Odd angles are interesting


September 13, 1992|By Rose Bennett Gilbert | Rose Bennett Gilbert,Copley News Service

Q: Our old house has weird angles and crannies, especially in the bedroom, where there's a slanted part of the wall. I don't know what to do with it. If I put the dresser in there, I'd have no room for the mirror. What can you suggest? -- M.G.

A: Architectural oddities like yours can be the beginning of highly personable rooms. Nothing duller than all straight angles and absolute symmetry, as we found out after years of trying to believe the modernists' motto that less is really more. (It's a bore, but that's another column.)

Angles force you to see things differently, to rearrange your thinking along with the furniture.

If your niche is deep enough, you could put the bed against the wall and curtain the angle itself to create a mock canopied bed. Other thoughts: Set a love seat or chaise in the niche, or build a triangle of shelves to square off the angled area.

Another point to consider: Use one pattern everywhere, in fabric on the upholstered bed and canopy, in vinyl wall covering over all the walls and even the ceiling.

Laura Ashley's "Normandy Rose" design in one-color on white is perfectly scaled for a moderately sized room.

Q: I know I did the wrong thing by trying to buy new shades for the lamps in our country house without taking the lamps themselves to the store. But I saw these great bargains at a tag sale and couldn't resist.

They fit pretty well, but they'd look better if they were about 2 inches higher. My husband says the lamps' "hats are down over their eyes." Is there any way to raise them?

A: Lucky you, there is. A lighting specialty store should have a shade riser, a little extension that screws onto the final stud on top of the lamp so the shade will ride about an inch or so higher.

If the shades are the type that slip onto the bulb, ask for a socket extension. It screws into the existing socket to raise the bulb itself, which, in turn, will lift the height of the shades.

Q: We added a skylight to the master bath when we remodeled and love the natural light. The only trouble is, the bath gets awfully hot during the day. Also, I notice that the carpet and shower curtain are fading. This is a flat roof window, so I don't know how to put any curtain on it. Do you? -- L.M.S.

A: You could have a shade or blind made to fit and installed in a track so it works "lying down." Easier and less expensive: Investigate some of the solar control films that can be applied directly to the window.

They not only reduce heat gain in the summer and heat loss in cold weather, but these films also block some 90 percent of the sun's ultraviolet rays, say the manufacturers, so your fading problem itself should just fade away.

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the author of five books on interior design and a contributing writer to other publications in the field. Send questions to Inside Advice, Food & Home, The Sun, Baltimore 21278.

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