Project Name
Library Lounge and Curiosity Room
Pasadena, CA

Pasadena Library Lounge and Curiosity Room

  • 2024 Pasadena Showcase House

  • Location: Pasadena, CA

Library Design:


– Brighten and modernize a dark and dated wood-paneled library into a cozy and inviting multi-generational lounge, free of technology

-Make the very dark and formal room feel less stuffy and more in line with how we live today.
– Maintain the original architectural details and brighten the space without construction/painting the woodwork.


-No option to add additional hardwired lighting (only existing lights were one central ceiling fan fixture and two flush mounts in the alcove) Portable lighting was to be used for accent lighting.

-The project involved no construction other than repairing damaged ceiling and restoring the wood paneling in several areas. 

Design Solutions:
– Removed wood blinds and replaced with sheer roman shades with an embroidered paisley pattern from Ralph Lauren.  The result was a softer, filtered light  – less harsh than before.

-Replaced the ochre painted ceiling with a Ralph Lauren archival floral wallpaper in cream and graphite.  The light ground lightens up the room while the subtle pattern gives movement so that the ceiling does not appear flat. The pattern resembles a vintage textured stencil and 
– Temporary, wallpapered boards in a Ralph Lauren herringbone vinyl provided breaks in the dark wood  – a visual contrast to keep the shelves from looking too heavy.  The herringbone pattern resembles a men’s wool blazer, and contributes to the coziness of the room. 
– Layered floor coverings – a sisal rug as the bottom layer is cut about 8″ from the perimeter of the room.  Antique area rugs, an early 1900s Persian Tabriz and antique Turkish Kars rugs  are layered on top.  Because the original room consists of so much wood – on the wood paneling, floor, window blinds, the room needed texture and lighter colors to bring the room to life.  The area rugs alone were not enough. 
– A modern, cast glass pendant provides an unexpected twist to the traditional space but still retains the same architectural millwork and details from 1902.  It is the perfect marriage of the past and present.

-The dark wood and leather furniture was replaced with soft upholstery in a light, neutral palette for an informal yet comfortable space.

-An oversized 178″ U-shaped down-filled sectional dominates the room and the large size makes up for the fact that the fireplace is not centered in the room.  

-The heavy wood executive desk and chair was removed and in its place, a cozy daybed, complete with an eclectic selection of pillows, all by Ralph Lauren sits in its place.  The perfect spot for an afternoon nap. 

Decorative Touches:
– An eclectic selection of persona mementos, children’s art, board games, curiosities such as taxidermy, crystal and semi-precious stone specimens – even a World Book Encyclopedia set, line the shelves.

-Meticulously trimmed window treatments and pillows are sprinkled throughout, adding layers that contribute to the overall lived-in and cozy feel of the space.  

-A forged steel ring light replaces the dark and heavy fireplace screen and illuminates the original details around the fireplace surround.  

COZY is how this room has been described by the majority of the people who visited…and we agree!

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