Q: The kitchen of our condo is wide open to the dining area. We don't entertain formally -- this is a vacation house -- but I really hate to look in at all the pots and pans while we eat. What can you suggest?
A: There are a number of clever ways to separate the areas visually and psychologically, if not physically. A standing screen, several tall plants in pots, a narrow table-with-lamp arrangement -- anything that sets the spaces apart without actually blocking traffic will do the trick.
The photo we show here offers more ideas:
Color can be used to demarcate spaces. You can't tell in black-and-white newsprint, but the colors of the wall-hung quilt are repeated in the tablecloth, chair seats and rug under the dining table, creating a cohesive area the eye sets off from the all-natural tones of the kitchen.
The flooring also identifies separate functions within the same space. In the working area of the kitchen, it's covered in ceramic tile; the rest of the floor is gleaming wood, with the aforementioned area rug proclaiming the dining "room."
Lighting also can be an effective setter-apart of certain areas. The kitchen/dining arrangement in the photo features built-in spotlights that are controlled independently. When the family sits down to eat, the lights go out in the kitchen (also obscuring those pots and pans that offend your eyes).
Q: Can you tell me where to find an old-fashioned rolling library ladder? My husband is building a loft bed into the peak of the attic for our son, and a mobile wooden ladder is just what we need.
A: Get in touch with the Putnam Rolling Ladder Co. of New York City, one of the oldest ladder specialists in the country. Since 1905, they say, they've been supplying ladders for "any type of need," so I guess your son's loft bed qualifies.
The address: 32 Howard St., Department RPN, New York, N.Y. 10013.
They'll send you a free catalog to end your hand-wringing over rungs.