Difficult space easily transformed by designing woman's handiwork


Anyone who likes pretty designs will probably find much to admire in this photo, which shows a cozy, afternoon-tea retreat frequented by a busy female executive.

Designer Jeanie Ziering made all the right choices in transforming a difficult space into a soothing haven. It's especially noteworthy, by the way, that Ms. Ziering undertook this project for a designers' show house. When confronting so knotty an architectural challenge, a designer has to be not only a real pro but also a good sport as she strives to impress her colleagues.

Try to envision this area without furniture, window coverings, carpet or accessories. Many of you may then recognize it as that small, better-forgotten, third-floor bedroom with the awkward configurations and the cell-like dormer windows.

Certainly, no stylish magazine or coffee-table book on interior design will include a photo spread on this everyday type of room.

Such a room's real significance is that it typifies the interior design problems that most people are likely to encounter. But rather than address these dreary quotidian concerns, the trendy publications hype the fantasy that everyone lives either in a contemporary California beach house with glass walls, or in a renovated 16th-century farmhouse a few miles outside Florence.

Back here in the real world, let's consider how best to shape up this funny-looking space.

I would personally start from the premise that it's impossible to pretend those windows are actually bigger or shapelier. Therefore, instead of futilely attempting to camouflage them, my solution would be to emphasize them.

Ms. Ziering took the same approach.

The eye is irresistibly drawn toward that lacy balloon shade enhanced at the top by a swag-and-jabot treatment. Note, please, that the window covering material matches the fabric that covers the French armchair.

Those same "colorways" of green and rose are followed in the DuPont "Grand Luxura" carpet from Milliken. Its field is in a needlepoint texture, while the insert border is in a cut pile.

The recess under the window has meanwhile been turned into an upholstered seating area, which is made even softer and more inviting by the addition of pillows and decorative fringe.

And don't overlook the Romantic painting hanging on the short wall. Properly lighted, it perfectly augments the corner's languid mood.

Overall, then, it's the combination of many elements that makes this space a success. A pleasing blend of patterns and colors sets the style, which is made more attractive by the lines and scale of the furnishings. The entire composition also has a seamless, effortless appearance -- as though this forlorn little space was just waiting for someone to tap its potential.

Copyright © 2021, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad