With layered lighting and lush detail, a designer turns a mansion bedroom into an enticing seaside dreamscape.
Text by Nayda Rondon
Design by Maria K. Bevill
Photography by Peter Rymwid
Imagine waking up in your very own blue heaven. Sun-kissed skies greet the day with dewy promise…softly shimmering azure waters reflect the light in waves of shades…pristine whites and sand-toned hues serenade the senses—all harmoniously converging to create a soothing setting that transports you to a Grecian pleasure palace by the sea.
“I designed a master bedroom suite that inspires comfort and relaxation, a place where one can leave daily cares behind,” says Chester-based interior designer Maria K. Bevill. She’s talking about the award-winning room she created for the “Mansion in May” Designer Showhouse and Gardens at Alnwick Hall in Morristown. “My inspiration,” she explains, “came from the mesmerizing blue-green colors of the Aegean Sea and the charming soft white that characterizes the Greek villages that line its shores.
“‘Mansion in May’ is an important fundraiser for the Morristown Medical Center, so it was nice to take part in this worthy process,” Bevill says. “I’m proud I was able to achieve a balance that respected the historic setting and its architecture yet also had a fresh, young look relevant to today.” Bevill, a six-time American Society of Interior Designers award winner, is an avid traveler whose sojourns across Europe, Africa and Asia have helped refine her design sense and feed her passion for collecting antiques and original art. All of this served her well in transforming the dated bedroom in a 20th-century mansion into a multifunctional space that marries traditional and contemporary design.
Worthy of a Greek magnate and his pampered paramour, the palatial, 390-square-foot suite is a sybaritic retreat of sumptuous comfort. Softly curved sofas in sensuous velvet embellished with Greek-key-pattern borders welcome visitors to an intimate lounging area. Floral appliquéd pillows add textural interest and plushness. A velvet ottoman of celestial blue with acrylic legs seems to float in the space. The intricately patterned carpet from SBS Flooring provides an anchoring counterbalance, while an elegant églomisé cocktail cabinet nearby suggests a relaxing drink by the fire. Ouzo, anyone?
The seating area’s scale and proportion are balanced by the dramatic sleeping space. To heighten the prominence of the queen-sized bed, the designer showcased it against a romantic custom backdrop—a glamorous velvet tufted wall treatment with full-length draperies. The bed is decadently dressed in Léron embroidered sheets in a design that mimics ocean waves. The curve of the bed frame is echoed in the transitional night tables on either side. Over each, proportioned mirrors reflect light and create depth and symmetry.
Complementing the bed treatment and emphasizing the ceiling height, luxe draperies frame an elegant writing enclave by the bay windows. A Deco-inspired desk from Baker Furniture, a transitional lamp and an oval back chair in the same appliqué fabric complete the vignette.
The layers of illumination—a combination of natural, task, decorative, ambient and reflected light—imbue the space and all its contents with airy luminosity and functional polish. Seagrass shades allow natural light to enter while hiding unsightly views. Traditionally inspired lamps are reinvented with transitional panache. The Merino glass chandelier elevates the room’s elegance, drawing the eye to the ceiling’s plasterwork details. Even the room’s flaws are converted into charming features. For instance, two commercial-sized HVAC units are effectively muted, one hidden behind a stylish chest of drawers, the other becoming an inviting window seat. Damaged inlay floors were “restored” by faux-painting the missing sections. Chipped and scarred surface defects were employed to create realistic-looking marble veining effects. The stained surround was camouflaged with a removable cover faux-painted to resemble Caribbean blue granite.
Other esthetic focal points, including the commissioned transitional and contemporary art, carry through the suite’s theme. Above the fireplace— freshly painted to allow period details to shine—Cypress trees sway against a twilight seascape. On either side, Lucite obelisks harmonize the space without distracting from the tranquil scene. Perched on scalloped wall brackets, crystal shell design vases entice the eye to the painting of a Greek nymph floating gracefully in a mythical underwater world of gold seagrass and glass beads. Finishing the arrangement, a European sideboard embellished with curved gold X carvings is offset by a pair of tufted chairs.
The overall result is a room of beauty and grace where, as designer Bevill says, “Design, color and comfort merge into a multifunctional whole, possessing the collective force of past and present.”