Q: The living room of my apartment is very long (24 feet) and narrow (12 feet), and a friend has suggested that I put mirrors on one wall to make it look wider. I like the idea, but what will I do with all my paintings? Can I hang them on the mirror?
A: Yes, as you can see from the handsome New York City apartment we show here.
Designed by Maryann Johnson and William Florio, a design team from Connecticut, the room is typically long and narrow with its only window across one end. Ms. Johnson and Mr. Florio had floor-to-ceiling panels of beveled mirrors installed down one wall, effectively doubling the apparent floor space and the amount of light from the window.
They've also used a reflective wall covering on the ceiling and floated the coffee table on a base of polished chrome to carry on the mirror image. Over the mirror panels themselves, the designers have hung a double helping of black and white prints, flanked by branched sconces.
Consult your mirror installer -- he'll have the right tools to drill the necessary holes without shattering the mirror.
The room, by the way, has a totally black and white color theme (see it in "Showcase of Interior Design," a book by Vitae Publishing), in which the sparkle and shine of mirroring and crystal are especially striking.
Q: There are eight large windows on my sun porch that I hate to cover completely -- the porch helps light the dining room. The trouble is that our neighbor's house is just across the driveway. What can I use -- other than the old lace curtains I have now -- that will still let the light in?
A: Investigate a brand-new idea in blinds called "Silhouette." Just out from Hunter Douglas Co., these window coverings look like slatted blinds, but the "slats" actually are fabric held between panels of sheer material.
You get the softness of fabric, the efficiency of a blind and a range of tender colors that will work in almost any setting. Moreover, your neighbors will give up their view into your house but the daylight can still find its way in.
Q: I need something inexpensive to put on the stairs to the attic. The children go up there to play, so I'd like carpeting, but right now we can't afford it. Any suggestions?
A: For a neat, fresh and noise-reducing idea, paint the steps white, risers and tops, then have a sisal runner installed down the centers of the stairs. Look for sisal that's the least slippery, and have it installed over padding for most efficient decibel reduction.
Q: Our bedroom has only one wall wide enough to take our king-size bed, and it's a tight fit between two windows. What kind of window treatment can I use that won't make things look too crowded with curtains, bedside tables, lamps and bed, all in a row?
A: Consider pulling the entire wall together with a single stroke: Hang a stationary fabric panel behind the bed with matching curtains that draw to the outsides of the windows. It would serve as a unifying backdrop to the arrangement.
Or you might create an all-in-one effect by using a long multiple swag that goes completely across the wall behind the bed, ending in long jabots beside each window. You'll have a composite "headboard-cum-window-treatment," but you'll probably need to install matching color shades or blinds on the windows themselves to ensure privacy and light control.