Canopy bed fits contemporary styles


January 12, 1992|By Rose Bennett Gilbert | Rose Bennett Gilbert,Copley News Service

Q: I'm strictly modern in most things -- in fact, I started out to be an architect, so in love with the Bauhaus movement was I. Still, I love canopy beds, as traditional and old-fashioned as they may be. What do you think? Can I put a canopy bed in a contemporary bedroom?

A: No matter what your religion when it comes to architectural styles, everyone's best-loved legacy from yesteryear is undoubtedly the canopy bed.

By all means, the twain -- contemporary and canopy -- can mix.

Here, to show you how successfully it can be done, is a photo of a large and lush master bedroom designed by Peter Charles Lopipero of Peter Charles Interiors in Oyster Bay, N.Y.

His innovative version of a canopy bed seems derived from a small Greek temple, but it's really designed for 21st century living: A double helping of pillows makes it perfect for lounging by day and video-viewing by night. Another feature: The lower portion of the stylized columns opens to serve as a night table.

Custom-designed, the bed has a step carpeted to match the rest of the floor, with sides upholstered in the same fabric that curtains the windows and festoons the top rails. What you can't see in a black-and-white photograph is the palette of soft peaches and grays the designer has used to bring peace and calm to the large-scale room.

Another point: Mr. Lopipero makes the imposing bed the centerpiece of the room. About the only other furnishings are the wall-hugging dressing table and some upholstered chairs, plus lush potted plants.

Even traditional canopy beds can be free-standing focal points -- an idea much beloved by the crowned heads of Europe, who often held court propped up on their pillows.

Q: Our new Colonial-style home has a wide staircase with a triple round-top window on the landing. It's large enough to put a desk or love seat under the window, and I'd like to put some kind of curtain on the window itself. What do I do about the rounded top?

A: Sounds as if you're dealing with a classic Palladian window, which is often best left undressed. However, there are ways to handle the curve at the top so you can install curtains. Discuss it with your curtain or drapery specialist -- there are both standard and custom-order rods that can be made to fit the curve.

Since your window sounds as if it's worth showing off, I'd suggest that you keep the curtains simple. Consider shallow tie-backs caught high at the sides to form a narrow frame of fabric for the window.

You also can leave the curved top bare: Install a straight rod below the curved section and hang sheer curtains, which also can be caught back to the sides to reveal the glass.

Either solution will make an attractive backdrop for your desk or love seat -- and make the landing well worth climbing the stairs for.

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