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Home design ideas: A comfy sofa and cozy nook make for an inviting front parlor

Melissa Hammond gut-renovated most rooms in her client’s 1911 Colonial in Arlington Heights, but left the bones of the front entry and living room intact. “The architectural elements of the bench and mantel let us preserve the home’s character,” the designer says. She did, however, upgrade the space with new furniture and finishes, starting with a rich, dark brown floor stain. When it came to color, inspiration came from the green and yellow tones in the original stained-glass window at the foot of the stairs. “We found pillow fabric that captured those colors to accent the tone-on-tone base,” Hammond says.

1 An extra-long ottoman in buttery, high-performance vinyl is nearly indestructible and accommodates several pairs of feet. “In non-COVID times they host members of their supper club, so we didn’t use anything precious,” Hammond says.

2 The sloped track arm sofa makes for a comfy resting place. “It cradles your head if you want to lie down,” Hammond says. The upholstery is high-performance chenille and the patterned pillow fabric is Robert Allen’s Midsummer Vine.

3 Hammond layered linen drapery panels with an embroidered leaf pattern over light-filtering roman shades that can be lowered from the top for privacy. “The fabrics all keep within a natural theme,” she says.

4 Hammond painted the ceiling two shades darker than the walls to help the space feel cozy. “Pairing a deeper tone with crisp white trim accentuates the architectural details, making them a focal point,” she says.

5 The inglenook, topped with a ribbed indoor/outdoor chenille cushion, is the daughter’s favorite spot to curl up with her laptop. “The clients appreciate that their old home has multiple nooks that family members can claim while they’re spending so much time together,” Hammond says.

6 “I always start with the rug,” Hammond says. This natural jute and wool Couristan rug has a dotted ivory diamond pattern on a striated taupe and gray background.


Marni Elyse Katz is a regular contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to [email protected]