Martha's "Green Room" at Bedford

A 1925 three-story farmhouse, which Martha calls the "Winter House", is the main abode on her Bedford, New York, property and is the one she uses as her primary residence. At the west end of this house, just off the main entrance, is a cozy, sunken parlour used as a formal sitting room. With a recessed fireplace and six tall windows on three of the four walls, the room is naturally bright and welcoming. But it is made even more so by the verdant shades Martha has chosen to use in its decoration. She refers to the room as the "Green Room."

Photo by Pieter Estersohn

The room can only be accessed by a single entrance that leads from the main entry hall. It is also the furthest room from Martha's very active kitchen, giving it a secluded, quiet atmosphere, tucked away from the daily comings and goings. Guests descend three steps into the spacious, rectilinear room and find themselves surrounded by the most beautiful shades of green on the walls and fabrics. The green is grounded by dark oak floors covered by a sturdy sisal rug. Punctuations of muted gold and brass used in the decorative accessories and lighting add sparkle. 

Photo by Pieter Estersohn. The marble fireplace anchors the room while two opposing Irish Georgian sofas, wall sconces and two Greek Revival pedestal columns lend an element of formal symmetry. 

The feel of the room is decidedly Scandinavian with its clean lines and sparse decoration, although Martha has never said this style of design was the inspiration for the room.  Still, the parallels can be drawn. Scandinavian design often employs the use of a single, saturated colour throughout a living space. This was a technique historically used to combat the winter doldrums that often accompany the darker days during long winter months. In Martha's case, this hue is green, which is used on every surface of the wood-paneled walls in decorative painting techniques, such as faux-bois on the wood veneer panels.  An antique brass Austrian chandelier and several antique Swedish gilt pieces, such as a wall clock and a cornucopia mirror, add further structure to the Scandinavian theme. 

Photo by Pieter Estersohn. An antique Swedish wall clock holds court between two sunny windows.
Photo by Kevin Sharkey

Martha has said that she loves how houseplants look in this room: the green foliage accentuates the mood of the space while also adding layers of leafy texture. Throughout the year, tropical plants from her greenhouse are brought to the main living spaces in the Winter House to liven up the rooms with their interesting foliage. Plants thrive in this bright room with its south- and west-facing windows. 

Photo by Kevin Sharkey: A beautiful glass vase showcases a bouquet of Japanese sweet peas in a muted shade of coral.

The shades of green used in the room were inspired by a green matcha tea and a swatch of linen Martha found in Kyoto, Japan. All of the wood trim is painted the same shade of matcha green in a slightly higher gloss than the veneer panels.

The Green Room is certainly a spot I would love to have a cup of tea in on a cool winter afternoon with a fire going and some of Martha's fluffy cats at my feet.

Photo from The Martha Blog: Here is a view of the room from the landing of the main entrance. Flanking the fireplace (which does not have a mantel, interestingly) is a set of triple-hung windows that face the west terrace outdoors. 
Photo by Kevin Sharkey: Christmas is another time of year when this room really shines! The windows are kept unadorned. Opaque pull-down shades keep out intense sun while still allowing light into the room.
Photo by Kevin Sharkey
Photo from The Martha Blog: Another view of the room from the landing, this time sparkling with Christmas lights!
Photo by Ryan McCallister: During the pandemic, Martha has frequently used the room to conduct Zoom calls and meetings, as well as make appearances on various talk shows. She looks quite content here, as she should!
Photo from the Martha Blog: The Green Room is located at the west end of the home with windows facing in three directions: north, west and south. 

For an excellent book on Scandinavian design, I highly recommend "Lars Bolander's Scandinavian Design." Bolander is a Swedish interior designer and furniture dealer with a shop in Westport, Connecticut. He has written several books on design. Martha contributes a blurb to the back of this book and recommends it as well.

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