Welcoming Front Porch

Welcoming Front Porch
Welcoming Front Porch

Create a welcoming front porch with cozy seating, an outdoor rug, plants and accessories.


Basement Den/Guest Room with Off-Center Fireplace

I was originally tasked with making this a comfortable basement den/TV watching space that also doubled as a guest room for long term visitors.


The requirements were:

  • keep the TV, wall color & coffee table trunk (far right corner)
  • include a sleeper sofa
  • include comfortable seating for TV viewing
  • include storage for clothing and other guest items
  • include some sort of wall art gallery to display the grandkids’ artwork

This is a big list for such a small space but it served as a checklist which made the solution relatively easy.  Once I had sourced all of the required elements, I just needed to arrange them in the space:


  • the coffee table trunk provides storage for blankets, linens, etc.
  • a contemporary sleeper sofa converts to a bed for guests
  • end tables with storage double as nightstands for guests
  • recliners provide comfortable seating for TV viewing
  • a wardrobe provides extra storage for long term guests
  • a wall art gallery over the sofa creates a unique focal point where he grandkids’ art can be displayed

This was approved but as I proceeded with drawing the 3D model of the room, I realized that the project was not as simple as I initially thought.  If you look again at the “before” picture, you’ll see that the TV is centered on the wall but the fireplace is not – and per the clients – this wasn’t going to change.  What would change however, would be the style of the fireplace; they were looking to add a wood surround with marble tile, and built-ins on either side. I was then asked if I could help them visualize this.

Here’s my proposed solution:


I made the entire TV/fireplace area one large rectangle and balanced the TV with built-ins on the right, and the fireplace with built-ins on the left.  Per the clients’ request, I replaced the red brick with marble tile, and added a modern wood mantel.

Once I had the space drawn, 2 recliners felt too crowded, so I removed one – otherwise the design remained the same. I kept their soft gray/green color on the walls, added panels in a neutral gray to frame the windows and give them more presence, anchored the seating area with a rug, and included a little bit of greenery to make the space feel more cozy (i.e. less basement-y).

I love the modern look of this fireplace, and how what was originally a design dilemma became a unique feature in this space.



Kid Friendly Family Room

I was recently contacted by a family in Wisconsin about designing a kid-friendly family room.  They’re ‘do-it-yourselfers’, ready to put in the effort to makeover their basement but acknowledge that they lack the creative vision to put the space together themselves.  Here is where online interior design comes in (since I’m nowhere near Wisconsin :-)).

They sent me dimensions and photos of their existing space…

roomphoto1 roomphoto3 roomphoto4…along with a wish list and inspiration photos, indicating colors and styles that they prefer:

inspiration2 inspiration3 inspiration6

I pulled the color palette directly from the inspiration photos, loving the light and airy feel of blues and greens with a splash of yellow:


What I think they struggled most with however, was a floor plan and how to work all of their various wishlist items into one space.  Here’s what I did:

  1. Wishlist Item 1 – TV Viewing Area & Board Game Storage:  I started with this and worked backwards, adding birch tree wallpaper to the far wall to make it a focal point, and a sectional for comfortable seating.  The oversized beach prints pull in the aqua accent color, and the overall palette is light and airy which helps to banish the typical basement, underground feel.

(Also note the new laminate – but gorgeous – rustic hardwood flooring.  Laminate gets a bad rap sometimes, but it’s great for basement spaces because it’ll withstand the elements and other hardships.)


2. Wishlist Item 2 – Craft & Game Area:  Area rugs are great for defining spaces, so I added another one to anchor the craft and game space.  The ceilings are too low for a fabulous chandelier (one of my favorite things to add to a space), so I added a fabulous floor lamp instead.  I love the apple green chairs here because it’s a fun, energetic color and anyone can attain this look by spray painting chairs any color they prefer.


3. Wishlist Item 3 – Treadmill:   Not aesthetically pleasing, but necessary, so I tucked this off into the corner near the awkward overhang that could serve no other purpose otherwise anyway (their budget did not support custom carpentry to add storage here).


4. Wishlist Item 4 – Photo Collage:  I love photo collages, likely because they’re so easy to do and have such an impact.  My clients wanted an area to proudly display their child’s artwork and easily change it out with newer masterpieces, so I included this at the base of the stairs – pretty much the first thing anyone will see coming into the space.


I included these items on my own, hoping to add additional value as a designer:

  • Chalkboard paint – yes, kids, you can now draw on the walls!
  • Cubbies and storage boxes – storage for all of those toys, and yes, functional can also look good
  • Mirror and lamps – basements need all the light they can get, and mirrors help reflect light and bounce it around the room
  • Curtains – I tied all of the different areas in the space together by using the same curtains on all of the windows


5. Wishlist Item 5 – Lighting Plan:  How do you light a basement?  Like this.  I won’t bore you with the details but I’m happy to answer questions if you’d like more information.


Here’s an aerial view of the space:



I sent these renderings along with a Pinterest Board identifying all of the items I’d included in the design, and now they are off creating their Kid Friendly Family space.  I’m excited to see the final results!