When inimitable interior designer Miles Redd (now the crowned King of Tented Ceilings) first stepped into this Brooklyn home office, he felt "like a bug trapped in a mason jar." Located on the ground floor of an 1820's townhouse, this glass solarium was slapped onto the side of the building in the 1980s. But if anyone can transform an afterthought into the main event, it's Redd.
Because "the metal and glass were a bit harsh, and the light was intense," Redd tells us, he knew the space needed to be softened up and cooled down. Enter: A massive amount of beautiful blue batik fabric. And not just for the furniture! Stretching from the upholstered walls to the curved ruched canopy, it cocoons the room in a luminous blue glow.
While he took a much more minimal approach with the rest of the house, the tight prints and vibrant blue-and-white color story steered most of the design process in the office. "We fell in love with the fabric from Piece and Co. Once we settled on that, the rest was easy," he says. The result is a jewel box of a room that stands on its own in the historic 19th-century home.
The upholstery hides what Redd describes as the prefab solarium's "multitude of sins." In general, tenting is a not-so-quick but highly effective fix. "Architecturally speaking, tented ceilings hide so many ugly soffits and pipes," he explains, which can make awkward and/or transitional spaces feel much more special.
All that fabric obviously introduces visual and design intrigue, but it also makes the space conducive to working, since it's so much more sound-absorbent than other surface materials. This means that upholstered walls and ceilings make a functional difference in rooms with hardwood, natural stone, concrete, or tile floors. And while Redd can find any excuse tent a room, he says they're particularly well-suited for entrance halls, offices, sun rooms, vestibules, and media spaces.
As for the biggest challenge? Unsurprisingly, it was the manual labor involved with installing the tented ceiling. In fact, Redd exclaims, "hanging it was a beast!" Since it's a complicated installation job (one he even compares to installing a shower, difficulty-wise), it's not advised to do it yourself.
But rest assured, it was a beast well worth hanging. "We were not in love with the addition... But with the magic of decorating, now we are," he says. So what was initially the biggest pain point of the project became one of the most beguiling and beautiful rooms in the house. All it took was Redd's keen eye, creativity, and yards on yards of blue.
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