Sweet Sanctuary

Colorado designers offer tips for creating a dreamy master retreat.

It’s a fact that adequate sleep is crucial to a healthy life. For this reason alone, the ambiance of your master bedroom should be an invitation to get a good night’s rest. However, in today’s fast-paced world, most homes buzz overtime with the responsibilities of work and family as well as entertaining; and a master bedroom can serve as your own personal getaway.

In complete contrast to the public spaces of your home, the master bedroom is your private space to retreat to and recharge. In order to create a warm and inviting sanctuary, focus extra attention on simplicity, relaxation and sumptuous details. In a master bedroom design, there is room for fun and personal expression—from beautiful bedding and plush accessories to romantic chandeliers and cozy seating areas, more than any other room in the home, this is your space. Denver Life Magazine spoke with a few local interior designers who offer ideas for creating a serene setting to help you relax, unwind and drift off into bliss.


A Fresh Take on Traditional

Photography: Jim Celuch, Celuch Creative Imaging

Photography: Jim Celuch, Celuch Creative Imaging

Sometimes designing a luxurious bedroom space in an older home can present the challenge of creating a fresh, current look while respecting the historic charm and traditional integrity of the structure. This was the task at hand for interior designer Fran Karsh of Slifer Designs with this 1920s Tudor style home. Karsh’s clients wanted an updated look that would still meld nicely with the traditional Tudor elements of the architecture and be in keeping with the rest of the home. This goal was achieved through traditional cabinets, built-ins and millwork—painted with a custom color and designed in detail for functionality to include aspects such as pullouts at the bedsides, room for lamps and display areas as well as storage. Additionally, the headboard was a cushy custom upholstered piece that was built into the cabinetry to create a seamless design.

When it came to lighting, Karsh explains that the fixture above the bed sets the tone for this room. She also emphasizes the importance of having layers of light for both functionality and aesthetics. “I recommend having multiple sources in the same way you look at other rooms in a home—recessed cans for general lighting, overhead lighting for reading, decorative lighting for aesthetics and possibly art lighting. It’s nice to be able to have options. This room used all of the above and was on a lighting system in which we created scenes for the client. The decorative fixture and lamps in the room helped give an extra level of sophistication,” she says.

For any bedroom, comfort of course is a key factor. “I like to use calming, peaceful colors such as blues, greens as well as neutral colors including browns, beiges, creams and grey tones,” says Karsh, adding that fabric with different textures, especially those that look plush, soft and “comfy” are essential. For this particular bedroom, Karsh used both Sferra and Ann Gish bedding. For accessories, she lists some-must haves including decorative pillows and plush bedding. “Decorative lighting is the jewelry of a home. Clients typically make the bedroom more personal with pictures and memorabilia so I like to incorporate beautiful frames and areas for display.”


Romantic Retreat

Photography: Ric Stovall, Stills Photography

Photography: Ric Stovall, Stills Photography

When it comes to creating a bedroom sanctuary, Yvonne Jacobs, president at Slifer Designs, advises to always start with a cozy, comfortable bed. “A good mattress makes all the difference and soft sheets…I prefer sheets that need little to no ironing. Start with a nice deep mattress and then begin layering to create a fluffy bed. I like to do a soft blanket on top of the top sheet and then either a matelassé on top of that or just the down comforter in duvet cover,” she says. Next, Jacobs suggests focusing on colors that are calming and serene. “Think water colors….blues, greens, golds all work well. But I have done rooms in almost every color. Neutrals also work great or greys.” She adds that the use of layers of texture is also important in a bedroom as is the lighting. She explains that at least three sources of light are needed—functional reading lights in bed, soft light for a warm glow and natural light. “I like to do layers of lighting.

For overhead functional lighting, I like to put down lights over each pillow for reading and have controls at each bedside. Also, supplement that with lamps…one on each nightstand and one behind the chair or in a seating area. A fireplace is also a great romantic element in a room—I try to incorporate that whenever possible.”

Integrating comforts unique to one’s needs is another way to create a bedroom you’ll want to spend plenty of time in. Elements such as a small desk if you like to write notes or want to take care of small tasks is one example, although Jacobs advises steering clear of bringing an actual “work desk” into your master bedroom. Another idea is to include a sitting area with a window seat and a comfortable lounge chair for reading. For accessorizing, Jacobs recommends shopping for great finds at Slifer Designs, West Elm, Brass Bed and Restoration Hardware. “I love to have a pretty water decanter on the nightstand. I also love the Michael Aram frames and candles, a great tray to keep special items as well as a sheepskin rug and cashmere/soft throws.”

In the bedroom pictured here, the client wanted a romantic winter retreat, which was achieved through the use of dark wood walls and floors to give it a warm cozy feeling. A bump out window also brings in the Aspen trees for a woodsy feel. “It feels like you are up in a tree house,” says Jacobs, adding that the homeowner was big on texture. “Everything had to feel good to the touch—the sheepskin rug on the toes, the velvet on your cheek…all very sensual. We hung the drapery from the ceiling to encapsulate the bed even more for a ‘vacation’ feeling as she wanted to feel transported to another world when she walked into her bedroom.”
Peace & Calm

Photography: Emily Minton Redfield

Photography: Emily Minton Redfield

A palette of soft neutrals and cool calming colors in combination with luxurious linens are the cornerstone of this peaceful master bedroom retreat. Interior designer Peggy Bender, founding principal of Robbins Weiner Design, worked with the luxury linen experts at The Brass Bed Fine Linens & Furnishings to create an elegant, classic and uncluttered atmosphere in this serene master bedroom.

“A beautiful bed, a great mix of textures and layers of bedding, a luxurious, soft area rug under your feet, and window coverings that complement the bedding textiles are essential elements for creating a bedroom sanctuary,” says Bender who utilized linen damask bedding and soft blue-grey shams as a starting point and then designed the rest of the room around those core colors and textures. Rosella Louis, president of The Brass Bed, notes that the bedcover pictured here is made with 100 percent natural, undyed threads of Egyptian cotton and linen woven in a jacquard loom to create a classic jasmine pattern. The large decorative pillows are made by Ann Gish from quilted silk and the sleeping pillows are Egyptian cotton sateen, made in Italy with a metallic print border—all available at The Brass Bed.

An authority on fine linens, Louis emphasizes that the first element in creating a bedroom sanctuary is comfort. “What good is form without function? We start with beautiful beds and layer them with organic mattresses, all natural mattress pads, sheets and comforters (or duvet covers), large cluster goose down pillows and comforters, eye-catching decorative pillows—all of it should be easy to care for and lightweight,” she says.

Careful accessorizing is also key to creating a master bedroom retreat, and Bender recommends items such as a cashmere throw, a cashmere covered hot water bottle, a bed tray table, candles, a lovely stationary writing box on the bedside table and fresh flowers. “I also love to have some kind of bench and soft throw at the foot of the bed—the bigger the better—it’s very inviting.”


Ask the Experts
Peggy R. Bender
Robbins Weiner Design
1929 E. Kentucky Ave., Denver
303.758.6839 | robbinsweinerdesign.com

Yvonne Jacobs & Frances Karsh
Slifer Designs
216 Main Street, Suite C -100, Edwards
970.926.8200 | sliferdesigns.com

The Brass Bed Fine Linens & Furnishings
Cherry Creek North – 3113 E. 3rd Ave., Denver
The Village – 2460 Canyon Blvd., Boulder
303.440.3473 | brassbedfinelinens.com


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