Dressing up the head of the bed By Design: An elaborate, romantic look can be achieved, even though the walls present a challenge.

By Design

January 28, 1996|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE

We are remodeling the second floor to create a master suite combining a bedroom, sitting room and dressing area. It's to be furnished in a traditional style.

The main challenge is that the rooms have sloping walls and a few deeply set, dormer-type windows.

We're most concerned about the bed wall that begins sloping five feet above the floor and continues to the ceiling at a rather steep angle. What sort of headboard would be best?

Instead of installing an actual piece of furniture, you might consider dressing the head of the bed.

The Pasadena, Calif., interior design firm of Stephen Paul Associates took that approach in the setting shown in the photo. Here, too, the bedroom has a low-sloping wall and is furnished with traditional pieces.

Although it looks quite elaborate, this romantic treatment is simple to achieve. All that's involved is the gathering, ballooning and stretching of fabric on small rods behind the bed.

The ballooning should start at the ceiling level. It would then extend to the point where the wall becomes straight, thus producing a canopy-like effect.

In this instance, the designers framed their creation by introducing a version of a swag and jabot in a decorative and contrasting floral fabric. While this serves to emphasize the bed wall, the treatment would also look fine without it.

Another approach would be to attach an upholstered panel to the bed frame to provide a firm headrest. This addition should be no more than 12 inches high, and it should be covered with the same fabric used for the dressing behind and above the bed.

Although there are other solutions to the problem of placing a headboard against a sloping wall, this one is a relatively simple option -- and that's important, since you'll be in the midst of a large-scale rebuilding project.

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