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Dear Dale:

Getting Help From Pros in Fixer-Upper

January 11, 1987|Dale Baldwin

Question: I have more of a decorating problem than a home-improvement problem.

We rented an apartment that we like very much, and one reason we liked it is because it has so many windows. Now that I've moved in, I find the windows are great, but there's no wall space for my furniture. The windows are low with the bottom sills about two feet off the floor. My furniture looks strange covering the bottom part of the window. What do other people do who have this problem?

Answer: You might do several things. First, try hanging a short cafe curtain across the window opening, just an inch or two higher than the furniture you want to place in front of it. Use solid-color fabric to match the wall colors. This will give color continuity at least.

Another possibility is to use vertical blinds at the windows, matching the wall paint, or papering the blinds in the same wallpaper as the room. While this will not be effective during the daylight hours when you want the blinds open, it will serve as a solid background during the evening when the blinds are closed.

You can also be a bit creative in placement of furniture. Every piece doesn't have to go against the wall. Try different groupings, such as two facing chairs placed perpendicular to the window with a coffee table between them. Try placing the couch in front of the fireplace (if you have one) instead of against the wall.

Q: I have a very small front yard, and I'm thinking of putting a wrought-iron fence around it to keep dogs and kids on bicycles out of the yard. I'd like the fence to run across the entrance to my driveway, but that would mean getting out and opening the gate every time I take the car in or out. Is there something that works remotely on gates like the remote garage-door openers?

A: It's not the least expensive thing in the world, but, yes, you can have an electronic gate installed. One company that does this kind of work is Burbank Fence Co., 2940 N. Naomi St., Burbank.

Q: My husband has become a wine aficionado, and we were talking with friends about building a wine cellar. They told us they have seen wine storage areas that look like refrigerators and can be plugged in to keep a constant temperature. Have you heard of this?

A: American Cellars Inc., 301 Lambert St., Oxnard, Calif. 93030, had exhibit space at a home show last fall. They were featuring what you describe: free-standing, wine-storage areas that are sometimes shaped like refrigerators, but have wood facing on them. They are electrically equipped to keep the temperature at a desired degree for wines.

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