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Sarah Sherman Samuel’s Grand Rapids, Michigan, fixer-upper may not be short on space (the 1980 postmodern home spans 4,300 square feet), but the designer managed to carve out quiet nooks in every room. Our favorite hideout: A sunbathed alcove in the living room that overlooks the densely wooded pine groves outside. It’s a small moment in the grand scheme of things, but the setup is a prime example of what happens when you use space wisely. 

With the right furniture and one eye-catching piece of art, any corner can be turned into a restful retreat. Curated spaces like this can often feel unattainable, so we’re breaking down the six essential elements you need to create Samuel’s.

A Statement Chair 

orange arm chair
Halo Orange Velvet Armchair, CB2 ($1,000)

Color is just as important as comfort when it comes to picking the right seat. Samuel’s vintage piece boasts soft curves and plush armrests, making it an inviting spot to crash and stay for a while, but the bold terracotta upholstery, which practically glows in the light, is equally inviting. 


An Oversize Wall Lamp 

Wrenley Wall Lamp, Lulu and Georgia ($315)

Good lighting is everything when you’re reading, which is why Samuel chose a flexible task lamp that can swing into different positions. The wall-mounted fixture doesn’t take up precious surface area and simply plugs into an outlet—no electrician required. 

A Breezy Ottoman 

Sika-Design Franco Albini ottoman, Finnish Design Shop ($365)

Call it what you want—a stool, a pouf, an ottoman—this is your chance to play up texture. Instead of going matchy-matchy, the designer paired her chunky chair with a Scandinavian footrest made of rattan. 

Graphic Art 

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 5.04.35 PM
Arches, Block Shop ($600)

Blockshop’s Art Deco–inspired woodblock print takes up a good chunk of the blank wall (framed, the artwork measures 40-by-32 inches). The piece acts as a point of connection between the sleek lines of the black light fixture and the rounded shape of the chair. 

A Sculptural Surface

avorio side table
Avorio Side Table, CB2 ($300)

Her oblong pick practically hugs the whole side of the chair, creating a subtle sense of division from the rest of the room.


Leafy Greenery  

Monstera Deliciosa, The Sill ($55)

Even in the dead of winter, Samuel’s hangout feels like a warm-weather oasis thanks to the potted Farfugium (aka leopard plant) in the corner. The lily pad–like leaves spread out in all directions, filling the empty space and breaking up the earthy neutrals. A monstera or Boston fern could easily stand in this tropical greenery’s happy place in the sun. 

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