Room design: a teen-ager takes matters into his own hands

Teen-ager Douglas Liman decided one day that he wanted to redesign and redecorate his room in his family's large Manhattan apartment. Although his mother, Ellen Liman, is an interior designer, he didn't seek much help from her.

Douglas wanted his 13-by-20-foot room to be exactly and precisely his own, tailored to his own hobbies, masses of audio-visual equipment, and other special interests. And he was willing to do a lot of the work himself to make it so.

''My friend Willy and I just sat down with a lot of paper and began sketching out different ideas that would break up the room into different areas,'' he explains.

''We finally settled on something like this plan that you see here, with storage platforms all around, and the conversation pit, that can hold as many as 10 kids, in the center. Using masking tape, we marked off the plan on the floor, making changes until it looked just right to us.''

He was tired of the old Ping-Pong table, so it went. So did the single bed, which he discarded in favor of a storage bed with drawers beneath. It was built into one of the platforms. He helped a carpenter build the platforms but put up all shelves himself, including the three triangular corner shelves that form his computer area. Vital to this area are his old file cabinets, now stripped of paint down to their silvery gray metal base.

This area includes his study desk, his typewriter, and his slide-out projector, used for running movies he makes himself as well as those he rents to view at home.

The projector operates from a wire basket installed on the wall; the movie screen pulls down from under the window valances across the room.

''I've always liked blacks and grays, so that was the color scheme I chose for my room,'' Douglas says. ''I painted walls a flat medium gray and kept the ceiling white. I selected a dark gray industrial carpeting for covering the floor and the platforms and painted shelves with black enamel.''

He also designed all the room lighting himself, using theatrical spotlights clipped onto metal tubing - ''the kind used for plumbing.'' He spray-painted his orange Levolor blinds black and gave them some silver speckles.

Douglas stores his music equipment and his records under one of the platforms and says he enjoys the neatness that adequate storage spaces encourage.

Using an extremely simple plan, Douglas ended up with a multifunctional room that works better for him, he says, than he ever dreamed it would.

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