A small sensual master suite

A couple I worked with wanted their bedroom to feel like a romantic hideaway, the kind of place you experience on your honeymoon. So I went to work creating luxury without breaking the bank.
Sensual bedroom
To create the bedroom of their dreams, I brought in an upholstered bed and added textured bedding and a plush pillow and a whimsical one (you never want to take any space too seriously). I covered the hardwood floor in a supersoft flokati rug and suggested they order these curtains (neither one of them was up to DIY curtains even though they are so easy, remember?) to create atmosphere. The couple craved some sensual art so I fashioned a small gallery of tasteful prints–a nude hangs centered above the bed flanked by photographs that are a bit fun. The unkempt bed is titled Well Read, and the other is i love….

The room gets a lot of natural light so in keeping with the romantic mood of the space, I opted for candlelit lanterns to hang from the ceiling on either side of the bed.

And even the smooth high-gloss white dresser screams sexy in this space.

Warm white

White on white
The colorless shade has so many variations that can make spaces and furnishings appear stark, shabby chic and modern. But most don’t think of adding white to warm up a room. Let me show you the ways:
white church
Scott and I recently visited the island of Hvar in Croatia. And while I was taken with the tiny city of Hvar Town’s Renaissance and Gothic architecture, I was more impressed with the color (or lack thereof) of the buildings. Shades of white, cream, ivory, alabaster, pearl, chalk, milk and snow wrap stone buildings, blanket cobblestone streets, cover windows and shade outdoor markets.
white hotel
I was totally inspired by so much non color. Scott’s not a huge fan of decorating with white. He prefers color and pattern, but I suspect if I created one of these inviting vignettes at home, I would change his mind.
Warm Welcome
Create a warm welcome
Lay something soft but durable at the entry, like this striped dhurrie rug. Place a bench on top, a place to sit and put on or take off shoes–and a place to drop your bag. Make it cozy with a small sheepskin rug and a few textured throw pillows, like these linen and cable-knit designs. Add a decorative coat rack. And a few cozy items, like this shearling vest and wood bead wreath. And something whimsical and fun, such as this vintage cowbell.
Create a comfy nook in the office
Make a comfy nook in the home office
Start with a comfortable but inexpensive couch, something with a removable slipcover if possible. Add a small end table. Add a few throw pillows for additional comfort. I couldn’t find any white-and-metallic-gold pillows that I loved, so I would buy this metallic linen fabric and this geometric pattern and make my own. Shed some light on the space for reading. And finish the space with one-of-a-kind art.

Make an impact with neutrals

Neutrals are not boring. Grays, browns and whites come in such a variety of shades (from light to saturated, matte to metallic), textures and patterns that they can add more visual interest to a room than a single bold color.
Michelle's before
Lots of espresso decor and not a ton of natural light made this space very dark, but the furnishings were still in great shape so there was no need to toss and start new. Instead I lightened things up with lots of light accents and surfaces with different finishes, like replacing one of the end tables (and repurposing it in another room) with a white pedestal marble table.
A neutral and bright living space
I started in the living room. I removed all of the oversized brown pillows and added new decorative cushions in gray tones made from materials like wool felt, silk and metallic cotton blends. I also added a white cable-knit throw to the mix.

To eat up a good chunk of the large wall behind the sofa, we commissioned one of the clients’ friends to take this fantastic black-and-white shot, then blew it up on a canvas at Costco. The smaller sketches came from a British artist on Etsy. I loved the touches of red each had because the room needed a little pop. I framed each print in a different black frame and created a small collection.
A neutral and bright living space
My clients didn’t have a dining room in their previous apartment so we went with a light wood farmhouse table (a Craigslist score) and repainted the chocolate stools the same light gray we used on the console table in the entryway.
Michelle stools before
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I hung a floating shelf to take up space in the dining room, then layered handmade artwork. You can read how to create my crackle paintings here. To make a few sophisticated chalkboards for the room, I purchased thrift-store frames in different sizes and spray-painted the glass with chalkboard paint. The clients use some of this art to let friends and family leave their mark when they visit.
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