Colleen and Jamie live in a gorgeous old home with loads of charm and character. But old homes being what they are, there wasn't a lot of storage space in the couple's second-floor bedroom. Just getting ready in the morning was a challenge, with half of their clothes stored in adjacent rooms.
The couple decided the simplest solution was to move up in the world, by swapping spaces with Jamie's third-floor attic office.
The attic was roomy and filled with natural light, and it even had a bathroom. It was full of potential -- the only problem was that Colleen and Jamie weren't sure how to make the most of the possibilities presented by this space. They needed a plan that would combine form with function, and storage with style.
The soon-to-be master bedroom featured typical sloped attic ceilings, with the walls a mere 40 inches tall in some places. In addition, this attic is accessed via a narrow staircase, which meant we had to find some pretty compact furniture.
Just outside the en suite bathroom I positioned an elegant glass-topped makeup vanity with a spacious drawer to accommodate Colleen's jewelry. The white wood of the table and its smooth, elegant lines provide a nice contrast to the smoky-gray walls.
And speaking of color, I wanted to push Colleen and Jamie a little bit in that department. I knew the rest of their house was fairly neutral, so I decided to make a bold statement with a contemporary graphical wallpaper on the room's largest wall. The gorgeous blue-and-white pattern is crisp and elegant. It's a big departure from this couple's typical style, without being overpowering in the slightest.
We made the most of the largest wall by installing a tall wardrobe and flanking it with dresser drawers to provide lots of storage space. On the wardrobe's white doors, we replicated the wallpaper design using a light gray vinyl decal.
Shelving above the dressers provides a functional surface for displaying photos and other accessories. This multilevel storage system is exactly what Colleen and Jamie needed to get organized, once and for all.
As for the bed, there just wasn't room for a box spring, so we went with a platform frame and finished things off with a gorgeous headboard covered in a leatherette fabric with intricate nail-head trim. On either side of the bed we installed sconces to provide light for bedtime reading. The colors in the bedding pick up the room's palette and include white, dark gray and a really fabulous mustardy shade, which is repeated in the small sofa positioned directly across from the bed in the lounge area. Two reclaimed-wood coffee tables, with the smaller one nesting inside the other, combine storage space with style.
Lighting in the new bedroom comes from overhead pot lights, the bedside sconces, a high-impact table lamp positioned beside the new couch and two wonderful lighting fixtures placed on top of each dresser. We added an element of architectural elegance to the room with custom-made moldings, which were installed on the side walls as well as the sloped ceiling. Although these necessitated a lot of sawing and cutting, the end result was definitely worth it.
No matter how much space you have, you're never going to be pleased with it unless it actually works for you. There's no doubt that Colleen and Jamie's new master bedroom is stunning; but it passes the practicality test, too. This design is a marriage of function and style -- a combination that will serve this couple well for years.
• Interior decorator Candice Olson is host of HGTV's "Candice Tells All."