An 1880s New Rochelle Den Transforms Into a Gorgeous Family Space

A circa 1880 den gets a much-needed refresh with a gilded, modern twist thanks to designer Malka Helft of Think Chic Interiors.

Photo by Hulya Kolabas. Product photos below courtesy of listed companies.

This den, which is located in a New Rochelle home built in the 1880s, was a clunky, old-fashioned office without any doors, located in the center of the house. Designer Malka Helft of Think Chic Interiors transformed the space into a modern, multipurpose sitting room.

The built-ins were original to the home; however, they needed to be refinished. Helft chose a Jacobean walnut finish and then added softer touches — including brass light fixtures and hardware, light-blue plaid rug, and leather chairs — in the rest of the room. Other updates included refacing the working gas fireplace with marble, and hanging artwork with brass picture lights. “I really love picture lamps,” says Helft. “They add personality to the space.”

For the bench seat, she chose a performance fabric from Kravet, which she says is ideal “for a young family like this one.” Helft selected a plaid rug, as well as oversized knobs for the cabinets and a large light fixture from Robert Abbey. “I like oversized hardware and lights because they are the jewelry in the room,” she says. “Light fixtures are my biggest splurge: They can’t get stained; your kids can’t touch them; you cannot have one that is too big!”

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This multipurpose room embodies what we all want in our current home offices: a place where we can snuggle up with a book, work from home, enjoy a cocktail by the fire on a cold night, and play games or enjoy an intimate night in with our family and friends.

“This room has a very cozy, winter feel, but I wanted to lighten it up, so it can be an all-season room,” says Helft. “It’s a young family, which is why we brought in the lighter colors. We still kept the room true to itself with the chunky leather chairs but lightened it up wherever we could.”

– Shop the Look –
Find items like the ones in this room.

Vicenza End Table by Pasargad


Momeni Marborough Light Blue Area Rug


Palermo Leather Swivel Chair

Williams-Sonoma, White Plains 

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Robert Abbey 166 Andromeda Large Pendant Light


Faceted Ory Knob

Anthropologie, White Plains

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