Best of Design 2023: A Stylish Room Filled with Books

Designer Lisa Scalo McMenamin turned a small space inside this home’s addition into a luxurious library. 

Lsm Baker Web 10

An addition to a Ben Avon Heights home contains a room that could have been taken straight out of a Disney movie.

“This is Belle’s library,” says Best of Design judge Crystal DeCastro Knapik, a senior project designer at Vocon, comparing the spot that won “Best Room” in the 2023 Best of Design contest to the room Belle fell in love with in “Beauty and the Beast.”

Lisa Scalo McMenamin of Pittsburgh-based LSM Interior Design, who designed the interior of the home’s addition and cozy-yet-luxurious library, says the homeowner simply wanted a space for all of his books.

“My client had a lifetime of collecting books,” she says, noting the homeowners wished to remain anonymous. “He enjoys quiet time in this second-floor space with all of his beloved books surrounding him.”

McMenamin takes her inspiration from things she loves, and here she drew from the rich jewel-tone fabrics she had selected. She chose the striking dark-blue, high-gloss lacquer paint from Fine Paints of Europe because the color represents knowledge and integrity.

Judges praised the room’s color palette, which added a sense of warmth and coziness to the room without overpowering it.

“It’s a really great balance of calmness and color,” says judge Katie Savakis, a project designer at Vocon, which has locations in New York City and Cleveland.

To give the small space atmosphere, McMenamin installed ambient lighting within the bookshelves, and a window seat was installed as a reading nook. Two vintage chairs the homeowners already possessed were reupholstered for the space.

The ceiling, with a wooden Phillip Jeffries Wallcovering, adds great dimension, McMenamin says, as does the Stark carpeting on the floor with a large square print.

“It’s a really simple room, but it’s really high style,” she says. “I think it’s exactly what the client wanted, to be surrounded by all the books that he loves, and I think we accomplished what we set out to do for him.”


Architect: Gaskill Architecture, LLC.
Interior Design: LSM
Interior Design: Lisa Scalo McMenamin
General Contractor: Willner Enterprises
Paint: Fine Paints of Europe
Painter: Colorworks
Flooring: Stark
Carpet Installation: William A. Fischer Carpet Company
Chairs: Vintage
Ceiling Wallcoverings: Phillip Jeffries
Bench Cushion: Brunschwig & Fils
Bench Throw Pillows: Clarence House fabric, Samuel & Sons trim
Chair Throw Pillows: Schumacher
Square Drinks Table: Chelsea House
Electrician: Staley Electric Inc.

Categories: Best of Design