Designer Amy Carman turned a neglected guest suite
into an ethereal respite in a wooded,
ombré wallpaper and customized desk are the stars of a
bedroom filled with
carefully selected details.
Almost seven years after a Wauwatosa couple selected
Elm Grove-based Amy Carman Design to put a clean, modern touch on
their home’s lower level, they called on Carman again to extend the
look to a first-floor guest suite.
The result is a delicately airy space that emphasizes tone and texture,
playing well against an outdoor woodsy landscape tucked along the
“The bedroom was kind of neglected and became a catch-all room,” Carman
says. “The bathroom was outdated, and the design was from the original
home that was built in the late 1990s or early 2000s. It’s a very
private space at the end of the house.
lamps sit on nightstands on each side of the bed.
A reading nook includes simple
accessories and a plush, faux fur-covered chair. This
sculptural element is meant to draw the eye to the desk.
“You know, we kind of know our client,” Carman says.
“She has great taste and a sense of style, so she really inspired
what we did for the room.”
To extend that taste and style, the first order of business was to gut
the bathroom — a project that would set the tone for the bedroom
Pale taupe hues dominate the bathroom space, from the painted walls to
the porcelain tile-clad shower walls and the 2-inch-by-5-inch mosaic
floor tiles. “We miter all the edges of our tile so it is seamless,”
Carman says, also noting a 4-inch thick ledge — the vanity top — made
from handmade quartz.
The streamlined, three-drawer vanity cabinet was crafted from rift-sawed
white oak and finished with a clear coat — a natural extension of the
blond woodwork used throughout the house, Carman says. A metal-frame
mirror is suspended from a wall bracket and complements the brushed
nickel Kohler fixtures.
The bedroom renovation focused on simplicity and
detail. Carman points to two stars of the room: the ombré wallpaper
that fades from blush pink at the bottom to white at the top to
blend with the ceiling, and a desk that has been dressed in
interesting texture and accessories. “The wallpaper gives the room
an ethereal quality,” Carman continues, adding that this patternless
covering is much less forgiving than traditional paper. “We’re lucky
that we have a good wallpaper hanger.”
The top of the writing desk is upholstered in a taupe shagreenleather,
displaying the fabric’s hallmark sharkskin-like quality, and covered in
glass. The desk’s iron base boasts a bronze finish, and its modern chair
is upholstered in velvet mohair, with a frame finished in antique gold.
Carman says a favorite desk accessory includes an abstract wire
sculpture that sits on a marble base. It is one of several key pieces
carefully selected to lightly complement the purposely stark
environment. For example, one of two small wall art pieces is an
abstract oil painting by woodcut print artist Bryan Nash Gill. “This
piece was selected specifically for its representation of the wooded lot
that surrounds the house,” Carman explains.
Books and accompanying itemscomplement the décor
while reflecting the
client’s personal interests.
A varied selection of accessories for the refurbished
bookshelf include items reflective of the client’s taste, such as
small sculpture and pottery pieces and books on art, architecture
and interesting people.
The rooms’ additional pieces vary in style and texture, from a
reading chair upholstered in plush, faux-white fur to nightstands
constructed of burled Mappa wood. A custom-constructed bed upholstered
in a chenille textured fabric makes a luxurious statement.
Carman emphasizes the importance of the fit and finish look of each
piece. “You are boiling it down to its essence with modern design,” she
says the completed project.
Her work on this
home is not quite done, though, she says. The next project? “The
kitchen,” Carman says, smiling with anticipation.
How to re-create the
bathroom’s pendant mirror is from RH Modern. rhmodern.com
large-format porcelain bathroom tile is by Ann Sacks and can be sourced
locally through the Kohler Signature Store in Wauwatosa. annsacks.com
bedroom’s ombré wallpaper is by Designers Guild. designersguild.com
the writing desk and the metal sculpture with white stone base perched
atop the desk can be acquired through Amy Carman Design.