Make a curve with straight cabinets

February 27, 1994|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Q: We have moved into a newly constructed, contemporary-style home that has a circular area adjacent to the family room. Our intention is to use this space as a small library and media room. We planned to have a contractor build rounded cabinets and shelving for the walls, but the cost turns out to be well beyond our budget.

Do you have some suggestions for how to furnish such an unusually shaped space? Do all the pieces need to be rounded?

A: I'm not surprised that you've gotten high price estimates for cabinets that would be installed around the circumference of a circular room. Many custom-cabinet shops would probably find it difficult to meet those specifications.

Your most feasible alternative may be to buy small, ready-made segments of cabinets and shelving that could then be angled and joined together. If properly fitted, these parts can be made to look as though they are indeed following the rounded shape of the room's walls.

That's what was done very effectively in the conference room shown in the photo. The Chicago interior-design firm of Tigerman McCurry expertly melded flat and relatively narrow components into a continuous form that appears to match the contours of this spherical space.

As you can see, an "O"-shaped area doesn't have to be filled with circular furniture. You will note, however, that the table does have curved edges, since a completely squared-off centerpiece would probably have been a bit jarring to the eye. In your own situation, I would similarly suggest that any large pieces, such as sofa, should be slightly rounded to echo the curve of the wall.

The floor treatment must likewise be responsive to the room's geometry. In the photo, a hardwood floor was laid in a sunburst pattern emanating from the center of the space. Since you're planning to create a somewhat more casual design, a circular area rug might be a good choice.

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