washingtonpost.com
Home Front: D.C. Design House, Plus Flip! for Decorating Author

Jura Koncius and Terri Sapienza
Washington Post Home Staff
Thursday, April 16, 2009 11:00 AM

Every week, Washington Post Home Section writers Jura Koncius and Terri Sapienza help you in your quest to achieve domestic bliss. This week they explore the D.C. Design House and are joined by Elizabeth Mayhew, whose first book, Flip! for Decorating, is just out. They were online Thursday, April 16 at 11:00 a.m. ET to take your questions and suggestions.

You may also browse an archive of previous Home Front discussions.

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Jura Koncius: Good morning! Terri and I got in last night from New York after attending the Kips Bay Show House press preview in New York. The house is amazing -- all $75 million worth! Check out next week's Home section for the details, and meanwhile today we have the Washington Design House in Georgetown for you to read about. Today we have a great guest for the chat, Elizabeth Mayhew, who is just publishing a book "Flip For Decorating" (Ballantine Books Trade Paperback Original; $24). Elizabeth is a lifestyle expert for the Today Show and special projects editor at House Beautiful and she has a lot of great tips and ideas. So email us some of the questions you've been dying to ask. Let's go.

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Shepherdstown, W.V.: Does Farrow & Ball have a retail store in the D.C. area?

Terri Sapienza: They do not have their own retail store, but you can buy their paints and wallpapers through the Color Wheel in McLean, Va.

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Domino subscription: I have received a card letting me know that I'll be receiving Glamour instead of Domino until the end of my subscription. Not quite the same theme, but oh well...

Terri Sapienza: Yes, we received that card as well. Not my choice for best replacement. I did hear weeks ago that some people called Conde Nast subscriptions directly and requested the publication of their choice, and CN honored the request. So, if you don't like Glamour, you might want to try calling and switching.

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Bethesda, Md.: Good morning! I plan to work with a fabric store to have shades made for windows in an open living area (kitchen, dining room, living room combined). I am thinking of white roman shades or something like that, since it is a small space. Any ideas for styles/fabrics that would work best?

Terri Sapienza: I think a nice crisp cotton or linen (or combo) would be nice. If you're going with white or off-white, think about adding a fun tape trim on the ends to give it a little color and personality.

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Alexandria, Va.: In the colonial era, quince was used as a drawer sachet. Where can I get some?

Jura Koncius: If you want real quince, we recently got some big branches at Johnson's Florist and Garden Center at 4200 Wisconsin Ave. They have other locations too.

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Jura Koncius: What do you all think of the rooms in the Design House in our section today?

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Silver Spring, Md.: Good morning, ladies! Just saw the HouseCalls. What a gorgeous sunroom! I am envious! I am sure you will get the usual comments about the cost of the furniture, but you can get the same look for less at HomeGoods (my favorite). The only thing I would change is: Remember, there are eight children living here. Presumably some of them are very young. The round end tables with the lamp and vase are accidents waiting to happen. In their place should be short end tables with shelving to hold the games, toys, paraphernalia which come with eight children. Same effect, more storage, no trip to the emergency room!

washingtonpost.com: House Calls (The Washington Post, April 16, 2009)

Jura Koncius: Silver Spring weighs in on today's House Calls.

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Curtains: Good morning! I have a small window in my powder room, approximately 22" wide by 40" high. I'm not sure what window treatments to put on it. I don't care for the look of curtains that go just to the sill, but I think floor-length curtains for a small window would be too much. I've considered roman shades or woven bamboo shades, but I haven't found any short enough and I don't know if those shades can be shortened. I'm not usually a fan of valances, but I would be willing to try it since I don't seem to have many other options. Do you have any other suggestions? Thank you!

Elizabeth Mayhew: Good morning! The best way to treat a powder room window is to use cafe curtains hung from a tension rod. Usually one puts the rod in the middle of the window frame and has short "cafe" curtains that hang just to the window sill. I suggest having the curtains made out of a light fabric that lets the light in, but one that is opaque enough to give privacy.

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Fairfax, Va.: My Domino subscription will be replaced by Architectural Digest, which makes me much happier than Glamour. Don't know if it makes a difference, but I had only received one issue on my subscription before Domino pulled the plug. FYI: another collapsed shelter magazine (I forget which) randomly replaced my subscription with Boating magazine! So maybe Glamour isn't so bad.

Jura Koncius: I'm sure you have picked up a lot of tips on decorating your boat. I also was selected to receive Glamour magazine instead of Domino, so stay tuned for a better dressed me.

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Domino: I got a card saying that I was getting Cookie magazine. I like Cookie, but it is so not a replacement for Domino.

Jura Koncius: Hmm. Why didn't they send me Cookie? Do you think they decided I needed glamour more than cookies?

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Rockville, Md.: I'm looking to redo my kitchen cabinets. What's the difference between refinishing and refacing? Any feel for the difference in pricing for these two different processes? Would it be better if I just repainted them myself?! Thanks!

P.S. How do you feel about white cabinets in the kitchen?

Elizabeth Mayhew: I love white painted cabinets, but painting them yourself is quite a bit of work. Keep in mind that every door needs to be sanded, primed, and then painted with several coats of paint. Also all hardware has to be removed -- it's lots of work. More often than not, it is less expensive to install new cabinetry or at least new doors.

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Chevy Chase, Md.: What are your five favorite paint colors?

Terri Sapienza: Oh, this is an interesting and fun question. It's an answer that's constantly changing, but at the moment my favorite paints colors are: White Tie, Clunch, Pale Powder (all Farrow & Ball) and Linen from Restoration Hardware and Pale Almond from Benjamin Moore.

I know, I know, all pale neutrals. Some may find it a dull selection, but I make no apologies. I love my neutrals.

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Bowie, Md.: I am trying to redecorate my bedroom and am having a miserable time trying to figure out a color to paint. Right now it's pale yellow with white sheer curtains, end tables are sage green (light), white bed coverlet and an antique gold dresser, and a large picture over the bed that is a porch with a swing over looking the beach with blues and greens. Also use a quilt at the end of my bed that is soft sage with yellow and gold tones. The room is fairly large and seems cold. I want warm. Thank you.

Elizabeth Mayhew: I would suggest changing the wall color to Benjamin Moore's Bird Egg blue (I list it as one of my favorite colors in my book). Blues are much more soothing than yellows! Yellow says wake up!!! Not great for sleeping. I think the blue would look better with the rest of your color scheme too.

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Rockville, Md.: Last night I ordered Ms. Mayhew's new book off Amazon. I am hoping that it will help me decorate my living and dining rooms. I really need help with picking accessories for these rooms (right now I have bare walls staring back at me!). Any tips for me?

Elizabeth Mayhew: Thank you so much for ordering the book. I suggest you read the sections on accessories and picture hanging ASAP! Don't be afraid to hang things on the wall -- the biggest mistake you can make is to do nothing. As for accessories, raid your china closet -- you probably have some bowls, vases or plates that can help fill the space. Also go out and buy your self some pretty spring tulips, a pot of pansies or a bag of green apples (which you can put on your dining table in a bowl) -- nothing perks a room up more than something living.

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Terri Sapienza: Before I forget, I'd like to hear from chatters who have opinions on glass shower doors. We're considering a mini-makeover in one of our bathrooms and I'm considering replacing our shower curtain with a frameless door. I think it would make our tiny bathroom feel much larger, but I'm hesitating because of the cost, the possible trend factor and because I hear they are annoying to keep clean and streak free. Plus, I really love the look of a crisp, white linen curtain.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has any thoughts about this choice. Thanks.

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Re: Domino: My postcard said they were giving me Lucky, which I already get. If you call the magazine you'd like, they will happily switch your subscription for you. I switched to Conde Nast Traveler. Here is a list of CN's publications and their contact numbers

Terri Sapienza: Oh, this is great information. Thanks for passing it along.

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Arlington, Va.: Hi. Do you have any suggestions for where to look for big stick-on appliques for the walls of a nursery? Thanks!

Jura Koncius: Check out www.sunnys-paint.com. They have great monogram appliques and also easy-to-do stencils. Also go to www.uswallpaper.com.

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Great Falls, Va.: Elizabeth's book sounds very unique and I am anxious to see it after reading today's article. Can she tell us she might edit a room for the change in seasons -- I switched out my closet today in honor of the warmer temps and this has made me itch to seasonally refresh my living spaces -- on a budget of course.

Elizabeth Mayhew: This might sound strange from a decorating editor/writer, but the first thing I would do to celebrate the arrival of the new season (spring finally!) is wash your windows. You will be amazed at how much it changes the way your room looks to have unfiltered sunlight poor in -- and best of all, it costs nothing.

Also think about putting a fresh, colored throw over the arm of your sofa and change the pillows to another pattern or color as well.

I recommend buying some fresh flowers -- tulips, daffodils, anything that says spring -- from your grocery store. Buy more than you think you need so that your vase looks plentiful.

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Bethesda, Md.: Hello, I'd like to update my dining room furniture since moving from colonial to an open contemporary home. I have antique English oak barley twist buffet, chairs, and gate-leg table. I love the Amish mission chairs. What else would you suggest -- keeping in mind a reasonable budget? Am totally at a loss of what to do with the old stuff. Thanks.

Elizabeth Mayhew: Your furniture sounds incredible, but I would suggest painting a piece or two white or even black. That may sound like heresy, but, too much wood furniture is just too much. White or black paint will make the furniture pop and will give it an up-to-date look. Alternatively I would suggest checking out CB2 or West Elm for some affordable modern pieces that you can mix in, after all rooms look better with a mix of styles. Good luck!

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Rockville, Md.: There were a lot of tub refurbishing questions last week. Any suggestions on how to clean a tub from rust stains (from a shaving can) so that I can avoid refurbishing?

Jura Koncius: Some people have suggested RoVer Rust Remover.

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Let the Light Shine!: For me, a kitchen today demands glass door cabinets; anything else seems so played out and cheap.

Jura Koncius: I love my glass door cabinets, I must say.

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re: Terri's bathroom question: We recently redid our bathroom and took out the door. The room was quite tiny and the door was extremely awkward. So make sure it doesn't make for awkward towel-reaching! Plus, we didn't like how it was just asking for mildew.

Terri Sapienza: Yes, these are my concerns. And now that I think about it, a door would hinder easy towel access. Great point. I think you just saved me and my husband hundreds of dollars. thank you!

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Washington, D.C.: I'm looking for a blue for my bedroom. I don't want anything that is towards the yellow/green side, and I don't want it too pale. I plan Doing white window treatments and pretty light bedding to offset the wall. Any color suggestions?

Jura Koncius: Farrow & Ball Borrowed Light would be a nice choice. Or Mikonos by C2.

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Nursery Wall Sticks: We got ours from www.whatisblik.com, and I know that Etsy has a good selection, as well.

Jura Koncius: Oh great. Thanks.

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Glass shower doors: I have flashbacks to childhood when I think of glass shower doors. Every time I took a shower my mom made me spray and squeegee the door so that it wouldn't have streaks or soap scum build up. I vowed never to have glass doors in my own house -- too much work!

Jura Koncius: Yuck. Mommy Dearest.

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Rockville, Md.: Not sure if this falls under your purview or not. Can you suggest how I'd find a good family photographer, but not one that is a "studio" sort? I'd love to have nice, professional ones done outside and natural-looking, but have no idea where to start. Thanks!

Elizabeth Mayhew: The best family photographer I know of is Monica Rich Kosann.

Her website is: www.mrkphoto.com

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Shower Door: Dear Terri, last fall we had our daughter's tiny bathroom remodeled and by far the biggest change to the space was the beautiful new shower door -- we opted for the cheaper semi-framed version -- which still looks sleeker than the older versions. And I find the glass is very easy to keep clean. My teen has a squeegee and I doubt she uses it much, but it still looks good. The openness and ability to see the nice tile work is a big plus. Go for it.

Terri Sapienza: Oh, shoot. Now I'm re-thinking the curtain again. I think we would opt for a semi-framed version as well and we are having the shower completely retiled, so it would be nice to be able to see it. still thinking...

Thanks!

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Design Show House: This year, I appreciate almost every room in the house (unlike many in previous years). Interesting to see the color choices this year. Elizabeth, what is your reaction to the colors in the Design Show House?

Elizabeth Mayhew: Haven't been to the Design Show House as I live in NYC (went to Georgetown though!). I would love to get down to see it...

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HomeGoods: What is HomeGoods? I just went to their website, which isn't really functioning. Is it new furniture or consignment? Also, does anyone have any feedback on Upscale Resale in Fairfax? I'm looking for a nice "comfy chair" for my den, and would prefer to get a better quality chair secondhand than a cheap new IKEA chair.

Jura Koncius: HomeGoods is part of the Marshall's, TJMaxx company. They buy goods from all over when they can get good prices. Here is something from the ABOUT US section on their website. "Every store is packed with an ever-changing array of one-of-a-kind, and unexpectedly incredible finds from all over the world. ...Explore our eclectic merchandise mix. Distinctive home fashions like furniture, rugs, lighting, kitchen, dining and bed & bath . . . HomeGoods is also your destination for the basics, from kitchen essentials to luxurious towels. All priced 20-60% off department and specialty store prices. Our stores are always changing with new shipments arriving every week."

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Can I Donate Shades?: Thanks for taking my question. I just replaced my double cellular bedroom shades with something more opaque. The originals are still functional, though, and very nice, and I'd like to donate them. What home building/renovating charities that will take them? The only information I can find is on charities that don't want them. Are they just junk, now, or (hopefully) is there someone who could use them? Thanks!

Terri Sapienza: Try an organization called A Wider Circle. They're a non-profit that provides furniture and other basic needs to families moving out of shelters or living in neglected neighborhoods.

I'm not sure they have a use for shades, but it's worth a try.

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Kitchen question: Do you have any thoughts about oriental rugs in kitchens? Have a darkish grey tile floor I'd like to brighten up. Kitchen has light wood cabinets on both sides (galleyish kitchen), brownish-grey silestone counters, white appliances, and bright green glass tile backsplash. So other than the backsplash, it's pretty neutral.

Jura Koncius: A lot of people like to warm up their kitchens using a rug. I think that look works best when the rug isn't too large. Just make sure you have a very secure and thick pad under it.

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Overwhelm, ED: Hi Elizabeth! I love watching you on the Today show and I've sent my fiance out to buy your book today.

We're closing on our first house in about a month and just three weeks after our wedding. Though I think I have a pretty good sense of style and design, I'm a little overwhelmed by the thought of designing and decorating an entire house (especially since I don't have much time to think about it)! How do you suggest I start to break down the design process into smaller, less overwhelming steps? Are there any books, aside from your own that give good, basic instructions?

Thanks so much!

Elizabeth Mayhew: First of all, congratulations on the wedding and the new house! I am so glad you are getting FLIP! because it will be perfect for you. Know that I have been married for 16 years and am still decorating! It is a process that takes time, but should be fun. I suggest you start with the most important and useful pieces: sofa, dining table, and bed. Also make sure you lay the groundwork for future additions -- paint and lighting are the most important! It is a blessing to live in a space for a while without tons of stuff; you will get a better sense of how you use your space.

Good luck and take a deep breath...

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Pittsburgh, Pa.: Re: Glass shower doors for Terri: Ugh. I agree with all the cons in your list and will add to them my biggest complaint with ours: the track that the doors slide on. It's very uncomfortable to lean over the tub to clean it, do handwashing, or wash my hair in the spout with that metal track there. It also lessens available space for putting a wine glass or a book during a bath!

washingtonpost.com: And if you ever break your ankle, you'll have a heck of a time getting in and out of the tub, because you can't lean on the edge. - Michele, speaking, unfortunately, from personal experience.

Terri Sapienza: Ugh...awful. Though, this bathroom only has a shower, so we wouldn't have the tub issues. And I don't think the kind we are looking at have a track, but I'll have to double check that. thanks.

And, Michele -- that's sounds like a terrible experience!

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Nursery wall stickers: Babygadget.net is my favorite place for all things baby decor. I know I have seen all kinds of wall stickers on there.

Pottery Barn Kids also has some as does JCPenney.com.

Jura Koncius: Oh great.

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Beltsville, Md.: To Terri on the shower doors. I worked as a kitchen and bath designer at the now closed EXPO design center. There is a lot to consider. The custom frameless door are beautiful but if you are not doing new tile it is a little silly to spend all that money. A quick fix at Home Depot would be a "frameless style" door. They are in stock or in the special order section. At a price tag of $300-600. Compare to $1500-5000 for a custom frameless door depending on size. There is also a special treatment called "shower guard" that makes custom shower doors less likely to have buildup and streaks. I recommended that treatment to all of my clients and it really made a difference in cleaning.

Terri Sapienza: Wow, this is great advice. Thank you! We are getting new tile, which is another reason for considering a glass door. And I think we would go with the "frameless style." There are other things in the house I'd rather spend $1500+ on.

Thanks, again, for writing in. Very helpful. Sorry about Expo

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Baltimore: Hi, just moved into a new home and wanted to do something new with draperies. Do you know of any good online stores or a good specialty store?

Jura Koncius: Try www.thecurtainexchange.com or www.silktrading.com

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Silver Spring, Md.: I received my first issue yesterday of Canadian House and Home. This magazine is pricey but I think I am going to really like it. That said, I ordered it about three months ago and JUST received it! It is very Domino-esque!

Jura Koncius: How are Canadian homes different from ours? It would be interesting to see. I wonder how much the northern climate affects their decorating style.

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Inspired-ville: Hi ladies!

Just wanted to thank you for the beautiful pics from the Washington Design Show. I just love the chair on the front page of the Home section -- the one upholstered with the Greek key-like design.

I also wanted to welcome Ms. Mayhew! I've seen some of her work in House Beautiful and always love how she works her magic.

I was hoping Ms. Mayhew may have some advice for what kind of fabric to use on a bedskirt that I've been thinking of sewing. I'm new to sewing and DIY, so I'm hoping to use an old bedsheet as part that sits under the mattress, but wasn't sure what kind of fabric to use for the actual skirt. I have a rattan/seagrass woven bed from PB that I would like to soften and brighten the look of, but don't want a very stiff fabric and nothing too frilly -- you know, something for Baby Bear.

Also, with such a dark bed, would you recommend painting the room gray? I'd like to give it a warmer look and I can't decide if I should go with a soft gray with warm yellow accents or just paint the room a barely-there yellow.

Thanks for all the help! Love your discussion!

Elizabeth Mayhew: Hi,

Yes, paint your room gray! My bedroom is Benjamin Moore's Gray Owl (it is one of the 8 colors I recommend in my book). I find it very restful and soothing, plus it looks incredibly chic with dark wood furniture.

As for your bed skirt, I am partial to all white -- I am not much of a sewer so I would take the easy route and order one from Garnet Hill. I love the white Orleans Scalloped style or the Cotton Hemstitched style. I am an all white girl when it comes to the bed -- it's crisp and clean.

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removing those rust stains: is simple with BarKeeper's Friend! Look for it at Lowe's, HD, Bed Bath & Beyond, local hardware stores and sometimes even the supermarket. It's also great on soap scum. Plus it's pretty inexpensive.

Jura Koncius: Great tip. Thanks.

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Woodbridge: We just painted our master bedroom Bird's Egg from BM. We love it! It is such a pretty color and so soothing. With the south facing windows, it's very calming. We are getting ready to paint a nursery (Kittery Point Green) and a guest room (Yarmouth Blue). Lots of fun ahead!

Terri Sapienza: Those are all great color choices.

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B'More Cat and Decorating Lover: Funny that you ask about installing glass shower doors. I am considering removing my glass/metal shower doors because they are impossible to keep clean and they leak! I'm hesitating because I'm not sure what condition the tile/tub will be from the adhesive. Any ideas/suggestions?

Terri Sapienza: I'm not sure about that, but if it's a track that you're removing, I imagine there will be some damage to the tile. But I could be wrong. Best to ask an expert. Or maybe other chatters. Can anyone chime in here?

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Arlington, Va.: I moved into my first townhouse last fall. My first floor and guest room look great (I was given an entire Pottery Barn living room set by a friend, so it really did itself!), but it's time to redo (well, "do") my bedroom. It looks like I just threw a bed, dresser, and a few lamps in (which is what I did when I moved in). I have a few things up on the walls, but now that I have my tax return it's time to make an actual plan and buy some coordinating pieces. Where do I even start? I really want a finished look, a sanctuary, but it's overwhelming when I don't even know how to start.

Elizabeth Mayhew: Start with the bed! It is always best to begin your decorating with the most important piece and there is no question that in the bedroom, it's the bed! Do you have an actual bed or headboard or just the mattress and box spring? You have to start with the framework first. Next invest in pillows, sheets, etc. Good lighting is also key to your bedroom -- skip the overheads and opt for two good reading lamps.

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Allergy-Free Bedroom: My allergist just told me that what can't be encased in my bedroom must be washed weekly in scalding hot water to destroy any lurking pollen, dust mites, etc. So much for my silk wine-colored duvet set. Is there any way to be sterile without looking it? Walls and carpet are neutral (off-white), furniture is dark cherry wood, and it's vaguely Asian. I'd be grateful for any suggestions to keep it from looking like a hospital suite. Thank you so much!

Jura Koncius: I would get a duvet with a washable cotton cover. Stick to something white maybe with a border in another color. Many allergists prefer bare floors which can be kept clean better than wall to wall rugs can. You could do a painted floor for a neat look.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Good morning, ladies! I want to warm up my white living room with a mocha-style paint. SW's Macadamia looks good on the swatch but unappealing against the walls, and seems to have a greenish tint in some light. I'd like to go a bit darker, too. Can you help with color recommendations? Thanks! Love the Home Section and the chat.

Terri Sapienza: I love the coffee/mocha paint color selections from Restoration Hardware.

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Alexandria, Va.: Hi ladies,

I am looking for a good carpet cleaning company in the area and it is a bonus if they do grout cleaning too, any suggestions? Thanks!

Jura Koncius: Had a great review of Absolute Carpet Care in Dulles from a very exacting consumer. 703-584-5066.

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glass shower doors: I think glass doors on a tub/shower combination are a pain; I have sliding glass doors on my walk in shower and love them; a quick after shower spray with a shower cleaner keeps them virtually streak free. And no billowy curtains with mildew on the bottom.

Terri Sapienza: Agreed. I think they would be a pain on a tub and easier on a shower. But either way: no track.

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Washington, D.C.: I got a great camelback sofa with carved claw feet from Second Chance in Baltimore, but it really needs to be reupholstered. I have the fabric selected. Any recommendations for where to get the work done in D.C.?

Jura Koncius: Try The Workshop 202 232-4888.

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Those Canadians: I second the love for Canadian House and Home. Another good Canadian magazine is Style at Home. Both are available from Amazon. I miss my Domino, and these help!

Jura Koncius: Wow. Who knew?

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Washington, D.C.: Stencils for rooms -- check out www.modellodesigns.com -- fantastic.

Jura Koncius: Thanks.

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Suburban MD: Can you offer some recommend some books/resources that show decorating tips for renters? The most flexibility I have in my plain vanilla apartment is painting the walls. I cannot pull up the carpet, install wall sconces, rearrange the kitchen, knock out walls....

All of the shelter mags and books I've read show some great before and afters, but they also involve things that renters cannot do. Can you help? (I've already discovered floating vinyl tiles in slate for the bathroom!)

Elizabeth Mayhew: It's true that you can't pull up the wall-to-wall, but you can overlay a nice rug, sisal, or look into FLOR (they are squares of flooring that you can customize and take with you when you move). Paint is key, so you are lucky that your landlord will let you pick up a brush! You will be surprised how paint can transform. As for sconces, perhaps you can change out a shade or two?

If you have ugly corners, exposed radiators or some architectural part of the apartment that you don't like, try hiding it behind a folding screen.

My husband and I spent 10 years renting so I know exactly what you are going through. I just always spent my time and money on the things I could take with me rather than focusing on the things I couldn't change.

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Outside the house: Last weekend I got carried away and bought a flat of impatiens for my shady location. After the deed was done, I realized that we are weeks away from the frost date and I am probably not doing the plants any favors by keeping them in their little pots for another month. Can this situation be saved?

Jura Koncius: Can you return them to the nursery and ask them to babysit them for you?"

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accent walls in Boston: Hi -- I am interested in adding an accent wall in my bedroom and/or guestroom/office. How do I pick which wall? Does it need to be the one behind the bed? Please advise. The walls are linen white and I will likely paint in a shade of green. Thanks.

Terri Sapienza: I'm probably not the best person to answer this question because I am not a fan of accent walls. At all. And I don't understand the appeal. Why not either paint the entire room with the accent color OR leave the walls a neutral color and add the accent color with bedding and accessories?

I'd love to hear from people who love accent walls and why they do.

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DC: I'm trying to lighten up a small, dark kitchen with birch cabinets and a light tan rug, but I'm not sure what to do for paint. I like the idea of a light, bright aqua. Any suggestions (for paint or other general room-lightening techniques)?

Thanks!

Jura Koncius: I like the color Santa Barbara Green by Benjamin Moore. It looks like the waters off of that gorgeous city. The aqua color would definitely lighten things up a bit as would the birch cabinets. Choose stainless appliances and try to keep the clutter off your counters.

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removing glass/metal shower doors: Damage? The frame is installed by screws in the tile and a very strong gunk holds it on the bottom. I just took one out and it is a mess.

Terri Sapienza: Yikes. That sounds pretty bad. Sorry. Did you remove a track or a frameless door?

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Nix on shower door: Removing the glass shower door was one of the first things I did when I bought my house. It was hard to keep clean and the track was always grungy. Plus, you get to change the look with a new shower curtain any time you want. I love my blue and white toile.

Jura Koncius: Yes. I love my matelasse shower curtain I got at the Matouk outlet in Fall River, Mass.

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For Bowie: Look at near-neutral pale sand or peach tones. My parents recently did their guest room in a pale peachy sand, and it goes with almost everything but adds a little interest and warmth to the room. It sounded weird when Mom described it on the phone, but it looks gorgeous.

Terri Sapienza: Try Benjamin Moore's Pale Almond.

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Painting stripes on wall(s): Hi. I am trying to solve dilemma of what to paint my LR, which is about 3 feet lower than the DR and therefore has 14 foot ceilings. Western exposure, so good light (less so when all the trees here in Reston bloom). Dining room is Behr Butter Touch with RL Candlelight over it. I have Behr Burnt Almond for the walls, but thought I'd paint a stripe pattern about 9 feet up, to tie in colors from the LR and emphasize the high ceilings. Can you recommend sites or books, magazines where I can see good examples of horizontal stripe patterns?

Thanks!

Elizabeth Mayhew: Oh, my bathroom is painted in horizontal stripes exactly as you are describing! Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of it in my book because it is too small to get a camera in! To be honest, I think horizontal stripes look best in small spaces -- think foyer, hall, or bathroom/powder room. They can be overpowering in larger rooms and might accentuate the difference in the ceiling heights (not in a good way). I would worry less about tying the rooms together through paint and more about tying them together in style.

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Narragansett, R.I.: I have a question on kitchen cabinets. We are remodeling our kitchen at the beach. We have narrowed our choice to maple cabinets or white thermofoil beadboard. My question is regarding the white cabinets. The thermofoil is PVC over plywood and are supposed to be easy to clean. Will they yellow over time or has anyone had experience with them? Our floors are maple laminate. Thanks for your help. I look forward to the chats each week.

Jura Koncius: Does your choice involve a budgetary concern? Maple cabinets would last longer, but I assume they are more expensive. The white cabinets would look fresh and clean and make the space look a bit larger.

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Washington, D.C.: A tip that I always do to prevent the rust ring stains on my tub from my shaving can. I use nail polish and cover the bottom metal ring and ever since then I never had to deal with the stains.

Jura Koncius: Oh terrific tip.

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Alex, VA: Someone wrote in looking for wall appliques. Try www.walltats.com. Very cool designs. Easy on and easy off.

Jura Koncius: Cool.

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Outdoor photography: We've used Pat Stewart twice, with great results. No child is too rambunctious for him to cope with.

Jura Koncius: Thanks.

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Curtainless house: We recently moved into a new house. It's in a very wooded area, and the previous owners didn't have any curtains, except for some of those honeycomb shades in the bedrooms and the room I'm using as an office. So no curtains in the living room, kitchen, dining room, or family room.

I'm terrible with window treatments, and have a secret desire to leave the windows bare. Is this a terrible idea? Really, no-one can see in because of all the growth.

Elizabeth Mayhew: There is nothing wrong with leaving the windows bare especially if you have all of the privacy you need. The only thing to keep in mind is what the windows look like at night -- they can be icy and black. If you want to have the option of covering them at night, you can do very sheer curtains that almost disappear during the day when they are open, but soften the windows at night when they are drawn.

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Accent walls: Terri, I agree. Hate 'em. I think they are very 80s (no offense to the poster asking about them). But if someone loves them, by all means go ahead and paint one -- it's your space and you should love it!

Terri Sapienza: My thoughts exactly. I think people should do whatever they want and love in their homes regardless of what others think.

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Northern Virginia: I love aqua, great choice for a kitchen!

For a lighter summer look, I would like to replace our faded red dining room curtains with lace curtains and wood blinds. I've been blind shopping and see that to install the 2" blinds inside the frame, your windows have to be pretty deep. The 1" version would work but they aren't really in style, are they? I'm really wanting to do this but don't want to invest in something that will look out of fashion from day 1. Thank you.

Jura Koncius: If one inch is all that would fit, go for it. Wood blinds are pretty universally in style.

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Accent wall: I have one in my living room and absolutely love it. it is a poppy red and the other walls are taupe. It is the wall you see when you first walk into the house and it makes me smile every time. It helps that it is the wall with the sliding door and window and has a light TV armoire on it so it isn't totally painted.

Terri Sapienza: Sounds nice, especially because it makes you so happy.

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Arlington, Va.: Can you please recommend a green for a front door and garage door? House is typical red/orange brick.

I don't want sage and I don't want a leafy green or evergreen. Basically a medium green that says "mission style" -- I've seen it on some houses in No. Va., but can't really describe it.

Thanks for any input.

Elizabeth Mayhew: I used a very dark green, almost black. I think it was Essex Green from Benjamin Moore.

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Family Portraits: I like Stephanie from CleverlyCandid.com -- she has 3 boys of her own under 7, she knows how to wrangle the kids.

Jura Koncius: thanks.

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Illinois: For Elizabeth: Don't tease us! What are the 5-8 perfect paint colors?

For Terri: Guess I'm in the minority, but I loved my glass shower doors. Using the squeegee never bothered me -- 20 seconds and you're done.

Elizabeth Mayhew: You have to buy my book to find out!!! They are 8 colors that I have used over and over (as the former style editor at both REAL SIMPLE and HOUSE BEAUTIFUL I have tested hundreds of colors over the years) and these are my favorites. A good rule of thumb: Look at Farrow & Ball paints -- expensive, but beautiful. Look at Benjamin Moore's Historic Charleston colors.

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Elizabeth Mayhew: So sorry to sign off, but I have to go. Loved your questions! You can continue to send them to me at www.elizabethmayhew.com

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Jura Koncius: We are out of time but we want to thank Elizabeth Mayhew for enlivening our discussion today with her wisdom. Don't miss the article on her today in the Washington Post Home section. Thanks everyone for joining us.

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