I've been living in my home for four years, and have never been happy with the kitchen. The previous owners did a nice remodeling job and the cabinets are a good quality. The problem is the counter top. They put in a gray formica that I don't like. I would like to replace this. Everyone seems to be doing granite, but I would really like to use a gray and white marble. Someone said that it is not durable enough. What is your experience with this?
People are always surprised to find that marble is not really as durable as it would seem to be. I have seen the finish on marble table tops ruined just by people leaving wet drinking glasses on them. Alcohol also mars the finish very quickly. Marble is really a poor choice for a kitchen counter top. The biggest problem is that it stains easily because it is very porous.
A few kitchen and bath sales people have tried to tell me that stains can be bleached out of marble with very little difficulty, but most will advise against using it. Marble suppliers usually demand that customers sign a waiver of responsibility if they intend to use it for a kitchen counter top. Granite has been used extensively because it is far more durable. This is not to say that it is impervious, but overall wears much better. If a 'natural stone' look is what you want, there are many new composites out on the market. These are made of ground stone with binders and are specially formulated for durability.
I need to buy end tables for my livingroom sofa. I already have a set of matching lamps that I want to use. Do the tables have to match too?
A set of matching lamps is usually placed on matching end tables on either end of the sofa. The set of lamps on different tables would look a little awkward. This is because objects are placed in a room with either a symmetrical or asymmetrical arrangement. Matching tables and lamps create a symmetrical look. With attention to style, scale and color, an asymmetrical arrangement could be successfully achieved using different tables and lamps. If you really want to use the lamps, buy matching end tables.
I work odd hours and usually sleep late into the morning. The problem is that the sunlight pours into the bedroom, disturbing my sleep. I have fabric shades in the windows. What is the best way to block out the sunlight?
— Late Riser
Dear Late Riser,
There are several options for solving this problem.
One way, if you can afford it, is to have custom draperies made. These should be lined in a special blackout lining which will eliminate all sunlight filtering through the drapery fabric. They should be large enough to extend beyond the windows on either side and at the tops. This way there will be no sunlight creeping around the edges.
Another less costly way would be to start by installing a blackout roller shades in the windows. To block out the sunlight on the sides, install ready made draperies that extend beyond the windows. Adding a valance will help eliminate the light at the top.
If a roller shade is not your style, try using a mini blind. Follow the same idea as above, using drapery panels to cut out any sunlight that may seep through the sides of the shades.
Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org . In the subject box, fill in 'WCT Design'.
Joseph Rice is an interior designer who offers full decorating services. With 21 years of experience, he specializes in designing drapery treatments for 'hard to treat' windows. You can reach him at ( 773 ) 271-2361 or email@example.com .