May-June 2015 | Home & Garden

How Three Bethesda-area Couples Created the Master Bedrooms of Their Dreams

From soothing color palettes to hidden hampers to cozy seating areas

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Fresh Start

Erin and Ali Fardshisheh moved into their home in Bethesda’s Landon Woods neighborhood in 2012. “We’d gotten together at law school in Miami—we actually met on the first day of our first class,” Erin Fardshisheh says. “A lot of our stuff was from our separate apartments, and it wouldn’t have worked here. We wanted to start fresh in our new home.” The couple enlisted Bethesda-based interior designer Erica Burns to help them refurbish their house, including the master bedroom, in a youthful but timeless style. “The aim was to give the room a clean, classic look, while warming it up,” Burns says.

Photo by Darren Higgins

To add warmth and texture, Burns covered the walls in dove-gray grass cloth. The next step was to select an accent color to enliven the neutral background. “The only color my husband and I agree on is purple,” Erin says. “We even used it as a contrast color in our wedding.” Burns upholstered the headboard in a soothing, earthy plum shade. The room’s overall palette—mostly shades of gray and purple—meets in the fabric that covers the plaid bench at the base of the bed. The bedding is a clean hotel white, with subtle black piping, and the monochromatic textured carpet echoes the trellis diamond pattern on the bed’s headboard, adding depth and interest to the space without busyness.

Photo by Tonya Teran

Roman shades provide privacy without blocking natural light, and crisp white curtains have blackout linings for weekend sleep-ins. The nightstands have a whitewashed finish, which adds textural contrast.

The couple wanted the room to incorporate masculine and feminine elements. “The lamps are delicate and feminine in form, as are the white curtains and curved chests,” Burns says, “while the plaid bench and textured grass cloth nod to the masculine side.” Wrought iron accents, including the lamp bases and curtain rods, are also more rugged in feel.

Photo by Tonya Teran

It was important to Ali that the laundry hampers were hidden and had a permanent place in the room. Burns designed two laundry boxes on casters that tuck neatly beneath a stone-topped console and can be wheeled to the laundry room, which is on the same floor as the master bedroom. “They’re made of plywood and wrapped in the same linen as the drapes,” Burns says. Above them hangs a gallery wall of the couple’s wedding photos in wrought-iron frames. “The idea behind the gallery is that it can change as their family grows,” Burns says.


Restful Retreat

Most people would love to have a more spacious bedroom, but empty nesters Christi and Jim Summers had the opposite problem: They wanted their 428-square-foot bedroom to feel more cozy and intimate. The couple moved from Southern California to their home in Potomac’s Avenel neighborhood in 2013. “The room was not only large, but it had these heavy moldings, grandiose and over-the-top,” says interior designer Roxanne Lumme. “To make it an inviting retreat, we needed to bring it down to a more realistic scale.” One of the biggest challenges was finding furniture that fit husband and wife. “I’m small,” says Christi, “but my husband’s 6-foot-5.” Here’s how Lumme helped them turn the space into one of their favorite rooms in their new home.

Photo by Angie Seckinger

Christi chose a gray and golden-yellow color palette.

“I love the combination,” she says. “It’s elegant, soothing and relaxing, yet cheery.” A brass sunburst mirror tops a gray tufted-velvet headboard tall enough for both husband and wife. The bolster pillow’s geometric fabric is repeated in both the bench and the desk chair.

To make the room feel more intimate, Lumme divided the space into several zones: a sleeping area centered around a king-size bed, a seating area for lounging, and a desk area around a secretary. A large carpet connects them underfoot. “The rug has a geometric pattern to break up all the blank wall and ceiling space with some movement,” Lumme says.

Meanwhile, paneling was removed from behind the bed, and the walls and moldings were painted in an ivory hue. “I really wanted to take the emphasis off the millwork and onto the softer furnishings we’d brought into the room,” Lumme says. She also painted the barrel ceiling a satin gray and added a sculptural light fixture, which helps to fill the void created by the 10½-foot ceiling.  

Photo by Angie Seckinger

“Finding the right size armchairs was important,” Lumme says of the two they chose from CR Laine. The chairs, along with an ottoman and floating tables, make up the seating area. “They have a higher back than average,” Lumme says, “making them perfect for him, as he’s so tall, and they also sit deep, allowing her petite frame to curl up in them.” A console holds two reading lamps, and an oversize mirror helps bounce natural light around the space.

Photo by Angie Seckinger

The room has three corner windows as well as 8-foot-tall French doors. Lumme chose tone-on-tone patterned curtains and hung them from unfussy rods, neither of which competed with the room’s ornate moldings. To suit the room’s scale, chests were used as nightstands.