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DECOR SCORE- Small Spaces Can Carry an Immense Shtick PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rose Bennett Gilbert Creative Syndicate   
Thursday, 19 July 2012 02:19


Guests get a BIG, BOLD welcome from an entry inspired by the famously exuberant decorator, Dorothy Draper.

Q: I have a funny little alcove off the living room. It's too small for furniture other than a chair and tiny table. Do I ignore it, or is there a better idea?

A: Every square foot of home space is too precious to be ignored. Any space — even if it's truly too small to be actually lived in — can be persuaded to make a big decorative contribution to your home life.

Witness the drama that's been condensed into the entry hall we show here. Black-and-white-and-red-hot all over, it's a direct descendant of famed designer Dorothy Draper's over-the-top decorations for the Greenbrier hotel in West Virginia. It's no surprise, according to Susan and Lauren McGrath, who include the photo in their red-hot new book, "Good Bones, Great Pieces" (published by Stewart Tabori & Chang).

The hall hails visitors to the New York apartment of Meredith German, the fashion designer, who lived a scant mile from the Greenbrier and grew up with Dorothy's signature bright colors and super-scaled accents. Designed in collaboration with interior decorator Barrie Benson, the apartment is all about bold gestures like big black stripes and sizzling floral upholstery piped in black patent leather.

As you can guess from the mirror's reflection, the rest of the room is just as jazzy, picking up the pace set in this dazzling little entry...and proving in clear black-and-white that little things sure can mean a lot!

Q: I'm trying to do some "welcome home" decorating for my daughter who just graduated from college and will live with us while she gets a job. My idea is to make her room like a studio apartment so she can have friends in and stuff. Are they still making those beds that fold up against the wall?

A: "They" sure are — just check out The wall-bed originally invented by one William Lawrence Murphy (l876-l959) is still alleviating space pains for thousands of the squeezed-in, including apartmentdwellers and Columbia University grad students, who can flip their dorm beds up and out of sight by day.

Murphys can be a smart idea even when space is not the main issue. We just admired the sleight-of-hand executed by the owner of a large and lovely beach home near The Hamptons on Long Island, NY. She'd tucked her Murphy into what had been a double closet and hidden it behind built-in folding doors with curtains that match the window treatment. With the bed banished up and into the closet space, the room can hold extra tables for large dinner parties or whatever. Come bedtime, it folds down between two small bedside tables that hold his 'n her reading lamps on either side.

But be warned before you work such now-you-see-itnow- you-don't magic: you may conjure such a comfy "welcome home," your daughter will want to stay on even after she's lucky enough to land a job in this economy.

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the coauthor of "Manhattan Style" and six other books on interior design.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 July 2012 02:22