When Candace Schlosser and her husband inherited a grand piano, their home office got the boot. "The only place I could think to put our computer was a small butler's pantry we walk through between the dining room and the kitchen," she says, "but we still needed storage space there for our kitchen and entertaining supplies."
Decorating Editor Fran Keenan convinced her that one little room could have many purposes. "Let your space work for your needs," she says. "Are you doing your house any favors by having a useless room?"
Now the space has a library-like feel. Fran suggested a color she describes as "chocolate malt" that created a cozy spot that's a little darker and warmer than the rest of the house.
The once-white built-ins got a semi-gloss coat of the wall color with rich chocolate brown on the shelves and back wall. They are now multi-functional, with cookbooks and kitchen accessories on the left (closest to the kitchen) and barware on the right (closest to the dining room).
Old suitcases are used for extra storage and as a side table. The Schlossers stow rarely needed documents like bank statements and tax forms inside. A table lamp adds additional lighting.
Chocolate brown paint on the moving parts of the windows add visual interest in the room. The fabric on the Roman shade ties it all together. To eliminate desk clutter, Fran placed the printer on the shelf at left, near the computer.
The matching filing cabinet was bulky and wasn't working well, so they decided to move it out and place file boxes on the new bookshelves.
Fran loved this jute rug, but it's available only as a 4 by 6 -- too small even for this tiny space. To make it work, she bought three rugs and stiched them together with silk cording.
To give the pine desk new life, they painted it a rich olive green. The turned-wood pulls were traded in for old doorknobs from an architectural salvage shop.
Now the smallest and most neglected room in the house is the Schlosser's favorite, and they hang out in there even when they don't have work to do.