I’m currently working on a fun project designing a small library and have been looking for inspiration to spark my ideas. Decorating a smaller space is a creative challenge that requires careful color choices and furniture planning. But before I even think colors and furniture, I try to get a mental picture of how the space should feel like, what would make my clients happy and comfortable. And guess what? The image of this beautiful home office designed by the uber-talented AD100 Matthew Patrick Smyth came to mind.
I’ve been keeping this in my file of dream spaces for a very long time now because I think this space is as smart as it beautiful. It is so cleverly designed that by studying it one can get some practical ideas on how to manage their own quirky rooms. First of all, I believe that many small rooms have potential as excellent libraries / work spaces so I’m biased that way. Second, Smyth did a fantastic job in designing this room, regardless of its size.
What Smyth did that I think is brilliant was to cover the walls in built-in shelves. This wall treatment embraces the room’s smallish size and is great for storage too. Instead of using an area rug layered on hardwood, which would have visually broken up the room, he used wall-to-wall sisal in a warm neutral that creates the impression of “more” space.
Aside from the practical built-in shelves, Smyth’s furniture selections are simply beautiful. That curved desk is perfect in this narrow room. The less sharp corners, the better. In fact, as a general rule small rooms work better with slim silhouettes and less visual weight.
There’s also a comfortable day bed, a must for every library and home office, but instead of using a bulky sofa or love seat, Smyth opted for a built-in day bed that blends seamlessly with the shelves. A French style mattress amps up the charm. As you can see, there’s even space left for a small stool to hold drinks and flowers, as well as a chair opposite the daybed. I wish we could get a glimpse of the missing wall.
Another fun detail about this room is the mix of modern and traditional. The general feeling is of a traditional looking home office but I love the bold blue accent and modern artwork above the daybed. It just adds that little something that is off, and makes it all so much better. Don’t you think?
So, I had some fun coming up with a mood board inspired by this room. I wouldn’t call it Get the Look (although I did, lol), since it is more of an inspiration that a copy of the design. Also, may I say that I had a hard time finding a retail version of this desk?! Slim pickings for desks that are curved and delicate and beautiful. I’m not talking about designer showrooms course, just retail, but still. If you know of a resource, please do let me know. So… I settled for a gold and glass one from One Kings Lane but it doesn’t look nearly half as good as the one Mr. Smyth had selected for his own study. Ahh, well…
P.S: Images from Elle Decor, Traditional Home and the New York social diary.