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February 01, 2008

Bringing sexy back

Designer tips to infuse romance in your rooms

Sonya Procenko

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“Yes! Romance is alive and well in Edmonton,” says interior designer Sheila Hahn. Many of her firm’s master bedroom projects, she says, create more of a retreat than a place to sleep.

Tammy Ringstad of Robert Sweep Interior Design agrees the same applies in Calgary. “We’re finding as people prioritize to relax more in their own homes that they plan also for a warm and rich atmosphere conducive to romance,” says Ringstad. “People are putting more effort into their relationships, and this shows in their homes.”

What are specific ways you can “romance your home”? Alberta interior designers offer New Home Living readers these thoughtful tips to add romance to every room of the house:

Sandra Young, Willow Studio:
I love for the master bedroom and ensuite to feel as much like a spa or hotel retreat as possible. Think of the amenities you enjoy while on romantic holidays, and try to duplicate at home! Spa style, luxurious white towels, candlelight, and quality bath products make the ensuite feel luxurious. Paler, calming colours like blues and taupes make restful environments, and emanate hotel luxury.

Great light fixtures with necessary dimmers can create romance and ambience in any room. Candlelight should not be restricted to Christmas time, but all year around, in any room.

Think of titillating all of your senses—with decadent romantic foods in the kitchen, like strawberries and seafood; room fragrances in powder rooms and bedrooms; soft, luxurious faux fur throws to allure the sense of touch. Your vision is only one sense.
Don’t forget chocolate, everyday—everywhere!

Reena Sotropa, Corea Sotropa Interior Design:
General tips for all these spaces: Use many ‘layers’ of lighting (ambient, art lighting, accent lighting) ALL on dimmers! Overall ways: yards and yards of sumptuous fabrics, decadent trimmings such as tassels and fringe, large scale and overstuffed furniture and candle light.

Master Bedroom: Use fabrics that are soft and luxurious to the touch and beautifully detailed. (Master suites do not usually see a lot of family wear and tear so we are usually more open to using finer fabrics such as embroidered silks.)

Master Ensuite Bath: Be sure to include a ledge on your tub deck that you can place candles and aromatic oils to use while you bathe. Also, we love to hang a beautiful chandelier over the tub for that added bit of sparkle.

Dining Room: We love to use dark, rich paint colours or wallcoverings in the formal dining room which helps to create a warm (and sometimes romantic) feeling. A sparkling chandelier and the addition of candlelight also works well to create a romantic feeling in a dining room.

Kitchen:  Choosing cabinet profiles that are heavily carved, with unfitted, furniture details could create a more romantic looking kitchen. I am doing a kitchen project right now that will include two large crystal chandeliers over the island and a fireplace—I am sure that this will be a very romantic kitchen when it is complete!

Tammy Ringstad, Robert Sweep Interior Design:
Music should always be close at hand—there is nothing like a spontaneous slow dance in the kitchen or ensuite if the music is ready.

It’s nice if you have both a kitchen nook and a dining room table, to leave the dining room set for two.  It sets a tone of romance to be enjoyed at the last moment, and allows anticipation by just walking by with a smile.
In the ensuite, it is great to have a shower and bathtub that fit two people. When you want to unwind, spend that time together, with candles and stemmed glasses.  Keep a tray for a decanter and wine glasses in your master bedroom and it will always be ready.

Everyday romance can be found by installing dimmer switches on your lighting. People want bright, open spaces, but cuddling works best in a soft glow.

Furniture that allows you to sit or lie down together allows couples to touch more often.

Scent is often overlooked in the home. Flowering plants, candles and even fresh, crisp linens can influence the scent of a room.

Every day is an opportunity for romance. Try a pajama party around the coffee table, just with candles, and a cashmere blanket. A dinner for two can be held in the master bedroom, with a beautiful tray of appetizers and a great bottle of wine.

Sheila Hahn, Kohon Designs Inc., Edmonton:
To create romance in your home:
•    For ambience, add low-lit table lamps and/or candles and dimmer switches on all lights. Light should be soft and filtered.
•    Use mirrors to add depth to your room and make your rooms sparkle.
•    Incorporate a clawfoot tub in your bathroom.
•    Drape your bed with lightweight fabric or a mosquito net—this will give the most dramatic effect!
•    Layer pillows on your bed to make it even more dramatic.
•    Hang a chandelier in your bedroom—it is very romantic!
•    Freshen a room with scented oils and fresh flowers.
•    Choose muted colours, soft colours that look natural
•    Incorporate a fireplace if the room permits.
•    And chocolate, chocolate, chocolate.  NL

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