House Calls: A basement goes from unwieldy to useful

(Leah L. Jones/ For The Washington Post ) - HVAC upgrades have created an awkward layout in the basement of the rowhouse owned by Dianne Chambers and her husband, Christopher.

(Leah L. Jones/ For The Washington Post ) - HVAC upgrades have created an awkward layout in the basement of the rowhouse owned by Dianne Chambers and her husband, Christopher.

THE CHALLENGE

Dianne Chambers and her husband, Christopher, have a 112-year-old D.C. rowhouse with lots of vintage charm. The basement is another story: HVAC upgrades have created an awkward layout, and the single window isn’t enough to brighten the room. They would like a comfortable, modern place to watch TV and house overnight guests.

(Leah L. Jones/For The Washington Post) - Dianne Chambers and her husband, Christopher, have a 112-year-old D.C. rowhouse with lots of vintage charm. But the basement is a problem area.

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THE SOLUTION

Designer Paula Tranfaglia capitalizes on the layout, turning an oddly shaped nook into a cozy spot to curl up and watch TV.

Tranfaglia, of Decorating Den/PT Designs (301-253-2606), is based in Laytonsville.

Paint the walls a warm but neutral green, such as Benjamin Moore’s Agave.

A TV console with plenty of storage space will come in handy when guests are in town.

With the right size sofa bed, an alcove goes from awkward to cozy.

The vinyl plank flooring is a smart choice in a flood-prone basement. The wood grain provides warmth and texture.

Repeat a color throughout the room to tie the design together. White accents and moldings soften the room.

A chest of drawers and mirror at the basement’s entrance (not shown) welcome visitors and add storage.

SHOPPING GUIDE

Furniture: Sruvsta swivel chair in Idhult white ($149), Besta shelf unit with doors in white and high-gloss white ($279) and Karlstad sofa bed in Isunda gray ($899), all from www.ikea.com; Peekaboo clear coffee table ($279, www.cb2.com); Martini side table in white ($149, www.westelm.com); Rialto faux leather chair in Rust ($157, www.overstock.com); Concerto three-drawer chest ($800, www.zgallerie.com).

Accessories: Agatha ceramic vases ($87 for set of three, www.wayfair.com); Multi Ribbon pillow ($25, www.pier1.com); Lack shelves in high-gloss white ($17, www.ikea.com); hand-painted tile sculpture ($90) and white oval Olivia carved mirror ($140), both from www.worldmarket.com); Addie pendant light in Celadon ($189, www.ballarddesigns.com); Soho gourd lamps in white ($132, www.thecompanystore.com).

Flooring: Allure Ultra resilient vinyl plank flooring in Sawcut Dakota ($3 per square foot, www.homedepot.com).

SPLURGE . . .

Peekaboo clear console desk ($379, www.cb2.com).

Laguna wool area rug in Prairie and Melon ($1,897 for 8-by-11-foot rug, www.2modern.com).

. . . OR SAVE

Deluxe steel-framed glass-top desk and bookcase ($190, www.staples.com).

Soho wool area rug in brown ($424 for 8-by-8-foot rug, www.homedepot.com).

See past room makeovers by local designers.

Tell us about your design challenge.

Send photos, room dimensions and contact information to makeover@washpost.com .

 
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