eDesign: I design a Cali-cool master bedroom in...California! (Yes, really)

10/19/2016 07:30:00 am HELEN STILES 0 Comments

If you've followed this blog for any time, then you'll already know that I have a bit of a thing for Cali-cool interiors. Show me a vintage rug, a rattan pouffe and a fiddle-leaf fig tree and I'm pretty much sold. So can you imagine how chuffed I was when a lovely Californian family contacted me asking whether I could eDesign their master bedroom? I mean a real, bona-fide Californian family, actually living in California! I had to think very long and hard about that one (for all of 3 seconds).

I'd like to thank the universe (and google) for delivering one large dose of serendipity to this corner of East London. The client found my Hide & Seek shop when googling for leather stools, and loved the whole aesthetic. She emailed to ask if I offered interior design services and so it was that a few weeks later I got started on this gem of a project. In case you're wondering how I could possibly design a space 5,000 miles away, you can read more about how the eDesign service works here.

The clients (a husband and wife with a young toddler) had recently bought a ranch style home in need of some serious styling help. The property was a great buy – plenty of space, a fantastic layout and on a lovely road in Sacramento. It had been overlooked by other buyers due to its somewhat 'interesting' decorative state (interesting being a euphemism for dated, bizarre and in some parts downright scary!) Luckily these clients could see beyond that and weren't afraid to take on the project. They wanted to put their own well-travelled, relaxed, boho stamp on the place, starting with the master bedroom. To give you some idea of what they were up against, here's what the room looked like to start with:

I know, I know! Like an outlandish cross between an Austrian ski-chalet, an English country manor and Laura Ashley circa 1983! Definitely NOT what these cool clients were after. As usual, the process began with a design questionnaire... they answered 10 questions about function, mood, colours, features, likes and dislikes etc. They told me they wanted a relaxed, global, boho room with colour and texture (I loved them already!)  They wanted to incorporate their large canopy bed (a four-poster to us Brits), some navy and white Josh Henshaw bedding and a pair of brass wall sconces (OK, lights – I haven't totally defected just yet, don't get me started on closets and drapes...).

The clients took photographs of the room and measured up, emailing me a hand-drawn floorpan with dimensions that I could work from. They then got to work stripping the room out, painting (in Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray) and replacing the carpet with a contemporary wooden floor.

In the meantime, we shared lots of images via Pinterest, narrowing down the style and features they were drawn to. I filtered this down into an inspiration board and colour scheme, capturing the general mood, textures and feel we were aiming for, which looked like this:

The colour scheme was broadly reds, blues and natural tones (they love saturated colours) to contrast with that dark Chelsea Gray backdrop:

Clearly we were all on the same page and they signed off very quickly, meaning we could move onto the sourcing stage. With eDesign, the idea is that everything is available for the client to simply 'click and buy' at the end of the process, so I used a variety of different sources in the US (for larger pieces) as well as specifying some key pieces from the Hide & Seek eBoutique to be shipped (at the client's request – I don't always include items from my own range).

This was the initial design scheme for the main sleeping area:-

1. Basket for fiddle leaf fig // 2. Dip-dyed linen curtains // 3. Cowhide rug (Persian rug sold) // 4. Vintage cinema seats (sold, find similar on eBay) // 5. Joshua tree photographic print // 6. Nightstands // 7. Selection of vintage textile cushions // Vintage indigo mossi throw //

I used a mix of global textiles (vintage indigo mossi cloth, kantha quilt and mud cloth cushions) to satisfy the client's love of travel. A Persian rug under the bed adds colour and grounds the scheme. Natural textures: linen, cowhide, sheepskin and rattan add texture and interest.  (The numbers on the image correlate directly with the 'shopping list' received at the end of the process, so that the clients could click and purchase each item quickly and easily).

Next up was the other side of the room – a large gap between 2 closets and a larger window made the perfect spots to display some art and add a reading nook.

8. Original painting // 9. Vintage indigo bolster cushion & monochrome pom pom throw // 10. Cowhide bench // 11. Ombre linen curtains // 12. Monochrome print (sold), find similar here // 13. Red floor lamp // 14. Moroccan tan leather pouff // 15. Embellished indigo cushion (sold) find similar here // 16. Organic British sheepskin //

I presented the final scheme to Mrs Client via a Skype video call. She loved it, but was worried that the vintage cinema seats might be a little impractical with a 2 year old (way too tempting to bounce on and potentially end up falling off/through). Therefore I came up with a plan B for the end of the bed and designed a bespoke bench upholstered in a vintage red and navy Indian kantha quilt (to match one of the bed cushions).

The following day I received an email saying "the design and shopping list were a huge hit with my husband! He loves the cowhide textures and art and accessories you selected. We would like to buy everything on this list." Yay! It's always such a pleasure (not to mention a relief) when a client is delighted. It makes all the hours spent agonising over the perfect layout, art and furniture worthwhile. I collated everything into a detailed shopping list with pricing, details and links to purchase. A floor plan helped them to visualise and implement the scheme:

We went on to discuss various rug options at differing price points (as Persian rugs are beautiful, but definitely not at the budget end of the spectrum). I suggested options from Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel which would have worked very well, but then the clients were offered an unbelievable bargain, a slightly smaller, darker rug but one that was such a good deal that it seemed crazy not to make it work. With the red bench adding more colour at the end of the bed, the darker rug worked out fine. They went on to purchase the rest of the items on the list and sent me this photograph part way through install:

It really is looking sooooo much better already I hope you'll agree! A Cali-cool master bedroom fit for a cool, Californian couple! I've just completed a second room for this stylish family and look forward to working with them again next year, so, watch this space!

If you're struggling to revamp a room (or rooms) and fancy taking advantage of this fun and affordable eDesign service, then please ping me a message here, via social media or email. You can visit the interior design section of the website to find out more about the options here or simply email me. I have one more slot available before the end of the year so, if you're quick, you could have a newly designed room by Christmas! Happy hump day everyone...