From the April/May 2016 Issue  

Unexpected Mix

Writer Robin Amster  |  Photographer Peter Rymwid  |  Designer Philip La Bossiere, Allied ASID  |  Location Saddle River, NJ
  • An all-white bed covered in embroidered silk strikes a feminine note, but it’s large and structural with an oversized headboard for a more masculine look. The carpet with a snow leopard pattern is another masculine element, though it has a lighter look than the more common and darker leopard print. A bust of George Washington atop a brass and black glass étagère is both funky and unexpected yet fits beautifully in the space.

  • A dressing gallery contains the master suite’s walk-in closets. At left is a high-gloss mahogany chest with an inlaid marble top.

  • Another juxtaposition of masculine and feminine: a sculptural antler chandelier and a mirror over the fireplace that evokes a jeweled necklace with a frame of emerald lacquer beads. Oversized club chairs in front of the fireplace wear lipstick red, adding a bit of surprise to the space, the designer says.

  • A brown and coffee taffeta sofa with a Greek key-patterned stripe inhabits a niche in the dressing gallery. The Italian ottoman, an antique, has a carved goldleaf frame and charcoal chenille seat. Above it is a large artwork—an enlarged photograph taken by the designer featuring pearls.

A designer mixes masculine and feminine elements—with a touch of the unexpected—to craft a stylish, contemporary master bedroom suite.


An elegant juxtaposition of masculine and feminine elements distinguishes the master bedroom suite that was part of the 2015 Designer Showhouse of New Jersey.

The suite—a dressing gallery that opens onto a master bedroom—is the work of Philip La Bossiere, an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers and owner of La Bossiere Interior Design in Saddle River, NJ. But the melding of masculine and feminine elements isn’t the only thing going on in this space.

La Bossiere also makes use of furnishings and accessories that impart a sophisticated, glamorous and contemporary look. It all melds together for what the designer calls, “a very stylish room; stylish and unexpected while being both masculine and feminine.”

Bed & Carpet
At the heart of the master bedroom, an all-white bed covered in an embroidered silk fabric strikes a feminine note. But the bed is also large and structural with an oversized headboard for a more muscular, masculine look.

La Bossiere chose a snow leopard carpet for the suite. It extends over 95 square yards, but it doesn’t overwhelm the space because it’s lighter than the more common and darker leopard print, he notes, which would have been a more clichéd look.

Adding Glamour
La Bossiere placed two oversized club chairs—along with an ottoman—in front of the fireplace. They add another masculine touch, but their dramatic lipstick red color speaks to another element: a note of subtle glamour. The glamour quotient is upped with a striking mirror over the fireplace. Its frame resembles a necklace with chunks of emerald lacquer beads.

In the dressing gallery, an imposing piece of art that sits over a brown and coffee silk taffeta sofa with a Greek key-striped pattern echoes the jewelry-like look of the mirror. The art is an enlarged photograph that La Bossiere took of pearls.

The designer chose a sculptural chandelier reminiscent of antlers, another masculine motif. But it’s an unexpected representation of antlers. The designer based the fixture on an Alexander Calder mobile that gives it a modern, asymmetrical and stylized look that also ensures that “it’s not a cliché,” he says.

La Bossiere considers his design of the suite contemporary. “But my approach is that even when I stretch into contemporary, I don’t want it to be harsh or austere,” he says. “I’m not a minimalist guy.”
He seeks to create an inviting element to his rooms even when they are contemporary. “They are also timeless or updated [in addition to contemporary]; those three words meld together,” La Bossiere says of his version of contemporary.

Robin Amster is a Madison-based writer and editor.