Home Front: Design ideas from Jura Koncius and Terri Sapienza with designer Darryl Carter

Sep 30, 2010

Washington Post Local Living section writers Jura Koncius and Terri Sapienza help you in your quest to achieve domestic bliss.

Welcome Darryl! Excited to have one of DC's top designers Darryl Carter with us today. Hope you guys have some good questions lined up. I think Darryl's working on a new book too. Maybe he will tell us a bit about it. Terri and I are ready so let's roll.

Hi! Love your advice and would greatly appreciate your help. I am having trouble picking out a color for the walls of my basement. Currently it's all white. The ceilings are low -- a little over 6 feet -- with one small window, so lots of artificial light. We currently have a netural beige couch, and I'm using coral (both the color and the sea life) as accents. I want a color that keeps the basement feeling warm, but open. Do you have a color you can suggest? Thank you!

In the case of your basement I think Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore might bridge the neutral/beige of your sofa and the coral… It’s a very warm white. In that the space is void of natural light, this color will maximize what light you do have, but will do so in a gentle way. Also you might find a carpet that has a hint of coral woven into a natural palette. Avoid graphic pattern – this will overwhelm a small space. Try for nubby texture and don’t be too literal with your punches of color. “Calm” is always the best way to reinforce a sense of space. Punctuating with dark or vibrant colors is likewise tricky because on a visual note in a light environment, they become more, if not too prominent. Also, you might try doing some ceiling embellishment. Perhaps furring strips – you might find an example of this in my book, The New Traditional.

I have a Duncan Phyfe reproduction dining room. Ugh. So dark and heavy, and too "matchy." I've looked at alternatives, but I must say, I don't like the feel of a glass or stone dining room table. Also, a lot of modern tables don't have leaves so they aren't as flexible. What would you say about painting the table a creamy, light taupe? If so, any paint recommendations (type and color?)

Try Benjamin Moore Pashmina… Gesso the table white and then apply – probably will need a protective coat of matte finish to preserve for use. Ask the paint specialist how best to execute. Try a few colors in this family to execute to your taste.

What kind of bed or headboard would you recommend for a bedroom with cathedral ceilings? Despite the high ceilings, it is not a large bedroom. No room for a king. Upholstered headboard? Canopy?

Four post with teasters… Simple mission-style suits most environments, both modern and traditional. Counterintuitive, but in a small space the bed becomes predominant, so it ought to have presence, but keep the lines simple.

Hi, ladies. I'm trying to find a new mirror to hang above the vanity in our powder room. I can't find anything interesting. All I seem to find are plain pieces of glass with no interesting edges. I've looked at Home Depot, Lowe's, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, a few boutiques in Georgetown, bath specialty stores and hardware stores, and most of them are just plain beveled-edge mirrors. Does anyone sell mirrors with interesting edges/frames? Just a little something to add interest. Thanks!

This sounds like a perfect opportunity to go on an antique hunt. Try Strasburg Emporium in VA. Look for art in frames – ignore the art – remove it and paint. You will most likely find an interesting form in this venue, and it will be unique… not to mention a fun day trip. Also stop along the way to Strasburg in Delaplane and check out the Deleplane Store and Antiques Center… Have lunch in Middleburg. Also – try Red Schoolhouse/Scottish Connection in Millwood, VA.

Darryl, love your work! What is your favorite material for a fireplace surround? I have a rather ornate mantle, so I don't want something with a lot of pattern.

Try for a remnant at US Marble & Granite in MD. Great selection - Great folks. I do have favorites, but this is probably better informed absent other information by a trip there armed with photography... A matte slate is generally no fail... Greyish Green.

Can anyone recommend a good store or online source for decorative pillow covers? I have some stuffing materials that I would like to reuse. Thank you!

Try Timothy Paul on 14th Street. Great selection... Or go to etsy.com. Sferra is a favorite at Timothy Paul 

What do you put on your dining room (when not in use) and coffee tables?

This is a great question. Darryl always finds very interesting found objects for his tables. And I know he likes design books out there too. I like doing a stack of books with something seasonal on top, like in the summer it could be a beautiful green apple or in the fall, a white pumpkin. A lot of designers are using trays as vehicles for tablescapes. This is nice to do. You put a few small books, a candle, maybe an interesting stack of travel postcards or an old piece of family silver together.

Darryl, if most of my living room furniture ,window and trim moldings are cherry and a clean mixture of Scandinavian style and arts and crafts, should I keep the floor color cherry (monochromatic) or go with the standard oak flooring? I do have a fair amount of light in the room and the cherry has darken over the years. I'm just not sure if it would be too much of the same color.

I would re-stain the floors in a dark espresso, and paint all of  the trim in Benjamin Moore's Simply White / Walls Moonlight White... You will be pleased as the window frames are most likely very predominant due to the high contrast that you presently have. These colors will neutralize the walls and make them recede so that the space feels boundary-less

We just moved into a new construction town house, and it's a contemporary, open design. My husband wants to paint at least the great room and the master bedroom. Would it look odd to have color in just those places and leave the rest of the walls white? My concern is that given the open layout, it will look odd to have color in the great room but not on the kitchen walls (it's all one big open space) and no color on the adjoining hallway walls.

The addition of color (unless a very discrete variation on the existing) will abruptly boundary the space... it will probably seem disjointed - in open floor plans I always suggest continuity of color.

My ninth grade daughter is finally getting her bedroom painted after living with nursery wallpaper for years. She wants three walls to be yellow to lift her spirits, and one wall that she'll face from her bed to be a soothing pink. They need to work together. I want to make her happy after tolerating farm yard animals on her bedroom walls for years with no complaint. Do you have Benjamin Moore paint colors to recommend? It's a small room with one window (eastern sun exposure). Thank you.

I like your daughter's color choices, but here's a thought: how about painting all four walls yellow and the ceiling pink?  I would start your color search with BM's North Star (yellow) and Blanched Coral (pink). Sounds like it's going to be a very cute room. Let us know how it turns out.

Single middle-aged guy here with no design experience. I'm renovating my main bathroom that had pink and black tile from the 1950's. I want to replace it with glass subway tile but am concerned that it might be too trendy and look dated in a few years. Any thoughts? Also, are wall sconces better than overhead lights for a bathroom?

Yes - your instinct is correct. Stick to the classics... Carerra and white subway tile. If you would like to try for a twist on this, look for a narrower variation on the subway tile. This will be both modern and classic - and smart for re-sale. Sconces are always more attractive. I would suggest recessed as well, given the need for utility in this setting.

Hi, there. Last week you were lamenting the fact that there were no fall show houses. Is there not going to be one at the design center? Thanks!

I've got Jennifer Sergent, the new marketing director of the WDC on the phone right now. Here's what's on for fall. The current Design House installed in the spring, will be dressed up for the holidays by the designers who did the rooms - the list includes Frank Babb Randolph, Kelley Proxmire and David Herchik.  This will open to the public on Oct 21 and on the evening of Oct 20th, there will be a reception kicking off the new rooms to benefit the Georgetown Jingle. For more info: call 202 646-6109. 

Hello, Darryl. Photos of your interiors always strike a cord with me. Especially those white rooms filled with diffused natural light and spare but elegant pieces. I am planning to repaint the inside of my house (most of it) white. My concern: I live in a narrow townhouse so natural light is actually rather scarce. Can you suggest colors, design rules or anything that will help me achieve a similar serene environment? Thanks you!

My go to paint color is Benjamin Moore’s Moonlight White. It’s a white tone that is very rich with a good deal of depth. Being in an attached dwelling with limited natural light, Moonlight White will open the spaces and allow light to move with ease from the front of the home to the back and vice versa… The other unique aspect of this color is that it takes on different color tonality at different times of the day.

Long story but I need to replace my kitchen cabinets and counters unexpectedly. I'm looking for a good (reasonable) source for cabinets (and not Home Depot -- they will take too long). I heard of Stone and Cabinet International in Beltsville, but cabinets are made in China and I'm wary of that. Should I be? Any other brands or places to recommend? Thanks!

You might try the Brass Knob Warehouse if you have a handyman you could probably retrofit existing cabinets with new fronts by incorporating some "found" antique doors - louvered paneled - or even some mullioned windows. You might even use a case furniture piece if it suits the space in lieu of manufactured cabinets. I discuss this at length in my book The New Traditional.

Our guest bathroom has gray 4-inch tile on the floor and as the tub surround. The tub and toilet are white, as is the Corian countertop and sink. Although gray is the color du jour, I think painting the walls gray would make for a very blah bathroom, yes? I'm considering forest green or raspberry/maroon for the walls, but are those colors so yesterday? If they are, what color would you suggest?

While I do love gray, I think painting your walls gray would be too much with the tile and very blah. Im sorry to say that I'm not thrilled with the colors you're considering - too dark. Depending on the shade of your gray tiles, I'm thinking that you could probably go with just about any color. How about a cheery yellow? Or a light green or blue? Light blues in bathrooms are really pretty and would go nicely with your gray tiles and white fixtures. The raspberry you mention could be nice, too, but on the brighter side of pink rather than a dark shade of maroon. 

Start looking in thrift stores for interesting picture frames. You can have a mirror cut to fit, I believe.

Great idea.

I hate to ask a paint question on the day you have Darryl Carter in, but I really need advice! I have 1970s bright yellow laminate countertops and dark brown cabinets. Needless to say, the kitchen needs a complete overhaul. In the meantime though, I want to put a fresh coat of paint. Is there ANY color that would go with bright yellow laminate countertops???

With all due respect - NO! LOL... Although some bright yellow would probably be a good thing on this dreary day... Maybe put the counter tops outside of your window? Go immediately to US Marble & Granite for remnants... Your future white cabinets will thank you. Paint those Benjamin Moore's Simply White and co to Van Dykes catalogue for interesting pulls... Or wait for my new collection of pulls which will be available shortly from Continental Brass. Boy - I'm self-serving!!!

So this lovely new house we've moved into has a rather incongruous Wall Of Mirrors. Not sure why, but two by two feett mirrored tiles cover the entire wall. It's odd and not at all our style, but we're renting so we'd rather not rip into the mirrors or do anything that can't easily be reversed. Any advice on covering them up? A bookshelf will block part of the wall.

Tell your landlord you're doing him a favor and excuse the blast from the dynamite.. Or sublet for a disco? Hang a mirrored ball from the ceiling and you're in business. Or - make a frame for canvas that covers the entire space - just frame it out and stretch a canvas and make the entire wall a painting forward of the mirrors. I hope you have a friend that's a good artist - or you might find yourself wanting those mirrors back...

Hi Jura, Terri and Dear Darryl. I always get in huge arguments with my son-of-a-contractor-know-it-all friend about this one. We live in a Colonial (reproduction) home. I've always liked using either high gloss or semi-gloss inside and out for that proper Colonial "look," even for the ceilings. But he says gloss telegraphs too many imperfections. I sort of like a few painted-over imperfections, especially on the exterior clapboards. What's your take on glossy paint?

Outside - Yes... Inside - No... Son-of-a-contractor-know-it-all-friend should mind his own business - though he's partially right. Too many opinions = purgatory. Stop talking about it and paint! By the way - though imperfections are often what gives a home character, interior walls / tricky and shiny finishes have a strangely reflective quality if not executed properly.

This past summer you did an article on organizing and archiving photos. You listed a couple companies that you could send your photos to, and they would scan them and send them back. I can't seem to find the article and would love to find the names of those two companies. I have a ton of photos I'd like to start getting archived before they are ruined with age. Thanks!

I did an article about that in June and our producer Delece is going to post it. The professional organizer I wrote about who organized her own family photos used www.scanmyphotos.com.

What wall color would you recommend for a basement bathroom with no natural light? Also, any suggestions for lighting?

I would start by picking a color that you like and just using a very light shade of it.

Last week someone mentioned a couple of granites he/she was thinking aobut using, and you weren't sure what they looked like. This Web site has some good photos of stone: http://www.marvamarble.com/Index.htm

Good to know.

Hi. I need help selecting a new piece of furniture. We have a very non-matched home filled with pieces acquired over time, on travel, etc. It's all very harmonious and clean-lined. Given our mish mash, I am now torn on the arms of a new chaise we are looking at. The sofa has medium sized roll arms, and there is no other upholstered piece in room. Now, the chaise I am looking at has square, straight arms. Should they coordinate together? Former chair had same arms and shape, but not color. Color won't match now. Thanks!

It's always good to have diversity of periods and modern juxtaposed against antiques. Without more information my immediate reaction is that the scale of the furniture should dictate... On a simple note, think about how each of the pieces in the room relate. There should be a harmony in terms of size and visual weight. The analogy I often use is a see-saw... You never want a single piece of furniture to dominate a room on a note of balance. Also a subject that I tackle in my book The New Traditional. 

We replaced our ceiling fan with a mission style. I am open to doing the room in it. All the soft linens I can find online are $$$$. Any suggestions? Patterns to look for? Colors? Thanks much.

Check out Discount Fabrics USA in Thurmont, MD

I have a large living room, and need at least a 12 by 15 rug. I have a lot of ethnic (red and black) patterns in the room already (Suzani, Anthropolgie's Marrakech curtains, mirrored pillows from Afghanistan). I think a patterned oriental rug would just be too much pattern, and was thinking of going with sisal or plain cream shag for the carpet. But I am wondering if that is the wrong mix of styles. What would you recommend?

I agree that an Oriental rug would be heaping on the Boho vibe. I like the idea of shag - maybe in chocolate browm or tan? 

The exterior of my white clapboard Colonial ranch needs an update. I am leaving the shutters black and changing out the dated brass door hardware to satin nickel. I would like a great blue for the front door. Ideas?

Benjamin Moore Wolf Gray or Gravel Gray - high gloss or satin finish

We have a fireplace in our living room. It and the wall above the mantle jut out a little from the rest of that wall. I've seen a suggestion for painting that jutted out section a slightly different color than the rest of the wall (either a lighter or darker shade of the same color, nothing really dramatic). What are your thoughts on this technique?

Would you consider getting a contractor in and building out the rest of the wall, so that you have a singular plane. Some problems aren't as easy to solve with paint. In any event, Contrasting colors in this instance will only accentuate the problem. 

I had the same mirror problem in my tiny powder room. Eeverything was boring or the wrong size or too expensive. Instead I ordered a fabulous custom mirror from an artist at etsy.com who makes mosaics of tumbled pottery and glass. I can't remember the name but you could search etsy for "tumbled mosaic" and would probably get there. Susan something. Anyway, I liked what she showed on the Web site and got in touch with her, sent her a paint chip of the wall color and she made me a custom framed mirror that is gorgeous and unusual and cost about $150. If mosaic is not your taste, search etsy.com for mirrors and for frames and see what you can find.

Great tip. Thanks.

Darryl, what is your second book going to be about? And when will it publish?

Working on it right now... Thanks for asking... Targeting next fall.

Darryl, what are your favorite design shops in Washington? Do you have a secret source for your wonderful finds you will share with us?

This is always a hard question because I will invariably leave someone out accidentally. So - better safe than sorry - 14th Street and Wisconsin Ave - good shopping!

Darryl mentioned this company earlier in the chat, but I can't find a reference online. Help?

United States Marble & Granite - (301) 595-7400

Hello, Darryl. We have a fireplace with a black slate surround and black slab hearth in our townhouse living room, which has a modern , kind of minimalist feel -- but the fireplace does not have a mantel. In designing a mantel for it, I'd like to go with something more traditonal or transitional, which would not look too fussy and go with everything else. Floors are dark honey oak and walls are BM Shaker Beiege. Do you have any ideas on what kind of mantel to build and what it should be constructed of? Thank you!

Go to Brass Knob Warehouse - The have an incredible variety of reclaimed mantels, which would be a great foil to the modern... You may be challenged to find the exact right size, but most are easy to retrofit - and you'll be recycling to boot!

The glossy paint is easier to clean, especially if messy children are part of your life. My nephew is a budding artist. It seems to me that the glossy stuff is, not only easier to clean, but also resists being worn away by a cloth or sponge. (Maybe I scrub too hard.)

All of that is true.

What is a good Benjamin Moore white paint color to use in a house in a seaside home in New England?

Any more information you can share on this?

Our bedroom is a Tuscan gold with white trim, and the CFL bulbs bring out the green notes in it. It's not my color choice, but my husband is very proud of it so I don't want to change it. I'm looking for accent colors that will maybe soften the gold. I've been thinking of dark blue, purple, burgandy and red but nothing's really caught on. The accent color will be used both for the bedspread and to paint a dresser which now seriously clashes -- and maybe the other two dressers. Any ideas for some different directions?

Hard to answer without knowing what the exact paint color is, but I would definitley stay away from the dark accent colors you mention. I don't think any of them will create a good color combination with the gold.  How about a creamy off-white for the bed and dark brown furniture?  Again, really hard to advise without be able to see the color.

For the chatter looking for the bathroom mirror: If you are in the D.C. area, try Eastern Market. I bought a mirror with a painted tin frame from a vendor in the flea market section; I believe they are called Olde Good Things. Mine is large, for hanging above a sofa, but they come in all sizes. I absolutely love mine and would consider buying more if I had more walls.

Love the idea of Eastern Market. That's a great fall weekend destination. They really have a wide variety of vendors besides the terrific produce and flowers.

I have a small flat fireplace surround with no mantle. I plan on adding modern tiles to make the surround 7 feel tall and 6 feet across. I wanted to juxtapose this sleek look with a more rough, organic reclaimed wood mantle. But I have no idea where to find it. Suggestions?

Once more - Brass Knob Warehouse on N Street... Sounds like everyone is gearing up for winter and chestnuts...

Ikea has some fun mirrors. I just bought this one for my tiny bathroom: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90160174

Can't beat it for $9.99.

Hi. I have a brown thumb and continue to end the lives of house plants. Is there any place that sells realistic looking fake plants? The ones I've seen at stores like Home Goods look really plastic and horrible.

This sounds like a Martha Stewart moment, and I, though I have tried my very, very best to embrace artificial plant life, can't frankly get my head around it. I hear you loud and clear - I too have a brown thumb... in more ways than one : )

Do you think it would look odd to use two chairs that are the exact same style, but with different upholstery, flanking a fireplace? One is leather, and I was thinking of using different upholstery for the other. We we bought one a few years ago, and now have space for the other, but I don't think the same color leather is still available. I thought if I used a fabric isntead of leather it could be intereting, but not too off. Thoughts? Thanks.

Personally, I think that would be fine. Adds more interest.

Darryl, since most of us have limited budgets, what are the typical things you think average folks should splurge on in home decor, and for what things should we shop around for inexpensive options?

I would say take it slow and do it right... Once more - a trip to the VA countryside will net you good finds in need of TLC that probably, at the end of the day won't cost any more than the garden variety at the obvious go-to's... This will finally land you in a thoughtfully curated environment if you have the patience. As you're shopping ignore the dated upholstery on a vintage sofa -look at the form itself. There are so many diamonds in the rough out there waiting for a good home.

Hi, ladies. We inherited my husband's childhood furniture which is a modular wooden set. It's the type you can reconfigure with pegs. We had all the pieces together for years, but somehow now that we have removed my son's crib and changing table and are ready to build the wall unit, we are 10 pegs short. I have turned the house upside down to no avail. The furniture is unmarked and my MIL can't remember any brand name. The pegs have triangular ends that fit into a plastic strip with triangular openings that line the side of the piece. Someone suggested that we could send an existing peg to a plastics molder and have new ones made. I was hoping someone out there might have experience with this or a different suggestion. Thanks.

Wow. This is indeed a unique question. If you know the brand of furniture you could Google the name and see if anyone still stocks it or might know of where you could get parts. Otherwise, I might go to a local furniture marker or restorer to get some ideas. Or maybe someone out there will come to your assistance!

My parents had tons of original Duncan Phyfe and were able to lighten the look with other pieces of old painted furniture such as a library table and biblioteques in cream against pail walls. They also used a fair bit of gold in mirrors, etc.

Thanks.

Thank you for taking my question! One more follow up: What would you advise if we paint the main floor of the townhouse one color? My concern is that it is white walls going up the stairs and then you get some color and then white walls going up the second set of stairs. Would it look odd to have color in the great room and kitchen but leave the rest of the house (first and third floors) white?

If there is a moment where the color intersects in a way that it is not visible from a contiguous space then go for it... Whenever spaces are visually connected I re-emphasize my penchant to stick within a single color family, but this is all subjective at the end of the day.

I am going with a citrus theme in my kitchen: lots of lime, orange and yellow accents. I love it, except we painted the walls a yellow that is really intense, and I've decided I hate it. I don't know what other color to chose, though. I'm thinking either a very pale yellow, or maybe just a neutral, beigy color? I'm afraid to pick another one I hate. The room gets lots of light and the yellow color we chose is too much. I feel like it even turns your skin yellow just being in the room!

Yellow is a notoriously tricky paint colro to pick.  If you really liked the yellow before you painted, how about trying the lightest shade on the fan deck strip you found your original color on?

I've tried to embrace animals skins on the floor as you've tried to embrace artificial plants . . . but I just can't. They really make me glum, although they look gorgeous in the spaces you've designed. Are there any good "fakes" out there?

Turnabout is fair play... and just so you know, those are antiques, so in this case synthetic is a good pick if you can find credible reproductions.

I'm so excited because after looking at many shades of white to paint a new masterbath I just happen to choose Moonlight White. The glass shower doors go in tommorow so I can finally look at the completed room and admire all the great qualities that you described!

I'm going to check out Moonlight White myself after the chat...

We'll be decorating a nursery over the next few months, and I'm envisioning neutral walls with how I can only describe as "old European" colors (the soft, fading colors you might find in old villages) and some real wood heirloom family furniture. Do you have any suggestions for warm, light neutrals for the walls (we use Sherwin Williams' Panda White for the trim; it's not bright, but off white), and how can I find a similarly soft accompanying color for the ceiling (I'd like something other than white!)? The room has one window with decent light at times. Thanks.

One of my favorite neutrals is Farrow & Ball's White Tie. Sounds like it would work nicely in the nursery you are envisioning and later as your child gets older.

We have a quaint beach house with wallpaper all over it, and we want to start fresh with white paint in all the bedrooms. Is there a shade of white that would not be too cool/blue to use in a seaside setting?

Get a Benjamin Moore Color Preview paint deck and look at OC-57 through OC-66

The chatter who's missing some odd-shaped pegs should go to a specialty woodworking-supply shop and either ask the manager, or check the bulletin board, for someone who can fabricate them. It doesn't sound too difficult for someone with the right tools.

I agree. Thanks for the suggestion.

However, some dried real flowers look great. Lavender or hydrangea blooms can bring in a natural element.

Even dried flowers don't cut it in some interiors.

Good morning. I have to replace my front and back doors this fall. After last winter, it was very obvious that I was rapidly heating the outside through the cracks under my doors (windows were replaced by the previous owner less than three years ago). Do you all have any recommendations of where to start? Also, do you like a wood or steel door replacement? My husband wants steel, but I don't know if the price is worth it.

This question poses other than the aesthetic... I don't claim myself to be a door expert, but I'm guessing that insulation is the goal. On an aesthetic note, I am always a fan of "things old" - if it was up to me I would direct you to a reclaimed door that is built to suit the opening, and this is without knowing the age of your home, or whether this would in fact be appropriate...

We rent a lovely old home, but the bathroom is heinous. The walls are a gaudy vivid pink, but the floor is red tile. The landlord specified that we couldn't paint the walls, so is there anything you'd recommend to cover the floors? Layered bath mats?

How about having a remnant piece of seagrass carpeting cut to fit the bathroom and layering it with a soft bath mat?

I'm anticipating people saying this is a bad suggestion because of the moisture, etc., etc., but I still think it's a good idea.

You know what always happens to me? I pick the second to lightest color on the fan deck, and it's still too dark. After painting my kitchen this year I've learned my lesson. Next time when I think I have the perfect color I will choose the lightest one on that fan deck.

I agree with you.

Succulents and herbs.

So true.

Dried flowers are dead flowers. Very bad feng shui! Don't have them in your home.

I knew there was something about them that gave me the creeps.

Have you tried a terrarium? They're pretty easy to care for once you've set it up. Water it once a month and you're good to go. (Succulents and air plants don't need tons of water or nutritious soil.)

Wow. We've got some wide ranging suggestions today. Thanks for this.

I have a reproduction Duncan Phyfe china cabinet (which I loathe) in my dining room with a Victorian china cabinet. I find these styles discordant, although my husband says that it's fine. (Mostly he doesn't want to move one of them because that would be change and change is, you know, bad.) I don't want matching furniture, but how can you get the right mix of pieces in a room?

You are funny! I like you... however I spend a great deal of time maneuvering marital discord, so this might want a "pass" ... You are right, but you didn't hear it from me! Does he ever go out of town? This could present an opportunity - wink-wink...

Si? Or no?

Noooooooooooooooooo! Runners are for stairs or Rock Creek Park!

Thank you so much, Darryl. Great chat. Really wide range of questions. And we thank Darryl for sharing so many terrific paint colors, something Terri and I love to pass on to our chatters. Hope everyone's cleared out their gutters and drains and is ready for the downpours of today. See you next week. Thanks for joining us.

When we wanted more sensible storage for our son's closet, I clicked through the California Closets Web site, found a plan that I liked,and then handed it to our handyman/general contractor and said, "Make it look like this." He went to Home Depot, bought everything he needed and installed it at a fraction of the cost of a true custom closet. And it looks EXACTLY like the picture -- hanging bars at different levels, storage cubes, big shelf along the top for seldom-used stuff, wire baskets for blankets and toys. It's perfect!

Who's the handyman? He's about to retire - and you'll never see him again (if you dare give up this information)

In This Chat
Jura Koncius
Jura Koncius uses her years of experience as a home expert and her network of well-placed sources to help you choose everything from paint type and colors to how to de-shed sofas from pet hair to where to find the best designer fabrics at a discount.

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Terri Sapienza
Terri Sapienza is a staff writer for The Washington Post.
Darryl Carter
Darryl Carter designs furniture, lighting and lots of classy homes. He is the author of "The New Traditional."
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