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DECOR SCORE- How to Party Large in Little Rooms PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rose Bennett Gilbert Creative Syndicate   
Thursday, 09 August 2012 01:47

LUCAS ALLEN, COURTESY STEWART, TABORI & CHANG

Wandering out of the bedroom and into the party, a dresser makes a smart beverage center, bar none.

Q: I love to entertain, but I have such a tiny studio apartment! Do you have some ideas on dual-purpose furniture and storage tips for extra dishes and vases?

My walls are white, and I have a daybed that also works as the couch.

A: The best idea is to trick your guests into forgetting that this is also where you live. Your daybed-slash-couch is a smart beginning. Carry that dual-purpose idea on to other furnishings, such as the crackling- smart dresser we show here.

Top designer Miles Redd works his famous way with colors, mixing hues and cocktails with equal aplomb in a big-city apartment. Slicked red — well, more Hermes orange — a once straightforward bedroom dresser becomes festive party central: beneath the serving top, the hostess stores tall bottles and glasses in the bottom and stuff like napkins and stirrers in the drawer.

What makes the old piece into a centerpiece is Redd's brilliant symmetry: matching lamps, a great work of art (by Josef Albers, no less) and cool black-and-white print wallpaper that pulls it all together.

Mother-daughter authors/ designers Suzanne and Lauren McGrath make this great case for letting dressers wander out of the bedroom in their book, "Good Bones, Great Pieces" (from which we've borrowed this shot).

Your kitchen table can do double duty, too. For example, set a buffet on its top and present placemats and silver in its pulled-out drawer. More make-room ideas: a high-low coffee table that rises for dining; low stools that roll out of the way under a sofa table between guests; racks that mount under open doorways to hold wine glasses; storage hassocks that keep table linens and the like out of sight but always ready at the ring of a doorbell.

Q: I need to freshen up our front porch. We're having a little party to celebrate a friend's second wedding, and I know people will wander out there with their drinks.

There's not much room except in one corner. What do you think?

A: Nothing says "outdoor porch and summertime" more beautifully than colorful flowers in bloom. You can make a statement in a small space by stacking lots of pots full of flowers on a corner rack — most floral shops stock such.

Or you can, ahem, take a leaf from a horticultural resource that has created what it calls the "Gardener's Confidence" collection, plants that they promise will bloom and thrive for even the faintest of green thumbs (gardenersconfidence. com).

In your case, expert Andy Rogers suggests "landscaping" your porch with a cluster of three containers, each with a single — and singular — plant. One container could feature a highly fragrant, new gardenia ("pinwheel") — the second, a shock of color. (He favors the "Ever-Red Loropetalum," which comes in deep burgundy with tassel "fringe" flowers.) Finally, to add height and presence to the arrangement, Rogers prescribes something upright, like a dwarf Alberta spruce, old-fashioned canna or ornamental grasses.

It's a decorative solution that may last well beyond your friend's wedding. Take the trio inside when the weather changes and chances are they'll winter over in OK fettle.

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

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