birthday cake

There is nothing like a big birthday and a move to spark a bedroom re-do. Both of my girls were due for a change, moving from their tiny closet sized bedrooms in Tokyo to their much more expansive bedrooms in Doha. The elder had a plan and a Pinterest board from the beginning. But the younger wasn’t sure of what she wanted when we first moved in. Personally I had a plan in my mind for a full size bed using this wedding noren as part of the bed hangings. Once settled, she had other ideas, mainly a desire to keep as much floor space as possible for play area, so a single bed against the wall made more sense. She quickly commandeered the French iron campaign bed and the painted French armoire from her sister’s room. She wanted to keep her Claire Murray Alphabet Garden hooked rugs (which have since become collectors items I am given to understand) because they are soft and provide interesting backdrops for imaginary play – and even nixed the idea of a Madeline Weinrib dhurrie. Can’t argue with the recycling or the continuing interest in play!

The bare room had a lot of promise, including this very sunny east facing window. All varieties of small birds come and perch along the windowsill to my daughter’s great joy. The campaign bed fit perfectly underneath it, leaving lots of play space as requested. But my daughter felt something special was needed, some pretty girly centerpiece to make the room special. I suggested bed hangings and some kind of fitted valance/canopy as the solution and she was hooked.


We went straight to images of Katie Ridder‘s whimsical bed hanging designs (and frankly, you know you are in trouble when your nine, soon to be ten-year old tells you she has a favorite designer). Here in Katie’s own daughter’s room she has installed the basic combination I am planning on – valance type canopy, roman shade for light control and ornamental bed curtains.  It looks like there may be real curtains as well in the pink fabric although I am not planning to make those.

0109_ed_katieridder_waldron_daughter's room

We knew for sure we wanted to pair two different fabrics, a solid and a pattern, just like all these examples.

canopy bedroom ridder from rooms

This bedroom designed by Katie has to be one of the most pinned girls rooms ever and continues to be a favorite of mine. It demonstrates how successful this kind of arrangement can be with a daybed. I also love the idea of a small light fixture tucked into the canopy and you can just see the pierced brass lamp peeking out here. Many of these brass globes with scrolling arabesque pattern or karakusa were made in Japan and I am lucky enough to have a few.

Katie Ridder pink girls room Muriel Brandolini

I can’t resist showing how pretty this one looks in the stair hall. And I have another one if I wanted to use it over the bed.

pierced karakusa light chandelier brass

Back to the topic at hand, Barrie Benson has a similar set of bed hangings made from an Indian block print in this lovely bedroom. I really like a soft fabric valance for my project, rather than a stiff pelmet.

barrie benson canopy bed indian block print

All of the above designs have the canopies mounted to the ceiling. With the crown molding in the room, ours would need to be placed below it and I was a bit worried about whether or not that would look good. Inspiration examples were not hard to find, including Rebecca de Ravenel’s lovely blue and white New York apartment recently featured in Vogue. The dreamy soft canopy in her bedroom has just the feel I am going for.

apt-with-lsd-rebecca-de-ravenel-bedroom canopy

Palmer Weiss used the same wallpaper as Rebecca in this oft blogged about show house bedroom which is another example with a daybed against the wall. Note that the box is also below the ceiling…

palmer weiss girls room 2

…as are these in another showhouse room by Elizabeth Dinkel.

Elizabeth Dinkel canopy beds veranda-show-house-bedroom

Since I have arrived here in Doha I have been farming out projects to different upholsterers and fabricators to find the ones that I like and I think I have found the right person for these. Ironically Qataris love incredibly ornate over the top window treatments which means the skill set here is high. It’s just a matter of simplifying the fabrics and details. After a bit of searching through all the velvets and brocades I found a very nice cotton just the color of the walls (Benjamin Moore Silver Crest 1583). And as the client requested girly, I went into my stash (yes I even have a stash with me abroad) and pulled out a huge amount of yardage of an old and discontinued Rachel Ashwell Bemberg silk fabric called Trellis Rose or something like that. One of the main things we are planning on doing differently from all the examples above is reversing the fabrics – in other words, having the solid on the outside and the pattern as the lining. To jazz up the plainer exterior curtain and valance, I have found an elaborate and detailed trim.

pips room fabrics

For those of you who have been following me on Instagram, you’ve seen the incredible trims I have been finding here. Both vintage and new, made anywhere from Oman to India, designed for trimming abayas and saris, they are extraordinary and I have been incorporating them into decorating projects wherever I can.


Screenshot 2013-11-18 03.31.44

Nathalies living room curtain trim

I have one sweet ten year old who is very excited about hers!

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