Be a design
AS A FURNITURE buyer at
Costco, I have had an opportunity to see a lot of furniture,
but seldom does something
come along that is as fun and
practical as the Whimsical
Chest from Bassett Mirror
Company. The drawer fronts
are covered in gold leaf, copper leaf and silver leaf and
can be arranged in countless
ways to create your own
custom look. If you are highly
structured and symmetrical,
consider three across, or three
down, or a diagonal of silver
with gold leaf above and
copper leaf below, or … the
combinations are too numerous to list.
If you are a little less
structured in your décor, try a
random arrangement of drawers until you get the perfect
look. However the drawers
are arranged, the luster of
the precious-metal foils is
accented by the deep cappuccino finish on the chest.
Both the styling and
the size ( 36 inches wide,
18 inches deep, 34 inches
high) of the Whimsical Chest
make it ideal for almost any
room in the house, from the
foyer to the family room.
One of the most outstanding things about this chest
is the value. Costco’s price
is less than $200, which is
at least 50 percent less than
what you would normally
pay for this item.
Six decorating rules to break
By Judi Ketteler
COSTCO MEMBERS JEFF and Beth Olson may be
law-abiding citizens, but when it comes to decorating their house, the Indianapolis couple refuses to
conform. That doesn’t mean it’s haphazard.
“We’ve lived in four houses, and we’ve always
tried to make them our own,” Beth says. It’s definitely a “mixed” marriage: Her husband is an architect who leans toward modern design; she grew up
in a family of antique dealers (and has several family heirlooms). They’ve figured out how to blend
their tastes—and create spaces they both love—by
breaking the rules.
Here are six rules to throw out the window.
Rule to break:
Keep brick and wood unpainted.
In the Olsons’ current 1950s Colonial home,
the kitchen (which had never been updated) was
full of red brick, and the living room had a mixture
of red brick, dull wood trim and wood paneling.
Instead of tearing it all out, they decided simply to
paint it. They painted the brick dark gray, the trim
white and the paneling a lighter gray. “We turned a
country look into a modern one,” Olson says.
Koplovitz is also a big fan of painting woodwork to update it (unless it’s something stunning
like mahogany). White paint can do wonders for
woodwork that looks outdated.
Rule to break: Paint small spaces light colors
If you have a small room, it’s always going to be
small, no matter what color you paint it, says
Boston-based interior designer Abbey Koplovitz of
AbbeyK Inc. You just can’t trick the eye that much,
so you shouldn’t feel compelled to paint that tiny
powder room white. “You might as well have fun
with those small spaces and paint them crisp, perky
colors,” she says. On that same note, don’t worry
about all of your paint colors “matching” from
room to room. “Walls don’t have to speak to walls,”
Rule to break: Hands off the fireplace.
Fireplaces are lovely, but they don’t have to be
untouchable sacred spaces. Koplovitz admits that
even though some designers regard it as a terrible
no-no, she will put a flat-screen TV over the fireplace—if that’s the best place for it. “You should
treat your fireplace like any other kind of space. Put
says. Ditto with the mantel. “Your mantel can
be for more than just candlesticks,” she says.
Rule to break: Stay true to the period
“Before, we lived in an Arts and Crafts–style
home,” Olson says, “and while we can appreciate
Arts and Crafts, our style is more modern.” They
decorated with modern furniture and accessories,
and picked the paint colors they wanted—versus
feeling limited by “historic” paint color choices.
“Historic homes are beautiful, and it’s great to
give a nod to the period, but period style can feel
dated and heavy,” Koplovitz says. “It’s just not how
we use our space anymore.”
Rule to break:
Antique and contemporary don’t mix.
The Olsons’ home is a prime example of
how wonderfully the two can mix, especially in
an older home. For example, in the dining
room, a clean-lined modern table and chairs
are paired with an antique hutch that belonged
to Beth Olson’s grandmother. The Olsons took
down frumpy window treatments and painted
the existing chair rail a dark navy, but decided
to leave the traditional chandelier and Colonial-inspired blue and white wallpaper the previous