Hand-painted fabric brings quiet tranquility to a master bedroom

In a Wellesley home, creamy color and refined details lend a serene feel.

Michael J. Lee

By Marni Elyse Katz

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After living with a visually loud master bedroom, a Wellesley couple was ready for a drastic change. “Their bedroom had a lot of color before — a bright-blue-and-yellow combo,” says designer Susan Schaub. “Now we aimed for a more serene, monochromatic scheme.”

Schaub and D. Scott Bell, principals in Sudbury-based Theo & Isabella Design Group, had worked with the homeowners over the years, moving room by room through their center-hall Colonial. When a representative from the interior brand de Gournay who was visiting the Webster & Company showroom at the Boston Design Center showed them an exquisite new hand-painted fabric sample, they knew it would be the perfect jumping-off point for the new master bedroom design.


At first glance, the fabric looks like natural-colored linen, but the background is painted before artists in China start on the elements of the pattern. “It’s a very specialized process,” Schaub says. “Some men work on the birds, some do the butterflies, and others the blossoms and leaves.”

1 The designers customized a pair of ribbed-front painted night stands by David Iatesta with drawers instead of cabinet doors, for maximum utility.

2 The tea-stained crackle glaze on the Christopher Spitzmiller gourd lamps adds a subtle depth to the monochromatic palette; the bases are 23-carat-gold gilt.

3 Nineteenth-century plaster intaglios with silk mats in gilded frames add historical interest.

4 The not-quite-white wall paint is Benjamin Moore November Rain, which has green undertones. “It’s atmospheric and a little bit moody,” Schaub says.


5 Bell and Schaub worked with de Gournay to ensure perfect placement of the birds and butterflies on the headboard, which they designed and Everett-based McLaughlin Custom Upholstered Furniture built.

6 The bolster pillow, made from Scalamandre Venezia champagne silk velvet damask, glistens against crisp C&C Milano bedding with a sage green accent stripe.

7 Floor-length drapes with tailored V pleats in de Gournay Earlham hang from custom wrought-iron rods with a warm gilded antique silver finish.

8 The custom walnut bench by Formations, upholstered in sage green ribbed silk with nailhead trim, introduces graceful curves.

Michael J. Lee

9 The homeowner bought the landscape painting by Paula Rubino from Ann Long Fine Art in Charleston. “It reminds her of a beloved vacation spot in the low country of the Carolinas,” Bell says.

10 The live-edge onyx bowl, hand-carved out of a single chunk of stone, adds an organic element.


11 The hand-scraped artisan-painted finish on the Formations Monk chest lends an aged effect, reinforced by the weathered brass quatrefoil escutcheons. “It has a great patina,” Schaub says.