Fashion Forward Flat

From Cramped Space To Clean Lines

by Sarah Richardson,

Globe and Mail Real Potential Black and White Fashionista Bedroom

Every home buyer has, firmly engrained in his or her brain, a wish list of elements – some “nice to have” and some “can’t live without.” The challenge is finding that elusive home that fits both the budget and the list. My clients, a fashion editor and a scholar, were searching for a first home in a west end Toronto neighbourhood that would give them a bit more breathing room than the cramped rental condominium they were used to. A spacious master bedroom with walk-in closet and a single decent-sized bathroom with separate tub and shower didn’t seem like too much to ask … until they went house hunting.

Globe and Mail Real Potential Black and White Fashionista Bedroom Closet

Pare down

The enemy of small-space living is clutter. Your bedroom should be a restful and relaxing area. It should not be junked up with bills, paperwork or any unnecessary items that might impede relaxation and sleep. When moving into a new space or redecorating an existing one, consider the old William Morris adage I try to live by: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” If you don’t love it, and you don’t need it, why make space for it?

Globe and Mail Real Potential Black and White Fashionista Bedroom

Expect more from everything

Another theme of small-space living is that every piece of furniture needs to have something that makes it better than the average. Instead of a bed that just allows your mattress to sit on top, while inviting dust bunnies to move in below, why not invest in a bed base that both supports the mattress and offers four oversized storage drawers (because no matter how much you know you should purge it, I’m pretty sure you’re looking for a place to store more stuff than you have space for). Instead of just settling for a bedside table with a single top surface, choose one that features a second shelf (it’s a great place to keep all the books you’re hoping to get to).

Globe and Mail Real Potential Black and White Fashionista Bedroom

Be coolly neutral

It’s a well-known fact that only one colour is always in style – black! When faced with the task of designing a retreat for an au courant fashion client, it seemed the only safe approach was to steer clear of my habitual love of colour in favour of a neutral greyscale approach. There’s no need to perceive neutrals as dull or lacklustre. A monochromatic palette can still be energetic and interesting if you rely on pattern for impact. Black-and-cream fauxbois wallpaper adds texture to the walls (and hide decades of cracks in the less than perfect plaster), while crisp black-and-white striped sheets keep the room from looking dorm-room basic. A few yards of richly patterned European linen becomes a custom bedspread.

Globe and Mail Real Potential Black and White Fashionista Bedroom

Take the edge off your black

To some, black can seem severe and cold, but the interpretation is all in the way you embrace it. Instead of all black, high-gloss and hard edges, why not opt for pieces with a softer expression? Bedside task lights that blend retro form with antiqued brass accents help create a warmer vibe, a vintage pendant light with an orb-like shape infuses a groovy vintage nod, and black twill tape on white wood slat window blinds makes an otherwise average window covering stand out.

Globe and Mail Real Potential Black and White Fashionista Bedroom Closet

Conquer your closet

The best option for a client who envisioned more than a simple hanging bar in their closet used to be a costly fully customized cabinetry solution. But the need to make the most of every small space has led to the introduction of some really clever component storage systems that allow you to configure your closet to suit your lifestyle, with a variety of elements that attach to an easy to install framework. This industrial loft-inspired system is comprised of vertical posts that run from floor to ceiling and can be filled in with your desired combination of drawers, hooks, hanging bars, open shelves, and of course … the oh so desirable slanted shoe shelf that allows you to elevate your expensive shoe-collecting habit into eye-level art, on display to be enjoyed every time you enter your closet.