Like many young families, Cambria Brockman, her husband, and their two little boys moved out of the city to the burbs at the start of the pandemic. In addition to its pretty, fenced-in yard, their Newburyport home has a generously sized third-floor office. It was a major selling point for Brockman’s husband, who was now working from home.
But how to furnish it? “We only had a desk and a chair in this beautiful room, so it was very echoey,” says Brockman, a wedding photographer-turned-novelist. “We like things to be cozy.” Unsure of the best approach, she reached out to Kate Daskalakis of KSD Designs.
To take advantage of the room’s size, Brockman asked Daskalakis to outfit the slope-ceilinged space with a desk and a sitting area where she could join her husband with her laptop (working from home can be lonely), and where the little ones could play. “We often had to watch the kids at the same time as we were working,” Brockman says. In terms of style, she thought it should veer more masculine than the rest of the light and airy interiors. She was thinking dark green to up the cozy factor and bring the outdoors in for her husband, who is athletic and outdoorsy.
Daskalakis loved the ideas. “Our work tends toward the feminine side, so it was fun for us to lean into a masculine look,” the Newbury-based designer says. She started by painting three walls in Benjamin Moore’s Vintage Vogue, a deep smoky green; the board and batten, other millwork, and ceiling remain white. “I left it white behind his desk so that alcove wouldn’t feel like a cave,” Daskalakis says. “All dark green would have felt stifling.”
Noting the owners’ preference for wood tones and clean lines, Daskalakis chose a sculptural desk by Four Hands, which she set in front of the window. That the couple were currently watching the television show Yellowstone factored in too. “The patriarch character has oversized, masculine furniture, and my husband remarked that it would be nice to work at a big desk instead of the petite one he had,” Brockman says. “Kate found us a transitional-style piece that works with the décor in the rest of the house.”
The leather sofa’s rectilinear silhouette is a crisp counterpoint to the softly rounded desk, while its rugged upholstery and generous depth make it family friendly and napworthy. It was also a snap to procure. “We bought it off the floor at Red Bird Trading Co.,” Daskalakis says, referencing pandemic-induced long lead times. “If we hadn’t spotted it, we’d probably still be waiting for one.” Brockman was tickled, as she had admired it previously. Plus, it’s super cozy.
When it came to the vintage golf clubs with wooden shafts and brass heads, the designer really flexed her sourcing skills. Brockman didn’t want to hang just anything on the walls; she envisioned pieces that reflected her husband’s interests. Daskalakis was certain she’d score quickly at local antiques shops. However, it took longer than expected. She eventually turned one up at Walden Street Antiques in Concord and the other in the basement of Salt Marsh Antiques in Rowley. “I figured those stairs would lead me to something good,” Daskalakis says. “I could have gone the eBay route, but I like the hunt and supporting small businesses.”
Daskalakis loves the fact that the space now feels like a good classic New England room, where things naturally settle in over time. The couple appreciate having an office that is also a retreat. “It’s good when we need to get away to work or relax, and I can peek out the windows to see the kids having fun with the sitter,” Brockman says. “I think it’s my favorite room in the house.”
Learn more about the project team
Interior designer: KSD Designs
Painters: American Renaissance