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  • TheBrick.com - Wood Matters: Q&A with Interior Designer Katrina Walker

    by Lise Lalonde

    Brook White Bed

    The essence of modern country decor

    It’s easy to know where to start when decorating a bedroom — with the bed. The difficulty is knowing where to stop. “A bedroom should be well-edited,” says interior design-er Katrina Walker. Since bedrooms are for rest, above all they must promote balance and harmony. “When you’ve gone too far, those things are out of whack,” she says. “It’s a similar problem to when you have more than one focal point. If whatever you add doesn’t enhance it, then stop.”

    To style a country-modern bedroom with furnishings from The Brick, Walker chose an atypical focal point — the wall behind the bed’s headboard — and mounted old barn boards over paint the hue of dark, rich loam. Free-associating with the “wood” theme, she selected materials, textures, patterns and accessories that referenced nature or outdoor life. Finally, she balanced all of her choices with judicious contrast and surprise: tree stumps painted in creamy latex, shiny metal lampshades set against rough-sawn board, a leather-backed cushion buried in a pile of plump cotton.

    LL: What’s essential in a bedroom these days?

    KW: Just the right amount of furniture. Besides the usual bed, end table and a storage unit, a chair is nice because story time for the kids is often held there. And many of us need space for a laptop, so a small desk.

    LL: How do you make a strong statement?

    KW: I really like to break up the furniture “sets” and use pieces that are not necessarily for the bedroom. A chandelier or a lantern light gives additional layers or depth. But balance the very detailed with the plain. In this bedroom, most areas are plain and matte, but with a big hit of shiny.

    chaise detail
    bench detail
    desk detail

    LL: This bed hints at French provincial as well as country style. Why did you choose it?

    KW: I wanted a contrast to the wall and I liked the grooves found in the headboard and footboard, which pick up the lines from the wall. It has a moderate amount of details and mainly straight lines, so it has a lot of longevity. This bed could have another life — with damask bedding it would look formal and tailored.

    LL: How did you balance country and modern in this decor?

    KW: The side tables are more modern because they are mainly straight lines. The metal lamp shades are a contrast to the wood but the lamp base has a wood texture. So that’s a combination of rustic and modern. The flip-down writing desk is more traditional, with details in its lines and mouldings. It could transform into a place to put a TV, mounted above. It works well because a TV mounted on the wall at an appropriate height to watch it from the bed, could look odd on its own. The desk helps to anchor the group and make the floorspace below the TV useful. The chair is another departure in styling. It’s plain microfiber in combination with something more detailed.

    LL: How did you have fun with the country theme?

    KW: The wood in the planters are birch trees that were being cleared, all cut to the same length. There are planted grasses that evoke the idea of the prairie. The bench is reminiscent of the country because it’s leather and has stitching, but the shape and the chrome is sleek. The draperies are unbleached cotton, giving us that untouched, natural element. One of the pillows is made of faux fur, so that reminds us of woodland creatures. The bedding also has a stylized tree motif.

    LL: Which touches make this a restful room?

    KW: The leather chaise helps with the concept of bedroom as a refuge. If you’re using it, you know you’re relaxed. I also like the texture of the shag rug. When you get out of bed there’s a cozy feel on your feet.

    LL: How do you please two different décor tastes in a couple’s bedroom?

    KW: Aim for a balance of masculine and feminine elements. The more feminine elements tend to be curves, details and soft fabrics. Masculine elements have harder surfaces, structured patterns and straight lines.

    Men tend not to like too many cushions, so we didn’t use all of the ones in the set. Then there’s the problem of where to put them when you sleep; the bench comes in handy for that.

    LL: Which design tricks make a bedroom easier to sleep in?

    KW: Go for a neutral, serene colour palette. In this case, monochromatic. It’s easier to achieve. Choose one colour and then layer tints and shades of it, dark to light, with a range of textures that are shiny and crisp, to rough and smooth.

    Katrina Walker owns Elemental Interior Design in Edmonton, Alberta. Sean Thompson, associate designer with Elemental Interior Design assisted on the set-up. The firm does commercial, residential and retail design.

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