Date: September 1, 2023 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Stephanie Maxwell Newton |
Designer Talena Ray turns a primary bedroom into a Little Rock couple’s sanctuary
When a longtime client contacted Talena Ray about updating a bedroom in her house, it wasn’t the primary suite she had in mind. “She called me and wanted to redo a guest bedroom upstairs, and I talked her into doing this room instead,” Talena says with a laugh. Having collaborated with the homeowner on previous projects, including a home office and several bathroom updates, Talena had grown to know her well. “She works really hard and she travels a lot. I said, ‘Why don’t we begin with your bedroom, because you deserve a calming refuge.’”
The designer started with practical solutions. While the room was big enough for a seating area, it lacked the storage to make a living space functional. “She’s a big reader and didn’t have anywhere to store her books,” Talena says. A wall of built-ins to the right of the window was the remedy. Next, she turned her attention to the window coverings. “They liked that they could see the moonlight in the trees through that open area in the arch, so that’s why the drapes were hung so low,” Talena explains. Her solution: Extend the draperies above the arch to accentuate the height of the room and make it feel more open and airy, then install a Roman shade for the lower half of the window so the panels never have to be fully closed. This way, the homeowners can lower the shade for privacy as needed, but still enjoy the view through the open arch.
Finally, Talena addressed the room’s palette, which felt heavy and impersonal before. A fresh coat of creamy white paint on the walls, a mix of gold and ivory fabrics, and touches of slate blue create the calming appeal Talena felt her client deserved. For furnishings, she chose classic pieces with a French influence, such as the cane and wood-carved bed and bergère chair. A comfortable swivel chair and piece of abstract art are more current elements that keep the mix fresh. “I just wanted to make a pretty, tranquil environment for them, and I think that’s what they have now,” Talena says.
“We wanted to create something restful and tranquil that felt welcoming after a long day.”
—Talena Ray, designer
The new bed is a king-sized antique reproduction of a French style featuring carved wood and a cane headboard. A gold quilt, embroidered shams, and an oversized velvet lumbar pillow featuring a trim by Stroheim (“Tikal”) create luxurious appeal.
Talena replaced two ceiling fans with a pair of gilded chandeliers by Visual Comfort. “These have sort of a French look to me that’s been updated,” Talena says. Glass beading along the edges and crystal drops catch the room’s abundant sunlight.
Library lights over the room’s new built-ins give the feeling that they’ve always been a part of the design. Here, the homeowner has shelves for her growing book collection as well as display space for meaningful mementos and curated accessories.
An embroidered trim brings an added level of elegance to the Roman shade, which can easily be raised or lowered depending on the time of day. Along with drapery panels, the window coverings are a creative solution to an oversized window that still allows natural light to fill the room.
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