HVAC upgrades have created an awkward layout in the basement of the rowhouse owned by Dianne Chambers and her husband, Christopher. (Leah L. Jones/For The Washington Post)

Dianne Chambers and her husband, Christopher, have a 112-year-old D.C. rowhouse with lots of vintage charm. The basement is another story: HVAC upgrades have created an awkward layout, and the single window isn’t enough to brighten the room. They would like a comfortable, modern place to watch TV and house overnight guests.


Designer Paula Tranfaglia capitalizes on the layout, turning an oddly shaped nook into a cozy spot to curl up and watch TV.

Tranfaglia, of Decorating Den/PT Designs (301-253-2606), is based in Laytonsville.

Paint the walls a warm but neutral green, such as Benjamin Moore’s Agave.

A TV console with plenty of storage space will come in handy when guests are in town.

Dianne Chambers and her husband, Christopher, have a 112-year-old D.C. rowhouse with lots of vintage charm. But the basement is a problem area. (Leah L. Jones/For The Washington Post)

With the right size sofa bed, an alcove goes from awkward to cozy.

The vinyl plank flooring is a smart choice in a flood-prone basement. The wood grain provides warmth and texture.

Repeat a color throughout the room to tie the design together. White accents and moldings soften the room.

A chest of drawers and mirror at the basement’s entrance (not shown) welcome visitors and add storage.


Furniture: Sruvsta swivel chair in Idhult white ($149), Besta shelf unit with doors in white and high-gloss white ($279) and Karlstad sofa bed in Isunda gray ($899), all from www.ikea.com; Peekaboo clear coffee table ($279, www.cb2.com); Martini side table in white ($149, www.westelm.com); Rialto faux leather chair in Rust ($157, www.overstock.com); Concerto three-drawer chest ($800, www.zgallerie.com).

Accessories: Agatha ceramic vases ($87 for set of three, www.wayfair.com); Multi Ribbon pillow ($25, www.pier1.com); Lack shelves in high-gloss white ($17, www.ikea.com); hand-painted tile sculpture ($90) and white oval Olivia carved mirror ($140), both from www.worldmarket.com); Addie pendant light in Celadon ($189, www.ballarddesigns.com); Soho gourd lamps in white ($132, www.thecompanystore.com).

Flooring: Allure Ultra resilient vinyl plank flooring in Sawcut Dakota ($3 per square foot, www.homedepot.com).


Peekaboo clear console desk ($379, www.cb2.com).

Laguna wool area rug in Prairie and Melon ($1,897 for 8-by-11-foot rug, www.2modern.com).

. . . OR SAVE

Deluxe steel-framed glass-top desk and bookcase ($190, www.staples.com).

Soho wool area rug in brown ($424 for 8-by-8-foot rug, www.homedepot.com).

See past room makeovers by local designers.

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