Home Front: Play Tables, Paint the Color of the Sun and Much More

Jura Koncius and Terri Sapienza
Washington Post Home Staff
Thursday, June 18, 2009; 11:00 AM

warEvery week, Washington Post Home Section writers Jura Koncius and Terri Sapienza help you in your quest to achieve domestic bliss. They were online Thursday, June 18 at 11:00 a.m. ET to take your questions and suggestions. Guest interior designer Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey will also join in on the chat.

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

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Terri Sapienza: Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining us. Today's Home section is a dedicated design guide for recent college graduates, including a fun Q&A with NY-based decorator and blogger Nick Olsen.

Joining us on our chat this morning is Alexandria-based designer Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey, who provided lots of great advice for today's story. She's here to answer your questions about decorating a first place and about decorating in general. So, let's get going.

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Kid craft/play table: I am looking for a long (maybe 5 ft or longer) craft/play table for my kids (ages 7, 5, and 2). Hoping they can sit at the table and spread out their art projects. Do you have any ideas? The best would be a table whose legs we could replace with standard size legs when they are older. PB's Carolina play table looks good but pricey. Thanks so much for your help.

Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey: What you really need is a table top that you can screw legs into. I watched my mother cut down the legs of our dining room table for a coffee table once and that is probably the same idea. If you are looking for a really inexpensive solution use a piece of plywood wrapped in oil cloth that you can find inexpensively. This will provide an easy to clean tabletop. Look on the internet for legs that you can screw into the top. These have a bracket that mounts onto wood and then you can screw the legs right into the bracket. Best of luck and happy crafting... What a good mom you are.

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Fluvanna, Va.: Hi, Ladies. I just spent the last week digging out and sorting aprons, tablecloths, those little arm chair covers and other lines handmade and embroidered by my late mom and grandma. I have no idea what to do with them. My kids and their wives have no interest in any of that "junk." If you or your readers have any clever ideas how I can preserve or display them, I'd love to hear about it. I don't see how I can part with any of this. The embroidery is exquisite. I think a lot of these arm chair covers were tatted (probably got that word wrong). Thanks for your suggestions. Signed, Not Martha Stewart

Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey: Dear Sentimental,

I love that you have saved all those things and although your children may not be interested in them now, they will be so grateful for them one day. My favorite use for items such as these is to create baby quilts from these old items. This does require cutting the pieces into squares for the actual quilting but you can place the embroidered pieces throughout as full segments. There are many people who can make this for you. Visit your local fabric store where they keep a directory of people who can help with this endeavor. If the embroidery is something that you cannot see being washed, try framing the pieces and grouping them on a wall. I happen to collect stitching samplers and love the display in my child's bedroom. Best of luck. SCW

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Musty sheets: This isn't a decorating question, but I thought I'd throw it out there. How can I get my sheets to have a nice scent? We use fabric softener and they have a nice scent coming out of the dryer, but they smell musty after a couple of weeks in the linen closet. I've tried lavender sachets and they don't seem to work. Any thoughts?

Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey: The musty smell must be coming from the closet where they are stored. Try using shelf liner paper as well as a silicone based moisture absorber which you can likely purchase from The Container Store. Be sure to switch out the lavender sachets as dried flowers themselves might be contributing to the problem. Trader Joe's makes the most heavenly lavender dryer sachets that are affordable. These sachets are reusable and can be recycled in your drawers and closets. Good Luck. SCW

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Laundry Room, Texas: I am looking for a pale periwinkle to paint the laundry room (white trim and appliances). Local paint choices are Behr, Sherwin Williams, Benj Moore, or ICI Dulux. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I really enjoy your chats! Thanks.

Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey: Benjamin Moore Hampshire Rocks 1450 is a pale dreamy gray, blue-violet that would look great in a laundry room space

Benjamin Moore Lake Placid 827 is a more saturated periwinkle color so it depends on how heavy you would like the color to be. Good luck. SCW

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Troublesome windows in Alexandria: Jura and Terri, please help me! I'm moving to a much smaller space with gorgeous floor to ceiling bay window. The trouble is, there is no drywall between the top of the window and the ceiling for me to mount curtain rods. Even though I love the brightness the window offers, I'd like some sheer panels for decor and to block out some light near where I'll be putting a desk and computer. Do you have any suggestions on how I could put up a curtain rod and whether I would need special equipment, or mount something to the ceiling? Or will I have to go without?

Terri Sapienza: How about Roman shades instead of curtains?

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Capitol Hill: Thinking about selling in this market... I want to paint all my trim the same color of white. We have a living/dining room in BM's Rosemary Sprig and a kitchen that is Terra Cotta followed by a bathroom in Yosemite Sand. Any suggestions? Floors are oak hardwood or cream tile. Would semi gloss be best?

Jura Koncius: I'm doing a story on a beautiful house right now in which they painted all the trim in Benjamin Moore's Cloud White in eggshell.

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Alexandria, Va.: This week's House Calls, which is supposed to be "Make space for entertaining in a small backyard," still has last week's House Calls online. Would you please have this updated? Thanks.

Terri Sapienza: Thanks for letting us know. We'll try and get that corrected ASAP.

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Paint: Is there a paint color you can recommend that reminiscent of sunshine?

Jura Koncius: What a neat question! It would be wonderful to have sunshine every day indoors. There is a great color by Fine Paints of Europe called Sunnyside Lane. Also Benjamin Moore's Sundance. If they have sun in their names, they should be in that ballpark!

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re: Legs to screw into table top for play table: I have seen these legs at the local home stores, i.e. Home Depot, Lowes.

Jura Koncius: Thanks.

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Washington D.C.: Good morning ladies,

Please help!! I am replacing a vanity, toilet and lighting fixture in my very small master bath that was built about 6 years ago. The shower door and all the fixtures (faucets, vanity light, overhead fan, towel bars, etc) are polished brass. I am overwhelmed with brass and am hesitant to add more. What do you think about using a different finish for the new vanity pulls, faucet and lighting? I was thinking about oiled bronze or maybe a two tone color of chrome/brass? The new vanity will be dark brown with probably white countertop. I'm hoping to move in the next few years, so I'm keeping resale in mind. Thanks!!

Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey: I think your idea of doing a combination finish sounds great, something that ties in the polished with another finish. I am not crazy about putting another finish in the space entirely, i.e. a bronze. Look on the Anthropologie website for some creative solutions. You will find ceramics with brass fittings or glass knobs with brass backs. They have a myriad of choices and you might find something that sparks your creativity in a whole new direction. Best of luck. SCW

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Basement flooring: We're refinishing a basement that is approx 12x25 (and no windows). No flooding issues in the past 50 years and the floors are concrete and walls plaster or nasty fake paneling. We're putting up drywall and want to use carpet tiles. Can you recommend a paint color to help warm up this windowless cave (will be used as a TV room for adults and play area for toddlers)? Also, can anyone recommend a brand of carpet tiles other than the ubiquitous Floor?

Terri Sapienza: Is there a specific reason you don't want to use FLOR tiles? I've never used them personally, but people that have usually rave about them. As for a paint color, try browsing through Valspar's Seaside Retreat paint collection (available at Lowes) - lots of soft and light shades that I think might be perfect to brighten up a basement.

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Falls Church, Va.: I'd love some color advice on how to update and brighten a small, full guest bathroom on the bottom floor of my townhouse. There's older beige tile on the floor, white walls, and the basic row of small lightbulbs above the vanity mirror. I'm going to replace the light fixture. Any suggestions for colors for the walls? Thanks!

Terri Sapienza: Since it's a guest bathroom, which I assume doesn't get regular use, why not do something really fun on the walls? You could go with a bold color or, even better, a fun wallpaper. It would not only brighten the space, but it would also be a nice treat for guests. Oh, and yes, definitely swap out that light fixtures!

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NE, D.C.: I want to repaint my living room and have been thinking of maybe a warm grey. It's a row house with windows only on one side leaving the room without much light for most of the day. Any ideas?

Jura Koncius: Benjamin Moore's Glass Slipper is sort of a silvery gray with a touch of pale blue in the light. Duron's Useful Gray is also a nice shade.

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Laurel, Md.: Paint color question! Our bedroom is currently white. We'd like to jazz it up a little bit, but are having trouble thinking of something to match our bedsheets: Ruovikko (light and dark greens) from Crate and Barrel. I think more green would be overkill but don't know what would match.

Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey: Probably the best solution would be to create a more neutral base for the room if you want the bedding to stand alone as your color in the space. I am unsure what your other furniture tones in the space are but consider Benjamin Moore Manchester Tan or Tapestry Beige. Both of these tans have a hint of green undertones. Don't be afraid of the green wall color however, the mistake a lot of people make is overkill in the color with a super saturated wall color. Consider doing a pale wash of color instead. Three greens I love and have used with success from Benjamin Moore are Woodland White, Calming Aloe, and Hint of Mint. Don't get caught up on matching the bedding exactly and you will love the results. Best of luck. SCW

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Capitol Hill: I need to replace a tired sleeper sofa, ideally for under $2,000. I'd like a classic style, but with modern lines. Any suggestions on where to start? Pictures would be great, too!

Terri Sapienza: For a sofa under $2,000 I would start my search at the following places: Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, Room & Board, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams and Vastu. The last two are located on 14th street, NW).

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Bethesda, Md.: Hi Home section! Love the chats. I'm finally ready to replace my bedroom bedding and found something I really like (Sausalito stripe from pottery barn). But it's a duvet cover. As someone whose always had a patterned comforter, I'm at a loss. What do I put in it, just any type of comforter? Is there something called a duvet you're supposed to use for these? I have a queen size bed and the one I like is tagged as full/queen size, so what size comforter/duvet/insert should I buy? Any help you can give me would be appreciated. Thanks!

Jura Koncius: Yes. You need to buy a basic duvet/comforter with a plain cotton stitched on cover that has specially sized duvet covers to slip over it. They can be easily laundered which makes it functional and the comforter should last for years. In fact, I have been married for 25 years and the down comforter/duvet that we have has lasted through that time! Mine came from Bloomingdales. You can choose either combinations of various goose downs or poly fill or anti-allergenic. They have some at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

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Narragansett, R.I.: I have a question about window treatments. My husband and I will be moving to our home in Narragansett in September. It is a small ranch about 900 sq ft. Right now it is a seasonal rental and has mini blinds. I'd like to update the window treatments in the fall. What is current that will still maintain the beach cottage look we love?

Terri Sapienza: I would replace the blinds with woven or bamboo shades. It's a great look for a beach cottage.

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Craft table: Check out IKEA's screw-in table legs. Some are pretty stylish.

For a top, consider a flat hollow-core interior door from a salvage store or hardware store. Thicker and lighter-weight than plywood. Can be painted with colors, blackboard paint, or covered in cool oil cloth as mentioned. Marimekko has some very pretty vinyl/PVC "oil cloths" which is what my mom used on our craft table when we were kids.

Jura Koncius: Terrific. Thanks.

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Frederick, Md.: Good morning all.. I want to put a table with four chairs in our basement/bar area. But I don't want a dining or kitchen table. More along the line of four club chairs and a coffee table. So you could either have drinks with friends or do puzzle/games with the kids. Problem is a coffee table is to low. Any ideas of were to find a table that looks like a coffee table but is a little taller like a dining table?

Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey: Sounds like you might need to put something together that fits your solution. Typical coffee table height is 18 to 20 inches and dining table is 30 inches. I would suggest that you use an old flat topped trunk if you can find one and top with a piece of glass or by itself. Think out of the box a little bit and try pairing two small stools topped with glass or a wood piece. Since you are in Frederick MD. Please visit my friend Paul at Great Stuff By Paul and tell him I sent you. He likely has the perfect solution. Good luck.

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Rockville, Md.: I'm slowly redoing the house and up next is the family room. I plan on taking down the 1960s-era paneling and putting in drywall. Then I'll rip up the approx 25-yr old tan carpet and replace it with a milky/creamy white tile floor. I've got a chocolate brown leather sectional sofa and ottoman in the room. Throw pillows are kind of a smoky teal and a lighter brown/coppery color.

Any suggestions for what color to paint the walls? The room gets morning sun, but not much afternoon or evening sun.

Also, suggestions for area rug(s), both in color and style are welcome.

Thanks!

Terri Sapienza: With a neutral color palette (white floor and a brown sectional), you could put just about any color on the walls you like then, maybe, get throw pillows that coordinate with the new color. If you plan on keep the existing pillows, then maybe take a color from them and use it on the walls? Maybe a light version of the teal would be nice? Hard to say without being able to see what they look like.

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Small guest bathroom re-dec idea: My friend redid her bathroom in a dark burgundy color on the walls, with black matte fixtures. The mirror is a gorgeous large oval with an intricate black renaissance style frame. Very dramatic and NICE.

Terri Sapienza: That definitely sounds very dramatic. I think I would opt for lighter colors, though.

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Clifton, Va.: For great deals on sleeper sofas check out the Solid Cherry and Oak Warehouse in Alexandria behind Marlo off 395. Great selection of sofas and sleeper sofas at prices that beat any in the area and they should be having their July 4th sale.

Terri Sapienza: Interesting. I've never heard of this place. Good tip. Thanks.

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to Capitol Hill Sleeper Sofa: Crate and Barrel's Troy sleeper sofa got good reviews in Apartment Therapy. More modern than their other sleeper sofas though they're supposed to be good to sit/sleep on, too.

Terri Sapienza: Yep, all true. Thanks.

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Cleaning Wood Furniture: What is the best way to clean wood furniture, including old stuff? Oil, wax, damp cloth, soft dry cloth, Pledge? There's a lot of info out there, all of which says it is the only way.

Jura Koncius: Most people polish their furniture too much - all that silicone in those sprays builds up on your wood pieces and dulls their finish. Dusting is usually all you need. If you have to clean a particularly sticky or grimy spot, just use a cloth with a bit of soap on it to get out the spot, and then wipe clean with a freshly wrung out cloth dampened with water.

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Some suggestions for Alexandria window: She can mount something to the ceiling, she could sue a tension rod, she could use a curtain rod wider than the window and mount it as close to the ceiling as possible, she could do something like the cornice board project in today's section using molding to match the existing molding and put a rod behind that.

Terri Sapienza: Yep, she could all of those things. I just think the shades might be a cleaner look in this instance.

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Troublesome windows in Alexandria: Ladies, forgive me for forgetting one very important detail of my submission to you! I love Roman shades, however the apartment complex already has black blinds installed, and we can't remove them.

Terri Sapienza: You can't remove them? You mean you aren't allowed to or you can't physically do it because they are permanently in place?

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Alexandria, Va.: What's the best way to find out about auctions and estate sales in NoVa?

Jura Koncius: There is a Web site Nova Antiques. Check out the Washington Post classifieds, Craigslist, Swap Thing and FreeCycle. Estate sales also are listed at Nova Antiques.

If you go to an estate sale given by a particular estate sale company, ask to be put on their email or snail mail mailing list. Also sign up for alerts from auction houses such as Sloans & Kenyon in Bethesda or Weschler's in Washington.

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Display needlework: I have a partial answer to the person wondering what to do with the needlework from her mom/grandma. If they are doily type things, there was a great picture at apartmenttherapy.com a couple of weeks ago. the smaller pieces were mounted on black mats with black frames, many of which were hung in a guest room. The black and white (of the crochet work) was stunning had a very contemporary feel.

Jura Koncius: That's a good idea. You could also buy a small end table that has a glass top where you can display things inside.

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Chicago, Ill.: My living room is 20' X 11'. One long wall has a large picture window and the other an archway to the kitchen; one short wall has a fireplace and the other an archway to the entry hall. My furniture is placed lengthwise and I have simple, appropriately-scaled pieces. The window has simple blinds.

How can I make this room seem less like a passageway and more like a traditional living room since 3 sides have either windows or archways? Visually, I have made the fireplace the focus of the room which helps but would love other suggestions.

Thanks!

Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey: The main thing with a narrow room is to create a hallway effect by floating the furniture in the room if at all possible. It is alright to have one end of the sofa next to a wall but try to float it if possible. Since your room is 132 inches wide you should be able to create a hallway effect at least 30 inches on one side of the space. You might even try taping that line down and seeing if you can group the furniture accordingly. If you are trying to use the entire room try breaking it up into 2 spaces, one around the fireplace and one on the other end of the space. Imagine your sofa as the diving point of the room and divide it into thirds with the larger seating area being two thirds of the space near the fireplace, this will provide an appropriate entry into the space and block the stream of traffic that is running toward the center of the space.

When you are ready try dressing your windows in beautiful drapes. Nothing says loved living room than dressed windows. Best of luck. SCW

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Clifton, Va.: See Warehouse Showrooms.

Jura Koncius: Thanks.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Ladies,

Have you heard anything about the product "DRICore" that is a subfloor system used in a basement to help keep the floor dry. The promotional materials claim that the floor creates an air space between the concrete floor and your choice of basement flooring. Because I currently have carpet installed directly on the concrete basement floor, it gets cold and uncomfortable in the winter and damp in the summer (concrete sweats). This seems ideal but I wonder if you or readers have had experience with the product?

Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey: I have not had a lot of experience. Please try calling my friend John Boyle at Eco Finishes. They specialize in just this thing. The phone number 703-373-9037. Good luck, SCW

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Crofton MD: Jura and Terri; a paint question for you. I'll be painting my dark tunnel of a basement this summer and wonder if you might have color suggestions for me? My washer and dryer are located there, so I'd like to make it more cheerful. I plan to paint over the ugly paneling, the stairs are unfinished wood, and the ceiling is wallboard. Thanks so much for any ideas; I'm open to all colors.

Terri Sapienza: Like I mentioned above, Valspar's Seaside Retreat paint color collection has lots of light, beachy shades that might be perfect for brightening up your basement and laundry area. Not sure why, but if a washer and dryer are white, I'm partial to a very pale blue.

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NW Washington: Good morning,

I have an elderly dog that now has regular accidents in the house. I want to pull up the carpet and replace it with laminate, but am concerned that it probably isn't the best choice for my doggie issues. I saw in Home Depot this vinyl flooring that actually looks like wood. However, I worry about how it will look installed in a large area (rec room). Any thoughts?

Jura Koncius: There is a lot of conflicting info out there about living with dogs and laminate floors. It seems that sometimes if your dog has an accident right on top of one of the seams and you don't clean it up right away, it can buckle it or seep into the backing material. Some of the major makers of laminate tell you that their product stands up to pets and they have lots of customers who say so. If you do go with laminate, go with a name brand and not the cheapest generic. I personally love laminate - I have a cat though and he doesn't have accidents like dogs do. My Pergo is 10 years old and has withstood lots of spills and stuff in the kitchen. I would still choose it over vinyl.

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Boston: Where can I find a small scale sectional? My room is sort of oddly shaped and I think my best bet for more seating is a sectional. But the long length would have to fit between a fireplace and stairs, with 97" between them. Mostly I find even the small pieces to be 107". A cushioned back (no loose pillows) would be great as well.

Jura Koncius: Have you tried Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams or Rowe?

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DIY, Arlington: Hi Ladies,

Thanks for taking questions. Do you have any fun DIY wall art project ideas? I want to spruce up the wall behind my TV - biggest wall in the living room. The color is cream and I wanted to make my own project. Any easy/cheap ideas?

Terri Sapienza: In today's section, local designer Kelley Promise suggests framing pieces of wallpaper that you love. It's a great and inexpensive way to add color and pattern (and art) into a room.

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Washington, D.C.: Where can I find game table, for playing scrabble, backgammon, etc.? It doesn't have to have the felt top or printed checkerboard. In fact, modern would be better.

Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey: Crate and Barrel has an affordable 36 inch square table called the Pacifica. Good luck. SCW

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Oakton, Va.: Hello, Design Divas - I have some very nice fabric left over from having a chair re-covered and would love to have some decorative pillows made. Do you know of any place in the Northern Virginia area that does this that you could recommend? Thanks!

Jura Koncius: Calico Corners stores would do it. Also sometimes the tailor at your local dry cleaners could do it. Spicers in Alexandria says they could make throw pillows sewed with a classic knife edge with Dacron filling at $55 to $65 using your own fabric. They are at 3649 Wheeler Ave in Alexandria 703 751-0320.

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For Bethesda buying a duvet cover: overstock.com has GREAT prices on down and down-alternative comforters to put in that duvet cover. With $3 shipping and customer reviews to guide your choices.

Jura Koncius: Overstock is always a great source.

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Silver Spring, Md.: One year into updating our house, and it's time to replace the VERY dated curtains. Because of the styling of the wide horizontal sliding windows, we need to do curtains rather than shades. I want to get fabulous curtains, but was hoping to save money by buying sheers from West Elm or C and B. Problem is the one window is over our buffet, so the sheers would need to be shorter than any of the pre-made lengths. Am I crazy to think I could re-hem these myself?

Terri Sapienza: If you are decent at sewing, why not do it yourself? You could also take them to a dry cleaners and have them do it for you, too.

But, I have a question: why do the panels need to be shorter because of the buffet? Can't you move the buffet just a little away from the wall so full-length curtains can move behind it when you need them closed? I imagine full-length panels would frame the buffet nicely when they are open. Shortening just one set of panels in a room sounds like it might look a a little odd.

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Alexandria, Va.: Do you know where I can get a wood screen door locally (that isn't Lowes or Home Depot)? I recall in past chats a company in MD that does this. Thanks.

Jura Koncius: www.twperry.com. T.W. Perry is where I got my Chippendale-style wood screen door some years back. I just love it. TW Perry stores are located in Baltimore, Maryland; Chevy Chase, Maryland; Gaithersburg, Maryland; Leesburg, Virginia; and Springfield, Virginia.

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Silver Spring: Another fun DIY project is buying fabric remnants and either stretching them onto a board and stapling them (super simple) or framing them.

Jura Koncius: Yes!

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Omaha, NE: For the person with the DriCore question- we used it in finishing our enormous (900+ sq ft) walk-out basement here in the Omaha area, and it's been great. It acts as a sort of floating floor, like laminate, and the plastic on the bottom gets the floor up off the concrete. It actually adds a small R-value for insulation and makes the floor much warmer than it would be otherwise. Because it's kind of floating, air still circulates underneath. After 2 years, still working great, no problems, no musty smells at all. We've been very happy with it. We did it all ourselves, so I do have to note than getting all the panels even can be a challenge with a large space- plan on using the shims. We put laminate on top and it's been a fabulous play area for our son to drive his trucks around (winter here is looong). We even have Grandma's old 1904 piano on top with no problems at all. Good luck!

Jura Koncius: Thanks a lot for that. Sounds like a great choice.

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Paint Like Sunshine: For the poster who wanted paint that looks like sunshine, I just painted my kitchen BM Shooting Star, and I loooove it! It's in a south facing room, so it goes a little gold, but it looks fantastic and sunny.

Jura Koncius: Love it.

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Camp Hill, Pa.: I've been trying to find traditional cape cod tiers, with three sides of ruffles. Looked at Country Curtains ( only two sided available) and J.C. Penney's ( not great quality) Suggestions for other curtain sources I can try? Thanks!

Jura Koncius: Wow. I'm throwing this out to all of you. I would have thought that Country Curtains would have them! Window Toppers has a great selection of Cape Cods, but I don't see exactly what you want.

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Alexandria Bay Window: I know you've already had some responses to this, but I'll share anyway. I had a similar issue in my TH several years back. I found a "ceiling mount curtain rod" (those terms are easily searched) that worked wonderfully to hang the sheers I wanted. I probably got it at JCPenney, my go-to place for curtain hardware.

Jura Koncius: JC Penney has been a great source for curtains and rods for years and often has exactly what you need.

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Arlington: Paint color question- I have a SMALL full bath with 1950s era black and white tile (on the floor and 1/2 way up the walls). I want to paint the other portion of the walls a nice deep red. No company preference. Any suggestions for a nice deep blue-based red (not orangey)?

Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey: Try Benjamin Moore Moroccan Red number 1309 and be sure to use a primer or you'll be painting 10 coats on white walls. Good luck, SCW

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re: dog accidents: WIlson Art has a product that looks like tile and one of the ways to install it in locations that need to be waterproof is to use glue on the joints--that would probably work with dog incontinence issues. I'm sure other manufacturers also have instances where they recommend glued joints.

Jura Koncius: Makes sense.

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Takoma Park, Md.: What do you ladies think about roller shades? I live in a VERY small bungalow with teeny tiny windows. Since I moved in the windows currently have two shutters on each window (upper and lower)that are just too bulky/stick out when open. I was looking at next day blinds and their roller shades are quite nice looking. I was initially thinking of putting roller shades in my bedroom but am now thinking of the whole house. What do you think?

Jura Koncius: Roller shades are classic and don't take up any space. I actually have them in two bedrooms in my house. They can be invisible under certain window treatments as well.

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Washington, D.C.: For craft table. Try to get legs that are braced, not 4 separate ones. Kids can put quite a lot of stress on a table, and you want it to be sturdy and stable. My son made a desk with metal "trestle" type (each pair braced by a cross-bar) legs that were height-adjustable. Probably from Ikea. Where's the late beloved Door Store when you need them?

Jura Koncius: Door Store memories - yes.

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Floor tiles: The basement flooring person again - Been to their site, not a fan of the color and selection. Also seemed a bit overpriced (am I buying name or carpet?) Just looking for who else is out there! Thanks for the palate rec. Sounds perfectly beachy!

Terri Sapienza: Valid point. Can anyone offer carpet tile suggestions from a place other than FLOR?

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Lavender water for sheets: You can buy sprays on either lavender water or a linen scent for sheets and ironing. I use the linen scent for ironing and it smells fresh and clean. I have seen them in most large department stores and places like Home Goods for around 10 bucks.

Jura Koncius: Go to Caldrea. Caldreahey have a $12 sheet spray available in lots of neat scents including lavender pine, sweet pea, etc.

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replacing sofa bed: Jennifer Convertibles is a good source for quality sleep sofas, and their mattresses are of better quality than average. They have annual sales, you should be able to stay easily under $2,000, and they last a long time.

Jura Koncius: Thanks.

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Washing wood furniture:: I like Murphy oil soap. For pieces that have become very dry and dull try rubbing in linseed oil.

Jura Koncius: Okay.

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washingtonpost.com: Q&A With an Expert on Window Treatments - washingtonpost.com

Terri Sapienza: For all those with window-related questions today, check this recent story out. We interviewed local designer and certified window treatment specialist, Claire Schwab, and asked her the most frequently asked window treatment questions we get from you guys. Lots of great info here.

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Washington DC - Drapes on French Doors?: Good morning ladies! I have a long living room (approx 15x22') with 2 sets of French Doors leading to a deck. There is also a rectangular window above each door. The room looks plain w/o anything on these windows, but I don't know if drapes would work. If so, do I hang them at ceiling height, or between the top of the door and the rectangular window? Also, how wide to not interfere with opening the doors? Thanks!

Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey: That piece of glass above the door is a transom and you should hang the drapes above the transom at the ceiling. Essentially you will want to hang a set of panels for each door that are approximately 2 widths of fabric for each panel, we call the area that clears the door a stack back. Stack back is approximately 12 inches but can vary with lining weight. If you use a sheer linen lined with sheer lining you will have less. You can use a single rod for each door with rings and finials. Essentially you will transform your space with the addition of these panels. Best of luck, SCW

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Boston: Hello! This is my favorite day of the week! Love the Home section and chats. My question - I found a lamp on the side of the road with a great shape. I took it home-- Love anything free! I replaced the ugly shade, but now I want to change the color of the lamp. I think it is ceramic or porcelain... What kind of paint would you recommend? Is painting an option? Thank you!

Jura Koncius: Could you spray paint it? Love that you found it by the side of the road!

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Troublesome windows in Alexandria: The apartment complex will allow us to remove them, but we could not then have blinds at all (being unable to mount a secondary set of blinds) There is a 3 inch metal frame around the windows. I'd like for some way to cover the frame as well.

Terri Sapienza: Oh, I see. That is quite a problem. Then, I would probably take the suggestions of the previous poster and mount a curtain rod to the ceiling and, maybe, add a decorative cornice board as well to conceal the hardware. Good luck!

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Wood-look vinyl flooring for rec room re-do-er: I used a sheet vinyl flooring in my large bedroom and it was hard to tell it wasn't wood flooring. The particular brand of flooring (I think it was Armstrong - got it "stock" from Home Depot) had indentations between the strips of "wood" so it really looked real underfoot. It was a wider plank look.

Jura Koncius: Sounds nice.

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Low Ceiling Dilemma: Good Morning Ladies. The ceilings in the lower level of my split level measure under 8 feet with a bulkhead running down the middle of the open space at a low of maybe 7 feet. I have settled on BM's A la Mode for the room. My question is: Do I paint the ceilings the same or white to give an illusion of height? We have 3" crown molding around the perimeter which I would like to paint a nice glossy white. What do you think? Thanks.

Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey: Paint the matte white to blend bulkhead and make room appear higher. I would probably go semi gloss on trim, but that is a personal preference. Best of luck, SCW

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Master Bedroom, Alexandria: I'm a bit confused between a coverlet and a quilt, as I'm looking for a light blanket for summer. I also need some suggestions - my walls are a tanish color, current bedspread is light blue with brown, white and tan lines (BBB), and we have dark wood furniture with dark gold drawer pulls and matching lamps. It's all a bit too stiff for me. I've started looking at replacing the drawer pulls - any suggestions for inexpensive pulls that are 4-5"? I'm also thinking of white blankets/sheets and accenting with green flowers maybe around the room. it's not a very large room, but it's also not very welcoming. I also don't have luck with duvets..

Terri Sapienza: When in doubt, I always think a white, cotton matelesse coverlet is always a nice, fresh and clean look. With the white, you can use just about any accent color you like.

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Bedroom wall/ceiling color - thoughts?: My bedding is white with black toile and gingham with red accents. I have a mix of light and medium wood furniture and window frames. Some black accents in wall shelves, hamper, large picture frame. Muted red nightstand. Carpet is medium gray frieze. Currently the walls are very light gray and ceiling is off-white. I'd appreciate a color suggestion for both walls and ceiling. Was thinking of a warm darker gray for the walls to add a little drama. But what color would be good for the ceiling. Any other possibilities?

Jura Koncius: I would leave the ceiling white. If you want to go with a gray for the walls, I might suggest Pensive Sky by Behr or Stonington Gray by Benjamin Moore.

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Ohio: RE: Needlework from mom: My mom also did beautiful crochet. I used an antique frame and framed some of her doilies. Hung in on a wall, so I can see them, they are protected, and can be admired by visitors.

Jura Koncius: If you have something like that you cherish, you should display it and get pleasure out of it. My mother quilted several quilt tops in her lifetime, but she never had them finished into quilts. Last year for Christmas, my sister took the time to find someone who would back the quilt beautifully and finish it. My mom was thrilled and she kept that quilt in her living room on a quilt stand for her friends to admire. She had made it years ago and many of the squares were taken from fabrics from dresses she made for me and my sister.

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Wallpaper in small bathroom: Great idea for the small guest bathroom. I have wallpaper in a small half-bath, and it looks great (even though it probably is not exactly the paper I would have picked). We took down all the wallpaper in the rest of the house (some of which truly had to be seen to be believed, and in some rooms was even on the CEILING), but left the bathroom wallpaper.

Do not paint the bathroom dark burgundy with black fixtures -- I think the red/black combination looks dated and depressing!

Terri Sapienza: I also have wallpaper in a small first-floor powder room and I love it. It's one of my favorite things in my house.

As for the burgundy and black bathroom - you're comments are a little harsh. To each their own, I say. Everyone has different tastes.

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Baltimore, Md.: Good Morning, I have a recently completed sun room added to my house. (Haven't seen any sun since) Can you recommend sources for ideas on how to decorate. I though you did a makeover of a sunroom or porch last year but could not find the article. Thanks.

washingtonpost.com: Sunroom House Call

Jura Koncius: Here it is!

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Small guest bathroom: I should have noted that the bathroom is very small so the dramatic colors work. It's just big enough for a toilet and sink. But everyone who sees it loves it.

Terri Sapienza: See, apparently it does work!

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Rockville, Md.: I work for Montgomery Hospice. We are redoing our family room where we hold groups for grieving people. It is a small room, approx. 9 X 11 so we are looking for furniture a bit on the smaller scale, no more than 35 inches deep. I've looked at all the furniture stores and haven't found my perfect fit as yet. Got any ideas?

Jura Koncius: I would suggest checking out used furniture places. Terri's story in today's Home section which is a Grad Design Guide actually has a list of places in our area you could scout including Miss Pixie's on 14th St. By the way, I think it is a really fabulous resource! I plan to keep it in my decorating notebook. Go Terri!

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Terri Sapienza: To Alexandria with the white dog: I also have a white dog (a Dalmatian with yellow spots)who sheds his little white hairs EVERYWHERE. We have combated the problem by keeping the upholstery in our home very light and vacuuming constantly. But regardless of our efforts, the continues to stick. Nothing we can really do about it, so we live with it. Lucky for my dog, Sam, that he's so cute. I think I would stay away from leather, though. His/her nails might puncture it.

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Md.: I have a book storage dilemma. Both of us are big readers, and even after paring our collections down considerably, we have a great many books. We've devoted a bedroom to house the "library". I have been looking for appropriate shelving and have come up empty. All of the bookcases in my price range are made from particle board or are flat-out ugly (made for utility rooms and garages). I know from past experience that particle board is not sturdy enough for our collection. I need actual wood, but all the wooden shelves I'd be willing to buy are too expensive.

We have enough books that we'd need about 6 floor to ceiling shelves. I'd preferably like to get some sort of shelving "system" so I can maximize the space by going under the window and around the corners.

Yes, we really do read all those books.

Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey: Consider using cabinets versus shelving units. I have a client with a large library and we purchased glass front cabinets from Crate and Barrel that are solid wood. The glass doors help protect from dust. They are called the Hudson collection. Good luck, SCW

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Terri Sapienza: Oops, it's after 12. We have to run. Thanks for joining us today. Chat with you next week.

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Princeton, N.J.: My roommates and I have a big three-room quad (two doubles and a common room) for sophomore year, and we're all VERY excited about decorating it since we're all into that sort of stuff. Problem is, the look we're going for seems to be too expensive for our college student budgets. We like the oriental rug/antique furniture/stained wood/brass lamp sort of look you might find in a lot of Georgetown row houses in DC. Any place we can find this sort of stuff without going bankrupt? We need rugs, an arm chair and couch or loveseat, a few lamps, table, and additional stuff like picture frames, shelves, coat racks, etc.

Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey: I love that you are inspired students. My roommate and I painted bunkbeds one summer to match out Pier One blankets.

Since you like the process, try rummage stores and even Goodwill and Salvation Army in nicer areas. You will be shocked at what people throw out. Flea markets are great. The Chelsea flea market in NYC would be a fun road trip one Saturday morning this summer. Garage sales in older neighborhoods could also provide a surplus of items. Good luck, would love to see the finished project. SCW

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