When a globe-trotting couple wanted to breathe new life into their master bedroom and dressing room, they enlisted the help of Elsie & Kel Design to create a calm, serene space with a California coastal vibe. The end result is a seamless blend of old and new, light and dark, and masculine and feminine – and packed with ideas to try in your own home.
Think Cool, Calm and Collectibles
Designers Laura Collins and Kelly Lynn Armstrong worked closely with their clients – a couple who had taken a year-long sabbatical to travel the world – to create a calm and airy living space that’s free from clutter while also incorporating souvenirs from the couple’s travels as well as antiques with sentimental value.
Create a Luxe Look for Less
Sticking to a soothing, neutral palette of whites and greys, the designers were able to create a luxurious, hotel-worthy bedding look without breaking the bank. “We started with a crisp white foundation and enhanced it by layering it with textiles that were in line with a California cool vibe,” says Armstrong. “We added texture with a plush velvet coverlet, a simple striped throw as well as a custom lumbar pillow in a classic ticking stripe pattern,” she says. The white bedding is from Homesense, and the coverlet and throw are from Zara Home.
Work From the Ground Up
“The bedroom rug played a critical part in the design of the bedroom,” Collins. “It really established the colour palette we worked with throughout, and it had to work with whatever we chose to use in the dressing room.” She and Armstrong sourced the rug, with its warm tones and timeless geometric design, through Wayfair.
Mix Old and New
Having inherited several pieces of antique furniture from family members, the clients were keen to incorporate them into the new bedroom design; it was up to Collins and Armstrong to “create a cohesion between old and new,” says Armstrong. “We came in with a concept that reflected their worldly lifestyle and a California coastal vibe.”
Make It Your Own
The clients gave this classic armchair, another inherited piece, a new lease on life with crisp white upholstery to match the bedroom’s light and airy vibe. “They had it reupholstered in the hopes that they would use it to catch up on their favourite books,” says Armstrong.
Find the Right Balance
“Because we were working with darker pieces that were sentimental, we were conscious not to bring anything else that felt heavy into the space,” says Collins. “Our mantra was light and airy.” The designers balanced the dark wood furniture, like this antique vanity, with bright white walls and lighter, beachy colours throughout the space.
Embrace the Modern Classics
“The couple was very particular about their lighting choices,” says Collins. “We went through rounds of discussion to find the perfect pieces, and the overall theme we went with was classically modern.” The chic, minimalist oiled bronze bedroom sconces were a Lamps Plus find. “We loved the modern take on a classic shade,” she says.
Always Add Art
“We wanted to create a space that appealed to both husband and wife, a space that incorporated their love of travel without being too literal, and add coastal elements without feeling overly feminine,” says Collins. The clients love beach photography – Gray Malin is an artist they both admire – and the carefully curated selection of art throughout the space was key to setting the perfect tone.
Keep it Flowing
As an extension of the bedroom space, the attached dressing room was given the coastal-cool treatment, too. Beachy elements were added in the form of a jute rug and a selection of matching baskets. The linen upholstered bench, another Wayfair find, was added to give the clients a spot to lounge while getting ready. The modern wire drum pendant light is from CB2.
Maximize Storage Stylishly
For the dressing room, the designers’ goal was to create a functional space that both of their clients could enjoy. “Additional storage was important to the couple, so we added an open shelving unit for easy visibility,” says Armstrong, who notes that open shelves also offer more styling opportunities (shelfies, anyone?). The clean-lined bookshelf is from CB2, while the sleek armoire is a budget-friendly IKEA score.