In cavernous family rooms, built-ins can graciously carve out more intimate spaces and designate zones for specific activities, from dining and lounging to working and entertaining. The owners of this Colonial Revival–style home wanted a portion of their large great room to serve as a kind of private living room and study where they could relax with a good book or catch up on office work. Rather than split the large space in two with a solid
wall, architect Mark Hughes designed a less imposing columned divider
with built-in bookshelves and cabinets. A wide, open area at the top preserves the great-room feeling without sacrificing the coziness of the separate living and working spaces. On the office side, study carrels and shelves hold a selection of the homeowners'
weighty legal books (both are lawyers). On the living room side, the open cubbies are lined with natural cherry wood; the closed cabinets below hold more books and memorabilia.
IDEA: Use built-ins to mask structural members. The hollow wooden column seen
at left perfectly conceals a 3-by-4-inch steel post that supports the ceiling's load and the master bathroom upstairs.