The study at the top of the stairs in Mark and Mary Beth’s house in suburban Washington, D.C., is part of a dormer addition, which, in turn, is part of a larger master suite remodel designed by architect Shawn Glen Pierson.

The 30-foot-long dormer makes space for both a master bath and the study while filling out the main roof so that visually it balances the master bedroom added above the existing family room. The loft-like study isn’t meant to be a secluded office; it’s more like a perch where Mark or Mary Beth can work quietly while staying connected to the life of the house downstairs.

The study is separated from the stairway by a half-height fat wall that is both bookshelf and railing, yet light from the dormer windows reaches down to the front entry at the foot of the stairs.

Adapted with permission from Not So Big Remodeling by Sarah Susanka, published by The Taunton Press (2009).

More REMODELING articles about home office design and making the most of limited space:

Privacy, Please: Creating a cozy office alcove

Maximizing Stair Storage: Designing for this awkward space to yield great results