by Becca Bergman Bull
With the clean, crisp air of autumn now upon us, we begin to retreat indoors, anticipating the quiet days of winter hibernation just around the corner. As the temperature falls, the cozy confines of our bedrooms beckon more and more seductively. These peaceful places of respite, where we begin and end every day, may be the most private spots in a house, but — as these 11 inspiring examples make clear — that’s no reason to shy away from lavishing them with exquisite art, fine furniture and carefully chosen finishes and fabrics.
Jayne Design Studio, Hudson Valley, New York
Although this house, located outside the Upstate New York town of Millbrook, looks in nearly every way like a centuries-old historic property, it is, in fact, a new build. Architect Peter Pennoyer and decorator Thomas Jayne created its design, modeling it on notable houses of the surrounding Hudson Valley, as well as on earlier British country estates by such architects as Sir John Soane. Adding to its verisimilitude is the owner’s blue-chip collection of early-American furniture and paintings, including works by the area’s best-known artist, Frederic Church. In the master suite, a bed by Duncan Phyfe commands center stage. Thought to have belonged to Phyfe’s sister, the bed is a rare authenticated piece by the great 18th- and 19th-century American furniture and cabinet maker. Jayne added to the warm and welcoming sense of place by covering the walls with hand-painted paper by De Gournay that depicts such nearby landmarks as Montgomery Place and Olana. Photo by Pieter Estersohn
Ashley Hicks Design Studio, Oxfordshire, England
Influential British designer David Hicks helped popularize colorful geometric and linear prints and patterns in the 1960s and ’70s. Today, his architect-designer son, Ashley, reinterprets that look for our times. In this glossy-walled guest room in his country pile in southeast England, Hicks fils mixes patterns of various scales and combines geometric with more organic motifs. He upholstered the Louis XVI chair, from McWhirter in London, in a David Hicks by Ashley Hicks velvet from LeeJofa and embellished the silk panels of the wardrobe with jagged lines of ribbon. A 1969 portrait of his father by Bryan Organ casts a watchful eye over the room. Photo by Ashley Hicks
Doug Meyer Studio, New York
Fashion designer Sylvia Heisel and her husband, Scott Taylor, wanted to do something different with the decor of their Chelsea apartment. Really different. Working with their friend Doug Meyer, an interior designer and old Parsons classmate of Heisel’s, they covered nearly every surface in the kitchen and dining room — from floor to cabinets to ceiling — with a crisscrossed spider web pattern created using black artist’s tape. In the bedroom, the design grew more abstract and loopy. Since the apartment is a rental, Meyer swathed the walls, floor and bed in fabric, creating a blank canvas, and then the trio went wild, Jackson Pollock–style, with squirt bottles of black paint. Photo by Mark Roskams
Frank Roop Design Interiors, Boston
Before becoming a decorator, in the late 1990s, Frank Roop worked in high-end men’s retail fashion. This background is evident in the bold colors, fine fabrics and rich textures that he uses in his projects, as well as in the pieces of his own design with which he often furnishes them. Case in point: the bedroom of a home in Boston’s Back Bay whose walls he upholstered in woven silk and linen. Adding to the space’s tactile nature, Roop stitched a piece of Clarence House lattice-patterned velvet onto the wall behind the bed in lieu of a headboard, extending it to the ceiling. He designed the desk himself, topping it with a lamp from the 1960s. Photo by Eric Roth
Michael Haverland, East Hampton, New York
Looking at this light-drenched master bedroom, you might be surprised to learn that the front half of the house containing it, on the East End of New York’s Long Island, has no windows at all. Architect Michael Haverland created an unusual Janus-like structure for his clients, with a cast-concrete facade in front and soaring walls of glass at the rear. Here, 13-foot doors swing open to the back garden, and travertine floors connect indoors and out. Sculptural furniture by such modernist masters as Frank Gehry, Harvey Probber and Yngve Ekström looks right at home in the space. Photo by Paul Warchol
Burnham Design, Los Angeles
Most teenagers don’t like parents loitering in their rooms, let alone decorating them. But most teenagers don’t have Betsy Burnham for a mom. This California-based, New England–bred designer favors mixing rich colors, exotic prints and thrift-store finds with top-end designer pieces. In her family’s home in L.A.’s Hancock Park neighborhood, Burnham and her then-teenage daughter, Carson (now a senior at NYU and “an artist in her own right,” says her mother), designed the latter’s room together. Carson picked out the colorful chinoiserie drapery fabric, the bedding and the black-and-white rug, while Burnham selected the bed and Union Jack dresser. “The wall color — a happy, grassy green — was a surprise to both of us,” says Burnham. “We couldn’t believe it worked!” Photo by Burnham Design
Shawn Henderson Interior Design, New York
“The room is south facing, so I created a darker space, knowing it would be flooded with light,” Shawn Henderson says of this master bedroom in an 1850s West Village townhouse that received a complete overhaul from architect Peter Pennoyer. To create a cozy yet elegant feel for its owners, a hedge-fund manager and publishing executive with an ample art collection, Henderson used the same Holland & Sherry wool felt for the room’s drapery, walls and bed. The vintage ottoman and chairs are by Lloyd Wright (son of Frank Lloyd Wright). Above the bed hang photographs by Peter Hujar and, at right, a Jason Shawn Alexander painting.
Boyd Ferguson, Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania
Growing up, South African designer Boyd Ferguson went on frequent outdoor adventures with his family, making and breaking down camp in remote pockets of the country. Fast-forward a few decades, and he’s now the creative design force behind the safari lodge outfit Singita, a pioneer of rustic luxe, which today is de rigueur for high-end travel in the African bush. Each of the company’s 12 properties has its own unique look. For example, Boyd designed Singita Sabora, located on philanthropist and financier Paul Tudor Jones’s 350,000-acre Grumeti Reserves in northern Tanzania, as an ode to the big-game hunting camps of the 1920s, complete with traditional brass and leather finishes, fixtures and accessories alongside timber decking and collections of patterned textiles, woven carpets, artifacts and ephemera.
Kemble Interiors, New York
When overhauling a New York high-rise apartment for a young family, Celerie Kemble and Caroline Irvin, of Kemble Interiors, created a dining room with dramatically glossy navy blue walls and a living room that sparkles with luxe finishes. In contrast, the master bedroom, with its pale palette, silk-covered walls and elegantly feminine matching bed hangings, skirt and curtains, is all about softness and light. Kemble describes the shades crowning the pair of Murano glass lamps as looking like “French cakes.” Photo by Simon Upton
Jennifer Post Design, Miami
Jennifer Post is known for her spare, minimalist spaces, most of them done in white with only the occasional shot of bold color. So, a soaring, airy penthouse whose walls of glass and expansive windows frame ocean views was a match made in heaven, or rather, Miami, for this New York designer. In this bedroom, every item, including the contemporary Styrofoam-and-epoxy work by Thilo Heinzmann and the 1932 bronze sculpture by Jean Lambert-Rucki, is meant to evoke “simplicity and serenity.” Photo by Jennifer Post Design with Ken Hayden
Studio MRS, Sag Harbor, New York
Ask Southern-born, New York–based designer Michelle Smith, of Studio MRS, about this petite guest space, and she has a quick response at the ready. “Tiniest room ever,” she gushes, “but everyone wants to sleep in it!” — a fact she attributes to its Thibaut cheetah wallpaper. Small as it is, the room is representative of the house as a whole, with its layered, eclectic and cozy style. The young designer went “halfsies” with her parents on the 18th-century whaler’s cottage, near the village of Sag Harbor in New York’s Hamptons, and then created a look for it that she describes as “granny meets nautical,” filling it with antiques found both on 1stdibs and at Texas’s massive Round Top Antiques Fair. Photo by Joy Sohn