Dear Debbie: My boyfriend and I have just moved into a small condo and want it to look modern, cool and kind of funky. We each have “stuff” and are trying to blend it together. Any ideas? – Catherine
Dear Catherine: Last week I watched a rerun of a romantic ’80s movie, “When Harry Met Sally.” There’s a scene where a couple are trying to blend their two disparate lifestyles into one, and the deal-maker or -breaker is a wagon-wheel coffee table that he cannot believe she doesn’t just love. She wins; the talisman of his bachelor days is sent to the curb, and they live happily ever after. Some things never change. Sorting, dividing, sharing, throwing out – these can be difficult choices. Start with a living-room wall unit, and take turns filling one cube at a time. You will soon sort out your priorities.
Inexpensive, modular wall units are readily available. I discovered a new system that’s very clever. The Yube system, shown here, is made from sustainable materials; the cubes are easy to assemble; and I especially like the way you can personalize the design. Each unit measures about 14 inches cubed, comes with four attachable feet, and can stand alone as a table or are stackable, so you can build the size and shape of furniture that fits your needs. Add one or two shelves, and customize your unit with a funky selection of doors. You’ll find optional front door panels on the company’s website, www.yubecube.com, including a variety of colors, a simple pattern and a starlet series. Or send in a high-resolution photo, and they will print it on your door. The cubes are made primarily from sustainable materials – sugar cane and bamboo – which gives each panel its own unique pattern.
Shop together for one or two quality pieces that will be “yours,” not his or hers. A good sofa or dining table are excellent investments. Combine and refresh the pieces you are keeping with a new painted finish and bright upholstery or accent cushions. Look for modern color and design in an area rug and curtains. Don’t rush into any big decisions, and enjoy the process of building a life together.
Dear Debbie: I am looking for help placing furniture in our condo living area. The open kitchen has a large granite counter, bar height, open to the living and dining area. The floor is granite throughout the kitchen and living space. We have a small wall unit by the balcony door and a second unit that wraps around a corner in the dining area. – Tina
Dear Tina: Positioning furniture so that it suits your needs as well as the space you have can be a challenge, especially in small condo units. There are design kits available that show you how to draw your room to scale and supply decals that you can stick on in different configurations until you get a good fit. If you are starting from scratch, this is a great option.
I would try a space-saving circular or oval dining table close to the wall between the granite bar and the wall unit. The area in the room that faces the balcony is perfect for two small sofas angled to face the wall unit and the balcony door. And, yes, an area rug for the living room, but not necessary for the dining room, as the granite flows easily from the kitchen.
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