Repurposing a tween’s closet into a built-in desk for school

Lauren Grant was skeptical when her client’s 11-year-old daughter declared that her favorite color was gray. Certain she was echoing ideas picked up from watching HGTV, Grant switched tactics and peeked into her closet. “She loves Lilly Pulitzer, which made a lot more sense since her personality shares the same attributes: bright, sweet, and cheerful,” the designer says. “We all agreed to leave the gray behind and focus on colors that represented her true self.” Grant had another aha moment: to retrofit the room’s extra closet with a built-in desk. “I think creating a cheerful space that incorporates a place to study is a great way to inspire motivation in kids,” Grant says. “And I love a good nook.”

a bedroom with a large mirror: A bedroom in Portsmouth now doubles as a study space.

© John robson
A bedroom in Portsmouth now doubles as a study space.

1. The stained cherry desktop is a more durable surface than a painted one. The faceted, soft gold-toned hardware has a bit of an edge, and recessed lights are installed on the underside of the upper cabinets.

2. Grant stepped the cabinetry back to create a more tucked-in, cozy feel rather than adding extra depth to the cabinetry.

3. The geometric pattern of the Lilly Pulitzer wallpaper from Lee Jofa should transition effortlessly into the daughter’s teenage years. As for the color, Grant says, the family lives “right on the water and there’s nothing more timeless than a great blue-and-white scheme.”

4. To hide the fact that they were repurposing a closet, Grant removed the door casings. “Removing the doors and keeping the framework intact is the easier option,” Grant says. “This is a more custom approach.”

5. Grant added wainscoting to the walls, wrapping it into the niche for a more finished look. They plan to add cork to the back wall to create a personal bulletin board space.

6. A faux fur chair was a must-have. “Putting a small one at the desk as opposed to a large accent chair on the other side of the room felt a little less scary—to me!” Grant jokes.

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