Design Dilemma: The Case of the Boring Bedroom


Interior designer Brian Dittmar has a client with a double life. During the week the man is a buttoned-up banker, but on the weekend he lets his design flag fly high.This client loves design so much, he moonlights in a Williams Sonoma store just to be close to beautifully crafted goods. The banker-would-be designer had decorated most of his 1930s era home in Oakland’s Crocker Highlands neighborhood himself, but when it came to his less-than-exciting bedroom, he was stumped.

He called Dittmar in for help. “He was looking for a rich, cozy and clubby feel,” the designer says. “He had a set of Frette sheets that he loved, and we borrowed the gray and white palette from those, adding in a camel color.”

Dittmar started by painting the walls a warm gray hue. “Most people think that dark colors make a small room seem smaller,” he says. “But I’ve found that they make the walls recede and give a tight space an expansive feel.”

The banker and design lover used his employee discount to purchase an upholstered bed from Williams Sonoma Home. “The upholstered headboard was really important for the client because he likes to read at night,” says Dittmar. “The fact that the sides are also upholstered is great for this room. They allow for very tailored bedding, as opposed to a fluffy comforter that would make the bed larger.”

For the curtains, Dittmar added a dash of luxe by selecting fine fabrics, including a luminescent gray for the trim. To make the ceiling seem higher, the designer decided to hang the curtains at the crown molding line. The fact that the draperies hang on hospital tracks means the corner windows can be completely covered, making the space totally dark in the mornings–an essential for a man resting after working all week and on the weekends.

Dittmar’s other big design trick is a sophisticated blend of textures. “By layering textures you add life to what could be a small, flat room,” he says. “The linen headboard, the burl-wood lamps and the boucle-like pile in the curtain fabric all work together to transform this space.”



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