This Home Office is a Little Bit Rock and Roll

October 17, 2023

A spare room transforms into a space that bridges quiet conversation with rollicking jam sessions.

Text by Robert Kiener    Photography by Jane Beiles

“It was a big white box, a big white boring box.” That’s how interior designer Christina Roughan describes the home office her New Canaan client asked her to transform into a multipurpose room. He wanted a combination office and sitting room that would be more comfortable and reflect his myriad interests and tastes. “It needed some personality and that was a challenge that excited both of us,” remembers Roughan, who had completed several other interior design projects at the client’s traditional Georgian home.

Where to start? “The first thing I noticed in his office was a collection of exquisite guitars that were stacked up against a wall,” says Roughan. “When I asked him if he played, his eyes lit up, and he told me he did. Then he added that he’d even been in a rock and roll band years ago. Bingo! I had my design theme.”

After agreeing on a color palette of cozy, rich, deep grays, blues, and tans, Roughan suggested that the formerly empty walls be covered with a selection of black-and-white photographs of musicians that appealed to her client. “He loved the idea,” says Roughan, who also boasts musical roots: she sang with the New York City-based funk-rock band Swelter in the 1990s.

Roughan sent the homeowner loads of portraits to choose from, and he settled on a who’s who of rock and roll legends, from Keith Richards and Slash to Freddie Mercury, Elton John, and, in pride of place over the new Saint Laurent honed-marble fireplace, Debbie Harry. “I told him, ‘You have to have at least one woman in here,’ ” says Roughan, her green eyes twinkling.

To make the room more than an office, Roughan chose all new furniture, including a pair of midcentury modern chairs to create a cozy seating area by the renovated fireplace and low-back couches that don’t block the windows. “It’s really become a multipurpose room,” says the designer. “It’s his office, a place for guests to enjoy a quiet drink during parties, and a room where he can shut the door, pick up one of his guitars, kick back, and wail away.”

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