The simplest of projects often requires the greatest attention to detail. As a designer, I ensure every square inch has purpose, even if a majority of the space is left open. Open does not mean blank, empty, or unused. Such is the subtlety of design.
In a large house with rooms to spare, this space was originally supposed to be a meditation room. Our client hoped to designate a place in her 8,000-square-foot home for her family’s health and wellbeing. They found serenity rolling out the mat, taking deep cleansing breaths, and practicing downward-facing dog. While I am not a yogi, I fully appreciate healthy and active ways to destress, especially when there’s an inviting space to do so! Thoughtful consideration is paramount to achieving a simple and minimalistic look without the cold and lifeless effects of a whitewashed box. With several other spaces in need of vision, we decided to put the “meditation” space on hold in hopes of further inspiration.
Room by room we went, crafting and curating with care. A nautical guest bedroom, a living room featuring sheep to bring the outdoors in, and a bunny bedroom a la Hunt Slonem to name a few. The underlying theme in each of the above mentioned spaces became the outdoors. With a clear vision established, we now knew exactly what to do with what was once the “meditation room.” We landed on creating a gallery-inspired space that would be warm and welcoming for visitors too.
This space acted as a transition between the main house, the outdoor patio, and the guest quarters. We wanted it to be beautiful but not cluttered with an excess of furniture, and spacious but with a dreamy and romantic warmth. Rather than use wallpaper, we sketched an idea for a wall mural, which seemed much more personal, to help activate the space while preserving precious floor space, just like an art gallery. We enlisted a local muralist to help bring our vision to life. Using a monochromatic, earth-toned color scheme, the mural encapsulated a landscape of full, mature trees moved by the breath of a soft breeze and a mesmerizing, meandering river. To showcase the mural, we designed cove lighting hidden inside the crown molding to evenly disperse light along the hand-painted walls. The space felt like a destination far from home, a place the homeowners envisioned themselves having date-night. With that in mind, we disguised a mural-clad bench seat in the corner with a Tulip Table and a few lucite dining chairs to round out the seating area. A clear glass chandelier completed the vignette without distracting from the essence of the mural scene.
There is something to be said for the intentional design of this gallery space, which could have easily been an afterthought, or worse, boring! This space dares to be different. It is one of the most understated yet powerful rooms in the home and allows for one to get lost in deep contemplation or deep conversation. So in the end, maybe it is in fact a “meditation” room. Our clients-turned-dear friends can enjoy both prayer pose and a pizza in here from time to time as a means of escaping the impossible pace of daily life. This room, this beautiful, tranquil space is their great escape, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of it.