“You have too much water in you,” said Feng Shui master Maritess Allen to me more than a year ago. “Enough with the blue, because it will make you feel cold and sad.”
Funnily enough, I had been feeling displaced in my bedroom. It was almost as if I was floating listlessly in a sea of muted blues and sandy greiges. What used to represent a spa-like space of tranquility and calm felt too cool and almost impersonal. Simply put, it was time for a change.
A bedroom is a very personal space and, with the big changes in my life, I found myself having the freedom to redecorate exactly how I wished, with no need to compromise. How liberating it was not to have to deliberate with anyone and to express myself through my interiors. Intuitively, even before I spoke to Allen, I had already been drawn to warm, vibrant colors like rust, ocher, blush, marsala, and coral.
Living with two little boys, I yearned to design a sensual and feminine space — one that was more “grownup” and sophisticated. I also needed better use of the space and wanted to create pockets of peace from where I could read a book or watch a movie or elegantly languish, like those ladies draped in dramatic robes in 19th-century paintings. Since I missed traveling so much, I also wanted to have a bit of a “hotel suite” feel — a luxurious yet functional refuge.
It was not an easy task for several reasons. This was right in the middle of the pandemic with strict lockdowns and potential health risks. I also had no idea where to begin and was at a loss as to recomposing the layout of the room.
I decided to collaborate with Vianca Favila, interior designer and founder of Gussy Design. She was a great help to me in space planning, putting together a mood board, suggesting suppliers and materials for a cost-effective and minimally messy redesign of my bedroom — all online!
“We do know that most people believe that hiring a designer is expensive, but at Gussy, we believe that transforming a space does not need to be costly,” Favila explains. “That is why we have e-design packages available for any budget.
“E-design is the process of interior design done entirely online. Unlike traditional design, e-design involves minimal construction and face-to-face meet-ups. Since the process is purely online, we require a virtual walk-through or ask to submit photos of all angles of the space. This helps us really envision the potential of the room and study its requirements. Other parameters are set as to timelines, budgets, as well as furniture pieces we can still reuse. Once all these have been established, the Gussy team brainstorms solutions to the said problems and recommends design solutions in terms of layout, colors, and a shopping list.”
Allow me to share with you the process with Gussy Design and some tips on how small changes can make a big impact!
Go for dramatic drapery. Favila said it was key to replace the drapes. The powder-blue curtains had to go, and with the help of Curtains by Raphael, we switched them up with a gorgeous ivory satin that felt luxe yet neutral. The great thing about it is that it can match any schematic and easily adapt to my fluctuating styles over the years. They worked so swiftly, needing only two meetings: the first to measure and decide fabric and style; and the second was installation. The latter was finished in half a day! The crew steamed everything to perfection as well.
Embrace color with wallpaper. While I do love good wallpaper with a bold mural or pattern, I was wary of having patterns in my bedroom. I still liked the idea of having a restful environment with not too much stimulation. My other option was to paint the walls, but I had a few holes from the artwork that hung over my bed that was going to be so tedious and dusty to prep for a proper paint job.
Favila suggested using a solid wallpaper to get the same accent color effect with minimal work. She helped me pick out one from Neu Muri that was a perfect crossover shade of coral, rust and marsala in a linen, art paper texture.
“We sent over swatches for approval to make sure all actual materials are seen,” she says. “We all know how photos don’t quite show the accurate color and texture of materials.”
After years of sleeping in a room with white walls, I was at first worried about how I would feel having such an emphatic color right behind my bed. That first night, I fell absolutely in love with the warm, rosy glow it cast in the room when the lamplight bounced off it. It felt exactly as I hoped it would — almost like a boudoir. We kept the rest of the walls white so as not to overwhelm the room, and to keep a certain bright freshness. The result is an energetic vibrancy in the day and a soft sensuality at night. It was perfect!
Reimagine the layout and vibe. The next aspect was the layout. We had to tackle the large floor area with its vast emptiness at the foot of the bed. It was unused, wasted and contributed to that feeling of floating. Favila implemented the idea of a hotel junior suite, which makes use of a sofa at the foot of the bed to create a separate living area.
“Another problem would be keeping the room bright and airy but having existing heavy furniture pieces blend with the new look,” she notes. “Key pieces such as the bed and the bookshelf were retained but smaller, more modern accent pieces were added to balance it out.”
Get creative and layer textures. I originally had a gray sofa bed that I moved to the kid’s playroom. It was rather large and unused as a bed, and I wanted something that was plusher and more inviting. I wasn’t looking to spend too much but didn’t want to sacrifice quality and comfort.
I found the perfect solution with an ample two-seater from All Home. I loved the style, and the dimensions were spot-on, but it was not the right color. With a little help from Favila’s furniture and upholstery company, Harver Hill, we re-upholstered the piece in rich, dark teal velvet. To add a little glamour, I unscrewed the black metal legs and spray-painted them a matte bronze-gold. Sometimes it takes a little creativity to get exactly what you want.
Other pieces Harver Hill helped me with was changing the fabric of an old armchair from navy to dusty rose and creating a custom bench in ivory with contrasting teal piping and gold-finish legs. To pick up on the touches of metal, we sourced a beautiful Art Deco-style lamp from Home Cartel and a glass and brass side table from Global Views.
Because I love a good layering of textures, Harver Hill worked with Euroasia on a unique, freeform stone-top table in graphic black, white and grays that would sit on top of one of my favorite pieces: a hand-woven, Turkish silk carpet my mother gifted me. I find the tension between the cool stone and the muted, intricate design of the carpet so indulgent and chic.
Keep it personal. The whole design process was so seamless, particularly during a time where everything had to be done remotely! I was so happy with the workflow and the openness Favila showed to my ideas, making the entire project a true collaborative process. I’m happy she worked with keeping my main pieces such as my Philux walnut bed, which I upgraded with luxuriously soft white bamboo sheets from Linen & Homes, refurbished vintage nightstands by Allen Oblena for Rescued Furniture, and my hand-carved Indian sideboard.
It took me almost a year and countless online deliveries for throw pillows and blankets to feel like the room was “ready.” I find that at the end of the day, it’s important that your home does not feel like a showroom, and you are able to add your personality and individuality to it. In this case, I injected touches of mustard and took my time to arrange and rearrange this till it felt “right.” It has now become my favorite space in my home where I watch movies with my kids, read my books by the window with a scented candle lit or treat myself to a self-care night complete with a sheet mask and fluffy robe for that ultimate hotel feel. But nothing beats sinking into a fluffy white bed at the end of the night, in a room that reflects you so perfectly, and drifting off into restful slumber.
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For more information, contact these accounts on Instagram: Vianca Favila for Gussy Design @viancafavila and @gussy.design, Harver Hill , All Home , Home Cartel , Euroasia , Global Views , Philux , Rescued Furniture and Linen & Homes .