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How to create a modern, comfortable living space with room for games and reading

(The Washington Post)

Josephine Tam’s home is in a period of change, and she is seeking renewal now that her grandmother, who lived with her and her four children for 12 years, has passed away. She would like to update the ­­
23-by-13-foot living room of her Bethesda home. She wants to include a comfortable spot where she can read by the bay window (an homage to one of her grandmother’s favorite pastimes) and would like a space where the family can play games and listen to music. She needs help selecting pieces that are the right size, and with placing furniture.

Designer Christopher Zoltan Ritchie suggests a sectional to provide ample seating, create a reading nook by the window and establish a focal point. Modern but comfortable pieces update the look of the room while keeping it family-friendly.

Create a fresh, clean backdrop with a bright white paint, such as Extra White by Sherwin Williams . A large area rug defines the space while adding warmth and interest to the design. Place a floor lamp next to the chaise of the sectional to create a comfortable reading spot by the window with plenty of lighting, day or night. Choose a coffee table with a lower shelf to temporarily store in-progress board games during a break in the action. The sectional is both comfortable and functional, providing plenty of seating. It also creates a focal point. A pair of bookshelves flanking the window provides storage for games and a display area for accessories and family photos. Stylish poufs are a fun accent and can be pulled over to the table when extra seating is needed.

Ritchie, with Zoltan Design Co. (240-815-5510,, is based in Frederick, Md.

SPLURGE: Shane single book shelf ($1,320 each,, left. SAVE: Parthenia étagère bookcase ($219.99 each,

SPLURGE: Arco floor lamp ($2,995,, left. SAVE: Versanora-Arquer arc floor lamp with chrome finish and white marble base ($61.99,

Furniture: Napa right sectional sofa in cognac tan ($2,450,; Esters wood arm chairs in husk ($229.99 each), Farvell oval ottoman with gold caps in slate ($69.99) and wooden nesting tables ($37.99), all from; Nash coffee table ($147.99,; Numero poufs set ($300,

Accessories: Pinchot coat rack ($239,; Bismarck gray 9-by-12-foot area rug ($217.99,; metal framed round wall mirror in antique bronze ($299,; Blueprint Monopoly patent 36-by-48-inch poster ($149.99,

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