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October 2012

The sofa is custom made for the room to fit in the wall niche. Itís also deeper than a standard-size sofa to accommodate two people lying down for watching TV, reading or cozying up.
Photo by David Bader

In this very traditional house off of Lake Drive in Milwaukee, Peabodyís Interiors designer Josť Carlino infuses bold color into the library with bright red walls and a crisp color scheme.

"It appeals to all of us. Itís daring," Carlino says. "You really feel like you are in a red cocoon."

Though it took a bit of convincing for the homeowners to take the risk, they liked it so much, Carlino says, that red is also being integrated into other areas of the "mostly white" house. "We did a red cork floor in the kitchen as sort of a starting point of what we may do in the room. It keeps a balance from one side of the house to the other."

Carlino breaks down the design concept for the familyís main gathering place.

M: What did this room have to be for the client?

JC: It was a very comfortable library where the family always sat to watch TV and where they entertained. It was yellow pine paneled and í70s furniture. The need was to be more comfortable and up to date. I wanted to give her a warm, cozy room in which to curl up in.

M: Lacquered red walls? Very bold.

JC: I floated the idea of painting it red. Itís the clientís favorite color. She likes bright primary colors. She was very nervous about painting the woodwook, which everyone always thinks is a sin. After a year of talking about it, she pulled out a room from Town and Country magazine, a red library, which had been done by one of my first assistants. We decided to lacquer the walls to give the illusion of making the room bigger.


M: What is the back story on the Lon Michels painting?

JC: The client and I went to a gallery opening at Tory Folliard Gallery the year before. We met Lon and both fell in love with it. She kept looking at it, and I said, ĎWhy donít you just try it in the room?í It was as if it was just painted for the space. As soon as it got on the wall it was perfection.


M: What story does the lighting tell in the room?

JC: Interestingly, the track lighting was there. It is not something I would ever work with, but in the interest of not creating an entire huge redo of the house, we kept it. It enhanced the art and the red walls. The ambient lighting is more eye level. The fireplace (on the opposite wall) also adds to the warmth.


M: There is a lot to look at in this room, but it doesnít seem overwhelming.

JC: Thatís probably because of the very simple color palette: red, black and white. The large black sofa against red walls gives your eye a respite; the large coffee table with not a lot on it also gives your eye a place to rest.


M: From a textbook design standpoint, why does this room work?

JC: Itís a symmetrical room. We did a very classical, proper floor plan with a sofa, pair of chairs and club chairs. We played with the scale of the furniture in this very small room to make it feel bigger and more inviting. The Josef Hoffmann arm chairs are very small but comfortable and look sculptural. Instead of a skirt on the sofa, I opted to do a nailhead design along its base and sides, which gives it more of an open view. We kept the color palette very bold with just three colors and played with texture and scale of patterns. The window treatment is done in red-glazed linen so it appears to blend in with the walls and to give you a sense of more space. We opted to carpet the room in a black and white fretwork pattern to expand the floor space instead of using an area rug.



This story ran in the October 2012 issue of: