Athena Calderone's Pinterest-Designed Bedroom
The designer partnered with CB2 to outfit a loft using social media—and a dash of innate glamour
In an ingenious play to bring social media to life, furniture and home decor retailer CB2 partnered with Pinterest, tapping five interior designers to put their social media networks to work, helping them design a room in a SoHo loft. The designers offered pinners various CB2 furniture choices, leaving the final selections in their hands. The kicker? The installation had to be completed in just one day, captured and broadcast in real time for all the world to see. Designer and blogger Athena Calderone tackled the bedroom, working with pinners to realize their design choices—with a generous dose of her own personal style. Click here to see more images from Calderone's finished room!
What attracted you to this project?
It’s a brand-new concept that nobody’s ever executed before. At first I was like, “Wait, how is this going to work?” and I was told that the pinners would decide what shows up in my room. My initial reaction was “How am I going to make sure everything looks good?” I’m a bit of a control freak—I like things the way I like things. And CB2 said to me, ‘Well, that’s the fun of it all!”
How did you prepare for the installation?
Before the room came together, I did a lot of work to make sure that my palette was expressed so that the pinners would understand my vision. I chose a combination of pieces I knew would feel cohesive no matter what. You want to make sure that things are well appointed within the room, and that the scale works out—there were a lot of variables to consider. Different wood tones, different palettes, different heights.
What was your overall vision for the room?
The inspiration started with a saturated, sexy, deep indigo color. The palette was the first step: pinks and indigos and blues and teals, those are my colors. I love juxtaposing woods against dark colors and adding touches of eclectic oddities, some rustic moments. That was important to me—to make sure that there were a) pops of color, and b) interesting, unique curios.
What was installation day like?
We were there for 14 hours! The first eight hours, I was so on fire. At the eight-hour mark, I hit a wall of exhaustion—and the mirror I’d chosen was reflecting directly into the camera crew. I know it sounds silly, but the whole balance of the room had to be rethought. You envision something one way, but then you’ve got to roll with it.
Pinners were given a choice between certain pieces or combinations of pieces. Was there anything in particular you were pulling for?
I love the bed. It marries a vintage classic caning with modernist clean lines, so I was really hoping that it would be chosen. I want this bed.
Were there any pieces you loved that didn’t end up getting chosen?
I had originally wanted the hanging rope lights. In my comments on Pinterest, I had kind of [nudged] people, saying “I really hope these are chosen!” and I even put them in two categories. In the end, I actually feel like the marble pendants that were chosen work better in the space—the rope would have been too rustic. The pinners led the way, and they were right!
When given the choice between glossy pieces and wood-based ones, pinners tended to choose wood. Did you find this interesting?
When everything came together, it was wood, wood, wood, and I was unsure of whether it would all play nicely. But it does! What I came to realize is, as an interior designer, this whole process is not so dissimilar to working with a client. You pre-select numerous things, but they’re the ones in control. It wasn’t so scary once it all started happening.
Tell me about the wall color.
From the beginning I knew I wanted to have a dark indigo gray-blue wall. I’m a fan of dark walls in bedrooms. I’m just a fan of dark walls anywhere! It’s a bold statement, but it allows you to introduce and play with pops of color.
What’s your design strategy?
I am such a fan of high and low, and even middle. Both in my home in the city and my home by the beach, I have super simple, clean-lined furnishings that aren’t crazy expensive. And then you spend your money on beautiful art or accessories—that’s where luxury comes in for me. In bedding, in layers, in textures, that’s what adds depth and personality. It’s all about the eclectic mix, and it’s also about collecting. Every little piece in my home, and also in this room, tells a bit of a story.
What are your favorite sources?
I have this amazing online source called Factory 20 for incredible oddities. I also love going to Brimfield, flea markets, and eBay! I’m a bit of a sleuth—I could spend hours going down the rabbit hole.
What did you bring in that isn’t CB2?
It was really fun working with CB2 and on the Pinterest platform, but also pulling in people that I have relationships with, like the artist responsible for the painting. Her name is Mary Nelson Sinclair, and she created the piece specifically for the room—I gave her my palette beforehand. I also brought in the Moroccan rug, the industrial bench, the pillows, but the majority of the furniture pieces are CB2. I took the big vase from my house, [as well as] the hooks on the wall. I found them on a vintage site and I think I have 10 of them; I hang my beach towels on them out in Amagansett, and they hang on the wall in my home in the city.
Which is to say, this room is definitely representative of your personal style?
I could not be happier. It 100 percent expresses my vision.
Would you do it all over again?
It was a really fun process. I loved the journey of the unknown and the fear of losing control a little bit—sometimes when you work within constraints, it forces you to be more creative. I didn’t exactly know how the room was going to come out—just like the pinners were unsure, I was unsure. But it touches upon all the things I seek out when I’m designing a space. It feels cohesive; it feels swoon-worthy.