Zen Principal Bedroom and Ensuite Project Reveal

The Importance of Texture in a Neutral Room

The Principal bedroom is often one of the last rooms in the home that clients decorate. Why? There are lots of reasons I have heard over time: because it isn’t seen, because I want to focus more on the main floor, because we ran out of money, because it isn’t a big deal...and the list goes on.  These homeowners we no exception and because of other home issues that kept occurring, this room makeover and renovation kept getting further and further down the list. That all changed after finding some leaking in the Ensuite, and we began the process of updating these spaces to create the Zen Principal Bedroom and Ensuite that it is now.

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The Before

This #RusticModern Home had been built in the 80’s and you could really see that in the Ensuite. A huge corner whirlpool tub took up most of the space, and the tiny shower wasn’t installed properly and kept causing problems. The single-sink vanity was small and didn’t provide enough storage or counter space for this couple. In the bedroom, there was an “interesting” floor design combining two tones of hardwood and carpet. Angled ceilings and windows were beautiful but weren’t really showcased to their best advantage. Because storage was an issue, many things didn’t really have a proper home and the bedroom kind of held the “leftovers” shall we say.

As we considered the overall design, we knew we wanted to keep things inline with the renovation we had completed on the main floor. Neutral tones and texture would be the jumping off point for the Zen Principal Bedroom and Ensuite, and we wanted to make sure that all of the great features of these two spaces were highlighted in a way that was classic, timeless & elegant yet comfortable, affordable, and met all their needs for function.

Here are the before shots of the two spaces:

Zen Principal Bedroom beforeZen Principal Ensuite before
Zen Principal Bedroom before Zen Principal Ensuite Before
Zen Principal Ensuite Before

The Design Plan

For the Master bedroom, we wanted to keep that end of the project more budget friendly as we knew that the bathroom needed the most updates and we wanted to utilize the budget primarily for that space.  Here is the short list of what we wanted to work on in each space:

Principal Bedroom

  • Change out the flooring so it was cohesive throughout the space
  • Take advantage of the angled ceilings and gorgeous view out of the windows
  • Keep the existing King Size bed, dresser & nightstands
  • Update the closet to include better storage options
  • Change out the lamps and accessories to modernize the space


  • Enlarge the vanity with two sinks and lots of storage drawers for daily use products
  • Enlarge the shower considerably, moving its location
  • Replace the tub with a smaller footprint
  • Increase storage options within the space
  • Bring in additional lighting sources
  • Create contrast through the finishes (they didn’t want it all to be one color)
  • Add in heated flooring and towel racks
  • Fix the leaking issues and replace the angled window

    Adding texture to the Principal Bedroom

    In coming up with a design plan to create a Zen Master Bedroom the first thing we did was to create a focal point. We kept all the furniture exactly where it was but took advantage of the peaked ceilings by using a grass-cloth style wallpaper from a big box store. The rest of the space was painted in Glacial Till AF-390 which provided contrast with the wood tones in the furniture and the wallpaper.

    When it came to flooring choices, we debated back and forth on whether to use hardwood floors or to install carpeting. There were pros and cons to each option, but in the end, we selected a luxurious textured carpet. Carpet absorbs sound, is warm on your feet, and enhanced the tactile feeling of the whole room. It subliminally created a warm, cozy blanket effect that the homeowners now love!

    Just by changing out these few things it is amazing how much of a difference it made to the overall atmosphere of the room. Through the accessorizing, we channelled a subtle Asian vibe and brought in a rustic wood lantern, gorgeous onyx style bedside lamps, and added a visually appealing mirror over the dresser.

    The Zen feeling was enhanced by our layered bedding materials. We didn’t want to overdo things with too many cushions, so we kept it simple by making sure that what we DID add had texture which really made the small details pop. The angled stitching in the pillow reflected the angled windows and roofline; the faux fur throw was not only touchable but warm and enveloping. The duvet and shams were neutral and didn’t fight with any other finishes or fabrics. We placed the focus exactly where we wanted it and these textures in a neutral room all work together to create that Zen Principal Bedroom that everyone would love to live in!

    Zen Principal Bedroom Reveal

Zen Principal BedroomZen Principal Bedroom
Zen Principal bedroomZen Principal Bedroom
Zen Principal BedroomZen Principal Bedroom
Zen Principal Bedroom

Zen Principal Ensuite Reveal--A fine balance in Texture

When choosing the finishes for the Principal Ensuite we had to find the balance between the modern look that the husband wanted and the more rustic features the wife loved. All the finishes were strategically selected so they both were happy with the overall design. The bones of this room were gorgeous with the triangular windows and the rustic wood beam over the vanity, so marrying the two looks had to work together visually and be and cohesive.

 Adjusting the layout in this Ensuite was a game-changer for the space. The shower was much larger and also a lot more visible and we wanted to tie in the finishes between the shower and the tub, so they didn’t appear as two separate entities but with a consistent flow between them. We also relocated the toilet to another discreet corner of the space.

A large-scale tile from the same line had both a smooth finish and a matte rustic version as well. The contrast between the two surfaces created the texture in this space and added coordinated sophistication to the overall design. We used the textured tile as a feature on the back wall of the shower as well as on the face of the tub surround. The smoother tile was placed on the opposite wall as well as in the niche. Tiny grout lines were used so that the overall effect wasn’t too grid-like and looked very clean.

Zen Principal Ensuite
Zen ShowerZen Principal EnsuiteZen Bathroom
Zen Principal Ensuite
Zen Principal Ensuite

More warmth was brought into this Zen Principal Ensuite through the natural wood elements as well in the flooring and the vanity. A rustic style wood-look tile was used for the flooring that not only blended in color from the bedroom carpet, but also provided subtle contrast from the wall tiles. The vanity provides a pop of drama with the deep charcoal-stained wood and looks more like a piece of furniture and had a ton of drawer storage. We wanted to add some black to the space as the clients weren’t looking for an all-beige room and this vanity was the perfect solution. In our accessories, we incorporated a gorgeous live-edge wood table by the tub as well as a natural wood shelving unit to keep towels, music, and other must-haves close by.

To contrast with the natural elements, we also brought in some shine using Polished Nickel Lighting and Bath Fixtures. The Custom Mirror was also framed in this metal which coordinates everything without it looking matchy-matchy.

One thing I have to note is how we added in layers of lighting to this space. I always think that lighting is like jewelry and we really chose pieces that provided the function that was needed but also were big on style factor as well!  The sconce over the tub was really important to the overall design because it would be the first thing they see when walking into the room. This wall sconce is a show-stopper and really elevates the whole look of the ensuite. We coordinated with wall sconces and added in a final layer with pot lights, to make sure the whole room could be illuminated when needed.

How to create Texture in a Neutral Room

When creating texture in a neutral room, it is often finding the balance between the warm and cool finishes as well as the smooth and rougher surfaces. Placing a bit of both in a room is what creates an atmosphere--a “tension” where one actually complements the other because they are opposite. The juxtaposition of the different textures, finishes, colors, etc. makes the room interesting visually and invites you into the space. You WANT to touch that tile, that stone, that live edge wood…it beckons you!

In summary, here is the short list of what we did to add texture to these neutral rooms:

  • Grasscloth wallpaper on a feature wall
  • Wavy tone on tone carpet design
  • Subtle Fabrics & faux fur throw
  • Onyx style lamps and frosted glass
  • Darker Furniture & vanity in a more rustic finish
  • Live Edge wood table
  • Natural Wood shelving & accessories
  • Polished Nickel in lighting and bath fixtures
  • Two different finishes--one matte/textured and one smooth--from the same tile line in the shower
  • Warm wood look tile flooring
  • Stone surfaces on the Vanity & Tub deck adding quiet luxury

To be able to see these spaces *finally* be fully completed was such a wonderful way of finishing off a full home redesign. The homeowners can now enjoy their newly renovated Zen Principal Bedroom & Ensuite to the fullest, a restful reprieve at the end of every day.

I will finish off with their words:

“Emanuela had her work cut out for her because I wanted completely rustic, while my husband wanted completely modern! Emanuela was able to take the best of both worlds and marry them amazingly to make us both happy. Not an easy task but she did it! She came up with an amazing look and plan that has given us more space as well as a great flow. Emanuela has a wide knowledge of what she does, she pours her passion into her work and it shows.

Zen Principal EnsuiteZen Principal Ensuite
Zen Principal EnsuiteZen bathroom

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