Question: We just purchased a new home and are making due with some very nice hand-me-down furniture. We received a beautiful iron bed and a Queen Anne-style chest of drawers for our bedroom.
How can I use these pieces without a matching dresser or vanity? Should I look for another piece of furniture in one of these styles? The house has a country theme.
Answer: Your iron bed and chest of drawers sound wonderful. Look for a bureau in the same color wood as your chest of drawers. It doesn't have to be the same style, as long as the overall feeling is the same.
You might find a bureau with a country look at a flea market. You might also keep your eye out for an old wooden trunk to place at the foot of the bed. A patchwork quilt, along with pillows covered in white lace-trimmed pillowcases, would lend a country feeling to your iron bed.
Q: Our family room is decorated with the colors of red, green and beige--a combination that I love. The walls have pine paneling, and the floor is an overall design carpet of green on white (trellis design).
I have just inherited two handsome English wing chairs upholstered in bright yellow wool. I think they'll blend with the rest of the colors. What do you think?
A: By all means! Yellow is a good color to introduce to your red, green and beige room. If your sofa is red, green and beige, then bright yellow pillows would help blend the chairs into the decor. In the springtime, a grouping of yellow and red tulips would make the transition complete.
Q: Do you advise using vinyl flooring in the kitchen when there are four children in the house?
I often hear you recommend real ceramic tile for the kitchen, but I hardly think it would last more than a week in my home, and it's so expensive. I need easy-care flooring that won't cost a lot.
A: I often recommend vinyl flooring for the kitchen. As a matter of fact, I have vinyl flooring in the kitchen of my New York apartment. Unfortunately, if you're buying vinyl instead ceramic, you probably won't save much money. Vinyl flooring is costly, too.
I would suggest vinyl terra cotta squares with dark grouting. I've used them in commercial kitchens with great success, so I'm sure they can take the wear and tear of four children.
Q: Our master bedroom, which has deep yellow walls, has a very large floor-to-ceiling window that needs a new drapery treatment. The bedroom also has a glass door that leads out to a deck. I have a white camelback love seat and a chair that needs to be covered.
What should I select for the drapery and bed skirt? The bed coverlet is a Japanese-type floral with branches and large blossoms of coral, pink and yellow on white ground.
A: On that large window, I would hang white draperies from a brass pole with brass rings. Tie the draperies back on either side and twice in the middle. Use white ties that have two stripes: one of coral, and one of a softer pink. The double stripes can also border the bottom of the drapery, about six inches up from the hem.
For the glass door, a Roman shade would look nice; use the same white fabric and stripe it accordingly. Use the white fabric with the double stripe, again six inches up from the hem, for the bed skirt.