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The enclosed porch in Rene and Frank McDonald's University Park house poses a common design problem: It's long and narrow, making furniture placement tricky. We called Helena Peck of InDesign (helena@theindesignhome.com) to map out a plan.
The enclosed porch in Rene and Frank McDonald's University Park house poses a common design problem: It's long and narrow, making furniture placement tricky. We called Helena Peck of InDesign (helena@theindesignhome.com) to map out a plan. (By Len Spoden for The Washington Post)
Thursday, July 27, 2006

Clear all clutter. Be relentless.

Paint the walls and the back wall of the built-in shelving Sherwin Williams's Compatible Cream, a golden beige to complement the existing floor tile. Paint the trim, built-in shelving and doors in a white semigloss.

Create two distinct spaces using 6-by-9-foot area rugs: For a cozy seating/TV area, Peck suggests the Zoccolo rug from Crate & Barrel, with rectangles in earthy shades of green and brown ($630, http://www.crateandbarrel.com/ ); for a project area she likes the Classic Boucle Sisal in chocolate from Restoration Hardware ($249, http://www.restorationhardware.com/ ). Alternatively, one piece of wall-to-wall carpet remnant, cut to the shape of the room with the edges bound, would fit like a large area rug and provide more coverage while still allowing tiles to be exposed. Leave about one foot between the wall and the rug.

Design the spaces: For the seating area, pair your existing recliner with something brightly colored and a little less traditional, such as the Gigi Chair from Room and Board covered in Bezel celadon ($579, http://www.roomandboard.com/ ). If you decide to replace the recliner, Peck suggests Room and Board for its varied options and great shipping rates.

Swap the bulky television for a flat-panel and replace the existing TV stand with something more modern, such as the Aspect 9760 by BDI, available through Apartment Zero ($580, 202-628-4067, http://www.apartmentzero.com/ ). The stand is ideal for small spaces; it swivels and conceals the wires in the support column.

Replace the existing dining table with one that does double duty. The Pivot Table from Crate & Barrel, for example, has a top that flips open to double in size when needed. A hidden storage compartment holds linens, sewing materials or art supplies ($499). Pair the table with a chair like the Overlapping Squares Chair in chocolate from West Elm ($199, http://www.westelm.com/ ).

Add extra storage with stackable units that allow you to customize your space. Peck likes West Elm's Modular Storage Collection in chocolate brown for its low profile (the units will not block the view from the windows) and reasonable price ($59 to $189).

Add softness and texture to the room with window treatments. Peck suggests the Bamboo Flat Fold Roman shades in Sendai/Saddle from Smith and Noble ( http://www.smithandnoble.com/ ) with the Bohenna/chocolate edge binding. Opt for the top down feature. A privacy liner can be added for insulation and light control, but keep in mind that the liner will be visible from outside. For added softness, hang silk drapes such as the Madison Drapery panels in chocolate from Storehouse ($219.95 per panel, http://www.storehouse.com/ ).

Spruce up existing shelving with boxes and baskets for stylish storage. Try the Container Store, Home Goods or Target for these items. Consider having a carpenter build shelves and drawers under the existing window seat and add doors at the bottom of the existing shelving.

Create a gallery photo wall by hanging similar frames and mats a couple of inches apart. A tip: For brick, cut out paper templates of the frames and tape them to the wall to decide on an arrangement. Use the templates as a guide for placing nail holes. For painted walls, mark nail placement with chalk. It's easier to clean than pencil.

Terri Sapienza

Tell us about your design challenge. Send photos, room dimensions and contact information to makeover@washpost.com , or write to House Calls, Home Section, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071


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