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DECOR SCORE- Where There's a Wall, There's a Way to Make It Work PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rose Bennett Gilbert Creative Syndicate   
Thursday, 27 September 2012 03:28


Oh, what those few feet can do: Framed by linen curtains, a little wall space adds a lot to the sophisticated mood of a beach house room.

Q: What's the rule on hanging drapes on windows that are close together, but have a wall space between them? Can I just hang the drapes over the space so it looks like one really big window, or should they be divided in pairs?

A: It depends on the net effect you're after. If your room is small, a smooth, unbroken flow of fabric will eliminate contrast and make it seem larger.

But if you have plenty of space to play with, it could be wasteful to tuck that between-windows wall out of sight behind an expanse of material, not when there are attractive ways to put it to work in the room.

Take a look at the visual mileage designer Amanda Nisbet gets out of three feet or so of wall space between windows in the fresh, blue-and-white living room we show here.

It's in a beach house, so the color scheme — marine blue, sandy beige and white — is a natural choice. But it's no clichÇ in the hands of this designer (who has gathered her fave rooms in a new book aptly entitled, "Dazzling Design," just published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang).

Amanda writes, "How does one design a 'themed' room that doesn't become kitschy or cute ... using an ensemble of sea-going references you'd find in a seafood restaurant on a pier?"

Answering her own question, the designer says she wanted her clients "to be able to kick back in a stylish, comfortable setting."

This guided her to the somewhat formal, but very comely, tableau she's created on the bare wall between the windows: a classic arrangement of mirrors over a natural-wood table, flanked by floor-length linen curtains. Q: If offensive videos can start riots abroad, should New Yorkers at least throw stale bagels at a couple of un-PC designers from Scotland?

A: Fuhgeddaboudit! New Yawkers laughed out loud last week when two "Timorous Beasties" (timo r o u s b e a s t i e s . c om) unveiled their "New York Toile" wall covering in Ted Boerner's showroom during the "What's New/What's Next?" night at the New York Design Center.

Dating from l8th-century France, toiles usually offer the most bucolic of designs — pantalooned ladies in flower gardens ... gentlemen trotting along on horseback ... like that. But Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons, founders of Glasgow's Timorous Beasties design studio, went for "the underbelly of urban social realism" instead.

Against a backdrop of New York landmarks like the Empire State Building and the Wall Street Bull, their toile shows cops handcuffing crooks, city dogs doing what they do, the homeless begging and helicopters and pigeons filling the skyways overhead.

It's all yesteryear's New York, of course. But the Beasties are on a roll, literally.

They've already satirized contemporary Glasgow, London, and Edinburgh in toile wallpapers.

So now we're waiting for a response from Hizzoner Mayor Bloomberg, who watches over New Yorkers' images so zealously he's even banned city sales of giant-size sugary drinks.

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

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 September 2012 03:30