Hampton Designer Showhouse: Basement Bedroom by Elizabeth Bailey


Instead of continuing on to the second floor of the Hampton Designer Showhouse presented by Traditional Home, I've decided to take you down to the basement. Usually, basements are an after thought or never decorated at all but in a showhouse every available space is an opportunity for greatness. Such is the case with the basement bedroom designed by Elizabeth Bailey.

My friends and I really liked this room and recognized some of the artwork and fabric in it but didn't realize we knew the designer until we got home and read through the accompanying catalog. Only we know her as Lizzie Bailey! Lizzie used to work for interior designer Amanda Nisbet and now works for antique dealer Gerald Bland which is where I met her. She actually won a contest sponsored by Traditional Home to design this room and was kind enough to share with me the entire story of her beautiful room.


According to Lizzie, this all came about last year when Traditional Home was sponsoring the Ocean’s 3 Showhouse in Montauk. They paired each of the designers (Eric Cohler, Philip Gorrivan, and Amanda Nisbet) with a recent graduate who would be their "protege" and help with the project. Lizzie, who graduated from Parsons, was paired with Amanda and Eric and Philip worked with two recent grads from New York School of Interior Design. Lizzie said, "At the end of that project Ann Maine, the editor of Traditional Home, announced they were going to have the three of us compete for a feature in the magazine as well as a cash prize." That was in November and in February they had to present their ideas for an eco-friendly master bedroom. "At that point it didn’t have anything to do with the Hamptons showhouse," she went on to say. "We were given carte blanche in terms of design – it just had to be 300 square feet but we could use our imagination in terms of architectural details, etc."

"ABC Carpet and Home was to be our primary source for furnishings but we were allowed to supplement with other materials as long as they were "green" so I set about designing a room that would be first and foremost chic. Something people would see and be surprised to find out was sustainable. The first thing I knew was that I wanted color because I tend to stereotype green design with being very neutral in color - lots of beige linen and hemp. While that can be very good looking, I wanted to go in another direction. "

"In addition to color, I wanted to incorporate a sophisticated range of textures and finishes. I think contrast or interplay between rough and smooth, dull and shiny, soft and hard, is so important to a successful room."

"So with all this in mind, I started visiting ABC Carpet and Home almost everyday for a few months picking out antique pieces, organic bedding, upholstery from Cisco Brothers, and some recycled good. I had taken a course on sustainability at Parsons and was already interested in the subject so I was aware of some other sources too. I went online to Rubie Green and Mod Green Pod for fabrics, to the D&D showrooms Q Collection, Maharam, Edward Farrell, and Lewis Mittman who I knew had some lines I might be able to work in. from there, I started to put together a scheme really based on materials I found that stood out to me."

"The original design was quite different from what you see in the showhouse but the basic arrangement is the same. From the beginning, I wanted bed hangings to add warmth, a sense of privacy and seclusion within the room, as well as a little drama. The overall mix of new, sustainable pieces and antiques was always a key element." Luckily, Lizzie works for Gerald Bland and was able to pull many of the antique pieces from him.

" A month or so after I found out that I won the challenge, they told me that instead of building a set and just photographing it for the magazine, they were giving me an entire room in the Hampton Designer Showhouse where the entire room would actually be installed." Needless to say, Lizzie was beyond excited but had to get to work since this new development meant a lot of changes to the design. "Since it was originally created without any real space constraints, and a showhouse imposes its own set of limitations, I had to rework a lot of the elements. "

"The Farrow & Ball paint which makes the room and is one of my favorite elements, was plan B. I'd first specified a Venetian plaster-like wall treatment from American Clay that would have been costly to install and impractical given that we have to return the walls to the original condition after the showhouse is over. It's not very eco-friendly to put something up that you're going to have to remove almost immediately! So paint it was!" I have to say that the Farrow & Ball Eco Full Gloss paint in Skylight is really fabulous in person! I am using this product in another color for a media room in one of my projects and can't wait until it's finished! I loved that Lizzie painted out the doors and moldings in the same color too. I think it works well in the high gloss finish and helps make the room look larger.

"Since my room is on the lower level and has low ceilings, a glamorous antique chandelier from ABC Carpet and Home that I had selected was no longer an option. In other case, items that I had selected back in January, like a pair of stunning cream lacquered vintage Paul Frankl, dresser from Las Venus at ABC Carpet and Home, were no longer available so I had to come up with alternatives that worked within the existing scheme." I think everything worked out perfectly! The room is beautiful and romantic without being girly or off putting to men and was very serene and soothing in person! My friends and I loved it and I think it's even better that we loved it before we knew who designed it!

The Edward Farrell Sylvan Slipper Chair from their Pure Sustainable line is one of my favorite elements of the room. As is the cute blue vintage phone! What's even better is that I couldn't even tell that the wall to wall carpet was really made up of Flats & Cords carpet tiles from Flor! Of course, who could see past the divine antique Turkish rug from Doris Leslie Blau!

Much of the artwork was borrowed from Gerald Bland and Time Frame in New York and really add to the wonderful collected feel of the room.

I think Lizze Bailey obviously deserved to win the Traditional Home contest! I hope that other showhouses will give young designers a chance to participate through contests or sponsorships. It's clearly a great idea and just goes to show what you can do with a little basement bedroom!

Photos by Heather Clawson


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