I'm in a quandary about how and where to display my large collection of 70 teapots. Would my extra large laundry room be appropriate?
Interior designer Diane Machise says you have a lot to consider with that many pots, so she's ready to pour on the advice. "You could display all the teapots in one impressive grouping in a grand and lovely curio cabinet in your dining room or breakfast area. If you do this, remember that you're making a powerful design statement, so choose the cabinet wisely, paying attention to style, proportion and balance.
"Another alternative is to organize your collection in segments and spread it around. Select a few whose color and design theme work with your laundry room and arrange them on a shelf with some greenery to soften the effect. In general I think I'd group the pots by period and style. Then consider color and pattern. One or two pots with fresh cut flowers would be lovely in a guest bathroom or on a side table in a guest bedroom. And do use the teapots as part of your dining room table scheme and theme when you entertain. Arrange a trio of pots as a centerpiece, being careful to stage them at different heights for interest. Put flowers and greens in them, use with candles and you've got an original centerpiece. You could go formal or relaxed depending upon the kind of event you're hosting.
"When you have a collection of things you love it's nice to use these pieces in your everyday life." Masterpiece Interior Design, 3859 Bee Ridge Road. (941) 929-1110.
I'm in the market for a new refrigerator. Any suggestions for something that looks good and will make my life easier?
Margaret Cook of Cook's Custom Cabinetry has been giving great kitchen advice for years, and as a wife, cook and mom, she knows what works. Margaret says: "If you have the space, by all means consider two refrigerators side by side instead of one. I'm thinking of the new Sub-Zero models that are 30 inches wide instead of the usual 48. With each, the refrigerator is on the top and the freezer drawer is on the bottom. That bottom drawer is available as one deep or two stacked shallow drawers.
"The virtue of two separate refrigerators, placed next to one another to look like one big unit, is that you have two icemakers and can organize your food for maximum convenience. In one refrigerator, store all drinks, snacks and leftovers. In the other, keep fresh ingredients you cook with daily. Also, if someone has special dietary needs, that food can be in a separate unit. These Sub-Zero units come in clear glass or stainless, or they can be faced in the same material as your kitchen cabinets, thereby making them disappear into the wall. We used two 30-inch wide refrigerators in the kitchen we did for this year's A.S.I.D. Designer Showhouse and we observed great interest from tour-goers. Most agreed that if you need one refrigerator, two is twice as nice." Cook's Custom Cabinetry, 1191 Palmer Wood Court. (941) 366-6112.
Our decorator has placed 18 gorgeous throw pillows on our oversized bed. The look is lavish and my wife loves it. But where are we supposed to put this little army of puff and fluff when we get into bed at night?
Richly detailed toss pillows add instant elegance to a bedroom scheme, but, like rabbits, they seem to multiply. Interior designer Susan Frick has some suggestions. "Pillowing can get out of control. I myself only have eight or 10 to deal with. At night I stack them on a wicker chest under my window. Throwing them on a chair never seems to work; and besides, you've got too many for that. I think you should get a bench for the foot of the bed and stack the pillows on that bench at night. Another option is a window seat, especially one with storage underneath. Just lift up the lid and throw the pillows inside.
"Another solution is to get a decorative chest (or a pair of them) that's in keeping with the design scheme of the room and put the pillows in there at night. In the morning, not all the pillows have to go back on the bed. The shams surely do, but for the rest you can mix or match, leaving some pillows in the chest with the lid open so they can be seen. This way you change the appearance of the bed and the room every day. Decorate as the mood strikes you by dipping into your treasure chest of pillows." Pedlar's Village, 3562 S. Osprey Ave. (941) 955-5726.
Trendspotting: The daybed is back, not only in guest and children's bedrooms, but also in the sun porch, home office, even the living and family room. It's practical, versatile and available in many styles and price points, starting at about $300. A daybed's symmetrical ends, like bookends, set it apart from a chaise lounge or récamier. It's the ideal solution when you need extra sleeping in a compact space, because its design can be quite minimal. And it also works especially well as plush extra seating in a home office that multitasks as an infrequent guest room.
Do you have any tricks for making a small dull guest bathroom seem roomier and dramatic? This bath is square with an 8-foot ceiling and has in it a shower stall, toilet and vanity with cabinet space underneath.
Pam DiTomaso did a wonderfully successful small bathroom at this year's ASID Designer Showhouse, so she has just the techniques to improve your problem room. "The more clutter, the more confined your room will appear. You want to aspire to a clean, airy look. First of all I'd pick just one color and go with different shades for the walls, floors and accessories. The ceiling should be white and there should be some lights up there-white light, not florescent-in the form of a chandelier, which would provide drama, and/or recessed lighting. There should also be lights over the mirror. This mirror should be a large framed one over the basin or if wall-to-wall, it should extend up to the ceiling.
"Replace your cabinet vanity with a pedestal sink for a roomier look. Add glass shower doors instead of a shower curtain. This also will visually expand the area. Use large tiles on the floor, up to 16x16-inch ones. This results in fewer grout lines, thus decreasing a busy look. For the walls, paint or paper with vertical stripes. This makes the ceiling look higher. If you use most or all of these techniques, you'll be surprised at how much space you've suddenly claimed in that tiny bath. Just make sure you resist the temptation to clutter the space with small objects." Pam DiTomaso, The RyanAlexander Group, 5121 Ocean Blvd., Sarasota. (941) 349-1019.