Luxe and livable don’t always go hand-in-hand, unless of course San Francisco’s Martin Group, founded by Beth Martin, is heading up the design. “We create environments that are both elegant and refined yet also easy and casual,” offers Martin. “I love that juxtaposition of these two ways of living.” For the recent San Francisco Decorator Showcase she and her team brought this signature approach to the home’s master bedroom, and the finished design for the space was nothing short of dreamy.
Here, Martin, a frequent on Elle Decor’s A-List, offers an inside look at how that gorgeous bedroom came to be, and shares five of her tried-and-true tricks for a creating a bedroom that’s both definitely chic and endlessly cozy.
To inspire their design, the Martin Group looked up. Working with a coved ceiling that stretched close to 12-feet high, “we wanted to do something “wow,”” says Martin, eventually landing on the idea to create an overhead mural with the qualities of a “Turneresque sky.” The end result has a subtle depth that is captivating. “It’s interesting, so many people walking into the room would ask what color we used, when in fact it was a mural that took three people a week to create. This was truly the jumping off point of the room.”
For Martin, “the planning or thought behind the design should not be seen,” which is probably why you’d never guess her team had rejiggered the original room’s layout. “One of the first things we did to impact the room was to close a second door near the fireplace that was located on the same wall as the entry door. This reconfigured the traffic flow in what was an awkward space.” In the new design, the layout feels intuitive and serene, drawing you into the room with an inviting seating area and stunning bay view.
In terms of outfitting the space, “the anchor pieces in this particular room are the sofas at the bay window, the bed, and the overhead lighting,” says Martin, emphasizing the importance of scale for each given the generous size of the room. The Martin Group had custom sofas created, which perfectly mirror the bay window’s curves, and beckon you to curl up on their velvet upholstery and channel tufting. The lighting was another custom creation. “We wanted to create a “false ceiling” for more intimacy in the space,” says Martin. “The lightness of the steal and plaster materiality was perfect because they simply float in the space, yet are there sculpturally.”
Given the room’s new layout and the adjacent bed, the design of the fireplace mantelpiece became an important element for maintaining the room’s serene feel. “We wanted the mantel to fall away and so we made drawings of a shallow mantel that we imagined to be covered in antique glass.” The simplicity of the silhouette combined with the treated glass creates an elegant yet understated look, perfectly suited to the room it was created for.
5 TIPS FOR MASTERING BEDROOM DESIGN
1. Pick a Neutral Paint
“I like color in bedrooms to be neutral and cozy, and what I mean by cozy is that the color envelops you, does not challenge or require of you, and just sort of “is”. In our master bedroom design for the San Francisco Decorator Showcase we used a color by C2 called “Smidgeon”. It is a wonderful neutral that looks like sand and has a touch of grey as its undertone.”
2. Limit Activating (i.e. Strong) Colors
“I am not a huge fan of strong color in bedrooms with the exception of kid’s rooms, where anything goes. I feel bedrooms should be restful. Strong color is activating and our clients use their bedroom as a place to wind do
3. Go Wall-to-Wall
“Bedroom floor coverings really depend on the home and the client’s lifestyle, but comfort is certainly big on the list of priorities. I do love wall-to-wall carpet in bedrooms both for kids and adults as it is soft underfoot, really helps create intimacy, and muffles sounds.”
4. Mind the Pillow Minimum
“Generally speaking, for sleeping pillows on a king or queen bed I like at least four – two king and two standard size pillows. As for decorative pillows, it is all about ease and simplicity. I like two oversized euros or king pillows to prop up against and then maybe one of two smaller pillows for color. I also like a single long bolster pillow on a bed as a decorative moment.”
5. Don’t Forget the Dimmer
“If you have the space on your night stand, table lamps are a nice accent to a room. If you have limited space then mounted swing arms lights are a great alternative. In both cases, the switches must allow you to dim the lights up or down. I also like to have another layer of lighting in the way of a specific reading light with a goose neck that can either be hardwired to the bed wall or you can get the ones that clip to the bed or night stand. The wattage for regular lamps should be at least 75 watts and the reading light bulbs are usually LED.”
Photos by Drew Altizer, Courtesy of Martin Group