At first blush – May 2012

With piles of plush fabric, an interior designer transformed a young woman’s bedroom into a romantic and timeless hideaway that’s both modern and nostalgic.

Interior Designer Andrew Makenzie’s brief was to create a modern, uncluttered yet classic look that echoed a feminine feel. It was his client’s first apartment and, says Andrew, ‘On meeting, it was clear that the homeowner, whiles being very modern, had love for the soft and the romantic’. He worked from a completely blank canvas to create this plush, timeless Belle Epoque-inspired bedroom.

Walls and floors

‘Always get your canvas – the walls and floors – right, as these are your biggest spaces and they will dictate what follows.’ advises Andrew, suggesting you ‘choose a palette that your like in terms of colour, keeping this as your main theme so there is a common thread running throughout the space.’ Here, softer low-key shades are freshened up with pops of white and luxurious purples.

Walls were lavishly wallpapered in a classic burgundy damask English wallpaper from Mavromac, immediately bringing in the romantic and classical period elements that Andrew’s client loves. All the trimmings, such as doors and skirtings, were kept in a matte white, adding to the fresh, clean appeal. A large silver-white shaggy rug from Paco was placed in the bedroom, adding a sense of layering (and humour) to the space – always a good idea when creating a luxurious haven.

Fabric and upholstery

Andrew loves playing with detail, as seen in the deep-buttoned headboard upholstered in Contemporary opera plain linin from The Silk and Cotton Company. ‘Details such as buttoning, studding and embroidery help to personalise an interior, adding texture and a sense of majesty,’ enthuses Andrew, pointing out the brass-studded detail on the over-scaled wingback chair in a dusty cotton velvet from Block and Chisel.

Avoid the cumbersome task of tacking down individual upholstery studs by using the metre-long strip studs that are quicker to assemble and won’t leave you with bruised thumbs – you can find them at most upholstery supply shops.

Did you know?

Round broad-headed upholstery pins were traditionally used to assist in keeping the fabric in place on a furniture frame, says Gerhard van Deventer, owner of Incanda Furniture. The traditional Chesterfield sofa, which has been part of Anglo-Saxon culture for over 100 years, is instantly recognizable by its deep buttoning on the leather and the rows of tracks on the front facings and borders of the couch.


Keep linens simple, but of good quality cotton, creating a neutral palette on which to grow your look. You can always change the accessories – such as scatter cushions and throws – as your tastes change, without breaking the bank. And as a rule, always make the bed before you leave the room – except perhaps on Sundays.

“Bedrooms are not just for sleeping; they’ve become sanctuaries.” – Andrew Mackenzie


Avoid harsh and unflattering overhead lighting unless placed on a dimmer switch. Rather, opt for lamps that double up as decorative items, and perhaps even a freestanding lamp next to a cosy seated corner. If an overhead light in the bedroom is necessity, turn it into a feature – think chandelier! Don’t be afraid to over-scale and turn this practical item into a focal point.

In Home by Andrew / 23 August 2012 /

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