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Sneak Peek at our Design Feature in the Washington Post

March 12, 2012

I was recently asked to participate in the Washington Post special feature, “House Calls.” The Washington Post pairs local readers’ design challenges with an interior designer. The result is a before and after makeover with tips and tricks for making the most out of their space. I love participating in this feature! This is my third time and I always get so excited to see the final result when the piece is published.  It’s always a fun challenge and I like that it gives residents of the DC Metro area a chance to pair up with a local designer and experience the virtual design process which is gaining momentum in the design industry (stay tuned for the launch of our new virtual design website…coming soon!)

My assignment for this edition of “House Calls” was to help the Bremer’s, a local family from Annandale, create a fun and bright play area in the basement of their home. The article will debut in early April but I wanted to give you a sneak preview into the project, I have had a lot of fun designing this space!

I created a design for the Bremer family room focusing on three main objectives:

1. Making the space bright and airy (and well-lit) even though it is in a basement with little light.
2. Using a color palette that is kid-friendly and gender-neutral.
3. Leveraging the alphabet as a core element in the design.

Here is a picture of the basement before:

With our three objectives in mind let’s walk through our design makeover!

{To start, I wanted to warm up the space with a golden hue on the walls with a 12″ horizontal stripe painted in the middle of each wall.  Using light colors on the walls will help create a light and airy environment. I selected Benjamin Moore’s Concord Ivory and Simply White.  The white stripe that will run around the room is the backdrop for another core element of the design (which I will talk about later).}

{A horizontal stripe, like the one pictured in this photo, will not only showcase the alphabet wall decals (a key feature in the room), but also will make the room appear larger.}

itstics - Alphabet wall sticker

{To make the alphabet a core element in the room we used products like these alphabet wall stickers found on These will be installed around the room on top of the white stripe.}

{To disguise the gray access panel, I selected an adorable growth chart that goes a long way toward making this room much more appealing.  This Animal Growth Chart can be purchased at Land of Nod for $59.00}

{Next up, white drapery panels are hung as close to the ceiling as possible to heighten the basement ceilings and make the room appear larger. The drapes pictured above can be purchased from Home Decorators Collection, two panels for $59.00}

{Kids love to create artwork. We thought it would be amazing to incorporate the Bremer children’s artwork into their playroom design by using Star Art Cable from Pottery Barn Kids.}

{Low bins create a great way to not only store small toys and books, but also are useful in teaching children responsibility in cleaning up their play space. The ones pictured here are from Ikea. For this room we replaced the pink bins with something more gender neutral, blue. You can do the same in your home, these plastic bins come in many colors to suit the color scheme of your home.}

 {Layering an area rug on top of the dark carpet adds a pop of much needed color. We found this area rug on}

{This Karlstad sofa from Ikea in Korndal green is ideal for this play room, the color of the fabric can easily conceal stains while simultaneously showcasing a chic and clean look an adult can enjoy.}


{These pillows were selected to tie the palette together.  The orange pillow will be placed behind the blue/white one on the sofa to bring the room together.}

{Two well placed Kid’s Orange Microsuede Beanbags make for extra comfortable kid-friendly seating. Found on}

{Lighting is an important element in this room as the basement lacks natural light. In our design plan we included floor lamps, wall sconces and this chandelier from Lamps Plus that will be inserted above the children’s activity table.}

{Finally, we wanted to give the children a place to be creative, do their homework and read. This table is from Land of Nod but there are very similar tables from other retailers in varying prices. The chairs alternating in color are fun and unexpected.}

There are a few more items that I put into the final design, but they’ll have to wait until publishing day.  By putting all of these design elements together I designed a room that the whole Bremer family can enjoy–while being mindful of their budget.  Thank you Bremer family for allowing the team at Decor by Denise to design you a new playroom. We hope you enjoy it! Also thank you to the Washington Post for allowing us to be part of “House Calls.”

This edition of “House Calls” is expected to go to print in early April.  Stay tuned to see the final design sketches by the talented artists at the Washington Post who will bring this room to life!

If you’d like help creating a beautiful home or office you love, contact me today to learn how easy it is to get started.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 25, 2012 9:16 am

    Are you insterested in link exchange. I found it on Bing

  2. March 28, 2012 1:27 pm

    I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back down the road. Cheers

  3. April 3, 2012 2:26 pm

    I truly appreciate this article.Thanks Again. Awesome.

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