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Potomac bedroom suite loses space but not luxury

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Photo - Courtesy Kristin Peake Interiors
Courtesy Kristin Peake Interiors
Real Estate

Most master bedroom remodels are about adding more space and increasing square footage, but that was not so with Tara Merola and her husband, Mike, who wanted to downsize their sleeping quarters in Potomac, Md.

"The room was much larger before," Merola said. "When I became pregnant with our fifth child, I decided we really needed a laundry room upstairs. So we cut out part of the existing bedroom to create one."

The former master bedroom had other issues. It was a big, boxy room with bland beige walls, dated wall-to-wall carpeting and store-bought curtains that never properly fit the window frames.

For the redo, Merola turned to Washington interior designer Kristin Peake with a simple wish list.

Kristin Peake Interiors kristinpeakeinteriors.com

"We wanted a king-size bed, a gas fireplace, and, ideally, a cozy sitting area to sit and read the Sunday paper," Merola said.

Peake got to work.

The clear location for the fireplace -- the only wall completely free of doors and windows -- was the one backing the couple's new laundry room.

"I chose to make the whole wall feel like it's been there forever, so I added not just the fireplace, surround and mantel, but also put in plenty of built-in shelves and cupboards," Peake said.

Next, the tired carpeting was taken out of what Merola used to refer to as the '80s-tastic room. It was replaced with stained wood floors and an attractive area rug that Peake brought in to ground the space.

"The rug also provided our color inspiration," Peake said.

Buttery yellow paint found its way onto the walls, adding a warm glow to the room, and a soothing gray-blue became the primary accent color. There also are hints of chocolate brown throughout.

Though Merola jokingly shared that her husband's motto was "wife happy, life happy," Peake added, "We definitely didn't want the overall design to be either too feminine or too masculine."

Perhaps the plush, yet tailored king-size bed best exemplifies this yin-yang approach, where nailhead and dark-wood trim on a structured headboard share space effortlessly with softer matelasse, pin-tuck and floral-embroidered bedding. The botanical theme is repeated in framed prints.

The rest of the furnishings tie in beautifully: Two distress-painted bedside chests as night tables with ample storage; a pair of clean-lined swivel armchairs and matched ottomans in linen; and a tufted, diminutive bedside chair.

"The rectangular ottoman-shape was chosen because it could convert either of the swivel armchairs into an instant chaise lounge," Peake said.

From easy-to-operate banded Roman blinds to easy-to-clean furnishings, Peake wanted nothing too precious for this active family. But she also succeeded in creating a master bedroom for the couple that was both cozy and luxurious.

The Merolas may have lost square footage, but they gained a sanctuary.

"It's ideal for us! It's a place we want to retreat to. I walk in there and feel peaceful and serene," Merola said.

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