Susanne Graham-Yooll of Derwood wants to turn her awkward hall into an office. Slanted ceilings and window nooks make decorating tricky, but she needs room for a scanner, computer and a few of her home-builder husband’s rolled-up house plans. Bonus points if there’s a homework spot for 11-year-old Vanessa.


By mixing steel, leather and reclaimed wood, designer J. Allen creates an industrial yet warm family office.

Allen, of Perceptions Interiors (202-330-5619), is based in the District.

Designate work areas for all three family members. A reading chair in the corner is a nice place to unwind.

Paint the walls and vaulted portions of the ceiling slate gray. The color is Graphite by Restoration Hardware.

Susanne and Vanessa Graham-Yooll. (Leah L. Jones/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

Organize paperwork and office supplies. Store them in matching baskets, bins or boxes on the bookcase shelves.

Avoid heavy furniture in a small space. A thin table and open-weave chairs allow a clear line of sight through the room.

Update the ceiling light and fan. The modern fixture will circulate more air into the space — and make less noise.

Mix materials to add visual interest. Steel stools, metal lamps and a glass desk give the office an industrial look.


Furniture: 1950s Copenhagen chair in denim ($1,495, www.restorationhardware.com); Chilton walnut dining table with steel base ($2,499, www.roomandboard.com); Ingred low-back office chair ($339, www.bovafurniture.com); Bjursta sideboard in brown ($249, www.ikea.com).

Lighting: High-performance twin turbo ceiling fan in rubbed bronze ($550, www.minka.com).

Accessories: Perforated bent metal bookshelf ($15, www.cb2.com); Union Jack rug ($700 for 8-by-10-foot rug, www.zgallerie.com); small rectangular lacquer trays ($32, www.westelm.com); Marseilles linen pin board ($499, www.restorationhardware.com); Jayden metal shelf units ($80 for three shelves, www.worldmarket.com).


Double-drawer homework desk in walnut with steel legs ($2,695, www.dwr.com).

Bertoia side chair with vinyl seat pad ($698 each, www.dwr.com).

. . . OR SAVE

Silverado rectangular dining table ($349, www.cb2.com).

Reed zinc chairs ($149 each, www.cb2.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.