“The room feels like a cavernous bowling alley,” wrote Charles and Susan Guernieri of their 20-by-15-foot Mount Airy family room. They want to refresh the dated decor but aren’t sure what to do with the fireplace. They’d rather not paint the brick but are open to covering it. Most importantly, all the furnishings must be dog-friendly.


By covering the brick with drywall and simplifying the window treatments, designers Frances Temme and Linda O’Connor make the room feel cozy and sophisticated.

O’Connor and Temme (703-505-1024) are based in Falls Church.

Cool gray paint makes the space feel calm. Walls are Coastal Fog, ceiling is Muskoka Trail, trim is White Dove, all by Benjamin Moore.

Vary textures while keeping the palette neutral. Mix metal tables, wooden chairs and sisal carpet.

Susan and Charles Guernieri. (Leah L. Jones/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

The tall, all-brick fireplace is overwhelming. Enclose it with drywall and blue-gray slate tiles.

Hang a rustic chandelier eight feet from the floor to make the room feel more intimate.

Center the sofa and chairs around the coffee table. The seating should accommodate larger gatherings and quiet movie nights.

A large painting is a colorful focal point. Repeat the blues and greens in lighting and accessories.

Make the room your own. Build a gallery of black and white family photos on one wall.


Furniture: Ankara chairs in khaki ($699 each) and Blake gray-wash media console ($1,499), both from www.crateandbarrel.com; Carlisle slipcovered sofa in sea grass twill ($1,599, www.potterybarn.com); Moroccan leather pouf in chocolate brown ($115, www.amazon.com); Shenandoah traditional mantel ($240, www.fireplacemantels.com); sisal carpet in sandbox ($20 per square yard, www.curranfloor.com).

Lighting: Tripod wood floor lamp ($249, www.westelm.com); Eleanor table lamp ($179, www.crateandbarrel.com).

Accessories: Cameron cotton roman shade in white ($199 each, www.potterybarn.com); cellular structure print ($359, www.crateandbarrel.com); Mercer round side table $259, www.restorationhardware.com); large woven sea grass basket ($69, www.wisteria.com).


Industrial clamp table ($849, www.wisteria.com).

Weston square pendant in bronze ($749, www.restorationhardware.com).

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Baluster coffee table ($349, www.restorationhardware.com).

Bolton lantern ($399, www.potterybarn.com).

See past room makeovers by local designers.

Wanted: Photos of kids’ rooms for a House Calls makeover. Send photos, dimensions, ages and contact information to makeover@washpost.com