When a newly married Brynn Elliott Watkins moved into her now-husband's apartment three years ago, he had been sharing it with a few guys—and it showed. A few years ago, Aaron Craig, a video producer and director, had snatched up the airy three-bedroom Victorian apartment in Brooklyn's up-and-coming Ditmas Park, but he left it pretty bare—that is until he married Watkins, a wardrobe stylist, creative consultant, and blogger for her website, Being Elliott.
Though it took a lot of imagination at first to envision the apartment in its finished state, this didn't deter Watkins, who was determined to chip away at the design, one room at a time. The final project: the master bedroom. "Because our days are often hectic, we love to come home to this oasis," she told us. "This is a great retreat after a busy day of working around Manhattan." With a little imagination and a lot of elbow grease, she was able to turn this bachelor pad bedroom into a heavenly suite for her and her husband to wind down in. Think you need a lot of space or budget to create the space of your dreams? Think again—this stylist shows us how it's done.
"Aaron lived in the apartment for a couple of years with some guys before we got married," explains Watkins of the "before" pictures of her apartment. "It really looked like a bachelor pad. When we were married, we decided to work together to improve the space. We've slowly made our way through the house redecorating. Even while we were tackling the living and dining rooms, I was hatching a plan for the bedroom. Since it’s the room where we spend most of our time and is so special to us, the bedroom has taken a bit longer to complete. Aaron and I have loved working together to make this a space we can relax in."
Watkins started with an almost entirely blanket with the space—which was in dire need of a complete overhaul: "The only existing piece I had to work with was the bed. Aaron bought the bed just before we got married. I thought he did a great job picking it out! All other elements are unique finds we've been collecting over the years."
Art was a big part of the stylist's decorating scheme: "I wanted this space to be great for chilling out and for also being able to get some creative juices flowing," says Watkins. "I love how I can wake up to look right at the calming photo of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland that Aaron photographed or to look at the balloon animal sculpture and the I Love Pizza sign to just get a healthy dose of silly. I never want to take life too seriously."
"We loved incorporating lots of different linens and pillows, along with an Icelandic sheepskin," says Watkins. "We also included a bright and super-comfy Egyptian cotton bed spread from Parachute to go with the California vibe of the room." To frame the space and add a touch of elegance, the stylist added a rug from Loloi weaved in Egypt.
"My style is a mix of laid-back California vibes and hints of luxury," explains Watkins. "I love having a space that always reveals more to the eye every time you look around. I also want to have a place that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I want to have fun and be relaxed. I feel this room accomplishes that pretty well."
When it came to picking a color scheme, Watkins knew instantly that she needed a blue-and-white palette. "I wanted to have a bright room with a focus on white, but I also love the blue hints throughout. The answer was to mix the two together. In each room I decorate, I love to somehow incorporate our travels. The white and blue colors remind me of our explorations around Santorini, Greece, so I’m also hinting at that."
"Since this is a New York apartment, we were naturally limited by space," explains the stylist. "That was probably our biggest challenge. We needed to make the space inviting without feeling cluttered. The size of the space forced us to get creative."
Despite the spatial challenges, Watkins was able to add a variety of seating in the room—which has become one of her favorite things about the space. "I love all the seating options. I know Aaron loves getting up early and drinking his coffee on the cowhide wooden chair next to the bed. It actually makes him excited about getting up in the morning. I personally love the bedspread. It’s incredibly comfortable, and it’s definitely made me so excited about bedtime. We also have a shelf for fun travel items we've collected over the years. We have pieces from Hong Kong, Dubai, and Morocco up there. We enjoy those little personal touches."
"My favorite thing about the space is how personal each item is to me," says the stylist. "I also love how Aaron and I added our own personal touches to the room. As I said, Aaron took the large photo of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. We got married in Iceland, and that place will always be in my mind as a place of peace and serenity. I also added my rather large mark on the room with the cerulean blue artwork on the wall."