Washington Post’s House Calls! It’s My Turn!

1 Mar

I just had the opportunity to be the “designer on call” for The Washington Post’s House Calls column, and it was an absolute blast! You can see my design, which was a sunroom for a family of four in Springfield, VA, here.  This is the lovely illustration of the space, by The Post’s very talented Julius Goyanko.

(image via The Washington Post, illustration by Julius Goyanko, design by Jessica Bonness)


The whole process for House Calls is thorough and interesting, so I thought I’d recap it for you briefly. When I was initially contacted about the column, a room had already been selected for me. I thought this one was a great match that allowed me to engage in one of my favorite types of design: family-friendly. I was able to contact the homeowner, who filled me in on the uses of the room and preferences. In this case, they wanted a place to play, relax, watch television (but they watch television primarily in another room), and sometimes even snack in.

I had a great time selecting all of the child-friendly elements of the room, particularly a table that ultimately wasn’t shown in the drawing (can’t show it all!), that has a durable metal top, casters, and is situated underneath a wall mounted chalkboard. There’s also a book nook with comfy ottomans (that can double as middle-of-the-room seating) in a corner where the wall is painted in wide horizontal stripes to add some visual interest. The ample seating and durable fabrics are well-suited to a large family. The television is amidst a wall-collage that conceals it, but still provides a central view; it’s mounted just over a low media console. The coffee table is a gorgeous play table that features pull our drawers to hold toys, magazines, or whatever else lands there. And finally, there’s some lovely art floating around on all the walls (and all of it is very reasonably priced).  Here is the rough, scaled plan I provided to The Post. 

If it appears there have been some minor layout changes between this and the illustration, there have been. Mostly for purposes of representation. (image via JGB Interiors)


With the plan, I included a key of items that indicated the sources for furnishings, fixtures, and finishes. This is that collage (without the mountains of text; though, if you have a specific source question, feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email).

(image via JGB Interiors)


You may notice that many of the pieces are from children’s stores: Land of Nod and Restoration Hardware Baby and Child in particular. One of the tricks I use often, and certainly did here, is to mix up more expensive pieces (like the media console from Gus Modern) with less expensive, unconventional alternatives (like the art on the wall from Urban Outfitters). It’s a sort of “catalog curating” that is full of style, but costs less than it looks. …and can’t we all appreciate that?

I hope you enjoyed this week’s column as much as I did participating in it! I can’t wait to do it again sometime, and I hope to be one of the DC designers who contributes regularly. Many thanks to Megan and Julius at the Post for a seamless and fun experience!

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

4 Responses to “Washington Post’s House Calls! It’s My Turn!”

  1. Anne March 1, 2012 at 1:35 PM #

    Gorgeous! And very thoughtful, kid friendly design.

  2. The Home Owner March 1, 2012 at 5:42 PM #

    I’ll just copy what I left in the Post commet section. I wanted to address the really intelligent people who said “This is another house calls that would benefit from more information” or “the club chair is plain ugly” or “not a space specifically for kids” without knowing what the owners (my wife and I) want or what information the designer had to go on. See below:

    I’m the home owner and I really like the design put forth by Ms. Bonness. She followed our room usage to a T. My wife and I really like the sharp look of the mid-century furniture and are happy with the furniture placement. I may, however, shift the furniture away from the french doors to ease traffic flow between the kitchen and the deck (don’t want to weave my way through the furniture with a tray of grilled meat). It may not be everyone’s tastes, but the designer did listen to what we wanted. I love the idea of the activity table as coffee table (never would have though of that), and I think the functionality of the pieces chosen is spot on, particularly the rolling table and the storage bench. The window treatment option is great as well, because we can have some privacy and open up to reaveal the full windows with no blockage. We may not implement all of the ideas, certainly not all at once for budget reasons. However, as a multi-purpose room that will grow with our family, this design really confirms some of the thoughts we already had, and provides some innovative ideas to implement in the future. Thanks, Jessica!

    • jgbinteriors March 1, 2012 at 7:04 PM #

      Thank YOU! I’m so glad to hear that you both enjoy the picks, and I had a lot of fun working on your project. Thanks for your kind comments, and enjoy your beautiful new house!!


  1. Slipcovers for Your Walls » Blog Archive » Painting Yourself Into a Corner? - March 5, 2012

    […] a pop of color that immediately draws your attention to what she describes as a reading nook. Her design was intended to break up the space into designated areas because the unusual problem with this […]

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