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Penn Valley Pearl- Primary Suite

One of my favorite shows on tv is Netflix's "The Parisian Agency" - a documentary drama about a family of French realtors working in the luxury real estate market in Paris. One of their terms that is unique to the French realtor vocabulary is "Parental Suite"- what we would call the "Primary Suite" or "Master Suite". To me the term "Parental Suite" evokes an escape from the daily load of childcare in a way that Primary or Master do not. Any parent of littles can probably attest that while their place in the order of things may feel neither primary nor masterful (I mean do you pick your toddlers outfits or do they?), the burden is inescapably parental. So then, if interior design is a balm for living, let the Parental Suite reign as the balm for parenting!

The Parental/Primary suite we are visiting in today's blog post belongs to our beloved Penn Valley Pearl. We completed extensive renovation and decoration of the living spaces and their child's bedroom and bathroom in 2020, slating the primary suite for a phase 2 project down the road. The time had finally come to give our Penn Valley parents a cozy, elegant space of their own, and we were so excited to revisit our beloved Pearl.

Our scope for this phase included a bedroom, bathroom, sitting room, dressing room, laundry as well as carving an office nook and closet out of an oddly shaped interior room. By strategically moving doors and shifting a wall here or there we were able to create more space in the dressing room and change the former owners office into a laundry room accessible from the main 2nd floor hallway.

Primary Suite before (left) and after (right)

The first spark of inspiration for the bedroom design came in the form of a soft, flowing floral blockprint curtain that stretches from wall to wall behind the bed. The layout and flow of rooms meant that the bed was best oriented with the headboard in front of a window,. While this bed placement isn't ideal from a feng shui or furniture layout perspective, we solved for the awkward elements with design. The curtain opens in the center should our clients fancy a super bright day in their bedroom, and a blackout roller shade mounted behind the curtain does the most to eliminate light leaks at night.

Bedroom before

We were adamant about balancing the elements in this room so that it didn't feel overly sweet or feminine, just restful and fresh. We pulled a green from the curtain to use in a relaxed, washed-linen duvet cover for the foot of the bed, and layered mustard lotus-print lumbar pillows over preppy blue and white striped back pillows.

Bedroom before

We are really in our plaid era these days at Design Manifest, and need only the least little bit of prompting to mix one in. In this case the rust/gold/olive tones in the plaid chenille we sourced for the end of bed bench worked perfectly to square up some of the softer elements in the room.

We had the cathedral ceiling painted the softest whisper of a pink to add warmth and dimension to the room. The abundance of millwork on the fireplace wall meant that painting the walls of the room a color wasn't the best option, but a soft barely-there pink ceiling really makes the space feel finished.

Over this delicious little marshmallow of a chair we hung a set of antique dried botanical specimens in custom frames. The faded handwritten field notes on the pages the flowers are mounted to date back to the 1800s and are a sweet nod to our clients love of gardening.

Tucked between the bedroom and bath is a narrow room that the previous owners used as a meditation room. Our clients requested a quiet nook to set up a laptop and get some work done and we obliged. A soft vine-stripe wallpaper and faded vintage rug with the prettiest blue and blush tones give understated beauty to the space.

The abundant light and arched windows in the existing bathroom were so lovely that using it as a springboard to create an updated spa-like retreat was just a delight. We went for drama in the green-tiled shower, and kept it fresh and clean on the walls, trim, and marble mosaic floors.

While our 'before' bath is hardly the nightmare of many renovations, it was definitely at the end of its life, with leaks, aged fixtures and water damage making it time to start over.

Bath before

Primary Bath Moodboard

Our favorite design moment in the bath is the paneled wood wall, created in collaboration with our cabinet maker and our favorite GC. Using cabinet grade panels means they will hold up well to moisture and wear over time. Hidden behind the bouquet in the photo below you can just barely see the niche we had built into the panel wall to house a Waterpik. We will do anything to keep those little appliances off of the counters!

We always give our GC Bryan lots to think about.

Among the significant updates in this bath was removing a block glass window in the shower and replacing it with a fixed glass window at an appropriately modest height- though privacy is not a real concern for this room. We love the way the tiles run into the window well and create a really seamless look. Also seamless are the tiled ceiling vent fan and slotted shower drain- can you spot them?

Shower controls placed across from the shower heads, just next to the shower door mean never spraying yourself by accident when getting the warm water started.

We chose a Dolce Vita marble with soft blush veining for the vanity tops, and went for luxe with a double thick edge detail. The custom vanities are both tailored and modern, with inset slab drawers and matte gold pulls.

We chose this stunning deco-style cut crystal pendant light for a central fixture. Its so wonderfully detailed and heavy that it took three of us to lift it oh so carefully from the box in order to inspect it when it arrived! We knew this bath design was a lock when we found this curvy green velvet chair that felt like the perfect visual balance to our green shower, as well as being the perfect place to perch whilst wrapped in a bathrobe getting those last couple of scrolls in before the start of a busy day.

Adjacent to the bath is the dressing room, which we gave some love as well. In addition to expanding the footprint and shuffling some of the existing cabinetry around to better fit the room, we also commissioned custom cabinetry for the island and tall cabinets with integrated hampers (not pictured sadly!)

You better bet that's a 'before'

Coming around the bend, we arrive at the little sitting room that is actually the antechamber to the primary bedroom. We love to play with the views from one room to another, and in this case we went for a dramatic saturated blue grasscloth to frame the views of the more light toned and softly patterned bedroom.

Sitting Room moodboard

"A spot to sit and read" was our clients simple request for this space. We found a vintage rattan etagere to house books and a few pretty objects, and paired it with a vintage Danish Modern leather lounge chair and ottoman. Brassy midcentury sconces add mid-level lighting and really pop against the inky blue grasscloth.

We worked with some of the challenges of this room and eliminated others. A low soffit over the window could not be removed, but we papered it and watched it blend in to the saturated color field. A door into the former owners office limited furniture placement, but we moved the door to a new location, removing the potential flow of traffic and creating this intimate seating nook.

Sitting room before

Last but certainly not least on our list of transformations was turning the old home office into a bright, cheerful laundry room. Checkerboard floors have been all over our inspiration boards, and we interpreted them in a soft cream and white palette of porcelain tiles for this room.

Soft green cabinetry makes for a welcoming vibe, and we chose the sweetest cream and white tonal wallpaper to just give the hint of a pattern on the walls.

Thanks for touring the Penn Valley Pearl Primary Suite with us, and a big thanks to these repeat clients for being so lovely to work with. If you need a retreat in your own Primary or Parental Suite, why not hop over to our intake form and tell us all about you?

Words by Megan Stein


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