Danielle and Andrew Robertson are no Chip and Joanna Gaines, but the couple has renovated three homes together. That includes the 1960s raised ranch in Scituate where they live with their three school-age kids and their Tibetan terrier. The basement was the last space to get any love. “I used it as my office to edit photos at night,” says Danielle, a photographer, “but it was not in any way appealing.”
When COVID hit, everything changed. The kids were home and Danielle and Andrew, who works in data analysis, were working side by side in the basement. “We suddenly needed a professional work environment where we could think, drink tea, and maybe do some yoga uninterrupted by the kids, who had taken over the rest of the house,” Danielle says.
A new desk setup from Ikea that incorporates a cabinet placed strategically between them provides separate work surfaces. Danielle didn’t stop there. “I thought, You know what? I want things that I love in front of me,” she says. Aiming for bright and light decor that reflects her mid-century modern aesthetic, she found a Scandinavian-inspired block-print wallpaper that makes her “so happy.”
A FaceTime call with a stylist friend persuaded the couple to trade in the futon in favor of two secondhand armchairs and paint the window trim black for architectural interest. The seating area serves as a secondary workspace with a laptop or a meeting place where Danielle can chat with clients before a shoot. Speaking of shoots, the basement is now equipped with a studio for headshots and product photography. The corner doubles as a yoga/exercise area and an extra spot to watch television, too.
Hanging artwork was the finishing touch. “Once we framed and hung pieces we’d been collecting for years, it felt official,” Danielle says. “It’s taken the pandemic, but we’re finally finished.”
Marni Elyse Katz is a regular contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.