Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Bedroom Fit For A Princess...

Late last year a good friend asked me If I would consider decorating her six-year-old daughter's bedroom.  The charge was simple:  to create a space that could grow with her over the next 15 years as she grows and matures. The only real direction was that her daughter dreamt of being a princess and having a princess room, and that I had to recycle a couple of pieces of bedroom furniture that had very special meaning to the mom.

I gladly accepted the challenge. The only true obstacle was actually fitting the project into my schedule and finding all of the elements that would bring the room together. We met in the new year to discuss ideas, and in mid-January I presented some sample fabrics, carpet, and a mood board reflecting the direction I had in mind. My client was thrilled, so the design challenge was officially on! Jenny and I began combing magazines for ideas. I found a perfect palette in an Australian magazine. We began to look for beds online and discovered that the more formal pieces we desired might be out of our price range. I came across a wonderful piece from a nearby dealer and we were off and running.

We were able to pick up the bed on the way back from a meeting in the city. The gilded frame with upholstered headboard had all the bones of a royal piece, and boasted a floral crest. The side rails and construction needed some improvement, but I could see huge potential in the piece and I knew it had just the right pedigree. Still, there were many other details to attend to: I decided the best way to decorate the room was to create a neutral foundation. I chose a beautiful putty paint color from California Paints called Phelps Putty and decided that the furnishings would all use a basic beige linen for their upholstery. We found a wonderful wool carpet remnant at a local carpet store with a micropile in cream, and had it bound as an area rug. I found tear sheets of beautiful ballroom pinch-pleat curtains and we selected a cream color silk and lining to create those.

Back to the bed: This exceptional bed is originally from Egypt and has the most commandingly beautiful presence. My goal was to show off its intricate and heirloom beauty, but it first needed some reworking. We made new siderails and attached the frame with four door hinges that affix together with pins. A wooden platform was made using two pieces of wood and I had them padded and upholstered to create a platform for the mattresses. The headboard was meant to be seen, and due to the depth of today's box-springs it was important to keep the mattresses low enough to reveal the beautiful gilded frame. I also had the upholsterer create a custom dust ruffle of laundered paint cloth. It was crafted in two pieces for easy laundering.

The bed is dressed with a beautiful floral duvet cover from Pine Cone Hill with matching shams and finished with sumptuous down pillows sleeved with hand-blocked linen fabrics crafted In India for John Robshaw. Featured on the orginal mood board, they were a favorite element of the homeowner.  

It took several months to obtain everything.  Furniture, lamps, mirrors, etc. were all culled from vintage shopping forays. Many of the furniture pieces are coated with Annie Sloan chalk paint in Country Grey. This paint is amazing as it has the most wonderful, flat, chalky finish and there is no need to prime the furnishings to apply it.

The homeowner provided me with this pink patterned lamp shade as inspiration. I also had a reproduction mercury glass lamp which I made a bit more special with a ginger jar pedestal.

The bed canopy was fashioned from an old Syrocco wall shelf.  We inverted it and had a wooden piece made to hang the silk from. It cost less than $25  for the shelf and it works beautifully, mounted to the wall.  It really frames the head board and adds that "princess" touch we wanted. A canopy is such a simple touch you can add above any bed with amazing effect. I purposely kept my color ways more about subtle detail than showy stand-out effects.

The bed has such a simple and quietly regal feel.  It can be dressed up with color and made sophisticated with neutral shades. I am sure it will become a prized family piece. The end of the bed has additional amazing detail, and wraps the mattress (which was custom made) with an elegant border.

Pillows set the scene for comfort and luxury. Mother and daughter will spend time together reading books and sharing stories. Down pillows, and ones filled with lavender, ensure comfort and sleep.

The lamp light is warm and dances nicely on the gilded accents.
Bedside tables are generous for placing books and water glass.

 I used silver trays under the lamps to add a detailed layer.  For the round table, I had a linen circle made to match the headboard upholstery.

The bedside table, painted in chalk paint, has the most amazing and detailed cutwork border -- perfect for a lamp and a few treasures. The lamp itself is contemporary, but personalized with a floral touch.

The large plate glass wall mirror has a real decorative Versailles effect. The glass is mottled and distressed, which brings an aged elegance to the space.

We used a Sissix® machine to make pink flowers to adorn the lampshade.
We wanted all of the last-layer items to have pretty pink details. Those layers can be easily changed out to instantly transform the room.

The homeowner had a pair of these Italian chairs that came from her grandmother. We simply upholstered them in beige linen for a subtle but beautiful effect:

A petite secretary desk is a perfect fit for the room. We refreshed it with chalk paint and outfitted the windows with views of castle grounds. The panels can be changed out and the desk is perfect for a laptop or Ipad.

A crest from a gold mirror was applied to the top of the desk using epoxy glue and it adds instant gilded style:

I found lots of great little details for the room including this Greek-inspired porcelain cameo that will never lose its decorative appeal.

 The homeowner had a vanity and bureau that she inherited, and the pieces were stripped and repainted in a warm beige tone. Glass was cut for the top of the vanity to preserve the finish on a high traffic area.

 I had the best time finding accessories like the Syrocco garland and azalea print:

 I even painted a small wooden castle with a turret in chalk paint and then gilded the roof.

It took us nearly five months to pull the room together. We used several professionals to attend to painting the room, hanging the curtains, and fabricating the special treatments. My wife, my assistant, and I painted all of the furniture pieces and moved them into place.  We used mostly easy-to-find items including paint cloth and curtain hardware from Target, and ready-made bedding from Pinecone Hill. My favorite part is how the room has real personality and a "collected" feel. It is original and customized and can be easily updated with fresh pillows and accent colors. Our littlest client loves her new space and I believe it really achieves the "princess" vibe that we were hoping for. I know her Mom has spent several nights with her already, and if your daughter's room can be a quick getaway, then what more can you ask for?

Please comment with your questions.. I am happy to help in any way I can!!

Matthew Mead's Recycled Style is available for pre-order via Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.


  1. Wow! Gorgeous and thoughtful you guys. A room truly fit for a princess, and all little girls are princesses! You did a great job! That bed is to die for!

  2. I love the eclectic vintage look, so beautiful!

  3. Pretty! You made a little girl happy. Her smile says it all!

  4. Beautiful!! Love all the details and that bed and mirror are so gorgeous! Well done!

  5. Ohh everything is so beautiful! So many fabulous details! Love the scenes on the doors! Truly a magical makeover! Lucky little princess! : ) xo

  6. Kudos to you, Matthew and Jenny! I knew it would be fabulous, but this way outdid expectations! LOVE that bed!!

  7. I agree- this a room fit for a princess (of any age). You did an amazing job and the photos are beautiful as always. Congrats to all!

  8. I love this room, you've done a fabulous job and given me several wonderful ideas. I especially love the accents you gave the lampshade, beautifully repurposed with the Eileen's Sizzix Dies. They are so versatile, a must for every crafter!

  9. I don't know where to start. It is splendid! That Syrocco wall shelf, upside down is brilliant. Job well done!

  10. Beautiful! Love all the details - lots of dreamy ideas!

  11. How beautiful!! My girls would LOVE this room!! Fantastic job =) Xo, Ashley

  12. Such a beautiful room! I love how it is youthful, but can easily transition as she grows. AMAZING job!!

  13. Soooooo, I hope you're ready to tackle more of these projects as I'm sure you'll have clients clamoring for your magic touch!!

  14. LOVE!!!! I'm addicted to Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan too!!!!! Pine Cone Hill has such beautiful prints to choose from as well. Your work is beautiful!!! Hugs!

  15. Wow, this bedroom furniture is amazing. I would love for my bedroom to look like this. Makes me think of royalty. Great job!!

  16. Bravo~ I adore rooms that truly grow with a child. Brilliant job!

  17. Came across this from Centsational Girl. Just Lovely!

  18. Beautiful collection of pillows. I really love the peach ones and the the gold fretwork looking ones. Any resources? You are really quite talented. Please help me. I'm stuck with my office and would do anything to get it done!

  19. ahhh..I so love to see repurposed pieces and new life brought into a room forever! What a delightful & enchanting sanctuary for the sweet little lady. You, your team & her mom must be pleased!


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