Style Watch

The double-duty den

This small room in a Boston pied-a-terre is designed for both working and napping.

“The colors here are richer and deeper than anywhere else in the home,” says Dee Elms. “It’s a classic, restful space.”

Michael J. Lee

“The colors here are richer and deeper than anywhere else in the home,” says Dee Elms. “It’s a classic, restful space.”

Michael J. Lee

This small den in a Boston pied-a-terre is designed to serve a dual purpose. “The homeowner wanted to use the room as both a work space and a place to unwind — even nap,” explains Dee Elms, principal of Boston-based Terrat Elms Interior Design. Because comfort was key, Elms designed the space with an easygoing feel: Edges are soft, and feet sink luxuriously into the thick-pile wool carpet. “You can fall into any of the different pieces and feel comforted,” says Elms, who also made sure the room reflected the homeowner’s more classic taste. She did, however, add a few splashes of modern flair.

1 | To ensure city views are unfettered, windows are adorned with sheer drapes with a subtle vertical squiggle that lends textural interest.


2 | Antique books and accessories are arranged on a clean-lined contemporary bookshelf. “It’s a nice way to mix the two styles,” says Elms.

3 | Walls are sheathed in a slate-colored grass-cloth covering by Phillip Jeffries.

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4 | The velvet sofa, from Mitchell Gold, is a perfect place to stretch out. It pulls out for overnight guests.

5 | Tufted ottomans of metallic vinyl “give the room pop and offer a cool element,” says Elms.

6 | A small table with a mirrored top in the shape of a clover offers a handy perch.


7 | “While they’ve evolved a lot, desk chairs still aren’t great looking,” says Elms, who selected a cushioned side chair that is comfortable and visually appealing.

8 | The solid maple desk is substantial but not overpowering. Leather-strap drawer pulls add an unexpected element.

9 | A marble base lamp topped with a square shade and finished with brass accents gives off a modern vibe, while the hourglass has traditional appeal.

10 | Creating a tower on the floor out of coffee table books is a solution for minimal shelf space and an interesting decorative aspect, says Elms.

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