The Heart of Romance

Ask three designers to create a romantic bedroom and they’ll create three different designs. Your ideal romantic bedroom might feel like a lakeside cabin or farmhouse, or it may be Victorian in style. These bedrooms illustrate how different romantic can be. Romance, after all, is in the eye of the beholder.

Photograph by John LewisEuropean Country Retreat

Designer: Ellen Sarafian
Dezins Unlimited, Wilmington

Ellen Sarafian’s North Wilmington cottage bedroom recalls time she has spent at bed and breakfasts in Dublin and London. “It’s a place of refuge and solace,” Sarafian says. “The cool, calming shades of blue and the warm, rich crèmes in the chunky furniture create a relaxed, tranquil state of mind.”

Sarafian used fabrics such as chintz and matelessé. “I complemented the European country toile design in the window treatments, shams and throw pillow with a simple, soft, two-tone plaid in the throw blanket at the end of the bed and petite bows on the tailored bed skirt.” Sarafian married the patterns with the tone-on-tone of the floral matelessé. She then added such details as pom-pom fringe on the leading edges of curtains  and French blue bullion fringe on the throw. “I used primarily blues and whites in all of the fabric, but incorporated crème in the Riverbend furniture for added warmth, interest and contrast,” she says.

The china blue plates on the wall and Oriental porcelain throughout were bought in Europe. Sarafian found the matching Oriental antique dresser lamp at Windle’s Art and Antiques in Centreville. The Laura Ashley nightstand was purchased in Dublin. The floral mirror is by Oriental Accents of Dallas, Texas. Duron mixed the paint, and the crystal clock is by Waterford.  But most of the items in this room came from her own Dezins Unlimited, including the Natural Decorations floral on the dresser, the blue and white floral French rugs and all fabrics.

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Page 2: French Woman’s Boudoir


French Woman’s Boudoir    

Designer: Debra Holveck
Interior Designs, Townsend

Debra Holveck took inspiration for this French boudoir from a favorite painting, “Woman with Dog,” by Mary Cassatt. “The color in the room is meant to bring out the art as opposed to the art bringing out the color,” Holveck says.

The room, part of a showhome in Middletown, pulls its dominant hues from the painting. Holveck started with a basic aqua from Benjamin Moore, then added its White White color until the blend was perfect. Shades of blue, sage and white, found in the fabrics, are keyed to floral arrangements and area rugs.

The suite boasts asymmetrical swags and jabots on the windows, paisley bed sheets, a silk plaid comforter and matching shams. Between the shams rests a boudoir pillow folded like a flower, a subtle touch that completes the ensemble.  Other accents include white scrolled garden chairs, a stenciled antique phone table and a French phone.  

The canopy, with flowing panels that fall from under a valance, is the room’s centerpiece. Its sweep of color and style renders a sophisticated, romantic feel, and its dramatic effect draws the eye to the bed—a sure sign of romance.

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The  design incorporates contemporary furniture with the wrought iron table and chairs and an antique table. There are three tables in all, including a nightstand that matches a crème dresser and matching chest of drawers, and flowers decorate every one. Arrangements by Wildflowers by Alicia in Middletown are featured. Blue rugs of faux silk and wool flank the bed. And in the corner, a blue silk negligee drapes over a mesh frame of a woman’s figure.

Romantic, indeed.

Page 3: The Guest Room


The Guest Room

Designer: Taylor Wells
At Home in Lewes, Lewes

Taylor Wells wanted his spare bedroom “to envelope guests in a calm atmosphere of rich textures created by fabrics, antiques and art.”

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Wells relied on fabrics from the Vervain Fabric Company to make that happen. Vervain produces high-quality linens and wovens in small-scale patterns, such as the La Casela Almond linen in the draperies and dust ruffle.

A Gothic chair is covered with a remnant of luxurious chenille that helps create an air of calm. “Vervain fabric gave me that feel without making the room seem too monochromatic,” he says. “The linen weave gives the fabric depth, as does the almost tone-on-tone pattern.”  

Wells chose a woven cotton from Calico Corners in Wilmington for the wing chair. The neutral bedding is from Yves Delorme in Greenville.

Wells warmed the room with antique furniture and “pieces that felt antique.” He found the Gothic side chair and bedside table at a garage sale. The antique mahogany chest of drawers came from a friend. He found the watercolor of a Chinese horse at an estate sale.

His best yard sale find was the Potthast Brothers wing chair. Potthast, which specialized in exquisite reproduction furniture, as well as its own line, is very collectible.

The porcelain lamps and the chest of drawers were gifts from Wells’ grandmother. The bedside lamp is from the JL Collection. The rest of the wall art is from Wells’ personal collection of 18th- and 19th-century British watercolors and drawings. “It gives a feeling of timeless elegance to the room,” he says.   



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