Project Description

The library in this stone residence, in an exclusive Howard County community, “The Chase,” is a light-filled, eclectic environment for Historic Ellicott City’s 2019 Decorator Show House “BELLE VIEW AT THE CHASE.”  It is also a first, in that it is not a historic property.  However, this home offered large rooms, high-quality building materials, and an excellent background because the current owner is in the middle of renovating the home.  The theme is French, to complement the style of the architecture.


Design an interior space to read, relax, conduct business, and entertain:

  • Comfortable seating
  • Desk for writing and studying
  • Task and ambient lighting
  • Window treatments
  • Durable fabrics
  • Warm and elegant atmosphere


  • Create a temporary surface on brick fireplace surround
  • Install new door hardware on bookcases and on two sets of French doors
  • Change the color of the existing walls

After careful analysis of three rooms, I chose this medium-sized library for my transformation.  It was not without its seeming challenges.  First, the room felt unbalanced because the dark wood bookcase wall occupies the main (north) wall, with the impact felt immediately upon entering. The focal point of the room is the fireplace, but I believed it was not quite the right fit for the style of the house. Since the owners were not wanting to alter the brick,  we collaborated with artist Lisa Brown Malveaux, who painted fiberboard to look like genuine slate stone, which is more in keeping with the style of the fireplace itself and the house. It was an amazing transformation because 95% of the people who toured my room, assumed that it was stone. In addition, I had the walls, and mouldings repainted white, which helped tone down the breaks created by window openings and doors on the South and West walls.

Further, I used several methods to establish proper balance in all four quadrants of the space. White mouldings and trim are abundant (now less harsh) against white walls, and white window treatments relaxed are simple and allow maximum daylight. It is a seamless transition from outdoors in.  The pattern is a lace design that picks up on the trees just outside the windows and also performs its duty to eliminate the “black hole” effect after dusk because there are no city lights outside.

The textiles, furnishings, and accessories are a mix of high-quality antiques and modern, with an emphasis on ease of movement, lack of clutter, and zones for reading, relaxing, and studying. A wool and silk rug grounds the room, and the neutral-colored sofa displays pillows in patterns that pull together the rug, art, and the outdoors. Vibrant pops of color display in the fine art, lounge chair pillow, and colorful bookbinding in the bookcases.


Sofa, Lounge Chair, Shelf End Table, Acrylic/Brass Drinks Table, Metal Round Table, Fine Art Under Glass, Crystal Obelisk, Pair of Gilded Lidded Bowls: Kravet; Fabrics: Lee Jofa, Brunschwig et Fils, Kravet; Draperies: Davic Drapery; Pillows: Already Covered; 19th Century Walnut Wood Louis XVI Carved Panels, Pair of c. 1940 Asian Style Armchairs, Lighted Globe, Vintage Sepia Baseball Photograph, Walking Stick, Fireplace Accessories, Blanket Stand as Magazine Rack: The Antique Center, Savage, MD; Pair of Klismos Style Benches with Cow Hide Upholstery: Knightsbridge Charleston, SC; 18th c. Secrétaire Abattant & Burlwood Framed Art: Rhonald Angelo Interiors; Wool Mamluk Area Rug: Main Street Oriental Rugs; Acrylic Drapery Hardware: Vesta; Fine Art Canvases 1&2: Lisa Brown-Malveaux; Vintage Liquor Decanters: France

Photography © Todd A. Smith Architectural Photo & Video