Style Watch

A revamped home office allows room for work and play

This welcoming home office in the South End does double duty to accommodate a busy physician as well as overnight guests.

Jessica Delaney

When Justine Sterling’s clients hired her to furnish and decorate their South End row house, they asked that she push them beyond their comfort zone without breaking the bank. Using unexpected color and a spot of whimsical pattern, the Melrose-based designer transformed a humdrum extra bedroom into a cheerful guest room that doubles as an office for the wife, a physician who sometimes works from home. Sterling positioned the desk between the room’s two windows to create a focal point, then designed a set of stand-alone cabinets around the homeowners’ existing pull-out sofa. “With square footage and storage at a premium, we stuck with clean lines,” Sterling says. “There was a lot to do in this small room, but it doesn’t feel cluttered.”

1 A pair of Regina Andrew Arc wall sconces in polished nickel above the sofa bed function as reading lights. The surface-mount design eliminates the expense of hiring an electrician.

2 The colors of the oil painting Noontime Crowd, by Canadian artist Sherry Czekus, from Jules Place in SoWa — offset all the yellow in the room. “The hard-edged composition echoes that of the woodwork,” says Sterling.


3 Sterling designed freestanding cabinetry, built by Strokington & Co. in Arlington, that can easily come along if the homeowners move. Clean lines and asymmetric shelving create a contemporary feel.

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4 Painting the ceiling an unusual color — Benjamin Moore California Hills — was an easy way to infuse personality. “Looking up and seeing yellow is a sweet surprise,” Sterling says.

5 Lovebirds fabric by Aimee Wilder covers the custom pin board. “It’s the first thing you see, so it’s nice to have a fun pattern, especially since we didn’t need drapery,” Sterling says.

6 Storage beneath the lift-up top of the BoConcept desk supplements the file drawers in one of the cabinets. A swivel chair by Bernhardt Design glides easily over the hide rug from Serena & Lily.