially for you?” he says. “Clients need to be part and parcel of the final decisions.”
Barry Dixon, Inc., 8394 Elway Lane, Warrenton, Va., 540-341-8501, barrydixon.com.
CRC Interiors, 2520 Coral Way, Suite 2524, Miami, 305-305-3550, crcinteriorsmiami.com.
Marc-Michaels Interior Design, 720 W. Morse Blvd., Winter Park, 407-629-2124, marc-michaels.com.