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Kathy Flammia's master bedroom
Katy Flammia's master bedroom and sitting area was created in an attic and inspired by Scandinavian interiors. (David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)

The simple life, up in the attic

Katy Flammia knows a few things about style.

The owner of THEREdesign Architecture + Interior Design in Allston, she spruced up the interior of the Odyssey cruise ship last winter and, before that, designed the interiors of Azure and City-Bar at the Lenox Hotel. That's in addition to homes, fitness clubs, and other commercial projects that she and her firm have overseen.

In the privacy of her own home -- a two-family Craftsm an-style house in Brookline -- Flammia's taste for minimalist, contemporary design is on display, from her bright blue doorbell to the black Miele coffee machine built into the kitchen wall.

Last year Better Homes and Gardens called her kitchen "chic," and this winter HGTV's "I Want That! Baths" said her master bathroom was "cool." But to Flammia, the best room in the house is her master bedroom and sitting area, which she created four years ago by converting an attic storage space. She shares the bedroom with her husband, Giovanni, a software engineer. Her 11-year-old daughter, Elena, sleeps in a bedroom downstairs. The project wasn't an easy task, the 44-year-old said. "Being your own architect is really hard," she said. "Everyone expects you to have a great house."

For inspiration, Flammia, who grew up in the Philadelphia area, turned to her roots as a high school exchange student in Scandinavia. "I lived in an apartment where everything in it was white," she said. "It was very clean and natural and not overly decorated. My style is clean lines without a lot of decoration," she added. "I like things really simple."

And simple it is. Upstairs, there is one large room with three white walls and a sloped roof. A fourth wall in the back is covered with maple paneling. The floor is oak. And the room is illuminated by sunlight from four large skylights that open to summer breezes. Flammia likes to lounge on her queen- size bed sometimes and stare at the moon and stars through the skylights. "When we have a hail storm, I feel connected to the weather. Up here, it's hitting you on the head, not the sides," she said.

The sitting area, which is closest to the staircase and entry way, has a tan chaise-style sofa. "Elena sleeps up here sometimes," said Flammia. There's a silver lacquer bookshelf -- a simple post with small shelves -- from Design Within Reach. Flammia's architecture books, lying horizontal, appear to float.

On a mantle near the staircase, Flammia has a white cylindrical ceramic vase that holds dried Kangaroo Paw flowers. The mantle also displays small white porcelain eggs from and a few red bricks Flammia found on a beach.

On the wall is a painting by Boston artist Judy Blotnick, which tells the story of a mother and daughter raiding each other's closets. "My husband bought that," she said. "It reminded him of my relationship with my daughter."

In the center of the room is a chimney stack, which Flammia had painted white. There is a 3-inch-thick slab of maple that runs from the chimney to a wall, serving as a desk. "Visually, it made the room seem like two rooms," said Flammia. "Somehow, it made the attic feel bigger."

Beyond the desk is the bed with a simple maple frame. Flammia made the beige wool bedspread, adding decorative pillows from IKEA with orange and off-white squiggles. Flammia's maple dresser with silver handles is from Room & Board. Giovanni got his white lacquer four-drawer dresser from West Elm.

Flammia is proud of her 4-foot high closet, which is hidden in a wall and covered with white roller shades from . "There was not a lot of space," she said. "But we don't have a lot of clothes. It's a great way to live life in general, with less stuff."