Q: We've taken a tiny house at the lake and we have a huge list of people we'd love to have visit. Most are families, so they could share rooms. The trouble is, we have only two bedrooms and a large living-dining room. On a tight budget, how can we provide sleeping space for as many overnighters as possible?
A: Steal a few ideas from a pro like interior designer Margot Gunther, ASID, whose own vacation home we show in the photo. Her sitting room has a traditional elegance at first glance, but look again: You'll see how accommodating, literally, a room can be without losing its charm.
Bedding down. The sofa flips into a queen-size bed. The window seat is comfortably cushioned to sleep one adult or two children. The chaise accommodates another child. There's a second convertible sofa in the enclosed sun porch (not seen here), so all told, seven people can put up for the night, seven friendly people, that is.
Other practicalities. The sisal rug is inexpensive and carefree. All fabrics are protected by soil -- and stain-repellent finishes (in this case, by Dupont Teflon). The cocktail table hides sheets and blankets by day.
It's an old sea captain's chest, by the way, which is appropriate: Ms. Gunther's second home is a 300-year-old house in Nantucket, Mass., thought to have belonged to the captain of a whaling ship.
There's a romantic view of Nantucket's harbor from these second-floor windows. The harbor still bustles these days, but with pleasure sailors and yachts, no whalers.
Rose Bennett Gilbert is the author of five books on interior design, associate editor of Country Decorating and a contributing writer to other publications in the field. Send questions to Inside Advice, Maryland Living, The Sun, Baltimore, Md. 21278.