Sophisticated, Warm Study

Designer Alan Tanksley combined an eclectic mix of furnishings in a neutral palette to create a cozy family retreat.
Shades of Neutral in Eclectic Living Room

Shades of Neutral in Eclectic Living Room

Decked out with muted textiles, unusual textures and sophisticated furniture, this living room is a sight to behold. A striped area rug anchors the sitting area, while an eclectic mix of chairs offer seating. A gnarled wood base of the coffee table is a rustic touch next to the elegant drapes and mirror.

From: Alan Tanksley

Decked out with muted textiles, unusual textures and sophisticated furniture, this living room is a sight to behold. A striped area rug anchors the sitting area, while an eclectic mix of chairs offer seating. A gnarled wood base of the coffee table is a rustic touch next to the elegant drapes and mirror.

By: Chelsey Bowen

For the Hampton Designer Showhouse in Bridgehampton, N.Y., designer Alan Tanksley was selected to design the library space, which he decided to approach as more of a relaxing study. Alan shares with us how he developed the concept for the room and the process behind his design.

Describe your design objective.

This project was created for the 2004 Hampton Designer Showhouse, where I had the opportunity to create a client profile. In this case, I designed a room for a young urban family's country retreat. My idealized client was a sophisticated, art-collecting young couple with an active family and social life. Thus, the room had to serve many functions, including a place for a small group to sit and enjoy each other's company. The game table chairs are easily moved. The single upholstered chair is perfect for reading, and the mattress-style sofa is perfect for an afternoon nap.

Multifunctional, Eclectic Study

See All Photos

Create an Easy Flow

An eclectic mix of seating is the focus of the room, creating a casual conversation area. The game table chairs are easily moved to join the area when there are more guests. Tanksley suggests, "Instead of creating static furniture arrangements, combine transportable pieces with a few stationary ones to anchor the space for a room that easily adapts to varied needs."

From: Alan Tanksley

Enhance Architectural Details

A woven area rug mimics the texture of the neutral wallpaper, creating a warm, cozy environment. In a space with beautiful architectural elements, like the wainscoting and coffered ceiling of this room, Tanksley balances the detail by keeping wall colors and furnishings subdued and simple.

From: Alan Tanksley

Double-Duty Furniture

Leather arm chairs in soft green surround the game table, which features a beautiful petit point panel. The panel can be removed so that the table can double as an extra dining spot.

From: Alan Tanksley

Stunning Focal Point

The Ingrid Donat parchment-and-bronze commode is combined with a Sam Glankoff painting in similar hues to make a beautiful statement corner in the study.

From: Alan Tanksley

What was your biggest obstacle in this space?

The biggest obstacle in this space was that the house was under construction when we were planning it. The time we had to conceive and install the project was extremely short.

How does the end result match up with your original vision?

Through careful and detailed planning, everything did go according to plan. The end result matched up perfectly with my vision for the space.

What lessons did you learn?

What I realized was that participating in showhouses requires a full commitment from our entire staff. It is an investment of time and energy, as well as money. All with the goal of showcasing our point of view.

What are the "hidden gems"?

One of the gems was the custom bookcase I designed for the space, which features chartreuse-enameled steel shelves encased in cream-colored leather. (DESIRON is now in production on the bookcase.) Another was the handmade paperclip chandelier by Gary Ponzo, made up of 2,000 paper clips, and showcasing a Sam Glankoff painting above the Ingrid Donat parchment and bronze commode.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Small-Space Living Room Layouts

Use smart strategies to make your small living room feel larger.

Outdoor Living Spaces: Ideas for Outdoor Rooms

Learn about options and ideas for outdoor rooms and outdoor living spaces.

Basement Renovation Transforms a Cold Space Into a Warm Family Room

See the before and after photos from another amazing Candice Olson basement makeover, and get tips on how to turn your home's lowest level into a welcoming place to gather.

Live and Work in a Small Space

Living rooms are no longer reserved just for company. Think about your everyday needs.

Reclaim Wasted Space: Dining Rooms, Garages, Attics and Closets

Explore the evolution of floor plans from previous decades and gather inspiration for designing a space that fits your lifestyle.

Outdoor Rooms Add Livable Space

Spend less money on vacations and more time with friends and family on your deck or patio.

Alan Tanksley

Contact Me
Alan Tanksley Inc.
www.alantanksley.com 186 Fifth Ave Second Floor New York, NY 10010 212-481-8454