Almost everything in this Florida bedroom is white — furniture, bedding, shiplap walls and ceiling. Even the picture frames and chandelier are painted white. But you’d hardly notice it, thanks to the richly painted re-creation of an 18th-century portrait that spans an entire wall.
Designer: Damir Sinovcic of Liquid Design & Architecture
Homeowners’ request: A chic design on a modest budget. Designer Damir Sinovcic responded to the request with a space that draws on the historic character of the home while still feeling new and fresh.
Game plan: Combine vintage furniture, lighting and art, tied together with a white, minimalist color palette. Sinovcic eliminated an unused door to the hallway to create space for nightstands and allow him to center the bed beneath the large portrait. While the contractors restored the shiplap wood planks that make up the walls and ceiling, Sinovcic scoured boutiques, antiques stores, thrift shops and flea markets for the right furniture and decor.
Why the design works: The white finish allows the mix of materials, styles and furnishings from different time periods to blend into a cohesive design. “It also gave the space a light and clean ambience that provided a gallery-like environment for the oversize artwork, allowing it to be the main feature,” Sinovcic says.
What goes on here: This is a calm, serene bedroom suite meant for rest and relaxation, with access to a private terrace.
Designer secret: “The secret to making this small space feel special is the absence of color in the room contrasted with the exuberant and overscale wall art,” Sinovcic says. “While the white helps to unify vintage furnishings and create a neutral backdrop, the custom-painted oil-on-canvas reproduction of the 18th-century French portrait of Mathilde de Canisy by Parisian artist Jean-Marc Nattier elevates the historic atmosphere of the home.
“To make the painting look more modern, we chose not to frame it. Inversely, we chose to accentuate existing historic architecture by adding crown molding, base molding and other wood trim. To complete the French-inspired Shabby Chic look, we incorporated vintage candelabras, mercury mirror lamps and a new crystal chandelier.”
Biggest challenge: Finding matching wood to replace rotted patches on the walls and floors. “Given that this historic wood-frame home was built nearly 100 years ago and has endured Florida’s humid subtropical climate, it needed a lot of restoration work,” Sinovcic says. “The old pine floors and wood planks that make up the walls and ceilings had to be repaired in many places, especially where rot and termite damage had occurred.
“While there are vendors that sell reclaimed wood, it was impossible to find a perfect match for our repairs. Therefore, the solution we came up with was to reclaim and reuse the existing wood from the adjoining bathroom, which was also being renovated. Since the new design for the bathroom called for marble-clad floors and walls, we were able to remove and reuse its vintage wood components to fix up the bedroom.”
Splurges and savings: “We purchased most of the furniture from secondhand stores and flea markets at a very low cost,” Sinovcic says. “We had our contractor paint and seal it to make it clean and new. We also bought very affordable vintage mirrors and picture frames to use on an accent wall and as accessories. The bulk of the budget was invested into two major components: the hand-painted artwork and the custom-cut Carrara marble tops for our flea market nightstands and dressers. The colossal oil-on-canvas portrait, painted by one of our artists, was the largest expense and is the main feature of the room.”
The nitty-gritty: “The Carrara marble was imported from Tuscany, Italy, by our preferred stone vendor, Opustone in Miami. The Dade County pine floors were refinished in a high-gloss espresso finish. The bedding was kept simple: white cotton sheets with a textured duvet cover. Finally, the large hand-painted portrait is an oil-on-canvas created by one of our dedicated artists.”
BEFORE: Too many doors broke up the wall space and made the furniture arrangement difficult. “It had two patio doors, two windows and three interior doors — one door for a closet and two doors leading to two different hallways,” Sinovcic says. He removed the door on the left to create a large surface for the art mural and make room for two nightstands and a bed.