The act of turning the light off and closing your eyes is more complex than you think. Whether you sleep facing the right or the left, if you enjoy drifting off to the blue glow of a television or the roar of a swamp cooler—these habits have a significant impact on how we design a bedroom. What you see when you wake up is a critical part of your experience of the room.
A small window in one bedroom at a house in upstate New York is carefully placed to allow a peek out to the landscape. A floor-to-ceiling glass wall in a Miami Beach condo opens the bedroom toward the ocean beyond; when you open your eyes you see the sunrise over the Atlantic.
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Bedrooms in Croatia and Mexico feature exposed stone walls mixed with mid-century and modern furnishings and fittings, connecting the spaces to their natural landscapes and creating an elegance that maintains a modesty and simplicity suited to their surroundings. One bedroom in Croatia was designed to be crossventilated and catch the breeze from the sea, negating the need for air conditioning.
Between the ages of four and twelve I completely rebuilt my bedroom nine or ten times. At one point, there were spaceships on a brown sky; at another, an eight-foot tall billboard image of a green olive.
As children, we often create magical worlds in our bedrooms. A young girl’s bedroom in an Upper East Side townhouse features window shades laminated with black and white cityscape scenes. She has privacy when the shades are down, but the atmosphere and the decorating of the city can still be enjoyed rather than shut out. At a house on the beach in Florida, a children’s bedroom doubles as a playroom with painted trees and twin unicorn headboards, capturing the air of fantasy and imagination the beachside has for a child.
Swimming pools are among my favorite things to design. The pool at one Florida beach house is everything a pool is about: there is a proper lap lane for swimming, as well as a very shallow section to lie and get a tan. There is a spot to sit and relax on a ledge in the water, and there are even little yellow cocktail tables built into the pool that give you a place to put down your drink while swimming. The unabashed visual liveliness of this particular pool meshes seamlessly with the rowdy culture of its locale—the festive seaside communities of Daytona Beach and Ormond Beach, Florida.