Traditional Bedroom Design: Master Interpretations
Today we are exploring Traditional Bedroom Design in its various expressions, as interpreted by some of America’s most highly regarded masters of interior design. Traditional design has become a much more flexible term in our modern times. In the past, traditional usually referred to the formal decorating styles of Europe translated for American life. Time has passed, and our lifestyles have changed, and the term has evolved along with us. As with all decorating styles and vernaculars, our understanding and interpretation of them are quite subjective.
We have 15 master bedrooms from homes completed by 15 of the top interior designers in the country. Certain classic design elements are present in each, even when their final looks have little else in common. Today’s interiors are far less formulaic and much more individual than in the past and adapted for contemporary life. Each of the bedrooms here is designed within its particular context for the lifestyle of its inhabitants. I’ve selected these rooms, in particular, to explore a full range of looks for our design inspiration. Continue to read for design ideas from the very best in the industry.
Lavish Traditional Bedroom
San Francisco-based interior design icon Suzanne Tucker believes that by surrounding ourselves with beauty, we enrich and enhance the quality of our lives. Tucker and partner Timothy F. Marks founded Tucker & Marks in 1986, and today she is recognized as one of the country’s leading designers, and the firm has long been considered one of the most respected and successful in the U.S. The company prides itself on stylistically diverse, distinctive high-end residential interiors. The designer translates her clients dreams into lavishly decorated, polished interiors that blend timeless, Old World elegance with modern luxury, always honoring classic design principals.
The opening photo shows the master bedroom from a 12,000-square-foot Neoclassical Georgian Villa with Greek influences in Atherton, California whose interiors Tucker designed. Claremont’s Amure Cannele upholsters the walls. The window treatments consist of Nobilis’ Damas Dauphin, a celadon and gold satin damask, and an ivory sheer called Les Nuages by Clarence House. The bed hangings are silk. Comfy upholstered furnishings gather around a coffee table with a top created from a 18th century Coromandel panel. Shining above it all is a fine 20th century Northern Italian Neoclassic style carved giltwood twelve-arm chandelier. www.tuckerandmarks.com/ Photography by Matthew Millman. Also see: Contemporary Classical Interiors for more from her.
Buatta Traditional Bedroom
The legendary interior design veteran, New York-based Mario Buatta has lavished the homes of his devoted A-list clients with his signature opulent take on English country-style decorating for over half a century. The designer creates cheerful, wonderfully decadent interiors that indulge and coddle their inhabitants.
Here we have the master bedroom from the 1850s South Carolina home of socialite Patricia Altschul. The unapologetically grand 9,500-square-foot Greek Revival mansion in Charleston’s historic district is the fourth large-scale project the designer completed for her. Cheerful blue-and-white Manual Canovas fabric drapes the entire room. The theme continues with a collection of blue-and-white porcelain pieces. A painting by Donald Roller Wilson hangs above a 19th-century Chinoiserie etagere from Philip Colleck. Photography by Scott Frances
Elegant Traditional Bedroom
Atlanta-based interior designer Suzanne Kasler believes that a room should be collected, not decorated. The taste-maker incorporates the personal collections of her clients with fine art and antiques, modern pieces and custom-designed furniture in her signature style of elegant traditional designed for contemporary luxury lifestyles. suzannekasler.com
This master bedroom is from Kasler’s 1930s Federal-style house in Atlanta’s affluent Buckhead neighborhood which she renovated and transformed into her personal home. The light and tranquil bedroom includes a Nancy Corzine bed, chests, and a bench upholstered in Fortuny cotton. The blue duvet pairs perfectly with the framed Braque poster displayed above the bed. An antique chair and a pair of Christopher Spitzmiller lamps complete the scene. Photography by Pieter Estersohn
Southern Traditional Bedroom
New York-based interior designer Alexa Hampton took the reins of Mark Hampton, her father’s iconic design firm, as owner and president in 1998. Since then she has advanced its legacy of elegant, practical, classically based interiors for contemporary living. Hampton combines classic inspiration with a modern sensitivity to comfort and lifestyle. Her’s is a fresh approach to traditional styling that translates into some of today’s most inspiring and enduring domestic landscapes. alexahampton.com
This elegant master bedroom comes from a 15,000-square-foot, French Neoclassical style mansion in New Orleans the designer completed a while back. Custom silks drape the windows and the bed. Period antiques gather alongside contemporary and custom pieces on the Stark carpet. The painting is by Claude-Joseph Vernet. Photography by Scott Frances
Monochromatic Traditional Bedroom
Jeffrey Bilhuber is described as one of the preeminent American interior designers. The New York-based designer has been creating remarkable, seemingly effortless, timeless interiors for over 30-years. Each of his projects reveals itself to be a standard-bearer of great style, reflecting his optimistic and classically informed point of view. Engaged by both the past and present, Bilhuber’s interior design work is edited, intuitive, brisk, stylish and current. www.bilhuber.com
Here we have the master bedroom from an iconic 1870s Manhattan townhouse steeped in history with interiors completed by Bilhuber. The bedroom is a testimonial to a highly-informed use of a monochromatic palette. Rogers & Goffigon fabric drapes the bed’s canopy while embroidered linens by E. Braun & Co dress the bed. Handwoven abaca carpet by Beauvais covers the floor. Photography by William Waldron
Quirky Traditional Bedroom
Miles Redd is known for his quirky brand of glamour. The New York-based interior designer believes that good design elicits desire. His unique aesthetic vision is characterized by playful melanges invigorated with whimsical color and modern gestures. Noted for his encyclopedic knowledge of decorative arts and for the careful clashing of elements that have become his signature. Redd’s approach to design brings to life rooms infused with boldness, fantasy, and sophistication. milesredd.com
This color-rich master bedroom comes from a three-story 1892 Queen Anne residence in Greenwich, Connecticut completed by the designer. A floral wall covering from de Gournay envelopes the room. Silk taffeta draperies dress the windows while Schweitzer linens dress the bed. The room includes a Napoleon III desk and a Louis XVI side chair upholstered in a Bennison fabric. Photography by Miguel Flores-Vianna
Tailored Traditional Bedroom
New York-based interior designer Thomas Jayne of Jayne Design Studio finds inspiration in history. He is known for his timeless, tailored interiors that incorporate both ancient and modern details. For more than 25 years, the designer has united the antique with the modern in his traditional designs created for contemporary living. jaynedesignstudio.com
This master bedroom comes from a historic house built in 1889 outside Philadelphia. The firm was asked to create a serene setting for the museum-caliber postwar art collection the owner had been building over the years. They were to create a distinctly domestic backdrop for the art with low-key color, using the furnishings for tone and texture. Here, textured wall-covering, hand-woven silk carpet and a pair of custom, silk-upholstered slipper chairs in soft shades of gray and cream create a soothing atmosphere and provide a neutral setting for two paintings by Gerhart Richter. A Federal console table acts as a writing desk, flanked by a pair of 19th-century French armchairs. Photography by Robert Davies
Modern Traditional Bedroom
New York-based interior designer Ellie Cullman is a founding partner at Cullman & Kravis, a world-renowned interior design firm famed for its English-inspired aesthetic and its work with art and antique collections. The company’s most recent work redefines the traditional interior. The edited and clarified designs incorporate new materials and palettes to achieve a “modern traditional” aesthetic. The style is contemporary while respecting the 30-year history of the company. Every room, effortlessly graceful and balanced, reflects the personality of the owner, making no two projects the same. www.cullmankravis.com
This master bedroom is from Cullman’s Cedar Lodge Farm in southwestern Connecticut, a family retreat for four generations set amid 180 acres of woodland and pastures. The updated interiors are in line with the calm, crisp style that is now a Cullman & Kravis hallmark. Anthony Lawrence-Belfair chairs upholstered in a Duralee fabric flank an English weather vane. The bed linens are by E. Braun, with a custom throw and handwoven rug by Gregory Newham. Also, see Georgian Modern Traditional Elegance for more by this designer. Photography by Eric Piasecki
Maximalist Traditional Bedroom
The work of New York-based interior decorator Alex Papachristidis is described as thoughtful, personal, sophisticated and eclectic. He is known for his arresting, elegant interiors that meld classical motifs with a modern perspective and sophisticated details. He is an eclectic traditionalist with a modern eye that has for over 25 years created wall-to-wall maximalist style luxury with an unwavering attention to every detail. Papachristidis’s multifaceted approach and fresh color palette make his rooms the perfect backdrop for glamorous living and relaxed elegance.
This master bedroom is from the designer’s Manhattan high-rise apartment, in which he proves that enough is not always enough by layering bold patterns, lots and lots of jewel-tone colors, and exotic accents. In the master bedroom, a peacock-blue upholstered bed with sculptural feet forms a grand focal point. Swedish wallpaper from Old World Weavers inspired by the Château de Groussay covers the walls. Fortuny fabric covers the chair on the reverse for an antique look. The designer describes the results as having a dreamy atmospheric effect, almost like waking up in a garden. alexpapachristidis.com Photography by Paul Costello
Relaxed Traditional Bedroom
Bunny Williams is often referred to as the doyenne of New York interior design, and the decorating Grande Dame. She knows the classics. Restraint and appropriateness are hallmarks of the designer’s style. Bunny is known for creating informally elegant town-and-country interiors, mixing antiques, 20th-century design, and contemporary art. She can expertly execute a range of styles, but gravitates toward a refined, welcoming English sensibility, with fresh, modern finishes. The relaxed traditionalist’s attractive designs are always correct, never fussy and supremely comfortable. bunnywilliams.com
This master bedroom comes from the designer’s weekend residence, a 19th-century Federal-style house located in Falls Village, Connecticut which she transformed into a stunning retreat. She has spent 30 years evolving the home with renovations, decorations, the addition of multiple gardens, and the transformation of a barn into a conservatory. Bunny filled the home with collections of her favorite things. The designer says waking up in her pale turquoise bedroom is heaven. Her husband, an antique dealer, designed the bed and built it in his shop. The limestone-topped bedside table is from Bunny Williams Home. The painted English chest came from an auction. A carved French antique mirror hangs above it. There are plenty of gold accents as Bunny believes every room should have some gold in it. Photography by Tony Vu
Restrained Traditional Bedroom
Victoria Hagan, the New York-based interior designer, reigns as the queen of restrained elegance. Her work reflects a fresh take on American Classic, a modern sense of iconic understated luxury. She founded her design firm 25 years ago. The designer intelligently integrates architecture and interior design with great success. Blending classical elements into modern designs is her hallmark. She brings harmony to any room through her sophisticated use of color, texture, and silhouette. Hers is a classic take on everyday life, a modern twist on traditional living.
This master bedroom is from Hagan’s own Southport, Connecticut house. The bed’s headboard is custom, with bed linens by Frette, and a silk coverlet by Calvin Klein Home. The bedside tables are from the designer’s home collection, as is the slipper chair. The wool carpeting is Beauvais, and the lamps are Antony Todd. www.victoriahagan.com Photography by Francesco Lagnese
Updated Traditional Bedroom
Los Angeles-based interior designer Michael Smith is one of the most original and respected talents in the design industry today. Smith’s style is a seamless blend of European classicism and American modernism—always fresh, always evolving, always underscored by the belief that everyone should live with things they love. Whether in designing his own collection or in the interiors he creates for his clients, a deep respect for tradition—viewed through a modern eye—is ever-present. He describes his style as “updated traditional.” www.michaelsmithinc.com
This master bedroom comes from the Manhattan apartment of comedian Ali Wentworth and journalist George Stephanopoulos, completed by the designer. Hand-painted Chinoiserie wallpaper by Gracie covers the walls. Nancy Koltes linens dress the handsome Italian neoclassical bed. Photography by Scott Frances
Innovative Traditional Bedroom
Renowned New York–based interior designer Steven Gambrel has a fresh, innovative approach to color and form. His bold and expressive designs receive wide celebration. The designer creates spaces that reflect, support, and enhance the lifestyles of today while at the same time embracing the history of each home. This respect for tradition allows him to take risks with his personal touches. Gambrel mixes refined taste with a taste for experimentation, making his rooms cultivated spaces where past and present can live in harmony. srgambrel.com
This master bedroom comes from a 1912 Manhattan duplex on the Upper East Side. A textured gray-blue silk covers the walls. Dove gray draperies frame the windows. Gambrel designed the elegant blue-veined white marble fireplace surround. The bedside lamps are by Charles Paris. The 1920s-crystal chandelier previously illuminated New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel. Photography by Eric Piasecki
Whimsical Traditional Bedroom
Richard Keith Langham, the multifaceted New York-based interior designer, has a love for pure color and real comfort. His client list is as diverse as the rooms he puts together and includes the late Jackie Kennedy Onassis. One of Langham’s big motivating factors is fun, and his fun comes from making the world stop and gasps at his interiors. He is dedicated to creating masterpieces with the common thread being history smartly refreshed. The designer believes that rooms should recognize the past yet be relevant for today, with a layering of color, texture, and pattern that is invigorating. He also enjoys a bit of extravagant whimsy. richardkeithlangham.com
This master bedroom comes from a Mississippi home the designer initially created over 20 years earlier. After being wrecked by a hurricane, Langham and the original architect came together again and rebuilt it. Lee Jofa wallpaper covers the walls. Schumacher satin drapes the canopy of the 18th-century Georgian four-poster bed, dressed with Leontine Linens bedding. Custom-embroidered Clarence House taffeta draperies grace the windows. Photography by Pieter Estersohn
European-style Traditional Bedroom
Timothy Corrigan, the primarily Los Angeles-based interior designer (he also has an office and homes in France) creates timeless interiors that combine European elegance with fresh, California comfort. His designs embrace old-world elegance and usually include the incorporation of antiques, yet they remain approachable and livable. The designer does not believe that one needs to sacrifice a beautiful setting to be comfortable and practical. His firm, one of the leading interior design firms in the world, carefully mixes the best examples of furniture, art, and design from different periods to create a space that is inviting, warm and alive. www.timothy-corrigan.com
This master bedroom is from Corrigan’s stately residence in Los Angeles’s Hancock Park. The designer grew up in the house until he was 12. Years later, he discovered it on the market and purchased it and made it one of his homes again. The four-poster bed, draped with Pindler & Pindler linen, is of his design, as are the chairs flanking the circa-1800 French gueridon. A Louis XVI bench upholstered in Christopher Hyland silk stands before a custom mantel and a painting attributed to Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson. Photography: Roger Davies
Traditional Bedroom Design Conclusion
The bedrooms shown here all build on the foundation of what is best of traditional design The designers all have a respect and appreciation for the essential elements that make up our ideas about traditional design, which they interpret for modern life using different approaches. Some favor an old school look with a clever twist, while others embrace traditional styling updated with contemporary colors and contradictions, and some strip away all the decoration and edit the style down to its bare essence. The most appealing aspect of all traditional design is its familiarity. Even when we mix up the details, we still find comfort in what we know. Some of the bedrooms also group as Transitional and Contemporary.
That concludes our design inspiration for today, my friend.
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