Recently, I designed a room for a client who wanted to capitalize on the space her dining room offered on a day-to-day basis. I took my lead from many new York City apartments and suggested she use her dining room also as a library! The primary use would be a library and the secondary use as a dining room, thus allowing the client to use the space every day and also entertain at the holidays. It has now become their favorite room !

Here is a brief description of what was accomplished. Although each person’s style may be different , the room offers a lot of ideas that can be borrowed or adapted to meet individual needs.

At the beginning of the project, we carefully discussed the clients needs and overall design vision. Next four to six floor plans were developed, each showing different options of furniture and mill work locations and associated lighting. Once the floor plan was developed, we began designing the room . Part of the process entailed designing the mill work.

In this case it was a wall to wall, floor to ceiling bookcase: new moldings around the doors and windows: creating a design on the ceiling using wood moldings: and creating custom wood and glass doors.

Next was the selection of furniture, finishes and lighting. This particular client prefers a modern sensibility with a mixture of other elements to make the room interesting. We used a grey pleated silk( featured in the photo above) wall covering to upholster the walls. This provides a luxurious look and fabulous sound absorbancy. On the floor is a cream wool rug that mimics the design of the moldings on the ceiling. A modern rosewood dining table was chosen with four tufted armless chairs upholstered in grey linen velvet . These chairs are clean lined but more  traditional than the table. In addition to the dining area, two other areas were developed in the floor plan. One area is for reading and features  two modern grey leather wing chairs  and ottomans with oversized nail heads. There is an interested origami shaped table next to the clean lined chairs and wall sconces above each chair for reading light. The second area is tucked in by a large window. Here a grey and cream marble top table with an iron base juxtaposes two traditional fret back chairs. On these chairs, a jolt of color was added in the form of  a dark rust satin upholstery which is repeated in the silk lampshades in the room.

The space with the marble  top table and fretwork chairs is used in the morning for coffee or to read. The children use the dining table and marble top table for home work at night. The parents often curl up in the reading area with a book.

Recently , the client has called me back to select art for the room. When the mill work was designed, we left a large area for artwork in the center of the bookcase and incorporated the correct lighting for the future art.  The client requested we  select an antique map for the room. Ultimately, we selected a compelling contemporary abstract for the bookcase . It adds a touch of brightness against the dark wood and draws the eye  of the viewer into the room. Then we found the perfect map and hung it across from the abstract piece. As with the marble top table and fretwork chairs, it’s the juxtaposition that makes this room interesting.

Please note this room is yet to be photographed. It will be done this year and added to my website. The living room of this home  will be featured on NBC House Smarts TV in May accompanied by a discussion of the design process. This is my first national TV appearance.

Jo Ann Alston, NJCID, Allied Member ASID