How to create a serene master bedroom

Brookside homes are architectural icons known for their historic character and charm, as well as, unfortunately, an inefficient layout for today’s owners. Joe and Christin Kauten’s home required the same functional upgrades, so in 2012, it was taken down to the studs, every room except for the living room, for a complete redesign.

When interior designer Lisa Schmitz and remodeler Chuck Schmitz got to the master suite, they enlarged the bathroom and closet, resulting in a cozier footprint in the actual bedroom. But that’s just what the owners requested, so Lisa filled the space sparingly with existing favorites and trendy pieces for a simple yet sophisticated effect.

Taking color direction from the owners’ coverlet, the room’s palette emerged—and happens to flow with the warm gray and gold tones throughout the home. Most pieces smoothly fell into place, but the accent chair with matching ottoman is the result of owner/designer collaboration.

Christin found a vintage chair that Lisa had reupholstered in a striped Villa Nova fabric, then commissioned a new ottoman and covered it with matching fabric. For contrast, Lisa painted the owner’s dark side table a soft gray and took to the ceiling with a calming blue-gray. New brass sconces, one by the bedside, were a bit of a splurge.

Maintaining the Brookside charm, the original windows were repaired and painted for a crisp yet vintage appeal.

“Although these windows face east and invite in the morning sun, the owners didn’t want more than to add simple drapery for privacy because, in Christin’s opinion, there is never enough natural sunlight,” Lisa says. So natural white linen shades and a vase of fresh lilies complete the look.

Why it Works

1. This 1920s home thoughtfully mixes original details with modern updates. Radiant heat, which the owners love and kept throughout the entire house, and original floors harken back to the home’s beginning. Though most of the furnishings are modern, “they still have a sense of belonging,” Schmitz says.

2. The simplicity of the room allows a few well-curated furnishings to stand out. Instead of fussy drapes, the slightly gathered panels soften the edges of the room. A dark gray comforter from West Elm allows the existing quilt and pillow shams, from Target’s Dwell Studio Collection, to casually lounge atop, color-matching the only seating options in the room. A side tabletop collection that includes a Crate + Barrel lamp, fresh flowers and a dainty alarm clock is enough stuff.

3. In a smaller space, color balance is crucial. Too many dark colors can make a space feel heavy and enclosed, while an overly light palette lacks definition and focus. Neither is the case in this room, as it precisely balances warm and cool tones. “The deep tones of the wood and the dark coverlet ground the space, while the lighter colors add life,” Schmitz says. “The brass curtain rods, sconces and even the little clock add warm touches.” But a vibrant burst of energy is found in the sunny hues scattered throughout, which pop against the cool gray walls, blue-gray ceiling, and crisp white trim.

Get the Look


1. Just as Lisa did, Ethan Allen brought a fresh perspective to the classic wing chair with its addition of the Parker chair and matching ottoman. In a buttery yellow, this combo features stain-resistant fabric with tapered legs and a generous seat cushion.

2. Drape Surya’s Tierney throw over an accent piece, such as the Parker chair, for subtle pattern and color contrast or wrap yourself in its cable-knit softness while enjoying a good read. Find it at Seville Home.

3. Bring bronze into the bedroom with Savoy House’s single-light sconce finished in warm brass. It’s a simple yet elegant option for ambient lighting, available at Wilson Lighting.

4. Mimic the look of the Kautens’ coverlet with Hugo Boss’ Volumn Clay bedding from Terrasi Home. Made of 100 percent cotton sateen, this duvet offers optimal comfort in a blue, gray and yellow geometric design.

5. Bassett Mirror Co.’s Kinley table lamp from Rensen House of Lights delivers bubbles to the bedside. At 31 inches tall, no one can miss its sunflower ceramic glaze.