Great Spaces: A Den That’s a 10

The owners said goodbye to pine paneling and hello to a fresh new space.

Photo by Angie Seckinger

It’s hard to relax with dozens of “eyes” staring at you. That’s how Liz Klass always felt in her knotty-pine-paneled, ’60s-era den, which had two walls of compartmentalized shelving that stretched from floor to ceiling. “It was just very busy,” she says. “It was a bunch of eyes—little holes.”

Luckily, Liz and her husband, Dick, had a friend in designer Roxanne Lumme, a fellow resident of Arlington’s Chain Bridge Forest neighborhood. Having spent many an evening in that den, Lumme knew exactly what to do.

“They’re a very clean/contemporary couple,” she says. They wanted a space that reflected their style, but also retained some of the built-in storage and display areas.

Whereas thick vertical brackets had made the old built-ins feel heavy, Lumme used thin cables to support new, more open, painted shelving and eliminate those visual distractions. She also built out the center of one wall to house a TV and fireplace, making room for enclosed cabinetry on either side. “We did everything we could to streamline and make it more minimal,” the designer says.

The big challenge was reconciling Dick’s desire for bold color with Liz’s wish for a more neutral palette. As a compromise, Lumme papered the widest space between the shelves in orange grass cloth, picking up on a similar hue in the Turkish rug in the adjacent foyer.

“We knew we needed to bring in texture somehow, because there’s no other fuss in the room,” Lumme says of the tactile wall covering. “We brought in the texture and a hit of orange all in one fell swoop!”

Project Credit:
Roxanne Lumme Interiors |

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Categories: Home & Design