By Megan Montemarano
Mastering the art of round room décor can be daunting. Whether it’s a Victorian-style turret or just a curved wall, circular home spaces present a rather challenging decorating task. Expert interior designer Christy Kinsman, owner of The Little House Shoppe, a charming home décor store in Ridgefield, Conn., has a few tips and tricks to help embrace and make the most of the unique offerings spherical architecture presents.
As the pro designer behind the pristine staging of 80 Branchville Road, a restored 1898 carriage house in Ridgefield, Conn., Kinsman clearly has a knack for style. The home is full of unexpected details and surprises, including a two-story turret off the great room, which formerly housed horse bridles. While the circular space in this residence is now centered around a dramatic, curved staircase, Kinsman has worked with several other homes featuring turreted architecture as well, using her designing expertise to create fully functional, chic rooms. “First, it’s important to consider how you want to use the turret,” explains Kinsman. “A couple of popular ideas include a reading nook, yoga or mediation space with plush carpeting, floor pillows and a small table for candles, or perhaps even a music room.” 1079 Main Street in Great Barrington, Mass., has a fabulous three-story turret that offers varying escapes on every level. “It’s used differently on each floor,” comments agent Jared Kelly, who co-lists the property with fellow Great Barrington agent Dan Alden. “There is dining room seating on one level, a dressing room on another, and an office to complete the space.”
Once you’ve decided upon a function, it’s time to start implementing the details. Kinsman recommends first considering size and scale of potential furniture. “Using furniture that’s too diminutive will make the space look like a dollhouse,” she warns. “Choose pieces of substance and fewer of them. Most turrets scream for a round table with an interesting hanging fixture above it as a focal point, and if it is large enough, float your furniture in the center of the room.” Since one normally can’t pass through a turret room, she explains that it’s okay to restrict freedom of space, as long as the piece is properly centered.
Another effective way to take advantage of a circular room’s distinctive shape involves adding draperies that emphasize the window curvature on large windows, as well as built-in window seats. The stunning scenery of Sherwood Island can be seen from all angles at 15 Beachside Common in Westport, Conn., thanks to a three-story rounded room overlooking the sparkling Long Island Sound . This exceptional architecture offers scenic views from each floor of the house, with large expanses of windows creating an open and airy, yet at the same time cozy, feel. “While separate curtains on each window can work well, a single window treatment that sweeps over everything can be spectacular,” comments Kinsman. At this turret-inspired seaside home, such advice most definitely proves true. It’s crucial to also note that because of their large windows, turrets are often flooded with light. “Place plants on stands near the glass or try a hanging plant,” Kinsman adds. The sunny curved room at this Old Saybrook, Conn. home, located at 26 Clinton Ave, perfectly follows suit, offering plant and flower arrangements to complete the brilliant space.
Some of the most unique uses of turret rooms can be found at 34 Prescott Avenue in Bronxville, N.Y. This historic residence was built around a two-story tower that features a magnificent double-height, all-encompassing great room and beautiful round bedroom with a domed ceiling. Listing agent William Dowling recalls a conversation he had with the current homeowners, who rave about the great attention received by the structure’s curved walls. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra once performed at a private party in its huge great room, while Bing Crosby’s son and longtime friend of the owners, Harry Crosby, also visited the house. The owners recount him immediately noticing the aural echo naturally provided in the circular master bedroom. He grabbed their guitar and sang some beautiful songs, and the bedroom delivered a clear reverberating sound.
For a home that brings the definition of circular rooms to a whole new level, be sure to check out 45 West Clinton Avenue in Irvington, N.Y. Known as the “Octagon House,” this restored 19th century residence boast a 360-degree ballroom with matchless surrounding views of the Hudson River.