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Broken Finger Retreat

When my clients tasked me to make something ‘special’ out of their guest room, I knew I had a challenge on my hands. These clients had a unique story that needed to be told and I planned to tell that story through my design.

Michael and Leslie were high school sweethearts who went on to lead separate lives. Forty years and many chapters later they were reacquainted through friends. They began to correspond, and their friendship once again began to spark. However Michael was slow to call, prompting Leslie to sarcastically ask if he didn’t call her number because his finger was broken. Michael did not want to take the chance of losing Leslie after all those years, so he invited her to fly out and visit him. When she arrived at the airport, Michael stood outside next to the limo holding up a sign that said “Broken Finger”. Thus the romance took off and the two were married.

Putting together a room for two people that each carried with them 40 plus years of memories was no easy task. The room was being used as storage for items they didn’t know what to do with. There were piles of things to rummage through including art, antiques, and trinkets. The challenge was to create a comfortable retreat for their guests that would pay homage to their lives.

The couple’s collection of art stood out to me instantly. As I began to look through sixty plus pieces of art, I was drawn to the eclectic nature of the collection and I knew right away I wanted to do a huge gallery wall. Fortunately the room was large and the pallet was set for such a gallery. I selected my favorite pieces and had some reframed, while others remained in their original format providing a nostalgic charm.

Another thing that caught my eye was an old hand carved teak wood accordion divider. This piece was brought over from Hong Kong by Micheal’s mother and was a special heirloom. At one point Leslie was uncertain if they should keep it not knowing what to do with it. That’s when I reimagined it to be a headboard for the bed. If you look closely in the reveal picture you will notice the details of this piece are incredible. It provided the perfect backdrop for our room.

With the provision of the art and headboard, I had my jumping off point and the rest of the design for the room came very easily. Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy paint was used as the backdrop for the gallery wall. Two small tables were salvaged that came from the houses they grew up in and I used them as night stands. An antique snow sled that Michael used as a boy, is hung and displayed on the wall. I even dragged an old worn out cognac colored leather chair from the other room into the space. ln fact 90% of the items in the room were already owned by the clients. I sprinkled in the last remaining items needed for styling from my Round Top inventory, purchased a couple of small task lights from Target and new bedding from Crate & Barrel.

Best of all, the clients had no clue what I was going to do with the room. They entrusted me to work the magic and they agreed to take their vacation during the week of the installation. When they returned, the big reveal was quite an emotional response for all of us. The result was a colorful, comfortable retreat full of stories that the clients now proudly show off to their friends and guests.


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