Bedroom 2013

A B&B broker and waterfront cottage owner offer advice on cultivating a cozy bedroom.

Photo by Darren Setlow

Sweet and Simple 
In 2009 Mary Barrett and her family bought a turn-of-the-twentieth century waterfront cottage in Boothbay Harbor. She shares her thoughts on furnishing this cozy bedroom, which evokes memories of summers by the sea.

“The house was pretty much in its original condition when we bought it in 2009. It was built just for summer; there is no insulation. It’s about 1,400 square feet, and there are five bedrooms upstairs, so this bedroom is very small.

“I applied a fresh coat of paint — the walls are Benjamin Moore Vapor, and the floor is Saybrook Sage. I want it to look cottage-y, so I put natural blinds on the window and purchased the wicker hamper from a secondhand store.

“Everything else is pretty random: The bed came from a friend in Atlanta; I don’t know if it is an antique, but it is very old. I found the turquoise dresser at an antiques shop, and I replaced the wooden knobs with the glass ones that I took from a hutch downstairs. It determined the color scheme for the room. The maple leaf sconces are from a junk shop in Alabama. The quilt was dug out of a closet in my mother’s house.

“The rest of the house is furnished much this way — lots of blues and greens because we’re near the water and lots of funky stuff that I just happened to find.”

Subtle Colors, Comfort, and Lots of Light
Dana Moos knows a thing or two about Maine bedrooms. As a real estate broker of bed-and-breakfasts around the state, and, until recently, the innkeeper of Portland’s Pomegranate Inn, she is uniquely qualified to give advice on how to create an inviting bedroom with a Maine aesthetic. Here are some of her dos and don’ts.

Add hints of wicker. Be careful not to overdue it. A wicker tray will go a long way.

Keep the colors subtle. The primary feel of the bedroom should be white, but accent the room with pale blues and yellows. Perhaps a blue-and-white checked gingham bed skirt, or decorative white, yellow, and blue pillows.

Mix contemporary items with heirloom ones. An older blue and white Wedgwood plate can go well with a contemporary vase.

Find a single, strong accent. If you have a white chair and white nightstand, include something like a cobalt blue vase and sunflowers. Or even just a stack of magazines.

Install a ceiling fan. You don’t really need air conditioning in Maine, but a ceiling fan, with or without lights, helps a lot in the summer.

Decorate with different vantage points in mind. It’s really important to focus on what you see from the bed or your reading nook. You don’t want to design the room only around what you see when you first walk in.

Go crazy with nautical items. A patterned pillow with a single anchor in the middle is enough.

Block the view. There’s a tendency to do too much with windows. Let as much light in as possible. Add a cornice or valence above the window. Do it with a coordinating fabric but keep the lines clean, and no heavy drapes.

Focus only on the bed. Whether reading or sitting, you don’t want the bed to be your only lounging option. Get a big lounging chair and add a knitted throw.

Go bold. The key to a cozy cottage-y Maine bedroom is avoiding anything too loud or brash. It should feel comfortable.