Q: Our eat-in kitchen delights in the morning -- it faces east and is flooded with sunshine. The trouble is, the rest of this Baltimore apartment is dark and gloomy all day.
We are thinking about knocking out the wall between the kitchen and dining/living room so the light can get in there, too. What do you think?
A: I have just seen an apartment where the owners arrived at exactly the same conclusion and acted on it. The results are worth the effort -- the rest of the apartment now enjoys natural light, if not actual sunshine.
They worked with a professional kitchen designer -- a good idea, too -- who replaced the full-height wall with a pass-through counter at chair rail height.
She arched the top of the new opening and covered the counter top with hand-painted ceramic tiles, so net-net, as they say, the remodeling job became an asset in more ways than one.
Q: I have six Queen Anne-style dining chairs left over from my bachelor apartment. They are just reproductions -- nothing great -- but I've always liked their lines.
How would they look painted some outrageous color with their seats recovered in, say, a bright chintz?
A: Splendid, especially if your overall decorative mood is less than serious.
You are quite right: The simple, elegant lines of the Queen Anne style are hard to improve on. Or to ruin.
However, I wouldn't be too outrageous in choosing colors: hunter green would be elegant; enamel black, sophisticated; gleaming white, very fresh and new. And you would have no difficulty finding a chintz to work with any of those colors.
By the way, it's a cinch to recover most chair seats yourself, hTC provided they screw on from the bottom. Just back off the screws, staple the fabric tautly over the seat (if there's a major motif, center it on each chair), and screw the seat back on.
Neatniks might want to staple on a row of gimp to hide the raw edges under the chair, a nice -- but not necessary -- finishing touch.