Q: We'd like to do over our master bath but in the same footprint. We really can't enlarge the physical space. Maybe you have some ideas on how to update without upsizing?
A: New materials can change the attitude of the room so dramatically you'll forget all about actually enlarging the floor space.
For example, if your old bath is all about ceramic tile and you're into a country/Victorian mood, consider switching to tongue-and-groove wainscoting with a vintage-patterned wallpaper.
Rather go upscale and more contemporary? Look what uber-designer Steve Gambrel does with travertine marble in the elegantly simple bath we show here.
Full disclosure: Gambrel did renovate to gain more space, as he points out in his excellent new book, from which we borrowed this image, "Time & Place." But his design magic is still adaptable to your same-size makeover.
Item No. 1: The ceiling-high glass-and-nickel shower stall looks very now and totally luxe but demands no more floor space than an ordinary bathtub.
Item No. 2: The overall use of the same material (travertine) on floor, shower wall and dual vanities makes the room look sleeker and therefore, larger.
Those matching vanities, by the way, are as utilitarian as they are handsome, as everyone knows who shares a bath in the morning rush.
Item No. 3 and No. 4: Tall mirrors are lit from both sides to amplify the space, and other furniture is kept at a minimum to free up the floor and make it look luxuriously larger.
Q: I'm graduating from college next week and -- yes, gulp! -- moving back with my parents. It's shriveling my soul to move back into the same room I've had since I was a baby. Of course, I don't have much money for a makeover (and don't want to push Mom and Dad to offer). So do you have any easy-do ideas?
A: Funny thing -- Paula Berberian, creative director at Brewster Home Fashions, has been thinking along those same lines: how to reinvent your childhood room into grown-up space.
Before we offer up her smart ideas, take comfort in this: You are not alone. Some 40 percent of young Americans between the ages of l8 and 24 are "boomerang kids," now living back at home. Blame the economy, not yourself: The unemployment rate for your age group is 13.2 percent (compared to the national rate of 8.2 percent).
So cut yourself some slack and have fun fixing up your new old digs. As Paula suggests:
--Set up an appealing workspace for handling resumes, applications and other correspondence (she suggests a stack of bright office storage boxes).
-- Ditch the old rock star posters in favor of new peel-and-stick wall art. Jonathan Adler has done a fun and affordable collection for Wall Pops by Brewster.
-- Slipcover your old stuff with something that is more you (two sources: EverySlipcover.com and surefit.net)
-- Update your floor with a new rug laid right over whatever's there now -- and take it with you to your new apartment when that dream job finally does come through!
Rose Bennett Gilbert is the co-author of "Manhattan Style" and six other books on interior design. To find out more about Rose Bennett Gilbert and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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