The study in this Brooklyn town house was all set up as a home office for owners Alan Blum and Lori Greenberg. But with a great working fireplace, wouldn't it be nice to have a place where you actually want to sit as well as work? Interior designer and TV star Nate Berkus was up for the challenge. The twist? He had to get it done in nine hours.
A home office makes sense. Multitasking is good. Clutter is not. A brown, brown, brown carpet equals dull, dull, dull.
All chairs, no sofa. When everything is the same size, it feels small and tight and uninviting. There's nothing to draw you in.
Blank wall? Looks like they haven't finished moving in. We need something vertical to break up all the horizontals. I love Lucite. But two of these chairs might be a little too Star Trek for this room.
•My husband is in advertising and I'm a headhunter who places creative people in ad agencies. This room is our work space.
•There's also a seating area, but for some reason we never sit here.
•What am I missing? I'm a modernist living in a traditional Brooklyn town house, and we tried to make it as modern as we could.
•We travel a lot and always bring things home from our trips. Our taste is eclectic. Maybe too eclectic?
•Eclectic is fine, and I love certain pieces, like those leather chairs. But if you want people to gather here, the room needs to be more comfortable.
•Let's get a sofa to anchor the seating area and give you another reason to come in.
•Bare walls make the room feel cold. I'm going to get something to go over the fireplace.
•It's missing that last layer of detail that adds texture and warmth, like throw pillows. Everything seems to stand alone. We're going to pull it together."
My team did some preliminary planning, based on photographs.
Sorry, plants, but you've got to move. We're taking this space.
Just shove it all to the side — then we'll see what makes the cut.
Do I want some color? This is from my own stash. Nope, too wide.
Shopping time. has it all. Textiles, vintage furniture, coffee.
Do I need this? Well, it is 'a room in a day.' When in doubt, take it.
Wow. This is not a common shape. Very 70s...jet-setter...Marrakech.
We've found it! Crusty, from the '20s. And the height is right.
to the rescue! I needed something that says, 'Touch me.'
Home again. Once we get everything in, we can start playing.
Success. Isn't it nice to work facing a window rather than a wall?
A mix of sizes and shapes will animate the arrangement.
Finally, the new rug has arrived. It's coming together, folks.
Argh. I'm not feeling the rug. Suddenly the room seems so busy.
I know — drape it over the sofa like a tapestry. Magical. We're done!
The mirror takes your eye up to the ceiling. Now there's enough on this wall to balance the other side of the room. And the plant stands, repurposed, become sculptural end tables.
A desk in the window gives you a reason to be here. Why not enjoy the light? I love that crazy lozenge shape of the chandelier. And I just couldn't resist these totally cool stools. They reference the owners' African travels.
The bare floor feels fresh, and it sets things off in a modern way. Another tip? You don't have to get rid of your books. Just break them up with a few simple baskets and some art.
Lori Greenberg: You did a great job. I want to be in this room now. That sofa makes all the difference.
Nate Berkus: It's by Milo Baughman, a brilliant designer from the '70s. And it's really comfortable, with that deep seat.
LG: Somehow the coffee table makes it feel more intimate.
NB: You needed something round — it's the nucleus of the conversation area — and no sharp corners make circulation easier. How about the table in the window?
LG: It will be great to have two desks. Now Alan and I can work in here together.
NB: Putting all this '70s furniture in a traditional space is all about playing against type, which is my favorite way to design.
Saddle leather, soft pillows, and a neutral palette tie the seating area together. A Milo Baughman tuxedo sofa and vintage Italian stools are gathered around an Icon coffee table, all from , as is the vintage Italian chandelier. Rug draped over sofa by for . Mongolian lamb pillow covers from . 606 Universal shelving system.