Pulling together a spare room from leftovers
New York — It could be the room vacated by children who have grown and moved away. Or it might be a new room fashioned out of an unfinished attic or basement space. It is, at any rate, what Louise Rosenfeld, a designer for "Arrangements Inc." in Mt. Kisco, N.Y., simply refers to as "the spare room" with the cautious hope that a lot of people still have one.
Mrs. Rosenfeld's "spare room" was done for a Westchester County YWCA decorator show house, and the idea was to show what could be done with an odd assortment of disparate things that "don't seem to go anywhere any more." These usually fall into the category of leftovers from previous decorating schemes, auction bargains, prize purchases that didn't quite work, and genuine treasures that are simply looking for a new setting.
In this case, the furnishings to be commingled included an antique Napoleonic camp bed, an old rolltop desk, a Victorian rocker, a late 19th-century baby crib , an old wooden towel rack and boot rack, as well as assorted family portraits, photographs, and bric-a-brac.
Mrs. Rosenfeld pulled everything together by using an overall color scheme of peach. gray, cream, and terra-cotta red. She selected four Laura Ashley print fabrics and a wallpaper, each of which combined these colors, and chose a Dhurrie rug patterned in gray, peach, and cream. She covered the walls with a pale peach paper containing a tiny print and papered the backs of all the bookshelves with a larger matching pattern.
The Napoleonic camp bed is covered with a quilted gray flannel spread and piled with Laura Ashely print pillows. A patchwork throw is folded across the foot. She used the same prints to drape the small round table in one corner, and the antique baby crib that is placed against one wall. The crib was converted into a distinct focal point in the room, and given additional decorative value by draping it with a canopy attached to the wall by means of a fancy brass hook.
The designer explained that she only attempted to mix objects of similar scale and proportion. She said she had intended the room to fulfill several purposes. It was to be a guest room, of course. And a room where new grandbabies would always find a beautiful cradle waiting. It was intended to be a room where members of the family could retreat to write, do bookkeeping or research at the big old rolltop desk, or be a retreat for napping, afternoon tea , or general repose, with some nice reminders of family life all round.