From the December/January 2013 Issue:

Serene Space

    Writer: Janet Purcell | Photographer: David Van Scott | Designer: Miriam Ansell, Allied Member ASID, Professional Member IIDA |

The redesign of a master bedroom and sitting area creates a restful retreat

Article Photo
enlarge | Simplification was the operative word in transforming a ho-hum room into a dramatically different and welcoming oasis. An area rug anchors a sophisticated sleeping area highlighted by a tufted head-of-the-bed wall and Roman shades seamed to line up in exact coordination with it. The subdued color palette wraps the room in tasteful unity.
Large white flowers and green leaves dance dramatically on the garnet background of a rug in the master bedroom of a South Brunswick home. Before the room was redone by Miriam Ansell Interiors, the rug was just one of many disparate components in an uninteresting room. By simplifying all else, Ansell turned the rug into the center point of a room that is now restful and inviting.

Except for the rug, the new palette features monochromatic shades of café au lait and cream. “If the garnet were repeated, it would have killed the serenity of the room, seemed contrived and lost its specialness,” says Ansell, an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers, professional member of the International Interior Design Association and owner of Miriam Ansell Interiors in New Hope, Pennsylvania, and New York City.

Now there is nothing to distract the eye. Gone are mismatched pieces of furniture. Lamps with glass bases and white shades stand on mirrored chests within easy reach from a bed dressed in tailored Ultrasuede. Even the pillows and bolsters keep to the subdued palette.

Instead of art centered over the bed, a tufted headboard in the same fabric as the bedding reaches to the ceiling, making the 17-by-20-foot room look larger. “I kept the same fabric for the window coverings to make them less noticeable,” Ansell adds.

Double-white doors replaced a single door to the reach-in closet, simplifying the wall that draws the eye to the 9-by-9-foot sitting room.

Article Photo
enlarge | A mini-refrigerator dressed up in a whimsical cabinet is convenient to a sitting area defined by a silk portiere and a custom ceiling. Keeping furniture light with simple lines and softening the room with tasteful art and ferns allows com­fort­able transition between the sitting and sleeping areas.
Extending the Look
Wall-to-wall carpeting and the same wall and trim colors unify the two spaces, while a café au lait and cream silk taffeta portiere that hangs from the ceiling to the floor distinguishes the sitting area. Further defining the sitting area is a coffered ceiling, the design for which the homeowners found on the Internet. “My husband and I made a simple line drawing, and the contractor made it better artistically using crown molding to frame the coffers,” the wife says, adding that her husband painted the molding in a white gloss the same as the baseboard and plantation shutters.

A chenille velvet sofa, pillows and ottomans maintain the monochromatic palette, with the ottomans, bolsters and lumbar pillow welted in faux leather.

A mini-refrigerator hides in a custom cabinet with a handpainted whimsical design of delicate green and coffee-hued circles and spheres that echo the circle in the coffered ceiling.

“This is a room my husband and I look forward to retreating to when we come home from work, where we can escape from the daily drudgery,” the homeowner says. “It’s a nest where we watch television, read, and cuddle with the cats.”

Janet Purcell, a regular contributor to Design NJ, is a freelance writer based in Hopewell.


Design, Miriam Ansell Interiors in New Hope, Pennsylvania, and New York City; bedding, headboard, pillows, bolsters, portiere, plantation shutters, Timothy Sullivan of All For You Interiors in Berlin; mirrored night tables, lamps and Lucite nesting tables, Apropos in New York City; floor lamps, Metropolitan Lighting in New York City; carpeting and area rug, National Floor in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania; carpentry, Terry Gaudlip of Dream Catcher Construction LLC in Jackson; sofa, ottomans and all fabrics, Kravet in Bethpage, New York.

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