Swatches by Louis Postel, Editor in Chief, Design Times
Volume 9, Number 1
This Bedroom Issue of Design Times reminds us of a designer we knew who did a lot of fretting with his now ex-wife under their damask Frette sheets. He slept “neat,” with his feet snug and the sheets all tucked-in, while she had to be messily unencumbered with the bed covers loose. Though not a bedroom decorating challenge per se, their marital problems illustrate how difficult it is for bed partners to be themselves in this very personal space.
Thus, we conceived this issue as a not-so-subtle argument for separate bedrooms. Now, I know we’re going to catch a lot of flak for this. Single-bedroom partisans will point out that with couples so busy and angst-ridden these days, a serene bedroom is essential: a place where partners can retreat and rebound, with crossword puzzles, CNN, and sweet nothings all played out under a dreamy tent.
So the argument goes: Couples have a hard enough time as it is; at least let them sleep in the same room together!
The slightest look back in history, though, reminds us that however well-intentioned, this is a bad idea that leads to a kind of neutral look (euphemistically called a compromise). So many couples these days live sophisticated lives but wind up counting sheep in rooms that look like early Marriott.
The Greeks were sophisticated-and way ahead of us in some ways. Take Telemachus, for example, son of Odysseus, the wily Greek. Remember when he first saw Helen (“the face that launched a thousand ships”)? She was standing at the top of the stairs, having just materialized from the women’s quarters that Homer describes as “fragrant and lofty.” Her ship-launching beauty comes from her emanation from a space that is mysterious, Olympus-like. She descends from her perfumed boudoir to the level of mere mortal men.
Segue to all the tiptoeing down corridors to forbidden bedrooms that goes on in Agatha Christie and trashy Victorian novels. Separate rooms are somehow sexy in the ‘90s. The husband is invited in, and somewhere among all that is velvety and feminine we can see his muddy boots on the Ambusson rug.
Psychologists argue that one of the greatest human needs is self-expression. Hence, we have gone to great lengths to bring you the most personal and stylish bedrooms anywhere. Sweet dreams.