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The Globe and Mail

A blah master bedroom gains a fresh sense of adventure

Newlyweds Nuala and David thrive on excitement. They've travelled the world participating in adventure races and fell in love in the wilderness. After the wedding, they tackled a complete renovation of their 1926 - built house. They've been living with her parents while managing the construction process that has left them so exhausted they can't imagine what to do with their blank slate of a bedroom. While they may live for adventure, Nuala and David have played it safe when it comes to décor -- so safe, it borders on blah.

But a neutral palette doesn't have to be a bore. That's where I come in, with my trusty team to create a space that combines Nuala's and David's love of the outdoors with the easy, modern elegance they've longed for.

Freshly dry-walled, the room was the perfect size for a master suite and already had a spacious walk-in closet - a key ingredient for a happy relationship. Vintage stained glass windows, a non-working fireplace and radiators add a sense of history. The high, vaulted ceiling gives an airy feeling and a lovely wall of windows frames the gorgeous view.

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The secret to decorating with neutrals is to use texture, depth, pattern and layers to add excitement, richness and elegance. With some beautiful fabrics and shades of neutral grey for my inspiration, I chose a soft blue grey paint for the over all wall colour, a crisp coat of creamy white for the baseboards and cabinetry, and had dark hardwood installed on the floors.

The next task was to turn the non-working fireplace from an eyesore into a focal point in the seating area. Because this couple LOVES the outdoors - I decided to bring a taste of the outside, inside - by creating a very cool feature above the mantle. We built a deep frame and filled it with small pieces of wood cut from split logs, then highlighted the rustic wood with crystal sconces. Above we installed a crystal chandelier in a style in keeping with the vintage of the house, but in polished chrome to add some modern flare! I added a soft grey-blue love seat, perfect for lounging. And to complete the seating area, custom cabinetry provides storage and display space while discreetly concealing the old radiator.

I believe every bedroom deserves delicious finishes. So, in the sleeping area, we painted the feature wall a deep silvery blue and created a headboard in rich charcoal grey velvet with silver nail trim. We dressed the bed with luxurious fabrics in shades of grey, silver, white and cream. Flowing linen drapery panels with an elegant blue and brown stripe tie in with the blue of the walls and the chocolate shades of the floor and woven wood blinds.

More excitement comes from eclectic and unexpected touches. An exotic fan worthy of the African Queen draws your eye up to the vaulted ceiling while keeping the room comfortable. And a chair, table and zebra print rug tucked into the nook on the far side of the bed finish the room with panache.

Nuala's and David's big white box of a bedroom had no sense of adventure, so we explored elegant and exotic and turned it into a rustic, refined and romantic retreat. Now that's divine.

To see where Candice shopped for this episode, you can find the resource guide at

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