AFP Interiors’ Washington Post’s HouseCalls design

I love The Washington Post’s HouseCalls section in their Thursday “Living” section. I’ve been the featured designer there 3 times, with the most recent time being Feb. 8, 2012 (and I am just getting around to blogging about it, can you believe it?). I want to show you the design and give you some behind-the-scenes details — including the homeowners’ feedback! (Click here to see the Feb. 8 HouseCalls feature).

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{The Washington Post's HouseCalls design, by AFP Interiors, published on Feb. 8, 2012}

The HouseCalls feature is a virtual design project. This means that the designer doesn’t see the space in person. He/she only gets details and photos via email or phone. The designer is sent current photos from every perspective as well as a wish list from the homeowner, including how they use the room (or want to use the room after the new design). Designers are also given a budget for the room selections.

All items are selected online and are accessible to the public (versus to the design trade only). The Post also asks for a few “high end” options to appeal to a variety of budgets.

The homeowners I worked with had these requests/desires for their master bedroom:

  • Nothing too crazy in terms of prints on the walls or bed
  • We have a lot of dark wood furniture in the living room so something different in the bedroom would be nice. We’ve never known exactly how to mix different colors of wood and styles- for example, could we keep our existing dark bedside tables and get a lighter-colored/more classic dresser?
  • A chair for reading, ideally with a foot rest or ottoman, comfy cushions, and arm rests would be great, along with a lamp for the chair and a new dresser that has more drawers so we can each have our own.
  • We have a cat who has claws (so leather probably wouldn’t work) but no kids.
  • We love the big window but don’t know how to really accentuate it.

Here is a photo of their room “before.”

{The Washington Post's HouseCalls' homeowners' bedroom, before redesign}

As I often do when designing a bedroom, I focused on the space plan first. In order to make room for a reading chair, a request from the homeowner, I re-oriented the bed to open up the corner for a chair. This placed the bed in front of a window, but the headboard doesn’t block too much of the window, so I felt it still worked. I also love walking into a room and facing the bed.

Next I focused on selecting bedding that fit their color likes. This established the palette for the rest of the room, including the wall color.

I emailed the homeowner after the design was published and here’s her feedback on the room. (She said she’ll send photos of the new room too!).

“Thank you so much. We loved the design. We moved the bed. It is great – I never would have thought of that. Even
our cat likes the new arrangement, I swear. He never used to sleep on our bed but since we moved it around he’s been sleeping there every night. The lamps are great. I especially love the one you put by the chair and the one on the dresser and think I will buy both.”

Another happy client! It’s a great feeling to help give a young couple a fresh start. I can’t wait to see their “after” pictures (and you know I’ll share them with you).

Happy decorating!

Yian Q