DREAMY BEDROOM MAKEOVERSpage
The latest in luxurious bedding, plus wise words about design, to inspire a bedroom makeover
AROUND THE ROOM
Interior designers Rachel Brown of Harper and Suzanne Allen of Suzanne Allen Design help you plan a better bedroom:
Do measure the space before buying a bed, says Rachel. And, while you’re at it, ensure there is enough room to accommodate at least one side table, and room for access for bed-making.
Don’t buy a bed that’s too big. “It is tempting to get the most generous size possible, but that could overcrowd the room.”
Do create a focal point in your bedroom with a headboard. It makes the room feel cosy and complete. “Make a statement with something plush and upholstered,” says Suzanne.
Don’t select bedside tables before you buy your bed. “The right height for them is at the same level or slightly higher than the top of your mattress,” explains Suzanne. If they’re too high or low, reaching for a glass of water can be a recipe for disaster.
Do install light switches beside your bed. No one enjoys getting out of a warm bed to turn off the light.
Don’t load the bed with too many cushions. “It’s too much work twice a day,” says Suzanne, “and can make the bed look crowded and uncomfortable.” Create balance by using a mix of size, colour and patterned or textured cushions.
THE WHITE THING
Alison Nottingham of soft furnishing company Bianca Lorenne has some tips on looking after your bedding and keeping fine linen and cotton sheets white: Don’t reach for the chlorine bleach, as it can react with body oils to make whites more yellow. Do wash linen in cold or lukewarm water using eco-friendly cleaners that are safe to use regularly. Do add half a cup of baking soda with the detergent at the beginning of the wash cycle. Then, at the start of the rinse cycle, pour in half a cup of white vinegar. The odour will rinse out! Do hang linens to dry in the sun as sunlight has bleaching capabilities and won’t set stains like the drier does. Don’t leave laundry out in the sun for too long after it dries, as the sun can damage the fibres. Don’t use a hot dryer as it weakens the fibres in fine linen. Do rotate your sheet sets as fibres need time to rest and breathe – they will last longer if not used continuously. Did you know? Katharine Hepburn once said: “Use only white sheets; anything else changes your personality.” >
HEAD OF THE CLASS
Diane Dewhurst of The Headboard Company shares some of the tricks of her trade: Don’t leave the design of your headboard till last; it’s an excellent starting point for a colour palette for your room. Do be bold with scale, colour and texture. A headboard is a statement. Aesthetically the headboard anchors the bed if it’s about 5cm wider either side. Don’t use fabrics that are too pale in tone as they can easily be marked or stained from the oils in hair. Don’t be afraid to use pattern, it adds another layer of interest. Do spend time deciding the shape and scale. A clever way to do this is to cut a template in paper and attach to the wall using a low-adhesive masking tape. Do measure carefully. If you plan to sit up in bed reading, check the headboard is comfortable. Did you know? Headboards have been around since ancient Egyptian times.
A WAY WITH DUVETS
Carl Doherty of Hefel New Zealand has some good ideas on selecting the perfect duvet:
Do match your duvet to the time of year: summer, winter or year-round versions. Some duvets are made as a two in one option, where a summer duvet can be added to an allyear duvet for the colder months. Check the fill power, or loft measurement, as an indication of warmth and lightness. A loft of 750 or above is considered excellent.
Do consider the materials used for both the outer shell and the filling. A Tencel shell and filling is actively breathable and feels like silk. Silk and bamboo shells feel cool in the hotter months and maize, wool, cashmere and down fillings are great in the colder months. A duvet combination that works very well is a mix of down and Tencel, as the Tencel absorbs any moisture created by the warmth of the down.
Don’t forget to check the stitching. Look for one that is divided into even sections so there’s no clumping. Hefel uses a Bodyfit stitching pattern that’s designed to drape over the human form with no gaps for cold air to enter.
Do check the washing instructions. Some duvets can be machine washed and tumble dried, others may need line drying. Most woollen duvet inners can only be aired. >
OUT FOR THE COUNT
Bonnie Dewhurst of bedding and furniture store Whistling Reindeer in Wanaka loves linen, a textile that, she says, will never be out of style. Her tip when choosing linen is not to be deceived by thread count, which gives an indication of how tightly the fabric is woven but is not a true sign of quality. Linen yarn is thicker than cotton and is usually graded by weight (grams per square metre) rather than thread count.
Avis Nelson, founder of HouseHold Linens, agrees. “Our customers appreciate 100 per cent cotton and there seems to be less attention on thread count thankfully. We always explain that Egyptian cotton, when grown in the right conditions, has longer threads so the fabric is stronger and harder wearing [see above]. If the weave is too tight, that is, the thread count is too high, it just won’t breathe as well.”
HEART OF THE MATTRESS
Mattress designer David Henderson of Dreamwool Beds in Christchurch has some advice for bed buyers:
Do tell the sales person if you are a hot sleeper. Natural products (rather t han synthetic ones) will be worth the investment. A wool/latex mattress absorbs moisture and later dissipates it into the atmosphere, useful for those who feel the heat or are going through menopause. Memory foam and polyester products may be soft, but they don’t keep the heat out of the situation.
Do make sure, when buying a mattress that claims to be natural, that it contains enough wool/latex to make a difference. “The minimum we suggest is 1350 grams of wool per square metre and 25mm latex underneath the wool,” says David.
Don’t make the bed every day! Instead, consider folding up your bedding at the foot of the bed. This is how they do it in Europe, to keep mattresses well aired and in better condition. “New Zealanders tend to be more concerned about the look of the bedroom whereas Europeans put more focus on what they’re sleeping on and caring for the mattress itself,” says David. >
Confused by fibres? Here’s a rundown of the latest and greatest:
Tencel: An environmentally friendly material made from 100 per cent wood cellulose. It’s a soft, natural product that has breathable characteristics. It absorbs moisture (better than cotton) and disperses it back into the room so bedlinen stays dry.
Maize: A man-made fibre extracted from maize or corn. The maize fibres balance out temperature fluctuations providing a warm sleeping environment. Maize duvets are easy to care for and hard-wearing. The ingeo maize fibre is a sustainable, organic raw material that grows back annually.
Bamboo: The temperature-balancing and moisture regulating characteristics of bamboo and its antibacterial effect provide an ideal sleeping environment for refreshing summer nights.
Goosedown: Down is, of course, softer than feathers and because geese are bigger than ducks, they have bigger down clusters that trap more air to keep you more insulated. Hungarian goose down is the latest premium product because geese tend to grow larger in the country’s cold climate and have mature highgrade down. Store winter down duvets in a breathable bag and don’t store with heavy objects on top of them.
12 DREAMY FINDS
• Hefel’s range of jersey cotton fitted sheets feature five per cent spandex and so have the ability to stretch – no more wrestling with the corners. • The leather tanning process usually requires chemicals that aren’t conducive to sweet slumbers but the soft Kashmir leather upholstery on Viktor beds, designed by Draga & Aurel for Baxter, Italy is a different story. The finest whole hides are tanned without the use of chromium and other nasty metals, then the bed and headboard are wrapped in this leather with a subtle aged effect. From Cavit & Co. >
• The pastel-pink linen duvet cover in Rosa from Baksana (above) is as pretty as a peony and the Laundered Linen duvet in Blush from MM Linen is similarly beautiful. To dial back the femininity, a Powder Blue linen/cotton blend duvet cover from French Country Collections makes for a serene space. • Celebrate a move away from grey to a shade more lustrous. Golden hues make your bedroom glow with glamour. The Golden Deco collection from Frette featuring a delicate leaf on a golden background is just one shiny example. From Cavit & Co. • The latest development from Dreamwool Beds in Christchurch sees layers of micro-coils fitted between the comfort layers in the mattress. This means the occupant almost floats over the top of the mattress, allowing more air to circulate and keep you cool. • Velvet looks vivacious whether in neutral shades or statement colours. You can’t go past the Mansion velvet quilt from Wallace Cotton in tones of hot Chartreuse (see previous page) or cooler Grey. And the reversible Arabella velvet quilt in a deep steel blue from French Country Collections has a pretty block print on the reverse, so you get the best of two worlds. • Chunky knits in cotton or wool are an easy way to freshen up the bedroom for spring. Try the Elm throw in pale pink or grey from Wallace Cotton. If you want to be really on trend, look for a throw with a pompom or tassel trim, such as the Kingdom quilt. • We’re tickled pink with Feathers, a design from HouseHold Linens inspired by the memory of picking up feathers on a walk along the beach. The printed Portuguese sateen has a natural palette with soft shades of pink through russet tones, and a playful graphic. See page 143. • Here’s a double deal for bird lovers. The hand-painted Aviary design duvet cover in soft cotton sateen (opposite) is covered in multicoloured birds in an array of on-trend summer hues, dominated by shades of green but also featuring indigo, ochre and coral. An Aviary kimono in the same print is also available from MM Linen. • It pays to air your clothes in the evening before hanging them back in the closet, and the Anouk stool from French Country Collections is a good size for the end of the bed. It is upholstered in goat skin and has an iron frame and legs. • Novadown’s Marriage Saver duvet is designed so that bed partners can individualise the warmth levels they require for optimum comfort. Each half of the duvet is filled with either a warm, medium or cool weight of Hungarian goose down. But beware of the visual impact – a warm side of the duvet will be fluffier and therefore higher than a cooler side. • Top-of-the-line duvets are such an investment that it’s a relief to discover a duvet rejuvenation programme offered by Wanaka’s Whistling Reindeer. The case is washed and the feather and down filling steam-cleaned at 130°C in a machine that has antistatic, sanitising and loft-restoration capabilities. Extra fill can even be added to fluff up your duvet or pillow even more.
SLEEP AROUND THE WORLD
In countries such as Spain and Italy, young children are not sent to bed early but rather stay up late socialising and interacting with adults.
If someone falls asleep on your shoulder on the bus or train in Japan, don’t nudge them off. It is polite practice to just ignore it.
In Norway, where the temperatures drop below zero on a regular basis, it’s not unusual to see babies left outside cafes and shops, sleeping well rugged up in prams. It’s considered a great way for them to stay healthy.
THIS PAGE Linen duvet cover in Rosa from Baksana, from $425. OPPOSITE Aviary duvet cover from $249.90, comforter from $319.90, Euro case set $99.90 and cushions from $79.90, all from MM Linen.
THIS PAGE Princeton Check queen duvet set with two pillowcases $275, Dover hemstitched fitted and flat queen sheets $225 each, pillowcases $135 a pair, all from HouseHold Linens. OPPOSITE Bianca Lorenne Vernice queen duvet set (with two pillowcases)...
THIS PAGE Whitewashed weaving (made from linen, muslin, cotton and wool) $795 by Laine Toia at Bespoke Weaving, bespokeweaving.com; Bianca Lorenne Euro cushion covers $120 each from Harrowset Hall; Feathers queen duvet set (includes two pillowcases)...