See This “Grubby” 1910 Bedroom Get a Cozy Makeover (and More Storage!)

published Feb 9, 2024
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About this before & after
Home Type
Historic Home
Project Type
Skill Level
Rental Friendly

Often, historic homes come with some features that are gems and others that are, well, historic (read: Dated and in need of repair). Nina Watson’s (@artdecojewel) 1910 home had a little bit of both. 

In the bedroom, the original fireplace and wooden sash windows with a stunning view were gifts, but the “grubby beige carpet and magnolia walls,” per Nina, were not. “The room lacked personality or warmth,” Nina says. “We wanted to enhance the original features and add texture and color to create a calm, inviting haven. We live busy working (and family) lives and felt it was really important that the first and last thing we see each day would be something to make us smile, and feel happy and calm.”

Another item on Nina and her husband’s wish list? Storage that would seamlessly blend with the other elements in the room and not make the space feel smaller. 

Credit: Nina Watson
Credit: Nina Watson

An antique bed started off the project.

The starting point in the room was the bed — an antique brass Maple & Co. beauty. “We saw it online from an antiques website and bought it on impulse,” Nina says. “We then knew we had to create a bedroom to do the bed justice.” 

Nina selected other gold-hued accents, like the chandelier, to tie everything together. “I love the antique gold damask curtains that slightly pool on the floor, the brass cheval mirror, and the dressing table with the tapestry walnut stool,” she adds. 

Credit: Nina Watson
Credit: Nina Watson

The fireplace became more grand. 

“We often look at original features and rather than remove them or accept them as they are, we look at ways of improving them,” Nina says of her historic home. “In this instance, the original tiled hearth wasn’t big enough for us.” (Nina wanted the fireplace to have balance with the new, tall bed.) 

The solution? During renovations, Nina and her professional crew found more of the same pale creamy yellow tiles under the carpet in another bedroom and used those to extend this hearth and “make it bigger and more impactful,” Nina says. 

Credit: Nina Watson

The walls and fireplace are pale neutrals.

Like the fireplace, the walls also stayed a pale color — a soothing green that comes in the form of wallpaper (Caselio’s “Gatsby” wallpaper). The red florals of the bedding and “the warm reds and pinks of the rugs and lampshades work beautifully against the soft green backdrop,” Nina says. 

In fact, Nina says that changing up the wall and ceiling colors was one of the biggest difference-makers in the space (the ceiling is a pale green, Benjamin Moore’s North Shore Green, to match the wallpaper). The other change that made a huge difference was removing the carpeting and instead adding two Anatolian rugs underfoot. 

Credit: Nina Watson
Credit: Nina Watson

Two wardrobes add storage. 

The wardrobes to the right of the fireplace are painted the same green as the ceiling, but they weren’t always that color. “We originally painted these cabinets glossy black like the window and floor, but over time found them too overbearing in the space,” Nina says. “We decided to sand them back and repaint them the same pale green … to blend in with the Art Deco wallpaper.”

Down the line, she says she might also swap the glossy black (Benjamin Moore’s Black) window frame and floor for a soft green “so the whole room would be color-drenched.” (“Watch this space!” Nina says.) The other thing she’d change in hindsight is using real wood instead of MDF for the wardrobes. “We believed the carpenter when he said that once they were painted, you wouldn’t know the difference,” Nina says. “You totally do — the texture gives it away.”

Still, she’s happy with the functionality added and the new, calm-yet-cheery vintage vibe of her bedroom, and she has some sage advice for the road: Interiors evolve over time, and sometimes living in a space for a while can make you change your mind. 

“I loved the black wardrobes initially — the unapologetic boldness of them — but as time passed, I felt that they dominated the rest of the decor too much,” Nina says. “A calmer balance was required.” Now, after the £5000, or approximately $6,300, makeover, she has a “calm, vibrant, warm, vintage, and playful” bedroom, she says. “A true reflection of us!”