Two designer solutions to small-space problems
New York — Making do with less space is, each day, becoming a more common decorating problem. And as our houses and apartments "grow" smaller, the demands on our creativity and ingenuity go on expanding.
New York designer James R. Patterson, head of Auger Ltd., was called upon to decorate an 8 foot by 10 foot studio-type bedroom. With such skimpy space, he was asked to create, at a budget price, a well-tailored, spacious, and "built-in" look.
To widen and heighten the important window wall, he chose one patterned fabric to use for bed and bolster covers, laminated window shade, folding screens, and wall-to wall valance. This total treatment of the wall camouflaged the off-center window and the corner column jog in the wall. The folding screens on either side and the wide cornice over the top pulled it all together and gave a new sense of symmetry and balance to a small, cut-up room.
This window-framing idea was not as expensive as it might seem. Mr. Patterson made a trip to a lumberyard to buy the plywood panels and hinges for the two folding screens and the flat cornice above. Then he padded all the plywood panels with cotton batting and stapled on the patterned fabric with a staple gun.
At the same time, he purchased the plywood shelves for the wall-hung arrangement at left, and trimmed the edges with split bamboo to give them an expensive, custom look. This motif echoes the decorative bamboo rod which trims the bottom of his window shade. He had the fabric quilted that was used for the studio couch and bolster covers, in order to give it more weight and substantiality.
Because the fabric features chevron-dotted tones of spice beige and grass green, Mr. Patterson chose a space-expanding plain pale beige for the walls and the wall-to-wall carpet. The designer chose black lacquered campaign chests to place beneath the wall-hung shelves, and an airy black classic Thonet chair with pale woven cane seat and back, to place on the opposite wall.
Because the room was too cramped for a coffee table, Mr. Patterson used an unconventional small round antique table that is right in scale, but still big enough for such essentials as a book, bud vase, or cup and saucer. On the wall at right is an arrangement of small Christmas cards from anartist friend, each framed in a heavy frame, and then clustered together, with a little creative flair, to make a personal and decorative statement.
Sheila Weiss, a room designer for Thomasville Furniture Industries, took a different approach to the one-room apartment which she decorated. She chose the "interior landscaping" route, cutting up the space into "use" areas, and executing different planes for dissimilar activities. For instance, she puts her dining area on a platform, which, in turn, separates and provides for a cozy conversation niche.
Miss Weiss makes a focal point of the queen-size platform bed (covered with a tailored quilted comforter) by angling it in the center of one area, and dividing it with fat round bolsters and lots of plump throw pillows so it can be used for daytime seating as well a nightime sleeping.
The same neutral carpet is used throughout to unify all areas, and the same carpet is used to upholster the built-in seating banquette and end table.
This sophisticated one-room setting, geared to suit a certain American life style, also includes a backgammon table and brass and suede chair, and a wall system which incorporates drawers, desk, china, and book storage. As shown, it is not for the budget- minded. But the ideas that are illustrated, can be adapted to most any pocketbook.