What could be better for Valentine’s Day than design with heart? As part of her special Woman’s Day magazine makeover series, Annie redesigned the bedroom of Jennifer Rathbone, a Schenectady, NY, mother of three whose daughter Ila has struggled with neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of pediatric cancer, since 2006. To celebrate the makeover, Pine Cone Hill will donate 10% of online retail sales through March 15 to CureSearch when the promotional code WDCURE is entered during checkout.
We chatted with Annie about her inspiration for the space.
Fresh American: When you saw the space, what were your first thoughts for redesigning it?
Annie Selke: The space needed lightening up. There was only the one window, dark painted walls, and dark wood furniture—there was nothing uplifting about the space, and Jenny and her family, given their myriad struggles, deserved a space that was inviting, comforting, and had a positive effect on the psyche.
FA: What are the challenges of working with an attic space, and how did you overcome them?
AS: Because the space was tight, I decided first to paint the whole of it, walls and ceiling, in the same calming shade of pale robin’s-egg blue. Farrow and Ball’s Pale Powder—it’s my go-to bedroom color. In fact, it is the color of my own bedroom. It makes me deeply happy, and I hoped it would have the effect on Jenny. I didn’t stop there. Then we added a Shaw Floors carpet and a linen-upholstered cornice in as close a color to the walls as possible. This kept the space from being cut up visually by the addition of another color. Fewer distractions for the eye equal a more restful space. The upholstered cornice gives a polished look, and when mounted flush to the ceiling, it makes the ceiling appear taller.
Because the low wall made it impossible to include an upholstered headboard, we improvised by using plump pillows as a “headboard.” We also added storage under the bed storage to make it more functional.
FA: How did you determine that Jenny’s style was Refined Romantic?
AS: I asked Jenny a bunch of questions about what she liked and had her look through my book, Fresh American Spaces, and through the Pine Cone Hill catalog to identify her favorite looks and products, and I asked her what she liked about each. This helped me understand how and why she reacted to certain colors, patterns, and sensibilities. Having this understanding allowed me to marry Jenny’s wants and needs into a pleasing and practical space.
FA: What was your inspiration for the color palette?
AS: Jenny was drawn to two quite different outer bed choices. The first was Grapevine Crewel from our Dolce Villa collection and the other was Ume Platinum from Mod Maisonette. So I looked at both and noted that each incorporated robin’s-egg blue, and that became the basis of the palette.
FA: Which elements of the room are quintessentially romantic, and why?
AS: I incorporated provenance in a lovely ivory-and-gold jewelry box that had been passed down to Jenny from her grandmother; you can see it on the first of the dressers. We also asked Jenny for her favorite family photos and framed them, in simple wood frames painted to match the wall, and made an installation of them on the walls as you enter the bedroom.
Shine, another quintessentially romantic element, comes into play in the gold mirror and crystal-ball lamps. I also love flowers, from fresh-cut to the floral bedding and the fragrant rose-scented candle. Finally, I chose pieces with interesting details, like the pierced side table by the chaise and the cerused wood bedside table. All of these imbue the room with subtly romantic touches.