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March 27, 2014

11:01
A.M.

Douglas Woods on small spaces | Home Front

Total Responses: 16

About the hosts

About the host

Host: Jura Koncius

Jura Koncius

Jura Koncius is a Washington Post staff writer who specializes in home and design. Read her daily twitter feed @jurakoncius for the latest in decorating trends, shopping, decluttering, organizing and DC retail.

Home Q&A archive
Host: Douglas Woods

Douglas Woods

A Los Angeles native, Woods has spent the last twenty years as a book dealer, consultant, and private librarian specializing in architecture and the arts. He has written numerous books on interior design, including his most recent, "Dreaming Small: Intimate Interiors."

About the topic

Douglas Woods, author of "Dreaming Small: Intimate Interiors" will discuss how to create attractive, livable homes and the trend of reviving small, old homes that have distinctive architectural styles. A Los Angeles native, Woods has spent the last twenty years as a book dealer, consultant, and private librarian specializing in architecture and the arts. He has written numerous books on interior design and architecture.

Every week, Jura Koncius helps you in your quest to achieve domestic bliss. Got a question about decorating? She's happy to whip out her paint chips and suggest the perfect hue, call a retailer to help track down a hard-to-find accent piece or offer some do-it-yourself. Built on years of reporting experience, Home Front is an online conversation about the best way to feather the nest. We invite you to submit questions and share you own great tips, ideas and, yes, the occasional complaint.

Follow @jurakoncius on Twitter.

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Q.

Jura Koncius :

Today we have Douglas Woods joining us. Douglas is the author of Dreaming Small: Intimate Interiors just published by Rizzoli. The book is full of stylish intimate portraits of Arts and Cafts bungalows and Spanish style homes as well as mid-century moden classics - all in California and mostly under 2,000 square feet. Douglas is an architecture and style expert and we are happy to have him here to talk about living stylishly in small houses.

Q.

Douglas Woods :

Thank you for having me this morning. I'm excited to share thoughts about the great small houses we found for this book.

Q.

Inviting Room

Hi Douglas, Can you please provide some suggestions on how to my combined Living/Dining room less gloomy? The Living room furniture shows a dark wood coffe table, dark brown sofa and light brown slipper chairs and Dining Room close by show dark wood table and chairs. The wall is painted blue/grey. The carpet in the Dining is a cream / light blue color. What can I do to make this room more inviting?
A.
Douglas Woods :

Think shiny objects, mercury glass, polished silver, chrome or copper. These help throw light around. 

Another thought. Recently we had a dinner party too large for our dining room so we switch the room! Having the dining set in the living room freed up a lot of space and the dining room has become a cozy library / den.

– March 27, 2014 10:59 AM
Q.

Buying a smoker's home?

We are buying a home that was owned by smokers. The smell during our various walk-throughs and inspections hasn't been so bad, and they've kept the house in immaculate shape, but we have a young child so I'm a little nervous about thirdhand smoke. We plan to eventually paint all the walls and ceilings, and will probably pull up most of the carpet. Is there a service we can bring in to help mitigate the smoke issue? Any other tips? Thanks!
A.
Douglas Woods :

If you are very concerned I would check with the American Pediatrician Association, but, we have found fresh paint, new carpet and a good airing tends to solve the problem.

– March 27, 2014 11:02 AM
Q.

With all the small space living you've seen

What is the best strategy for painting walls - should they all be the same color or in the same colorway? Or can you do each room in its own distinct color?
A.
Douglas Woods :

I like different colors in each room because it is fun to break up the various spaces in a home, we like dark colors and white trim. Check with the various paint companies, they have great Apps for trying out different strategies. You can also try actual paint samples in different places to see how the colors work at different times of the day.

– March 27, 2014 11:06 AM
Q.

Douglas

What made you interested in the topic of small homes in California?
A.
Douglas Woods :

It is interesting to me to see how creative people make the most of the space they have, especially when making room for a family or profession.

– March 27, 2014 11:09 AM
Q.

Dark wood

Lots of small houses from the 1920s have dark paneling. Do you think the wood should be painted white or cream to make the house seem larger?
A.
Douglas Woods :

NO! There are other ways to lighten a room. Light colored window treatments, upholstery, pillows, throws and shiny objects often do the trick if you don't have a lot of light coming through the windows.

– March 27, 2014 11:13 AM
Q.

Declutter update

I was the one who posted about removing one bag of clutter from your house per day. I got rid of six bags of children's clothing and have five bags of my clothing ready to go. I've started on my home office, and can see the floor again. We've reclaimed the kitchen counter and the dining room table. There are still lots of problem spots, but things are much improved.
A.
Douglas Woods :

We have two children and my wife lovingly packs everything from clothes to Legos to hand down to someone almost every day. 

– March 27, 2014 11:15 AM
Q.

Arts and Crafts in a non-Arts and Crafts home

I love the Arts and Crafts period, but my house is just a generic two-story, vaguely Colonial style. I can't really do anything about the exterior, but how can I make the interior more Arts and Crafts-ish?
A.
Douglas Woods :

Craftsman style light fixtures and hardware are a good start. You might also mix in some mission pieces, reproduction Stickley furniture is still in production. Vintage blankets and rugs. Take a look at Robert Winter's IN THE ARTS & CRAFTS STYLE.

– March 27, 2014 11:19 AM
Q.

Small furniture

Some designers say that using large scale furniture in small homes actually make them look bigger. I really don't want huge pieces in my tiny house. What do you think?
A.
Douglas Woods :

It doesn't sound practical to me. Follow your gut.

Check out the MagicPlan App

– March 27, 2014 11:22 AM
Q.

Book Preservation

What is the best way to store books, upright as we see in libraries or laying flat?
A.
Douglas Woods :

That varies. You wouldn't want to put large folios on end because the weight of the paper will pull at the binding. I end up with stacks all over the house but not by design. Generally you want them on end, on shelves. This way you can access a title at whim. If it is at the bottom of a pile you may never actually get to it. 

– March 27, 2014 11:25 AM
Q.

Do dark or light floors make a room feel bigger?

We need to replace our old beige carpet on the stairs and in the bedrooms. We found a medium-dark bamboo wood floor option, or a pale grey carpet that we like. We can't decide between the two. We are leaning towards the bamboo. Does one or the other work better? The first floor is a medium orange tone wood looking laminate. Now my husband thinks perhaps we should go with a very light wood to make the space look bigger and brighter. We live in a side by side duplex that does not get much light. Would any of these options work better for making a small space seem bigger and brighter?
A.
Douglas Woods :

This often depends on how much light you have in each room. A bright sunny room with a highly polished dark floor is awesome but if you don't have a lot of light go lighter. We have used bamboo and it's durable, cost effective and good for the environment-and we like the look. A medium toned finish hides the most wear and is easiest to blend with different colors in your room. As for making a small space seem bigger this doesn't really have any bearing per say.

– March 27, 2014 11:30 AM
Q.

sources

What are good sources online for Mission furniture and accessory reproductions?
A.
Douglas Woods :

http://www.voorheescraftsman.com/

http://www.stickley.com

http://www.missionerafurniture.com/ (this one is more a marketplace but there are some deals to be had here.)

– March 27, 2014 11:36 AM
Q.

Open floor plan with limited wall space

I have been kiving in my house for 16 years and I have finally decided to pick some colors for rooms. I have little wall space because I have lots of large window (31). What would you suggest that I use as a color choice. Everything is now drywall grey or kilz white.
A.
Douglas Woods :

Sounds like you get plenty of light, which is great. We have been using light pinks and rich yellows in rooms like these. They catch the light in different ways throughout the day and tend to look great with many combinations of color in the decor. 

For pink we like Dogwood and for yellow Lemon Chiffon Pie, both Dunn Edwards.

 

– March 27, 2014 11:41 AM
Q.

Narrow spaces

Hi Douglas, I'm at the very beginning stages of figuring out a new space plan for the living room and dining room/office area of my condo. One of my challenges is that the rooms are fairly narrow - about 8 feet. Any insight on how to select and arrange furniture so the rooms feel larger?
A.
Douglas Woods :

We love CB2 and West Elm. They have lines dedicated to space saving and their designs are smart and modern. We love acrylic pieces. Combine the Starck Ghost Chair (DWR) with Westelm's economical acrylic end pieces and coffee table. Accessorize sparingly but with unique pieces. Try One Kings Lane or First Dibs.

– March 27, 2014 11:51 AM
Q.

Big furniture

I just downsized, and of course my existing furniture seems bulking. What should I do? I don't really want to get rid of some of my items. My couch and other things are really nice. Do I just have to part with them?
A.
Douglas Woods :

We have downsized more than once and have learned to embrace letting go of things. We inherited a showroom's worth of furnishings over the years. We may love ten different chairs but you can only sit in one at a time. Pick you favorite pieces and move on.

– March 27, 2014 11:54 AM
Q.

small kitchen storage

Do you have any storage solutions for small apartment kitchens? Currently we have a small pantry-type piece in our living room so we can actually store food. We also lack counter space, so we had to store our rice cooker, blender, etc. at our parents several hours away, but would love to bring them back if possible.
A.
Douglas Woods :

Beieve it or not we have found IKEA to be the best source for compact kitchen designs. 

– March 27, 2014 11:56 AM
Q.

Tips

What are the best tips for small space living you encountered with all your research into this area?
A.
Douglas Woods :

Edit, edit, edit. 

A friend often said decorate your space like you really live 360 days a year, improvise the other five when you have to entertain. 

– March 27, 2014 11:59 AM
Q.

Jura Koncius :

We appreciate your getting up early to do the chat with us today. Thanks for all the great ideas. Next week, we'll be talking kitchens with Silver Spring designer Iantha Carley. Thanks everyone. Enjoy the warmer weather they swear is coming tomorrow...

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