Interior designer Lane Brown was confronted with a problem: her clients, who had just moved here from Connecticut, wanted her to design a comfortable, entertaining space as well as home office in their home’s tightest room. The long and narrow library featuring a wall full of custom built-in bookshelves was so small that Brown knew that traditional oversize pieces would not work. “It was tricky,” she says of finding the appropriate furniture to complement the room’s intimate feeling rather than smother it. Instead, Brown, who works alongside famed interior designer Phoebe Howard, opted to fill the intimate space with smaller pieces—a settee that doubles as a loveseat and two chairs that complete the seating area without blocking the view to the pool terrace—that make the room feel bigger. In the end, the homeowners fell in love with the room, which they use to entertain but also as a place to work while at home.
This room has a bold color scheme. Why red?
“The rest of the downstairs is all very monochromatic: greys and ivories. So with that room I wanted there to be a flow. We stuck with the neutrality of using greys and ivories [with a pop of red on the bookshelves. The red bookshelves] are another reason I wanted to go with neutral paint colors so they would have a greater impact.”
How did you incorporate texture into this room?
“The area rug is a Tibetan silk geometric so it’s a very soft texture. The chairs are upholstered in a low-pile velvet that acts like a mohair and there’s a basket weave print on the settee. The coffee table has a reflective mirror and there is also a polished nickel floor lamp so there are some reflective qualities in the room. Bright, shiny metals like those two lamps add another texture to the room.”
What’s your favorite part about the room?
“The cohesiveness of the bookshelves. I used really big pottery jars and large coffee table books to style the bookshelves. I love the symmetrical aspect of that. There are so many built ins and I like the simplicity of it by using larger objects. It could look very cluttered if you used too many small objects to style it. That’s where so many people tend to go wrong. It’s important to use bigger objects instead of little things [when styling things like bookshelves] because that’s what tends to make bookshelves look junky.”
What did the homeowners love most about the room?
“She really wanted things to be light in the room so she was thrilled with the amount of seating I was able to get in the space without it feeling cramped.”