The Washington Post

House Calls: Filling an unused space


After removing the wall between their kitchen and living space, Bethesda residents Kevin Giesecke and Janna Hayes need help outfitting the open floor plan in their mid-century home. Giesecke and Hayes want a contemporary feel that is more warm and cozy than sleek, with earthy tones and pieces that can hold up to three active children.

Kevin Giesecke’s living room. (Leah L. Jones/For The Washington Post)

Designer Ebonee Bachman helps fill out the underused space with comfortable sectional furniture while pairing soft colors with distressed-wood pieces for a contemporary look. Bachman, of Moonlight Interiors (202-617-6209,, is based in the District.

The solution. (Illustration by Julius Goyanko for The Washington Post)

A sectional couch in a durable, dark fabric can withstand messes and spills made by active kids.

Choose tables with a distressed-wood finish, and scratches from kids will merely add to the furniture’s character.

To create a more distinct walkway to the sliding glass doors, place a narrow console table behind the sectional.

Make the fireplace the focal point with a tile mosaic, and flank it with two bookcases to hold mementos and family photos.

Draperies soften the space and offer privacy.

Use paint to differentiate the living space from the kitchen. Try a light green, such as Benjamin Moore’s Cedar Grove.


Furniture: Jackson sectional left-arm sofa ($2,250) and right-arm loveseat ($2,150), both in Safari chunky cotton from; Astair nesting tables ($200,; Sanna custom chair in Mirror Crimson fabric and Cognac finish ($1,099,; Hangchu display shelf ($674,; Penelope console ($649,; Woodland console ($999,

Accessories: Candice Olson Modern Classics rug No. CAN-1984 ($2,821 for 9-by-13-foot rug) and Oasis rug No. OAS-1087 ($1,085 for 8-by-11-foot rug,; Flow II art set ($250) and Gold Swirls canvas print ($279), both from; Soft wave fold drapery panel in Desert Flowers/Sunshine (prices vary by size,

Tile: Copper Mountain mixed-material mosaic wall tile ($13 per square foot,


Presidio chair in two-tone Oxford/Natural fabric ($1,150,

Large heirloom silver coffee trunk ($1,610,

Presidio chair. (William-Sonoma)

Heirloom coffee table trunk. (Restoration Hardware)
. . . OR SAVE

Melrose club chair in microfiber natural fabric ($743,

Concentric coffee table ($299,

Melrose club chair. (Ballard Design)

Concentric Coffee Table. (Z Gallerie)

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

Margaret Ely is a digital editor for Lifestyle. Previously, she was an intern for the Post’s Metro section.



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