Country pieces can have elegant air


November 01, 1992|By Rita St. Clair

Q: I've gone through a few design phases over the years, and have consequently been left with some individually interesting pieces of furniture. Because I'm moving to an in-town apartment, I'll soon be leaving my current phase, "country." Is there some way I can continue to use a small chest, lamp tables and dining chairs, all in a scrubbed pine finish? I'm aiming for an elegant yet friendly atmosphere.

A: Paint, wallpaper and some furniture additions should do the trick. But keep in mind that more than just a few alterations are needed in creating a whole new atmosphere.

As long as it has attractive lines and proportions, a pine chest of drawers can be made to look appropriate with a surrounding style other than country. If the hardware on your piece is nondescript, change it to something more decorative and formal.

A change at the top might be warranted as well. The chest shown in the photo was given a marble surface, thereby transforming it from a strictly country-style piece into a refined bureau that will grace almost any sort of setting. Black or dark-green marble with lighter veining would be my choice for such a surface.

Your lamp tables, regardless of whether they're round or rectangular, could easily be camouflaged with fabric skirting. And since you're aiming for elegance, don't forget to add pleats and trim.

As for the dining room chairs, consider painting them black or deep bottle-green or terra cotta, depending on the room's color scheme and your personal preference. Detailing, such as a thin gold line painted around the sides of the chairs, would be a knowing touch. Get a highly polished mahogany dining table, and your redone chairs will look truly smashing.

The effect you're seeking will be much enhanced by the addition of a striped wall-covering in the dining room. Whether wide or narrow, a stripe motif always seems to suggest a certain stateliness.

In the photo, the appropriately named "Big Leaf Stripe" wall-covering from Motif Designs has the appearance of a vintage textile.

The classical styling that's so popular today will further help youattain the look you want. Column-like lamps, along with tables and seating pieces based on Regency and Directoire styles, are the kinds of pieces that would add to the sophistication of your in-town apartment.

Whatever patterns you use -- and there shouldn't be many of them -- ought to be in a small scale. Rust red in deep tones is one possibility for the overall color scheme. Accompany it with creamy white as a neutral, and you'll be well on the way to creating that elegant yet friendly atmosphere.

Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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