Beautiful design is usually drawn from inspiration, and something else, be it a favorite piece of artwork, a sentimental fabric or a treasured dining room table. We asked three local designers to suggest a logical starting point for building warm and inviting spaces.

Melissa Rozell,

Directions in Design

An abstract oil painting from Ecuador set the stage for an intimate family room in Ladue. “The painting has an ethnic, eclectic feel, and I wanted the rest of the space to complement the look,” Rozell explains. Building around the painting and a cocktail table surrounded by four chairs, she added Asian and contemporary touches to fill the space. Pieces of interest include an Asian-inspired lamp in front of the artwork and a Chinese wedding basket nestled between two chairs. Texture was also created using woven brown leather on the walls and additional rattan pieces. Contemporary elements, such as the group of green vases, provided cleaner lines. “I wanted everything to look like it was acquired over time, rather than purchased, and I think we succeeded,” she says.

Marda Gatewood,

Marda Gatewood Designs

Gatewood’s concept for the Ladue bedroom of a 5-year-old girl began with fabric. “One of the first things I do is bring the client a lot of fabric, and when they choose one that they really like, I find others to complement and coordinate their pick,” she explains. Gatewood began with the pastel stripe on the dust ruffle and added the same fabric to the headboard and cornice above the drapery. She also took the polka dot pattern and extended the theme from the bedspread to the pillows and curtains. A piece of fabric also inspired the toile scene on the wall. “I gave the fabrics to artist Jan Rolfing, who then interpreted them, custom mixing the paints to match the color palette we had,” Gatewood notes. To complement the existing furniture, including a dresser that belonged to the girl’s mother, Gatewood found accents from The Woman’s Exchange and lamps from Target, proving that great design doesn’t have to come with a steep price.

Julie Rooney,

Julie Rooney Interiors

A Clayton homeowner wanted Rooney to create a cozy media room/guest room combination. “We needed a room where a twin-sized sleeping area can fit into a 12-foot by 13-foot space,” she says. “But the room also needed to house the client’s various collections, so the idea was not to make it so much of a guest room, rather more of a place where the homeowner can relax.” Rooney began with a blue velvet daybed in the middle of the space. “It can be moved to face any corner of the room,” she says. “We made each corner special and different, so when you’re in the room, you appreciate all of his treasures and collections.” In one corner, there’s a ship model of an old steam engine and a CD collection. In another, a Chinese altar table holds various Asian pieces. A third corner is lined with several original Chuck Jones animated prints. “The challenge was to make it come together, and it did,” Rooney says. “The client has said that it’s one of his favorite spaces. It’s very comforting to him, like chicken soup for his soul.”