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Archive for August, 2008

Use Slender Cabinets to Increase Bathroom Space

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

By Rose Bennett Gilbert – Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Q: We did something dumb when we renovated the master bath; we put in two pedestal sinks practically side by side. We didn’t consider that there would be no place to store anything under a pedestal sink. My husband wants to have a cabinet built between them, but it will have to be very narrow. Do you have a better idea?

A: Yes, I do, and it’s borrowed directly from a recently published book that overflows with good ideas: “Easy Home Makeovers” by Mervyn Kaufman and the editors of Woman’s Day Special Interest Publications, Filipacchi Publishing. As you can see in this photo, since pedestal sinks stand alone, there’s no place to stash even a hair dryer. The clever home designer who faced the same problem solved it as your husband suggests, but takes the center-cabinet idea to new heights, almost to the ceiling, in fact. The slender cabinet was custom crafted to look built-in, an effect enhanced by the matching cherry-wood frame of the mirrors over each sink. The frame also serves to organize the double sink wall into a pleasingly cohesive unit. While pedestal sinks continue to be popular for their old-fashioned charms, they certainly don’t meet the modern homes’ needs for ample storage, Kaufman points out. In fact, he suggests using a vessel sink instead, one that sits on top of the vanity — its plumbing doesn’t take up so much space in the cabinet below.

Q: We have a long downstairs hallway that ends in a window, which takes up most of the wall. I’m at a loss as to how to decorate it. The hall is no more than 6 feet wide; therefore, I can’t put furniture there. What else do you suggest?

A: That window is about all you need. Plus, wallpaper with an interesting pattern. Choose the paper and a fabric that goes with it — dress the window like the star of the show it is, something to draw all eyes down the hall. Even though the passage is narrow, you still may be able to “furnish” it. Try a couple of wall-mounted picture shelves, one above the other. They’re attractive and fun. You can alter the art anytime you change your mind.  A final thought: Use a striped runner rug to “widen” the hallway. With the stripes going across the space, it will seem to push the walls farther apart.

Q: I don’t know what color to buy for my new kitchen floor. We want hardwood, but the cabinets are stained chocolate. I don’t want a dark floor, too. There’s little light in the kitchen. Should I just use tile instead of mismatching the woods?

A: If you’re set on hardwood, get hardwood — never mind trying to match the wood tones. Contrasting wood colors are more interesting and more now, according to the top designers I recently interviewed. Jamie Drake, who decorates all of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s multiple homes, couldn’t have spoken more clearly: 
“Gone are the days when picking one species (or color) for cabinets and floors provided exciting results.”
“What looks right today?” says Drake. “Wood tones that show personality and style.
“Two — and even three — woods are often used in the most successful kitchen designs.”

Want to read more? Click on and then “Write and Request” to ask for a free copy of “American Hardwoods By Design.” Drake is one of a half-dozen experts who will reassure you that “matchy-matching decorating is over.”

Published by Star-News on 8/16/2008

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