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Yes, Virginia, a kitchen can be too big


Q: How would two islands look in a kitchen? We're remodeling and taking down the wall to the breakfast room, so there's plenty of space for an eat-on counter separate from the work island.

A: Lucky you to have such luxurious space. Just remember, there is such a thing as too much room, especially in a kitchen, where you want to conserve steps between activity areas.

You might consider combining two activities, say, eating and specialty cooking, on that second island.

The kitchen we show here may offer novel inspiration: Shingo Mito and Rich Walton designed it for the Tokyo Dream House in Seattle, Wash., and included a hibachi-type grill in the center of the island that divides the kitchen from the family living area. Wide, overhanging wings made of Avonite provide ample counter-top space for eaters and kibitzers alike.

The "serious" work island is centered in the kitchen, conveniently close to the main sink and refrigerator, the better to pamper the cook.

Q: I have a one-room apartment, an Oriental rug (blues and reds) and lots of books. My former wife has everything else until we settle, which could take months. I have about $3,000 to invest in what I hope will be temporary quarters. How do you suggest I spend it?

A: Wisely, by investing in the furniture that will get the most use and pay you back most directly, that is, in a quality sofa bed. Pick your upholstery colors to work with your Oriental rug and you're on your way to looking "decorated."

Next, I'd find a good carpenter to design and build a wall unit of storage shelves and drawers to hold:

The television (on a pull-out swivel panel).

Books and bibelots.

Shirts, underwear, socks and such.

A drop-down surface for a desk and dining table.

Have it made as large as possible, but in several sections that will fit through the door when the time comes to move again.

Use what money you have left on inexpensive window coverings, a couple of lamps and several pull-up chairs.

Q: Every magazine I look through these days is showing enormous sunflowers in vases. I mean, these things are the size of dinner plates! Why all of a sudden are we seeing sunflowers?

A: Why not?

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the author of five books on interior design and a contributing writer to other publications in the field. Send questions to Inside Advice, Maryland Living, The Sun, Baltimore 21278.

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