Colorful Contemporary
Sitting in Julie and Graham Trelstadt's living room in White Plains, New York, you're definitely in the middle of things. And there's a lot going on in the 14x14-ft. space.
"We wanted to use every square foot in the room," Julie says, "because we thought it was wasteful to have formal space that wasn't being used all the time—especially with construction being so expensive."
Color as well as shapes play important roles in the home, designed by SALA Architects in Minneapolis. A half dozen finishes and paint colors bring a lot of personality to the room and call attention to its individual parts: the window alcoves, the fireplace and the media center. As it does this it distracts from the overall smallness of the room. The windows, almost floor-to-ceiling in size, also work to relieve any cramped feeling by bringing views of the outdoors inside. And despite its snugness, overcrowding isn't a problem. Because it's part of an open floor plan, people can spill over into the kitchen and dining area without losing touch with what's happening in the living room.
Strong, unexpected shapes inject more surprises into the room. A deep soffit extending down from the ceiling subtly defines the edge of the room. The media center is located under the stairway, which creates a strong diagonal line in the room. Especially important in a small room like this are built-ins—great space-savers and storage sources. "I love the window seats and the TV cabinet," says Julie. "All the details that make junk disappear!" The benches open up—one holds the kids' games and toys, the other, a yoga mat for exercise sessions. This practical versatility and attention to detail complement the family's busy lifestyle well.
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