Take one spare third-floor bedroom in a Baltimore row house. Add two owners, three professions (doctor, psychologist and fiction writer) and a smattering of house guests, and you have the formula for the not-enough-room blues.
Designers Robert Hale and Tom Williams of Federal Hill Interiors listened carefully to the owners' daunting list of criteria and then went into action. They gutted, installed skylights, moved closets and soon achieved a functional, easy-to-live-in space that accommodates everyone's desires. In so doing, they saved an existing marble fireplace and took advantage of ceilings that soar dramatically from 10 to 16 feet.
For the writer/psychologist, there now is an impressive library with two walls of floor-to-ceiling bookcases that incorporate a desk. For the doctor, a comfortable sitting area and a rich color palette. For the house guests, a Murphy bed -- that wonder of American invention. (When not pulled down for use, it is disguised as a double-doored, built-in cabinet.)
And for anyone who enters the room, there is a sense of a serene, warm, multipurpose living space.