For those who think neutral rooms look blah and devoid of character, we offer this little case study in going beyond beige. Featured in the August 2012 issue of Architectural Digest, this living room—from an upstate New York summer house owned by director Shawn Levy—was designed by Bonetti/Kozerski Studio, and gets the balance of sleek, comfortable, and charismatic just right.
All those exposed, centuries-old reclaimed wood beams and joists could have easily made the room look dark and blocky, but the designers opened it up with white walls, a greige floor, and minimal furniture in strong shapes (get a load of those Mod dark walnut side chairs and vintage-look rolled-arm sofa!). The tall-drink-of-water floor lamp in the corner and the open bookshelves on the wall and coffee table contribute to the airy feeling. And though the room leans toward the masculine, it’s not hard-edged, thanks to the layers of texture—the buttery leather sofa, nubby area rug, hide accent rug, and chunky-knit blanket on the long rectangular ottoman. It’s the kind of room where everything feels like it has a place, but nothing feels placed, and the ambience is cool, relaxed, and just a bit rough-hewn.