Susan M. Jamieson of Bridget Beari Designs talks about her work for the 2013 DC Design House | Home Front

Apr 11, 2013

Susan M. Jamieson of Bridget Beari Designs in Richmond is one of dozens of designers who decorated a space in the the 2013 DC Design House. Jamieson will talk about her work on the master bedroom. Submit early questions now and join us Thursday at 11 a.m. EST!

Every week, Jura Koncius helps you in your quest to achieve domestic bliss. Got a question about decorating? She's happy to whip out her paint chips and suggest the perfect hue, call a retailer to help track down a hard-to-find accent piece or offer some do-it-yourself. Built on years of reporting experience, Home Front is an online conversation about the best way to feather the nest. We invite you to submit questions and share you own great tips, ideas and, yes, the occasional complaint.

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Welcome to Susan Jamieson of Bridget Beari Designs in Richmond who did the Master Bedroom in the 2013 DC Design House which is featured in Local Living today. Susan's room is truly glamorous and this is her first show house room in DC. Check out her space and see what questions you have for her. Susan has been published in Traditiona Home and Southern Living. Let's go.

How do you describe your Master Bedroom at the DC Design House? Are there any signatures or trademarks of our your design style in the room?

My reconfiguring of the bookcase space has quickly become a signature Bridget Beari style. I love the idea of adding geometric shapes to a room. 

Hello Jura. I'm so happy to be here! 


Susan, What made you want to do the DC Design House? and how has the experience been?

This is only the second deigner house I have ever done. The first one was in Richmond last year. I have a new paint color line Bridget Beari Colors and I wanted people to get to know me. I have clients in DC so it seemed like a natural fit. Everyone one has been so nice! 

Susan, Where did your design name, Bridget Beari Designs, come from?

Bridget Beari is the name of my company. I have been in business 20 years. The name comes from 2 dogs - Bridget and Beari. Lullabelle my other dog is the spokes dog for the paint line! She's a wrinkle dog - Chinese Sharpei.

The DC Design House is a new home this year. Do you think it made the process of designing a space easier? Are new homes easier to design than older residences?

I am all about changing rooms in a major way so I had some apprehension in making too many major changes to walls ceilings etc. 

Hi there! We just bought a lovely house, but the living and dining rooms are dark from mid-day on. I would like to find some nice colors to brighten that side of the house up and I'm interested in options other than yellow. Yellow is great - I'll probably use it for the entryway - but I want to try something fresh. The living room is currently a dark brick red. I was thinking perhaps a coral, but I love blues, greens and grays. Thanks so much - I love your work and these chats, Jura!

The master bedroom was very dark too in this Designer House. I brightened the room by adding a high gloss ceiling and reflective surfaces to gather as much light as possible. For your walls, I love my new Bridget Beari Color - Pia No. 31. It is a soft blue. It would be great with white trim so a crisp room. Pretty off yellow too. 

Susan, did you know any of the other designers who participated in this year's DC Design House before you were selected to design the master bedroom?

I only knew their names. I follow all the magazines and top designers.

Love the colors in your room. Where is the paint from? What about the wallpaper?

The paint is from Farrow & Ball - Oval Room Blue, Mouse's Back, Octagon Yellow and the high gloss ceiling is my own line of paint, Bridget Beari Colors - Biscuit and Bridget Beari Metallic gold for the bookcase insert. The wallpapers are Elitis, Maya Romanoff, Osborne & Little and the 2 from Stroheim that cover the nightstands. 

Our large home with many windows is situated on a corner. Shutters would be an asset to the exterior. Cost of the project is a concern. Would shutters on the front ONLY be a mistake?

No shutters only on the front would be fine! 

Hello Susan, I have a delimma regarding my rectangular shape Living/Dining room combination. Most of the furniture in the room is wood (coffee table, console, side table and dining table and chairs) except for the leather sofa and two light fabric slipper chairs (the furniture is from Pottery Barn). How can I make the room lighter which right now looks dark because of all the wood and the wall painted blue? Thanks.

You did not talk about a floor covering? What about a lighter rug. I also like to bring light into a room by painting an accent wall in a lighter color. How about accent pillows? All would help to lighten the space and don't forget lamps! 

What is the most luxurious item in the room? What is among the least expensive items?

Most luxurious - Savoir Bed mattress $30K. The mattress is from the London based company. 

Least expensive- Etsy plaster succulents and gold and white covered books

What pieces in the room are custom made from Bridget Beari Designs? Which ones are vintage?

Custom pieces - nightstands covered in wallpaper, eglomise glass panels, iron bed, bookcase inserts. I love doing custom pieces! 

Vintage- Grand Nest light 1960's and the 1960's Austrian high style light in hallway to the bathroom


I want to put in a pitch for all of you to VOTE in our poll on the Best Room at the 2013 DC Design House. Here is the link to the photo gallery:

After a lifetime of wood bed frames with mattress and box spring, I'm taken with the idea of an upholstered headboard. They look so cozy! I've seen some that are complete beds, and others that are headboard only, attached to a metal frame, and I can't decide which to choose. Any comments pro or con from the readers? Thanks!

With any fabric headboard you need to be concerned with staining and the dirt factor. The same goes with the fully upholstered bed. Side rails and footboard will be subject to hands and feet. I think the fully upholstered bed has a more contemporary feel. 

How much time to get you get to prep for the show house? I know it can take months to order custom furniture. How do you pull it all together?

We have one month to finish the room. When things are not available then switches need to be made. We switched a couple of things in the room due to time frame. You have to run a tight ship to get it all coordinated on time. 

My LR/DR/halls are painted BM Linen Sand. I painted about 10 years ago and find the color has yellowed over time. I need to repaint and wonder if using the same color will increase the yellow (was more pale beige) or if I should go with another color? I like a soft neutral and have vibrant purples, greens, reds, oranges, yellow in my furniture and paintings (why the beige was a great neutral choice at the time). I face north/west. Any suggestions for a new color? Thanks!!

I love neutrals - Bridget Beari Ping Cream No. 61 or Big B No. 65. They really go with anything! All of our paints are named after dogs, cats, horses from family, friends and clients. We give a % back to help different animal causes too. 

We've recently moved into a new house, and we're working on the office. It has a recessed area in one wall that seems primed for cabinets/shelves, and we're now considering how to accomplish that. What are the relative benefits and drawbacks of built-ins vice purchasing shelves/cabinets to simply fit into the space (though probably not fill it perfectly)? Thanks so much!

I think a built-in always look cleaner because as you said it fits perfectly! 

Tell us about Preview Day this Saturday at the DC Design House? What is planned? Will all the designers be there?

The preview gala day is this Saturday from 1-5. All the designers will be there. We will have our presentation boards up in the garage. Cupcakes and Presecco are on the menu too! $50.00 per person. 

Jura I'm a single gal, no kids, with a beach house in coastal South Carolina.  It's furnished but not really decorated - builder white on the walls, nothing hung on walls, etc. It's about time I did something about that.  So with - two rose velvet chairs, french provincial style dresser/night table, and a Audrey Hepburn B&W print - what else would you add to the master bedroom?  What color on the walls? Thank you!

I love the Audrey Hepburn print! The best way to add some instant style to your bedroom is to get new sheets and either a comforter with a duvet cover or a coverlet. Sounds like you are a bit romantic in your outlook - check out resources such as Garnet Hill, Horchow and Yves Delorme for sheets. Have you considered adding more black and white photography to your walls? A nice grouping over the bed or on a side wall would be attractive and could reflect more of your interests whether photography, fashion or travel.

Bathroom currently has an 80's-esque vanity sink (light oak finish, dark green speckled with white/gray counter). I love the look of pedestal sinks but worry somewhat about loss of storage. Are there other tradeoffs I should consider, such as ease of maintenance, trendiness, attractiveness to the next home buyer? Is there such a thing as a modern, sleeker vanity sink?

Storage is key always and a vanity gives you that. There are some great modern vanities from Kallista or Kohler. I think vessel sinks are a trend that is fading fast due to the cleaning factor. Splashing water all over the vanity drives me crazy! 

Susan - beautiful room.... wanted to know if you felt you had to amp up your style quotient for this showhouse since it was in DC?

I wanted it to be a gorgeous room whether in DC or Richmond. I really take my cues from the architecture and the exisitng space. I love being creative and showing things that are original. 

Where is your paint color line found?

Bridget Beari Colors is on our website: or in a store in Richmond or online at  Palette,

We also have an exclusvie line with Fine Paints of Europe.You can get that where ever Fine Paints of Europe is sold.   

I'd like to make some new curtains for my kitchen, and love how cafe curtains keep light coming in while retaining some privacy for my family. But have you seen any that look modern? I'm not sure a country kitchen is my style. Thanks!

I love doing cafe curtians in sheers for modern designs. Add some grommets or wire rods and you have a real modern look. 

Love the drapery fabric in the Morning Room....any idea where it is from?

Not my room but come to the Designer House and find out! 

I have new sliding glass doors to a screen porch. Medium stain oak trim. I need something for privacy, but to let light in. I hate vertical blinds. There is very little space on either side for drapes so I need something fairly compact. What would you suggest? Thanks.

Have you thought about a cornice above the could hide a shade that drops down? 

I saw a patio furniture set I really like on sale until today only. Should I go ahead and buy it? Or wait until later in the season, when it might be even less expensive? The danger is that I wait and then it never goes on sale again, or gets sold out.

Get what you want now. You'll never find it again unless you follow it closely for sales and pounce! 

How difficult was it to manage doing a show house room in DC? How many times did you make the trip up I95???

I know I95 well but I have been traveling that road for years! I even get my hair cut in DC. It's only 1 1.5 hours on a good day. We did the install in stages - painting, furniture and then drapery accessory day. 

Do you all know of other show houses in the area happening this spring? We could share information here.

The Georgetown House Tour is on Saturday April 27 - it's a great place to see a lot of incredible homes.


Are you on pinterest? How do you use it in your design business?

Love Pinterest!  Come see my boards. I use it all the time to show clients ideas and we have evern done some projects over the internet with just Pinterest. 

Susan: What inspired your room? I love your alcove bookshelves.

This room lacked light and interesting details. I added those elements with the addition of the bookcase, high gloss paint, mother of pearl ceiling in the alcove, textured wallpaper and custom pieces! 

hi, The master bedroom is my very favorite room from all of the photos. I esp. love the ceiling. I just purchased a round wooden pedestal table (not new) and want the black lacquer paint look. Do you have any experience with car paint shops that put the item in a booth and then spray it? I think David Mitchell had that done with his Restoration Hardware table. thanks.

Fine Paints of Europe's Hollandac paint is the best for high gloss finishes. There is nothing else that gives you that high gloss finish. You can spray it or roll it. My ceiling is done in that paint! 

Could you give us some of your favorite Design tips?


1. If you can't find what you want, have it made! 

2. Don't be afraid to mix patterns and textures. 

3. Don't be afraid to use different finishes of paint within the same room

4. Shop vintage! 

A number of designers mentioned using professional spray booths to paint their furniture. This sounds like a great idea. Do you know where something like this can be done? thanks.

You can build your own or take to your a paint contractor. They all semm to have those now. The key is clean and no dust!

We just bought a new house where the previous owners tiled the entire basement living area in white marble tiles. It looks nice, but rather antiseptic. Do you have ideas for making the space a little cozier? We'll definitely buy some pretty rugs eventually, but the budget will be tight for a while.

How about floor tile rugs from Flors? They are quick and easy and come in great patterns! 

Going to repaint our interior to freshen. Two question:. We have oak or pine railings on stairway in living/dining area that leads to loft with samae wood railing. Cathedral ceiling in this area. Baseboards all painted creamy white matching walls. Your thoughts on painting railings same color? 2) Thoughts on painting woodwork a subtly contrasting whiter color than creamy walls .Furnishings European or California country.

I always paint the walls different from the trim and even different from the ceiling! Trim - Bridget Beari Snowball No. 2 for the trim, Goose Muffin No. 3 walls and Waggin white No. 1 ceiling. This technique allows all the elements of the room to shine.

What are some new ventures coming up for Bridget Beari Designs?

Color Rules Book, Custom Bridget Beari Wallpaper and Fabric line, and our new candle line! 

Thanks Everyone! Whoo - what great questions! Come see me in Richmond or follow me on my blog. 

to see what next adventure will be! 

Also come to the Designer House I'll be there every weekend! 

I really like the look of the fully upholstered bed, but I find that a lot of htem don't use a box spring, so the mattress is really low. I have some joint problems, so getting in and out of a low bed is problematic for me. Do you know of any good manufacturers that might have a normal-height bed that is a completely upholstered? Thanks!

Kravet or Hickory Chair both have one. 

Thanks Jura!  This was fun!

Thanks Susan. That was terrific and thanks for all your insights into design and the DC Design House. To read our coverage, click here.

The house is open until May 12.

In This Chat
Jura Koncius
Jura Koncius is a Washington Post staff writer who specializes in home and design. Read her daily twitter feed @jurakoncius for the latest in decorating trends, shopping, decluttering, organizing and DC retail.

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Susan M. Jamieson
Susan M. Jamieson of Bridget Beari Designs in Richmond is one of dozens of designers who decorated a space in the the 2013 DC Design House.
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