Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Caribbean Style Guest Retreat

 As a Caribbean girl, I am always inspired by the beautiful colors that can be found in my home town of Montego Bay, Jamaica.  On my visits home, I cannot help soaking up the sights of the clear blue skies, the varying blue and turquoise hues of the Caribbean Sea,the powder white sands of the beaches, the colorful and delicious fruits, and of course the lush greenery that's everywhere around you. As a Decorator in Katy TX, I rarely get the opportunity to decorate a Caribbean inspired room, so I decided to put together a beautiful, airy guest bedroom with influences from my home country. I was careful not to select pieces that were too beachy, which I think would be too cliche and expected. Although the beach is a very big part of the natural landscape of Jamaica, there's so much more to the island, so we'll hint at the beach without it becoming the theme of this virtual guest retreat.

First we'll start out with our wall color. We'll go with a fresh light blue green to set the tone for the rest of the room. Sherwin Williams SW6756 Crystal Clear is our color of choice.

Next we'll do something a bit unexpected. The ceiling in a room is often neglected. In our guest retreat we have the perfect opportunity to do something interesting by treating the ceiling as a fifth wall. We will incorporate natural grasscloth wallpaper in a coffered ceiling treatment. This Arrowroot natural grasscloth wallpaper will be applied between the trim of the coffered ceiling. For our application, we will simplify the trim just a bit, and maybe even whitewash it. We opted for an airy, light blue for the wallpaper so the focus will be the texture and not the color.

Next we will bring in our bed. In Jamaica, we love dark stained woods like mahogany and heavily carved, traditional pieces. I decided to take a more casual approach to our bed to keep the room more relaxed. This mahogany bed is from Noir Trading. The black hand rubbed finish gives it the casual feel we are looking for, and the carving, though not traditional, gives it a global, worldly feel and the four poster evokes a bit of romance.

For our bedding, we have chosen simple but luxurious egyptian cotton linen from Eastern Accents. We will add a few decorative shams and pillows to add a bit of interest.

Next we'll introduce our nightstands. These burlap shelves from Noir Trading are the perfect scale to act as nightstands. The open shelving is great for storing treasures collected on long walks by the beach. The simple lines of these nightstands work well with the intricate details of the 4 poster bed. The nail head detail gives them an elegant, timeless feel.

We'll now add a bench at the foot of the bed, which is a great place to sit and put on shoes or stacking pillows at night. The bench is from Noir Trading and will be done in the stripe fabric to tie into our bedding.

Next we'll bring in a dresser for storage and a full length mirror. When you have guests, always be mindful of the little things that will make their stay a bit more enjoyable and feel more like home. This dresser from Noir Furniture and Mirror from Studio A are great additions to the room.

Next we'll add a seating area in the room. This area would be great by a window or bank of windows. It is always a great idea to add some seating in a guest retreat or master retreat. Your guest will never want to leave.

The chairs are a classic wing back style with contemporary lines, done in a beautiful meadow green, knobby linen fabric from Kast Fabrics. We'll  also add a pillow to each chair made from the patterned fabric from our bedding shams.

The round ottoman is perfect for kicking your feet up and just relaxing. Guest rooms should always be inviting, comfortable and relaxing to give guests the experience of being at a five star resort. This beautiful "bullseye" burlap ottoman from Noir Trading is the perfect choice.

We'll also add a table to the seating area for a table lamp and maybe a floral and accessories. This sea horse table is definitely a novelty piece in the room, but is a great conversation piece and will add a touch of charm and whimsey. It is ok to add one or two whimsical pieces at most to a room but too much can come off as being too kitchey.

We'll add an area rug to define the seating area. This jute rug from Surya will be warm and cozy underfoot. Perfect for a relaxing reading nook.

For our window treatments will be choosing a gauzy, sheer linen fabric (unlined) that will mimic the feel of mosquito netting. Mosquito netting is frequently found in bedrooms in the Caribbean draped over four poster beds. As the name implies, mosquito netting is meant to keep mosquitoes away while you are sleeping. We have chosen this 100% Linen fabric from Kast Fabrics in a mineral blue to blend seamlessly with our wall color. This will give the room a more soothing and calming feel.

Now for our lighting. No room is complete without proper lighting. We'll bring in three table lamps (one for each nightstand and one for the table in the seating area), and a chandelier.

Now we'll tackle the art and accessories. The art we chose is definitely beach and tropical inspired. We chose an old Caribbean map and an old Ackee postcard to further capture the essence of being in a Jamaican Island retreat,

So there you have it, a restful, Caribbean inspired guest retreat. Some other helpful tips for creating a guest retreat are:

  • Include a small coffee maker, mugs and coffee condiments in a hidden area in the room. This area can be incorporated in a cabinet or dresser or a niche built into a wall or hallway.
  • Always have extra toiletries like soaps, toothpaste, deodorant, and toothbrushes etc handy in case your guest forgot to bring theirs. Arrange them in beautiful baskets or upholstered boxes to complemet the room.
  • Aways have extra towels and bath robes on hand
  • A notepad and pen or pencil is great to have on hand
  • An alarm clock
Just think about the comforts of home you cannot live without, and go all out for your guests. They may never want to leave, which may be a good or bad thing?

Hope you are inspired to create and decorate the home of your dreams

My top three Fun Finds of the week:

This great mid century modern sofa frm Room Service. I just love the wood trim of this piece. Quite a handsome piece!

This handsome Klismos chair. I can imagine a fun geometric fabric as the seat cushion.

This cute shabby chic inspired bench from C.R. laine. Perfect the way it is!

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