Doubling Up: Handsome Guest + Young Man's Room

One of the most satisfying (and challenging) things about working on New York City projects is that every square foot counts. No matter how big your apartment is, it is very likely that most of your space has to serve multiple functions. For example, when I started working on this particular bedroom, it was a nursery and "guest room" with a pull-out sofa. When the youngest was old enough to share a bedroom with the middle child, this room maintained guest room status, but then also had to be a dedicated bedroom for their oldest son. The challenge then became how to make this room feel very handsome and appropriate for their tween while still being an inviting place for guests.

This room is not particularly large and also gets very little natural light, so it was important to try and get the most out of the space without making it feel crammed or dark or, heaven forbid, giving up valuable storage space.

We started the design process with a furniture plan and determined that while a queen size bed would take up a substantial foot print, it was an important upgrade for the client and would make guests much more comfortable. The client and I both happen to be big fans of color, but agreed that because we were going big on the bed and the room absorbs any sort of light that comes in, choosing a lighter, more neutral wall color would be very successful in this space. We selected Farrow & Ball's Lime White for the walls and a very similar, but slightly darker shade of fabric for the platform bed so that the bed would not fully dominate the space. We added a fun little pop! when you look up - a very pretty blue on the ceiling coffers which helped the space have a more airy feel. We then used textiles to add color and a little bit of pattern and movement. 

From there we had to be inventive with storage and display. Ideally, we wanted a mix of open and closed storage, but most bedside tables were a little too small and not wide enough to offer a reasonable storage solution or create enough volume in the space. Because of the closet, radiator, and soffit placement, an integrated built-in was not a good option either. We decided to go custom to create a modified built-in feel by installing beautifully crafted solid walnut "boxes" to the wall. The negative space between the boxes created additional "shelves" for display and also allowed the space to breathe a little. We matched the widths of the boxes and bedside tables for consistency and really achieved a lovely amount of storage and display considering the size constraint of the room.

Adding additional sources of light was another priority. Rather than taking up valuable surface space with lamps, we installed some of my favorite Schoolhouse Electric sconces. We also picked a really wonderful chandelier from Ro-Sham-Beaux and added custom gold foil-lined chandelier shades for extra glow. In the corner, we recovered a smaller scale vintage chair and added a reading lamp, which made lighting available in all possible locations in the room.

While I am so happy with how the aesthetics turned out in this very handsome bedroom, I am even more content with the fact that the bedroom achieves the multiple functions the client was looking for.

Emily C. Butler

Emily C. Butler, 1153 3rd Avenue, New York, New York 10065, USA

Emily C. Butler is a New York City based interior designer + decorator.