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Columns help divide one room into two

August 19, 2006|by ROSE BENNETT GILBERT/Copley News Service

Q: We have gotten tired of our all-in-one living-dining room and would like to figure a way to close off the dining area without actually walling it in. The room's too small for a real wall. I've seen free-standing columns used, but that seems too postmodern for our house, which is an arts-and-crafts-style bungalow. What can you suggest?

A: Columns, but not the classic kind you may have seen in more contemporary open rooms. As any bungalow groupie knows, columns are an earmark of the style, especially those that are squared and tapered.

In the room we show here, squared and tapered columns mounted on top of shallow bookcases set the dining room apart from (in this case) the hallway. But the same idea would work to divide your living area without actually closing it off and squeezing the space.

Carrying the theme around this dining room, more leaded glass cabinets have been built on the opposite wall, flanking a mirrored buffet. Because they provide such ample storage, no more furniture is really necessary, other than the dining table and chairs, which further enhance the illusion of spaciousness.

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Loving bungalows - currently high on America's most-favorite-house-style list - you should have a look at the book from which we borrowed this photo: It's from The Taunton Press series called "Updating Classic America: Bungalows," by M. Caren Connolly and Louis Wasserman, a landscape architect and architect, respectively. They lead you through more than 200 pages of details on the process of renovating, remodeling and building some of the most charming little houses in the United States.

Q: I recently redecorated my kitchen by installing new granite countertops, a black, smooth-surface cooktop, stainless-steel sink and pewter faucet. My kitchen, eating area and den are almost like one room, as they are very open to each other. I want to replace the light fixture in the eating area. Is it OK to mix hardware finishes? In the future, I would like to replace all the bathroom faucets with pewter or polished stainless, but the doorknobs, etc., are all brass.

A: Have you never seen the famous Cartier ring, wherein are intertwined three different colors of gold, including white? Introduced in l924, the three-metal ring became an immediate sensation, even inspiring poetry from Jean Cocteau, no less.

My response: If one of the world's most famous jewelers can mix metals, so can you.

Q: Is it curtains for "The Break-Up" couple?

A: Eventually, yes, according to the Hollywood ending. But actually, those were woven wood shades on the windows of that too-fab Chicago condo fought over in the movie by Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn.

Not that you might think to ask, but Hunter Douglas, the manufacturer, even gets on-screen credit during the rollups at the end of the film.

Q: Hate that big, blank, flat TV screen?

A: You're not alone, so did entrepreneur Lisa Price. So she went out and founded a company called Picturesque Partners that creates custom cover-ups for any flat-screen TV. Her invention features handsome wood frames with removable art that fits over the off-duty screen.

Snap off the artwork - which includes a wide choice of colorful nature scenes - and the frame remains to embrace the TV picture.

Available in different woods and finishes, most frames cost under $300. Ready for a close-up? Click on www.picturesquepartners.com; 310-573-2020.

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the co-author of "Hampton Style" and associate editor of Country Decorating Ideas. Please send your questions to her at Copley News Service, P.O. Box 120190, San Diego, CA 92112-0190, or online at copleysd@copleynews.com.

Copley News Service

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