(The Washington Post)

Lisa Mellman (left, with her son Gabriel) wants to make the largely unused 12-by-11-foot front room in her Silver Spring home into a more functional space for homework and reading. She also needs storage for her five kids’ backpacks, shoes and coats. She plans to keep her bookcases and the pale green paint color but would like to add a table for schoolwork and games, and a cozy spot where someone can curl up with a book.

(Leah L. Jones/For The Washington Post)

Designer Jennifer Schweikert adds a bench with cabinets to increase storage, and a peninsula-style desk that allows multiple people to work at the same time.

(Interior rendering by Rodney Co/3D Storm Studio/ for The Washington Post)
Schweikert’s SUGGESTIONS

Use a mixture of lighting, including a table lamp and pendant, to illuminate the space. Pare back books on the bookcases to reduce clutter. Add a few decorative boxes to conceal not-so-attractive supplies. A comfortable chair and lamp by the front window create a cozy spot for reading. Burlap bulletin boards are a stylish way to display kids’ artwork and other important papers. Closed doors on the landing-zone cabinet keep the room neat and organized, allowing kids to concentrate on homework.

(Courtesy of Jennifer Schweikert; The Washington Post)

Schweikert, with JMS reDesigns ­(703-321-6155, jmsredesigns.com), is based in Burke, Va.


(Ballard Designs; Wisteria)

SPLURGE: Tulum armless chair in off-white twill and walnut finish ($899, ballardesigns.com), left. SAVE: Bleached teak lounge chair ($449, wisteria.com).

(Crate and Barrel; Ballard Designs)

SPLURGE: Kepler wool rug ($699 for 6-by-9-foot rug, crateandbarrel. com), left. SAVE: Seagrass rug with sand border ($199 for 6-by-9-foot rug, ballarddesigns.com).


Furniture: Royce all-in-one mudroom in Polar White ($1,149 for large, homedecorators.com); whitewashed Voyager chest ($379, grandinroad.com); Ryggestad tabletop in pine ($99) and Backaryd underframe in white ($40), both from ikea.com; Carlisle high-back dining chairs in metal ($100 for two, target.com).

Accessories: Wooden ruler wall art ($59), wooden pencil wall art in red ($59), wooden paintbrush wall art in blue ($59) and burlap bulletin board in natural ($99 each for 20-by-60-inch boards), all from grandinroad.com; Lauters table lamp base in brown ($35) and Jara nine-inch lampshade in white ($9), both from ikea.com; Tucker wall clock ($169, homedecorators.com); industrial trouble light plug-in pendant with no switch, standard black cord and galvanized finish ($149, barnlightelectric.com).

More from House Calls:

Follow us on Pinterest.

See answers to frequently asked questions about House Calls here

Tell us about your own design challenge here

See past room makeovers by local designers here