Room Envy: This relaxed listening room is a music-lover’s perfect escape

The custom shelves hold a collection of about 3,000 albums

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Room Envy

Photograph by Lauren Rubinstein

When it’s 90 degrees in Atlanta, IT professional and writer Blake Donley can escape to his basement listening room with a cool beverage and 3,000—give or take—of his favorite LPs.

Built-ins for Bruce (and others)
The basement has custom shelves for Donley’s 30-years-in-the-making collection of Bruce Springsteen, Dwight Yoakam, Eurythmics, and more—arranged alphabetically.

Retro reminders
Donley inherited his father’s vintage Pioneer receiver, and has continued to collect ’70s- and ’80s-era hi-fi gear from online sources and auctions. “Today, I have more than 50 pieces of gear—all Pioneer—with 18 of them in the basement,” he says.

Sitting in style
The laid-back chairs are perfect for listening to Donley’s “stacks of wax” (his lingo), while the cowhide rug from Scott Antique Markets adds texture and pattern on top of light-wood floors.

Singing the blues
Co-homeowner Lauren Rubinstein, a professional photographer, kept the look blue-on-blue, with Benjamin Moore “Hale Navy” in a semigloss for the built-in cubbies. The wood shelves for stereo components have hidden casters.

Design Tip: Lighting can make a room. “I wanted a statement, something sleek, without taking away from the rest of the room,” says Rubinstein. The sculptural Talon Chandelier by Regina Andrew hits all the right notes.

This article appears in our July 2023 issue.

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