Soothing Sanctuary

Exquisite, space-defining details come together perfectly for a master-bedroom oasis that’s both alluring and tranquil.

The principal bedroom doesn’t often get the kind of attention the kitchen and main living areas receive, but this space is truly the sanctuary of the home. The bedroom is where you retreat—the place that allows you to fully rest and refresh that’s away from the hustle and bustle of the house. This is where you’re meant to feel completely relaxed.

The homeowners of this serene space asked designer Alexandra Naranjo for an oasis. Last redecorated in 1992, the bedroom in the Toronto home wasn’t the haven the owners
craved. A busy couple, the pair yearned for a quiet refuge where they could leave the day behind and recharge. Though Naranjo was content with the room’s existing configuration, she felt the space was in need of a few significant changes—including a lighter and much softer feel—that would really enhance the couple’s relaxation factor. “It was very dark for such a big room and the bed had been in front of the small window,” she says. “I knew I wanted to move it to another wall and add larger windows so the owners could enjoy the view of a private ravine.” She also brought in custom-made pieces, including a channel back brocade sofa and heavy damask hotel drapes, both of which give the room a cozy feel. The chandelier, done in brass, was a big splurge, “but it’s the perfect piece to marry the metals, silvers and brass, used in the walk-in closet and master ensuite.”

When it comes to renovations, Naranjo says designers never know what they’ll find once the process starts, but rarely are there such wonderful surprises as what her team discovered when they opened the ceiling. “There was depth that we couldn’t have imagined—the original builders had closed up the space but when we discovered all that room that was hiding above the ceiling, it was like Christmas morning. It made a huge statement in the finished room.”

Opting to cover the room in a super-soft lavender to brighten the space, Naranjo knew she didn’t want to simply paint the wall behind the bed. Instead, the designer (who takes pride in using stunning wallpapers in most of her projects) commissioned a hand-painted custom landscape done by the same company the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, used for her renovation at the royal residence in Kensington Palace. She then had an installer frame it into the wall and added trim around the delicate piece. “It’s truly the focal point in the room—it’s all about the mural. I didn’t include any other art, except for some sculptural branches on another wall, because I didn’t want to take away from that gorgeous work.”

The master ensuite wasn’t left behind in the redesign—Naranjo wanted a spa-like atmosphere to complement the calm feeling of the bedroom. She chose faux marble slabs of tile on the walls, a dual vanity, vessel sinks (for a clean, elegant look), a fuss-free mirror (there’s brass around the edges) and a spacious shower. The architectural feature in the room is the window, which Naranjo wanted to keep simple but impressive. “I didn’t want a
predictable shape. This oval window brings in plenty of light and doesn’t need to be dressed.”

Naranjo was ultimately successful in achieving the oasis her clients requested—the space is plush and cozy and has that five-star-hotel feel. “It’s a bedroom anyone would love relaxing in. I can only imagine the homeowners get a good night’s sleep in their tranquil space.”

We asked for designer Alexandra Naranjo’s top must-haves for creating a serene bedroom. Here’s what she told us. Take care in your colour choice.

1. Pick a palette you can live with.
“I suggest a soft palette that’s calming,” she says. “The shade you introduce can then be used in different hues throughout the room.”

2. Add quality window treatments.
“Invest in drapes and make sure they block out the light so it doesn’t impact your sleep. Choose something elegant and lush but functional.”

3. Bring in accent lighting.
Chandeliers, floor lamps and table lights will brighten the space.

4. Select peaceful imagery.
“Whether you decide on art, a mural or pictures or patterns on wallpaper, make sure the image you choose brings you peace. A soothing abstract or soft, relaxing landscape are great choices.”

5. Focus on bedding.
“Go for sateen sheets, a duvet for sleeping with and a coverlet overtop,” says Naranjo, adding the coverlet looks fresh and crisp when the bed is made. “Add in a faux-fur throw at the end of the bed and you’ll create an incredibly luxe feel.”

Photography by Stacey Brandford

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