Town-House Halls, Part 2

Style Pointers WALLS Golden yellow is a favorite town-house color, especially for creating a perpetually sunny hallway. Instead of genuine wainscoting, gray-striped wallpaper absorbs the brunt of the day-to-day scuffs. White-painted woodwork is typical of the town-house style.

FLOOR Traditional black and white checkerboard tiles are virtually indestructible and easy to clean. A large coir doormat spares the floor from the full onslaught of dirty feet entering the house.

STORAGE A place for everything and everything in its place’ is a useful motto for keeping an open path through the hall. An umbrella stand keeps wayward walking sticks and umbrellas under control. A coat stand or boot rack organizes hats, coats, and footwear in an equally efficient and stylish manner.

ACCESSORIES Certain practical accessories are a necessity in a well-equipped hall. A large mirror, for example, has the dual advantage of making a narrow hallway seem wider and providing a last chance for a quick check on your appearance before going out. Plaster plaques hanging on wide black ribbons or a gallery of framed prints look suitably elegant. Flower arrangements are attractive and welcoming.

FURNITURE To maintain free access through the hall, furniture is kept to a minimum. A discreet semi-circular console table, useful for leaving keys and mail, is fixed unobtrusively to the wall. A small chair may be useful when answering the telephone or changing shoes.

Furnishings Furnishings: In the average household, the hall often ends up as a repository for items waiting to be moved elsewhere – everything from mail to discarded boots. Make a clean sweep of the clutter and find other places to keep essential gear stowed out of sight. This leaves space for a few well-chosen pieces to convey the sophistication of the town-house look and transform the hall from a passageway into a room with its own character and purpose.

Most halls are narrow, so hall furniture should be relatively compact and pushed back against the wall to allow free movement. A console table, fixed to the wall with just a pair of supporting legs at the front edge, provides an elegant punctuation point.

A pair of hall chairs is an added refinement. If the hall is wide enough, a small chest of drawers makes an effective substitute for a console table, with the bonus of providing a place to keep gloves, hats, and other items ready at hand.

Fittings: Radiators are a feature of many hallways, but although the warmth may be welcome, they are not particularly attractive to look at. By encasing a radiator in a boxed housing with a front grill or fretwork panel, you can hide the eyesore and gain a useful display surface.

Details: A fine mirror is an indispensable accessory for the town-house hall – the larger the better. Victorian over mantel mirrors or plain gilt frames are ideal for siting over a console table. If you position the mirror opposite the entrance to the main living areas, you set up internal views and create a good sense of spaciousness. Other traditional town-house features include brass umbrella stands, antique or reproduction barometers, and grandfather clocks.

Hall walls are excellent places for a display. You can treat the hall as a miniature picture gallery with framed prints, paintings, and drawings, massed in rows or groups. For a supremely stylish look, create your own print-room effect using cut-out photocopies of engravings applied directly to the wall.

For a final flourish, make good use of flower arrangements. Nothing looks more hospitable as you walk through the front door than a vase of fresh flowers.

Details Keep space and practicality as well as town-house elegance in mind when selecting accessories for the hall. Period-style mirrors, small chairs, and compact console tables are all useful and enhance the setting at the same time. As tidiness is paramount for safe access to and from the house, hunt for neat storage ideas like an umbrella stand and a coat rack.

Copyright 2009 Rhonda Morin, May not be reprinted.

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