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House Calls: A double-duty living room in Bethesda

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After welcoming their second child last year, Nicolle and Matt Sternberger (shown with older child Parker, 3) began renovating their Bethesda home. Their living room addition should be kid-friendly but not a toy room so the couple can entertain without too much fuss.


By emphasizing bright colors and lots of seating, designers Stacey Christopher and Sharon Gatt create a family space that adults can enjoy, too.

Keep lighting out of children’s reach with wall-mounted sconces.

Pair together red and orange for a color-blocking look. The rug is the family’s own and the walls are Citrine by Benjamin Moore.

Buy throw pillows with removable slipcovers. They are easy to clean and inexpensive to replace.

An ottoman is a comfortable alternative to a coffee table. It can serve as extra seating during parties.

Find creative ways to display art. A child’s easel can prop up a framed landscape.

A flat-surface media cabinet can double as a buffet table when it’s time to entertain guests.

Minimize clutter. A large shelving unit (not shown) keeps toys, books and games off of the floor.

Christopher and Gatt, of IWS Design Group (301-881-3102, www.iws
), are based in Bethesda.


Furniture: Dante sofa in graphite ($2,100,; Everett upholstered chair ($550) and ottoman ($350) in cotton basket-weave flax, both from; Essex upholstered ottoman in flax ($350,; Rockridge accent table ($80,
); Expedit shelving unit ($130,; Highboy TV stand in black (no longer available online,

Lighting: Library swing-arm sconces ($135 each,

Accessories: Oversize wooden tray ($30,; Monkey table ($150,; Crossroads print ($50,; Drum garden stool prosperity design in white ($260,; Malta 20-inch pillow ($60, www.crateand; Hopsack 24-inch pillow cover in brick ($50,

SPLURGE . . . Baker Sophia chair ($2,800, www.kohler Horus print by Aurelie Tu ($800, www.roomandboard. com). . . . OR SAVE Tulip upholstered chair in dandelion ($500, www.westelm. com). Klee “New Harmony” 1936 poster in Gunmetal ($130, www.roomandboard. com).

Tell us about your design challenge. Send photos, room dimensions and contact information to

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