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Style Watch

Home design inspiration: A family room that does double duty as an office

This Rhode Island family wanted a comfy spot to watch TV as well as a place to get some work done.

This Jamestown, R.I., family room does double-duty as an office now.
This Jamestown, R.I., family room does double-duty as an office now.Greg Premru

When Jocelyn Chiappone’s clients decided to upgrade the dated family room in their Jamestown, Rhode Island, home with a more sophisticated style once their daughters were in college, they had a few big asks. In addition to offering comfortable seating for watching TV, lounging, and reading, the room had to double as an office. Chiappone, principal of Newport-based Digs Design Company, tackled the room’s long, narrow shape by anchoring one end with built-ins. The custom cabinetry is not only packed with function — the left side houses A/V equipment and a printer, the right hides a desktop and slide out computer tray — it’s also a beautiful focal point.

1 The traditional wood coffee table is a foil to the room’s clean lines and airy feel. “The piece creates a sense of history by infusing some age, and the wood tones help ground the seating area,” Chiappone says.

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2 Patterned throw pillows in shades consistent with the room’s neutral color scheme accent the white linen sectional. Chiappone notes that the trick to mixing patterns is to vary their scales.

3 Wallpaper by designer Meg Braff establishes the room’s chinoiserie theme. Sticking to a two-tone palette in the space ensures a chic and serene feel even though it covers all four walls.

4 A brass pendant light with clear glass shade adds sparkle and glamour. The stacked circle design is another layer of pattern.

5 The custom built-ins’ curved lines echo the soft, feminine feel of the wallpaper. Inlaid painted cane screens lighten the effect. “Large solid doors would have felt heavy,” the designer says.

6 The fretwork chair reinforces the wallpaper’s chinoiserie motif while providing sharp-edged contrast to the sinuous pattern. The piece works as the desktop that’s tucked into the cabinetry, or as additional seating.


Marni Elyse Katz is a regular contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.