Photo by John Enslow

Perhaps one of my all time favorite rooms is a home office in a mountain retreat. It was such an enormous transformation, although most of the basic furnishings did not change. I want to take you through the process, and show you why it is a perfect example of how anyone can have a sophisticated and gracious space that is also functional and personal.



It started with a simple request for shelving to hold the homeowner’s large collection of books. She wanted bookshelves on the fireplace wall, and I agreed it was a good idea. However, I saw so much more potential for the room than just adequate book storage. I realized this could be an elegant study she would be drawn to every day: in fact, it could be her favorite room in the house!


Yes, I started by designing the fireplace wall. The fireplace is actually a freestanding, inexpensive model that she uses every day! I like its position in the room, which is off center to accommodate a rocking chair nearby to enjoy the heat. So, it was important to flank the fireplace off center with bookcases that didn’t push the desk too close to the fireplace. I designed bookcases with drawers for paper and basic office storage, and cabinet space to hide shredders, copiers, and components. All that hidden storage means she has open space for her massive collection of tomes. I added large drawer pulls and bookkeeper lighting to balance the large scale of the units (they stretch 9.5 feet up!). Thibaut Kissimmee in pear green on the bookcase backs adds texture to the smooth white cabinetry.



Photo by John Enslow


Although the new built ins helped lighten the space, the charcoal walls still gave the space a heavy feel. My client was reluctant to give up the dark walls, though. She craved drama, and was worried lightening the space would ruin her favorite part of the room. Fortunately, she trusted me to take her style and polish it to make it even better. I suggested a soft green for the walls, and she hesitantly agreed. The result is stunning. Now, the drama is exactly where we want it—on her treasures. The sage green is the perfect backdrop for the campaign style desk, the focal point of the room.



Mountain views and pastoral scenes can be glimpsed beyond the narrow French windows, which open onto a wide veranda. Thibaut Tanzania in Grey with an Essex velvet lead in butterscotch is one of my go-to drapery pairings. The soft silvery grey and burnt gold color combination is a perfect neutral, and works almost everywhere. Here, they add a touch of glamour to an otherwise humble place.



And then there’s the rug…Now, if you haven’t noticed yet, go back and see how many animal prints you can find in this room.  There are several. This is a great example of masterfully executed design. The animal prints are abundant, but they don’t dominate the space. You’d never describe the room as “wild” or “too much”. Giving a nod to zebra stripes, the rug’s chevron spacing looks more graphic than exotic. A bench is covered in a truer to safari life version of the same animal print, this time in a crisp cotton. The crossed sword legs work well with the campaign style of the other furnishings.


Photo by John Enslow


A thoughtfully acquired art collection displayed in the room reflects my client’s fun-loving spirit. Treasured tomes and favorite reference materials splayed across the workspace are ready for use each day.



What started as a simple shelf turned into a Masterfully Refined Design she will enjoy for many years. It’s a timeless space she uses all the time. We loved creating it for her.

We’d love to create the perfect space for you, too. Call us today to get started on a room design just for you!


Charleston Interior Designer, Contemporary, home office, study, rug, lighting, historic property

Photo by John Enslow

Full Service Design  |  Custom & Quick Ship Upholstery  |  Window Treatments  |  Wallcoverings

 9 am - 5 pm
and by appointment

2447 N Hwy 17, Suite 100
Mount Pleasant, SC 29466

Alex Fleuren
Owner/Lead Designer

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