My first thought when I walked into Mary and Deric Mason’s remodeled master bedroom was: Wow! How serene and beautiful.
My second thought was: I wonder how the designer talked them into this wall color.
Turns out that’s the whole point of the $10,000 makeover from Ace Hardware’s 31 Days of Color Sweeps. The Masons, who bought their home in Belton five months ago, were randomly selected from more than 68,000 entries nationwide for Ace’s design expert, Nathan Fischer, to redesign their bedroom, starting with a coat of paint.
Fischer and a team of designers came into town on a Monday, and by Wednesday they had pulled together the magazine-ready room complete with new carpeting, window treatments, light fixtures, furniture and accessories. The Masons stayed at a nearby hotel during the redo and couldn’t see the room until the big reveal on July 22.
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“It definitely took some advanced planning, but boots on the ground, it was two days to get everything in the room. Can I use a military term for decorating?” Fischer asked Deric, a retired Marine, shortly after the unveiling.
Ace created the 31 Days of Color Sweeps to inspire consumers by showcasing a different paint color each day with expert advice on how to use it.
Fischer chose Clark + Kensington’s Town Square, a grayish purple that’s mostly neutral but treads close to the popular mauve hues of the 1980s.
“We wanted a soft neutral but with a little more life to it,” Fischer said. “It has shades of eggplant underneath. I like to create sanctuaries with different color palettes, and stylewise, this is something a little different and a little cozy.”
The color is a backdrop for everything else in this room, he added, and some of the furnishings, such as the dark espresso wood dresser, add a masculine element to balance out the femininity of the paint.
A Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams armchair upholstered in light gray, bedside table lamps with antique brass bases from West Elm, and crisp white bed linens further balance the wall color.
Fischer hand-painted the three canvases that hang above the ivory-upholstered headboard, allowing him to control their color and fit so they’re aesthetically pleasing. Tip: He likes them about 4 inches narrower than the headboard.
New linen window panels hang from black rods close to the ceiling, and a rickety ceiling fan was swapped for a chic drum-shade light fixture. A small, cube-shaped ottoman covered in 1-inch wide strips of soft gray and white cowhide from Seville Home of Overland Park was a last-minute addition.
Fischer also lent balance to the asymmetrical room by moving the bed so it’s centered between two windows.
The only thing Mary Mason saw ahead of the remodel was the paint chip.
“I was a little reluctant at first,” she admitted, “but I figured Mr. Fischer knew what he was talking about.”
As for Deric: “If she is happy, I’m happy,” he said. “Hey, we’ve been married almost 30 years. I know the right answer.”
The couple are so crazy about the room that they wonder why they ever painted it beige. Now they’re considering repainting and redecorating the other rooms in the home.
“I thought this room was OK until I walked in here,” Mary said. “Now the rest of the house feels tacky.”
New app helps in staging rooms
On average, staged homes sell in six days compared to 48 days nationally, and for more money — usually 6 percent to 20 percent more. That’s according to stagedhomes.com, anyway.
One reason is that a lot of people have a hard time envisioning how to use a space. They take a lot longer to buy big-ticket furnishings for the same reason. Turns out there’s an app for that.
It’s called Rooomy, and it converts photographs of empty rooms into three-dimensional sets that you can digitally decorate with furnishings from retailers such as Wayfair, BluDot, Design Within Reach, All Modern and Havertys.
Creator Pieter Aarts demonstrated the app for me in a recent teleconference.
After uploading a photo, the app places dots connected with lines around the room. Aarts pulled the dots to the corners of the room and entered the ceiling height, and the app figured out the proportions of the room. Then he began dragging pieces of furniture into the space.
Rooomy, which launched in June and can be downloaded for free at Apple iTunes, is being marketed mainly to real estate agents, though the rest of the public can use it, too.
Aarts came up with the idea after having a poor experience while shopping for living room furniture. Rooomy is an outgrowth of Aarts’ Loft technology, which is used by furniture retailers.
“I wanted to see the sofa in my space, but all they could do was show me a textile sample on top of the sofa,” he said. “Together with my team we started development of Loft technology.”
Aarts plans to release a new version each month with upgrades, including cleaning technology that will allow the user to remove existing furniture and clutter from rooms as well as features that change wall colors and flooring material.
Realtors can subscribe at $20 per property and decorate it themselves, or they can pay $79 per property and a Rooomy professional designer will decorate it for them. The fee allows Realtors to upload the staged photos to their real estate websites.
So far, Prudential Real Estate in California and ModernSpaces in New York have signed on.