Bright, airy and casual, this revamped master bedroom now offers a serene haven ideal for soothing reverie and relaxation.
Text by Nayda Rondon
Design by Laurie Burke-Boice
Photography by Wing Wong
Mary Ellen Cositore, a happily single woman recently retired from a fast-paced corporate career in the city, loves to unwind with family and friends at her vacation retreat in Sea Girt, a home she co-owns with an older brother. To make it a welcom-ing place that’s perfect for entertaining, Cositore has often turned to designer Laurie Burke-Boice, owner of L.D. Burke Designs in Monmouth Beach. The designer has always delivered, trans-forming the Cape Cod’s living room, open-concept dining area and three guest rooms into inviting spaces.
“This client and I have been working together on various projects since 2003,” says Burke-Boice. “We are at a point in our client/designer relationship where she lets me have free rein with my creativity and trusts my expertise.”
“She gets me,” adds Cositore. “She knows what’s important to me and asks all the right questions to get at the core of how I live, what I value and what will bring me the most ease, comfort and functionality.”
So when Cositore decided to focus—finally—on her own in-ner sanctum, she naturally enlisted Burke-Boice. “Now that I’m retired and spending about 80 percent of my time at this home, I wanted a room that would reflect that lifestyle change. It was time for something that was bright and soothing.”
Burke-Boice’s mission: turn her client’s dark and cluttered master bedroom into a serene haven more in keeping with the home’s breezy beach style. She started by adding three skylights to let in the light. She replaced a bulky window air conditioner unit with a streamlined cooling/heating wall unit placed over the window frame; this not only increased the light flow, but also improved the ventilation system.To create the room’s “light as air” mood, Burke-Boice selected a soothing white palette scheme. That was reflected in Benjamin Moore’s White Dove paint on the walls, trims and some of the built-ins, the wicker furniture, the area rugs, the window treatments and the bleached maple floors, which were refinished to a gentle glow. The existing queen-size bed and daybed both got refreshing updates with crisp and comfy white bedding and slipcovers.
Strategic splashes of color added warmth and visual interest. “Rather than an all-white summer bedroom, I chose the coral color to add a little punch, but not so much that it overpowers the softness of the space,” notes Burke-Boice, who covered the areas behind the bed and daybed with coral wallpaper from Wallquest to create focal points. She also incorporated coral into other design elements such as the table tray, the Serena & Lily border bedding and pillowcases, the Surya throw and scallop design pillow on the daybed and the vase on the vanity.
To minimize clutter while maximizing storage space, the designer replaced a bulky armoire with custom-built, multi-drawer cabinets on either side of the dainty vanity, which is the perfect size to hold beauty essentials. A full-length, freestanding wicker mirror gave way to a two-door mirrored closet with additional overhead white storage cabinets. (Before the reorganization, the closet extended under the eaves, resulting in wasted space the client couldn’t access.) A wicker trunk at the base of the bed and a two-door cabinet by the daybed also provided functional yet design-conscious storage.
For all its spaciousness, the room still feels intimate and cozy. The designer made sure of that by fashioning separate living clusters. For instance, the queen-size bed— framed on both sides by angled ceilings, nightstands topped with bedside lamps from Port 68 and Surya shag rugs—makes for a dreamy enclave; the daybed, coffee table, ceramic drum table and two-door cabinet grouping creates a perfect lounging spot equally suited for quiet solitary pursuits or fun sleepovers; and the vanity section—complete with a Mongolian fur stool from Port 68 and pretty baubles and beach-themed decorations on the counter shelves—is a jewel-box haven for feminine pampering.
Other personal touches, like the seascape painting, terry robes and straw hats, evoke sunny, carefree days spent walking along the waves. Long on whimsy and sentimental value, a vintage wicker giraffe planter reflects an unexpected glimpse of the owner’s playful nature
“It’s my dream come true,” Cositore says of the room. “It’s light, classy and purposeful. Whenever my girlfriends come to visit, they always say ‘It is so you.’ It’s been more than two years, but I still feel the same way every time I enter it. Sometimes, I’ll just randomly text Laurie to tell her how much I love my bedroom.”
“It’s a happy room,” says Burke-Boice. “Knowing that my client comes in and smiles and feels totally at home here, that means I’ve done my job.”