Stay-at-home design: Bright gathering spaces and moody nooks for study and work

Jacquelyn Burke and Jeremiah O’Connor finished reading the Harry Potter books to their son and daughter, ages 7 and 8, during the COVID-19 shutdown this spring. The 18-month marathon took place in the tucked-away space at the top of the stairs (no, not underneath) next to the kids’ craft table. The 42-square-foot reading or “nap nook,” as the family calls it in honor of its somniferous effect, boasts a window seat made from a twin mattress wrapped in tweed, built-in bookshelves, and soot-colored shades. It’s painted in Sherwin-Williams Basil, a cozy shade of saturated green. “We’re a family of readers who love to be home,” Burke says. “It was important that the rooms be comfortable.”

Burke, an attorney who traveled frequently pre-pandemic, also wanted their Milton home to be stylish and clutter-free. She hired interior designer Sarah Scales to pull it together. Absorbing ideas from images of rooms imbued with

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