Interior Design for Living: Home by the lake gets a new decoration


Q: My husband and 1 recently purchased a small vacation home on a lake.

The living-dining area and kitchen are all one room as I've shown on the enclosed sketch. It is heated by a woodstove that is centrally located between the kitchen and living areas. The glass doors on it enable you to enjoy the fire as well as heating the room.

The cabin has an existing 6-feet-8-inch by 5-feet-2-inch window that is approximately 2 feet from the floor. We are going to install an 8-foot sliding door in the kitchen that opens from the right side. There is also a small 3-foot by 4-foot window and a door at the front of the cabin.

The best view of the lake, when looking out the large window and the sliding door, angles to the left as shown.

I am perplexed as to how to arrange my furniture in this room with many windows and not much wall space. We want to be able to appreciate the wood stove, but also want to capitalize on the view. It's a difficult problem that I don't know how to solve.

I want to use the furniture that we already have: a love seat; two match­ing club chairs with an ottoman; another comfortable chair; an antique wash bin that I want to use as a coffee table; a 42-inch round dining table with four chairs, a rectangular end table; and a 24-inch round pedestal table.

Can you suggest a workable furni­ture arrangement?

A: I can certainly understand why you're having difficulty laying out your furniture.

You have two focal points you would like to appreciate and there's a lot of glass and little wall space.

Because the 6-foot-8-inch window is 2 feet from the floor, it is difficult to put an upholstered piece of furniture in front of it, unless you are willing to block some of the view — which I wouldn't advise. In any event, you'd be facing away from the view when seated.

In playing with the arrangement, I liked putting the club chairs and ottoman on the bedroom wall angled toward one another with the rectangu­lar end table between them.

I would place a good reading lamp on the table. Seated here you cart appreciate the view and the fire.

With these positioned, I angled the loveseat out from the large window to coincide with the angle of the chairs. This, also, takes the best possible advantage of both focal points.

Behind it I placed the round pedestal table and another lamp. This will provide necessary light as well as making use of the space.

I put the other chair adjacent to the loveseat in the corner to complete a workable conversational grouping. The antique wash bin will make a unique coffee table in front of the loveseat.

You will also need a lamp in this corner, perhaps a standing floor lamp with an adjustable swing arm.

You might consider adding a long and narrow table 24 inches high in front of the large window for plants, magazines and accessories. It wouldn't block the view and I think it would be very useful.

The only other thing I would suggest for the living area would be a small chest and lamp with a mirror above it next to the front door. It would be attractive as well as serving a func­tion.

The 42-inch round dining table would work well in front of the sliding door and maximize the view while eating, writing letters or playing cards. The chairs would be positioned as shown to avoid blocking the traffic patterns into the kitchen or through the sliding door. Placing them this way also continues the angles of the rest of the room.

I think this furniture arrangement is not only practical, but also detracts from the rectangular shape of the room and makes it more interesting.

I hope this will help you enjoy your vacation home.