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Designing a dual-function family room

This Needham space for relaxing also accommodates a home office.

Michael J. Lee

“It’s a very cheerful space,” says Rebecca Wilson. “I feel happy every time I walk into the room.”

Michael J. Lee

With a cathedral ceiling and windows on three sides, the family room in interior designer Rebecca Wilson’s home is spacious enough to accommodate her office and serve as a prime place to lounge and entertain. Added to the Needham Dutch Colonial, which was built in the 1920s, the room had dark paneling on the ceiling, dingy rough plaster walls, and discolored wall-to-wall carpet. To create a more welcoming, airy space suited for its dual purposes, Wilson started from scratch. “I selected a mix of materials and styles to make it feel like home,” she says. A neutral backdrop is punctuated by pops of orange, and Brazilian cherry floors are underfoot; crown molding was added, and the room’s existing trim replaced to match the character of the rest of the home. The office, relegated to one wall, has both distinction and cohesion with the rest of the space.

1 | The taupe cotton velvet sectional from Mitchell Gold provides ample seating and space to stretch out. “I like the contemporary lines, and it feels very simple,” says Wilson.

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2 | A linen pillow printed with an orange parrot from Artefact Home|Garden in Belmont ties into the room’s color scheme.

3 | Ceilings are painted the same color as walls, Benjamin Moore Sherwood Tan. “White ceilings cut off the height of a room,” says Wilson. “When walls and ceilings are the same color, the walls keep going and it creates a warmer feel.’’

4 | An antique gilded mirror fills an awkward space behind the sofa. “The mirror doesn’t detract from the windows, and it reflects light back into the room,” says Wilson.

5 | Brass lamps bring warmth to the room.”Brass and gold are in right now,” says Wilson. “I’ve always liked the finishes, and they go very well with orange.”

6 | Atop the Arts and Crafts-style rug, two African drum tables add another textural dimension.

7 | Cabinetry, painted linen white to match the wall trim, conceals shelves and drawers customized for office materials. “I have a lot of business things I need on hand,” says Wilson, “but I didn’t want it to be on view in the family room.”

8 | The bay window’s sill is incorporated into the built-in desk. The granite top has rounded edges that are comfortable to lean on when working.

9 | The iron desk chair has an orange velvet seat and wheels that make it easy to move for extra seating in the family area.

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