When you think “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue” you might not think of a playroom, but you’re not Jess Rey. Rey, the author/designer behind Domicile 37, is known for her eclectic style, high-design DIY and secondhand shopping tips. She’s built her online following by sharing the spaces she’s redesigned, particularly in her Lubbock, Texas home. But one room wasn’t hitting the mark: The previous owners of the house had split the formal living room in half to create this room, and although it’s South-facing, it was dark and felt small. It had been her son’s bedroom and then her daughters’ but wasn’t right for either one.
Rey thought it might be a better fit for her family if the space served as a bright and light combination guest room/playroom, by layering old and new pieces.
“I have dark tones in my house – I have a black room! — but this is the smallest room in the house,” says Rey. “Now, there’s nothing wrong with painting a small room a dark color, but this room barely gets any light.“
With a multi-use room in mind, she knew she wanted to give the room her signature layered luxe look and feel — but on a budget. The result is a maximalist multitasker of a space that meets her family’s day-to-day play needs while also providing much needed guest space.
“For this room, I knew I wanted the walls to be a cornflower blue. But whatever paint I plopped on the wall wasn’t the right.” says Rey. “I needed to stop dragging my feet — honestly, I think it’s harder when you are your own client.”
The color she landed on is Benjamin Moore Pale Smoke, a shade of blue with grey undertones, and a color that at first she wasn’t sure of it, but now she loves, And her doubting husband loves, too.
“My husband was afraid it was going to look like a nursery,” says Rey with a laugh. And she agrees that his concerns were not unfounded – the room could have easily skewed juvenile. With a vintage pink Persian area rug underfoot (borrowed permanently from another room), the room is elegant and elevated, thanks in part to Rey’s pairing the muted blue with darker colors to give it a mature look.
For her multi-use room, Rey had her heart set on SmithHönig’s Camouflage / Jagger fabric for the bedskirt.
One of the ways she brought in those richer hues was through SmithHönig’s Camouflaged / Jagger fabric, a cotton-linen blend in a subtle abstract animal print. Like just about every other choice in this project, it’s what Rey had her heart set on from the beginning.
“The Camouflaged / Jagger fabric was the first textural element that I wanted for this room,” says Rey. “Yeah, I knew I wanted the blue walls, but when it came to the rest of the room, everything was bounced off of the fabric.”
Rey used the fabric to create a boho bedskirt to break up the boxy lines of the campaign-style built-in daybed and storage she added along one wall. The dark blue and rust combination, and the animals scattered throughout the fabric, add softness and an elevated sense of whimsy.
“I fell in love with this fabric. I wanted it in that space. I could just envision it.”
Rey appears to never be lacking in vision: Not only did she build the campaign-inspired storage and daybed herself, she also replaced the batting, upholstery and some of the piping on the vintage sofa in the room. You can see Rey’s process on Instagram. The new cream upholstery is a clean palette allowing accessories like SmithHönig’s Obi Rose Taupe Pillows and a large Anthropologie tapestry to shine.
To add to her light and bright palette, Rey accessorized the space with SmithHönig’s Obi Rose Taupe Pillows and Thatch Silk Tassels.
“When you’re not following the trends, and you’re not shopping where everyone else shops, you can feel lost,” says Rey. “But when you’re doing your own thing, you can also be like ‘No, this is so cool, if you only knew how to use it’. You can see what’s cool and different in things that others might miss.”
Her unique style —and her willingness to mix luxe, handmade and bargain finds — is on display throughout the room. Framed artwork by her three kids flanks a grand French Empire mirror that she stalked on Facebook Marketplace until the price dropped to where she wanted it. She added an acrylic coffee table in front of the sofa, giving her three kids a surface where they can play and create without adding another visually heavy piece to the space.
SmithHönig’s silk tassels add a touch of color to bedposts, drapery panels, and armoire door and drawer pulls.
You might not realize it when looking at her eclectic rooms, with their fun animal prints and bold-but-boho patterns, but Rey is a traditionalist at heart.
“The base of my décor is always traditional, and I want to mix it with something else so that it doesn’t look so granny,” says Rey. “I really like how everything has come together in here. I had told my husband, ‘This is going to be the most sophisticated playroom ever’, and it is.”
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