January 9, 2017
Be inspired by the best, a luxurious bedroom setting at the Knightsbridge Hotel in London.

Dear Debbie;
We have combined two rooms to make a larger master bedroom; the new room is long and narrow. We are looking for some decorating ideas that would combine our English traditional background with a modern style. Thanks for your helpful tips.

Dear Elizabeth;

I do a great deal of traveling and discover some of my best decorating ideas and fresh inspiration from the hotels that I have visited. The Knightsbridge in London is part of the Firmdale chain of boutique hotels. Kit Kemp is the co-owner and Design Director, a brilliant and innovative designer who is known internationally for her unique, quirky and genuine style. All these hotels have a unique atmosphere that is created in both the public spaces and in the bedrooms. It’s a fascinating blend of traditional British style with scatterings of African, Oriental and European flare. The warmth of this decorating style offer up an experience like visiting good friends at home. The décor is conducive to luxurious relaxation, a trend that continues to proliferate in hotels around the world.

For your new master bedroom, why not take some cues from the Junior Suite at the Knightsbridge? Like your space, this room is long and narrow, so to give the illusion of it being wider they applied floor to ceiling mirror to one wall. They added shutters rather than curtains, which take up less space and have a tailored look. Large, upholstered headboards have become very popular in homes today. The bespoke appliqued floral headboard by Pippa Caley is fashioned with soft boiled wools and fine embroidery work. The fabric wallcovering, Sofeiro Moss from Designers Guild, makes a dreamy background.

Don’t be afraid to mix modern prints and traditional patterns. Striped upholstery in quiet tones and crisp white bedlinens continue in the classic English style. And Kemp always injects a sense of humour or a surprise, such as her signature mannequin, ready for you to dress as you retire for the night.
Make the room your own with one of a kind pieces such as a unique headboard. Cut a piece of MDF to the size and shape you want. Adhere padding to one side, and wrap in your chosen fabric.

Dear Debbie;
We have moved into a new build and are ready to add some of our own decorating. The baseboards, window and door trim are narrow and uninspiring. What can we do without having to rip them all off and start again? Thanks.

Dear Lou;

Plain inexpensive millwork is standard for new homes and condos, unless you ask for upgrades, which are costly. If you have any DIY experience, embellish the baseboards by adding another layer of trim. I have transformed walls with this technique. Decide how deep you want your new baseboards. If your walls are tall, then you can go big. Search on line or at your lumber store for the different styles of baseboard moulding that are available. You are going to apply this new moulding to the wall two inches above the existing baseboard. Once the new moulding is in place, paint the new baseboard, which now includes trim, a space and more trim, all one colour. This will unify the pieces, producing one deep baseboard with lots of character. This idea can also work using paint alone. Paint the wall first, then tape off one or two stripes with small spaces in between. Paint the existing baseboard and the stripes white, the spaces in between remain the colour of the wall.

Debbie Travis' House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email your questions to You can follow Debbie on Twitter at, and visit Debbie’s new website,