To take advantage of the area under the mantel—and eliminate the need for freestanding bookcases and a bar cart—the couple designed craftsman-style built-ins that look original to the house.
A hard-working bench not only provides a tremendous amount of storage, it also offers seating for up to four guests. (When friends and family come calling, the coffee-table tomes laid out on its surface get stashed below.) "We try to multifunction everything," Lauren says.
She and Eric resisted the urge to fill a tiny room with lots of little furniture: One big piece, like the sofa-and-chaise combo, creates a room-within-a-room feel.