By Donna Cornelius
For the second year in a row, Lynne Coker has designed a girl’s bedroom for the Decorators’ ShowHouse. But this year, she’s created a place for sweet dreams that’s very different from the room she did for the 2017 Alabama Symphony Orchestra fundraiser.
“Usually I start with fabric,” said Coker, owner of Lynne Coker Interiors in Homewood. “But I was shopping in New Orleans and saw this incredible bed. I found it almost hidden behind other things in the shop. It’s so pretty – a real treat.”
She said the room she did last year was bright with fuchsia and orange.
“This time, I wanted more soothing colors with the bed,” she said. “I started with one pillow in lavender with cream, ivory and tan. Lavender is often used with white or silver to create a cool palette. I wanted to mix warm and cool colors.”
Coker used 19 different fabrics and textures in all the different bedding pieces. She chose a bed skirt that’s almost the same hue as the Louise XV walnut bed.
“It makes the bed look extended,” she said.
The dimensions of the bedroom made the design challenging.
“The room is so offset,” Coker said. “You have 48 inches of wall, 86 inches of windows, and then another eight inches of wall. I had to figure out how to address the entire space and deal with a lot of natural light, too.”
She found “the most gorgeous velvet draperies” for the wide expanse of windows and made sure to put the bed in just the right spot.
“It’s important to get the bed placement right,” she said. “You need to give that as much thought as you can, and the size of the room often dictates that.”
Coker said she was particularly pleased with the color she chose for the bedroom walls.
“I was thrilled to get to use Rainbow Paint’s Fine Paints of Europe,” she said. “The colors are fairly neutral but so rich in texture.”
Another favorite feature in the room is the overhead light fixture.
“The light is a pop-up dandelion design that creates daisy silhouettes,” she said. “It’s a fun light to have next to a serious antique bed with history. It’s very joyful.”
The sense of whimsy also comes into play thanks to a furry footstool shaped like a sheep.
“There’s a long hallway into the bedroom, so I wanted ‘someone’ to greet you as you come in,” Coker said.
Another welcoming note is an enticing aroma in the room.
“I found French lavender-scented furniture wax for the bed,” Coker said. “You can actually smell lavender without using candles.”
She created another soothing space in the adjoining bathroom.
“The bathroom is so close to the bedroom that I wanted to continue the colors of lavender and cream,” she said.
Starting From Scratch
Coker and her designs have been in the pages of many magazines and newspapers. She’s been recognized for her work by the Stevie Awards for women in business and by the American Business Awards in New York.
She’s been featured in more than 20 decorators’ showhouses and historic homes, including the Alabama Governor’s Mansion and in Atlanta at the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, and the Druid Hills Tour of Homes and Gardens. She said the Decorators’ ShowHouse in Birmingham is one of her favorite events.
“This is my 12th year to participate,” she said.
She said she’s especially fond of this event because Nan Teninbaum, the ShowHouse’s publicity chair- man, was “so helpful to me when I started out.” Coker is an attorney and was a prosecutor in Florida before opening her design business. She said she decided to change careers because of family responsibilities.
“I couldn’t tell a judge, ‘I can’t do jury trials this week because my daughter has ballet,’” she said, laughing. “I started selling, going to auctions, doing whole house renovations. Nan extended an invitation to me to participate in the ShowHouse. I’m very grateful to be here.”
Coker also enjoys taking on another role at the ShowHouse. She will lead two of the event’s free seminars: “Ten Steps to Timeless Design” on May 4 and “What’s New in Colors, Patterns and Textures” on May 11.
“Lots of fun people attend these seminars, and they come up with all kinds of questions,” she said. “We’ll talk about things like how to incorporate antiques in a contemporary living space and how to make a room look of the moment but still gorgeous.”
In designing a bedroom, Coker advises thinking about “what you need there.”
“Make it a place that’s serene and restful – and not a place to do work,” she said.
For more information, visit lynnecokerinteriors.com or follow the company on social media. ❖