One of the goals behind all of our interior design projects is to create a custom look for our clients. It is almost impossible to achieve that goal using off-the floor furniture stock. While we have often written about the style and comfort associated with custom seating, we also look to talented craftsmen to create other types of one-of-a-kind pieces for our clients. For the project pictured above, we needed a small bookcase for a seating area within our clients’ master bedroom. Finding the right height, width, depth and color in the ready-made world was proving difficult, so we hired a local woodworker and custom painter to create the perfect piece. Now our clients not only have the look and functionality they need, but the also have an heirloom-quality bookcase that can be handed down within their family.
Distinctive Interior Design Tip: Bookshelves are not just for storing books. Varying the colors, shapes and textures within each cubby brings visual interest to a room.
Unfortunately, many homes built in the latter half of the 20th century were not built with an eye to character. Architectural elements such as moldings, coffered ceilings, built-in cabinetry and detailed fireplace mantles prevalent in many of Indianapolis’ late 19th and early 20th century homes were left out. Owners of these newer houses are investing in visual interest as they remodel, adding the details that bring personality to a space.
These homeowners removed a bow window adjacent to their kitchen to incorporate the space into a sunroom and office addition. Included in the design was creating a small seating area that would add character to an otherwise bland space. The design also had the added benefit of enlarging the kitchen and dining room.
Space planning played a large part in creating the look and functionality of the seating area. Filling a large rectangle in such a way to create beauty and function was the goal; understanding the parameters of the space was central to achieving it. Ceiling height, square footage, height of tables and seating – all of these elements needed to be considered in the design or the space would not function well. For example, the seating was built at a bench height AFTER a 4” cushion was placed on it. Building without incorporating that added detail would leave the seating too high and therefore uncomfortable! Scale and balance must always be addressed in every interior design project.
We worked with a local carpenter to craft custom built-ins that would maximize both the vertical and horizontal space while creating the desired look and functionality. Using the natural L created by the intersecting walls, we created two seating areas with storage underneath, and flanked them with side tables to serve as areas to place drinks, etc. Built-in bookshelves increased storage options and gave the homeowners a place to highlight treasured photos and accessories. Open shelving along the top helped bring the ceiling height down to a human scale for a cozy feel. Also, we added a window to allow more light into the space.
The details of the design are what allowed the built-ins to add the character the homeowners were looking for. Finished edges, such as the beading and routing on the front of the shelves, made the cabinetry look like a piece of furniture. The crown molding added a hutch-like look, and the warm, rich red color enhanced the furniture feel. The v-groove on the wall between the bookshelves offered textural interest, and served as a beautiful backdrop for artwork.
The artwork, lighting, and fabrics were chosen to create a French Country feel. The sconces and lamps also support this look while adding much needed light in the evenings.
The homeowners report that they use the space all the time now. Beyond serving as a space for storage and highlighting family memories, the kids will hang out there while mom cooks. It is also a popular landing spot when they entertain. And, they are happy to have continued their quest of adding character to a home 1970s home they love.