The key to Dodson’s design process is getting a feel for her clients’ personalities. She describes the husband as an avid hunter, fisher, and former college football player. The wife, says Dodson, is into fashion and enjoyed the prospect of cosmopolitan shopping trips to furnish the new home. “I made the house an exact blend of who they are as a family,” she explains. “Once you hone in on who the clients are, you start to develop a concept and a plan.”
For this couple’s bedroom, the concept seemed clear to Dodson: rustic glamour. The two words are literal opposites. Rustic means simple, rough, and of the country. Glamour means alluring, sophisticated, and beautiful. How can a style be both rustic and glamorous? Again, she says it comes down to creating a cohesive blend. As she describes the rooms, you can almost imagine the same description applying to the couple. “Each room has its own uniqueness and stands on its own. Yet each room has to flow together. Without that flow, a home feels disjointed and uncomfortable. To make it work, it’s all about keeping the right balance.”
One of the first design challenges Dodson faced in the bedroom was the wall-spanning arched window. “That window gave me fits,” she says. “It allows in a lot of light, which is wonderful, but it’s huge. That made it hard to figure out how to dress it right.” She ultimately chose a tailored cornice that was hand-embroidered by Michael Savoia. The construction adds needed weight to that side of the room.
A leather sofa, with simple lines and showing only a single button tuft, sits at the foot of the giant window. It’s flanked by chairs that are casually covered in monochromatic fabric. Matching mirrored tables and floor lamps partner on both sides of the sofa. Dodson says the chandelier hanging over the sitting area is a vintage piece. “I wanted something different and funky. It had a modern feel but still worked in this traditional space,” she says. An antiqued mirror hangs over the bedside table and reflects the rock crystal base of the table lamp.
The master bath perhaps best exemplifies rustic glamour. The lines of the tub are modern, while the heavy clawed feet are more traditional. “That juxtaposition shows what this house is about,” explains Dodson. “You could put that tub in the middle of a pasture and it would still look beautiful.”
How to Mix Styles Like a Pro
As designer Julie Dodson says, good interior design is about more than “picking the pretty.” It’s also about making smart choices and adding your own special touch to a room. Here are her tips for how to mix styles like a pro.
Hunt for the perfect piece. Try to find a single piece that shows both the styles that you’re going for, like the claw-foot tub and the vintage chandelier in the master bath. Each beautifully mixes the rustic with the glamorous.
Learn from what you like. “Find images that you love and then study them,” suggests Dodson. “Take the time to notice how each item is laid out.”
Unify with color. This bedroom suite uses a monochromatic color scheme. Even though some of the pieces in the room come from different eras, the unified color scheme brings it into balance.
Utilize repetition. The bedroom design features matching chairs, tables, lamps, and art pieces. Symmetry, especially in a bedroom, provides a peaceful and calming effect.
Dodson anthropomorphizes the stool sitting next to the tub. “That’s my little Fraggle Rock,” she says referring to the Jim Henson puppet program from the 1980s. “I accidentally found him during an antique fair. I loved his color. I didn’t know where he was going to go, but I grabbed him and said, ‘You’re coming with us.’” Its shaggy seat and animal legs do make it seem like a live animal grazing next to the tub.
The antlers on the wall are a hat tip to the husband’s hunting pursuits. “They’re the perfect example of the unexpected in this elegant and feminine bathroom,” says Dodson. “They just worked to bring the rustic aspect into the bathroom and to tone down the glamour a bit.”
Dodson found another antique chandelier for this space. “When I saw it, my jaw dropped,” she says. “I fell in love with it and knew exactly where it was going.” The clean, curvy lines of the glass support what could easily be mistaken for candle tapers dripping with melted wax.
“Bedrooms are havens that should embody peace and calm. They’re where you completely relax and unwind. They’re where you can be yourself,” explains Dodson. Just like the couple it was designed for, this suite is a happy mix of opposing styles. “I’m pleased with how the whole space turned out. It’s such a good blend of contrasting textures and styles.”