Before: Hemmed-In Seating Area

After seeing how Los Angeles-based designer Kyle Schuneman had totally transformed her husband's basement man cave the year before, Karen asked him to work his magic with this multipurpose room. The result: a lighter, airier living space in sync with the 1920s Spanish Colonial Revival house, with freshened-up wood finishes and dramatic new lighting. Says Schuneman: "Now it's a functional workspace for Karen, as well as a sophisticated gathering spot for family and friends."

Karen couldn't agree more. "I got the update I wanted," she says, "without sacrificing any of the details that we loved about this house."

Shown: The step-down seating area, wrapped on one side with a wrought-iron railing, felt hemmed in.
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