Home improvement tricks

* Space-saving techniques, not visual tricks, make the most of the cottage s small rooms. By designing an efficient wall-to-wall desk and storage unit (left, Jeffrey carved a work area out of one corner of the living room. Storage cubbies fitted with wicker baskets stow everything from file folders to fabric swatches. Fabric-covered corkboards keep memos and design inspiration at eye level.

* Liberal doses of white keep the doses color scheme from becoming overwhelming. Painting formerly dark woodwork white provides crisp contrast provides unifying line from room to room (below). Upholstering larger furniture in white denim also quiets the scheme so that pattern can doses in pillows and accessories. The same while denim, this time with a richly handed top, drapes a doorway.

* With so little space to decorate, Jeffrey could indulge in the details. A folding screen (above) upholstered in a striped fabric creates a dramatic focal point without consuming much floor space. It also can be used for privacy. Some pillow fabrics were dyed with tea to give them a faded appearance. Furnishings–including wicker and painted pieces-are both antique and "aged" with point.

* If you spend much of your time in the kitchen, why not put the stereo there? This Craftsman-style base cabinet (below) also serves as a media center. Jeffrey painted it white and replaced wood panels in doors with glass to make the piece appear less bulky. Checked fabric behind the glass hides stereo equipment and enhances the cottagey look. Another option? Use fabric without the glass. Then you can tuck speakers behind closed doors.

* A full-size dining table would have swamped the small breakfast nook. But this 1940s bamboo table above) is a good fit, and it gives the nook the Feel of a real dining room. "Irs probably actually a buffet table," Jeffrey explains. "But its narrow dimensions work perfectly here." Other space-saving dining solutions might include a drop-leaf or console table, anything with a glass top (it consumes less visual space), even folding cafe or wooden chairs.

* In the bedroom (right),, an upholstered headboard and matching pillows create a focal point but also are practical for reading in bed. The antique cover;et, with its Scottish thistle embroidered design, belonged to Jeffrey’s grandmother. On o bamboo side table are pieces of Mouchlinware, antique wooden boxes commemorating towns or castles. Jeffrey collected the souvenirs while traveling in Scotland. Simple cotton Roman shades (below) are left unlined to filter-but not block-the sunlight.

* To hide the kitchen s 25year-old slider windows, Jeffrey designed simple sheer curtains, banded with a contrasting floral fabric and strung on tension wire inset into the window frame (right. Metal grommets and marine hardware give the treatment a nautical look.

* Pointed effects add "ago" to newly pointed walls. In the study (, Jeffrey mixed oil- and water-based paint then brushed it onto the wall in uninterrupted top-to-bottom strokes to create a streaked look. In the bedroom (page 180), brushing on o "milk wash’ of watered-down white paint over a base color gives the walls a hazy effect. In addition to "aging" the surfaces, the techniques also help to tone down strong color.

* A simple while denim slipcover gets the star treatment with the help of contrast welling and an applique (b By stitching the applique on loosely, it can be removed easily before the slipcover is cleaned. Jeffrey uses remnants of more expensive fabrics judiciously on small throw pillows.

* Skirting the area under the kitchen sink hides ugly plumbing and creates co softness Ir/gh. Jeffrey used the same star appliques as the slipcover, this time in yellow, to embellish the bottom of the skirt. To make the floors checkerboard pattern, use a yardstick or template to mark off the squares. Then mask off each color with painter’s tape. Although a small roller is the quickest way to apply the paint evenly, Jeffrey used a brush and thinned oil paint to get this streaked effect.

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