Let There Be Light, White And Blue in the Library

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The dark colors, heavy curtains and tufted leathers typically associated with libraries have no place in Sarah Wessel's light and airy space, which is dressed in a pale palette of blue, white and beige. "It's springtime," the D.C. designer says about her color choices. "And with the economy . . . it's already dark enough."

The light blue walls, painted in Skylight by Farrow & Ball, are a serene backdrop for a grouping of green-filled terrariums on the mantel, a pair of sustainably made wing chairs covered in a linen damask, parchment-colored sheer wool window treatments, a dramatic 12-light metal chandelier and a 19th-century English oak secretary, which displays a collection of white ironstone plates. The pale blue also contrasts nicely with the two-tone crown molding, which Wessel painted off-white and tan (White Tie and Buff from Farrow & Ball). "If it was all white, you wouldn't notice the detail," she says.

To accentuate the room's 12-foot height, Wessel installed two pairs of custom built-ins that extend from floor to ceiling. The shelves display accessories and art from local shops Cote Jardin and Susquehanna Antique Co. The cabinets provide storage and cleverly conceal a bulky radiator. Also clever: The designer chose a metal grate for the radiator cabinet door in a pattern that echoes the shapely form of the room's cloverleaf ottoman.

Terri Sapienza

View all comments that have been posted about this article.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company