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Creating a Space-Within-A-Space

Q. How can I create a semi-private “bedroom” within my studio apartment? I bought beautiful silk fabric, thinking I would hang it from the ceiling to create a walled-off area for the bed, but now I’m wondering if there’s a better way.

Divide and conquer with Kirsch sliding panels from Blindsgalore, an Eames molded-plywood folding screen (right) from Room & Board, or a modular Cubits storage system
 

A. A curtain could work, but it might look a little makeshift. Greg Jagmin, a designer at Anne Coyle Interiors (773-235-6131; annecoyleinteriors.com), suggests “a folding screen with latticework on it, painted white—something that allows movement of air.” The beauty of a folding screen, he says, is that “you can move it out of the way for entertaining, and you can always put it in front of windows for later use.”

You could get a screen made to your specifications by working through a decorator or directly with a carpenter, or you might find a suitable one at a vintage shop or a higher-end store such as Pagoda Red (1714 N. Damen Ave., 773-235-1188; pagodared.com). We also like the molded plywood folding screen designed by Ray and Charles Eames in 1946. Manufactured by Herman Miller, it’s available at Room & Board ($1,699), among other places.

Designer Deborah Beccasio, co-owner of Enhouse (1800 W. Roscoe St., 773-677-4235; enhouse.com), has another idea—panel tracks. These are sliding panels of fabric or woven wood suspended from a track installed on the ceiling. They’re an interesting choice because they have an architectural quality—a straight plane suggesting walls—but are movable and translucent and don’t take up much room. You can buy a system by Kirsch online at Blindsgalore (blindsgalore.com), where a 48-by-60-inch panel ranges from $300 to $700, depending on the material.

You can also use a piece of furniture to divide the space. Beccasio recommends open bookshelves (maybe with baskets on the lower shelves), a bench, or even a sideboard with a finished back. Ikea (ikea-usa.com) and Design Within Reach (dwr.com) are good sources for inventive, smaller-scale, room-dividing furniture.

There’s also the option of hiding the bed in plain sight. “Treat the bed as a daybed, traditional or contemporary, within the living space,” says designer John Cannon, co-owner of CannonFrank (1530-B Merchandise Mart, 312-595-1550; cannonfrank.com). He suggests upholstering your mattress and/or boxspring and adding sheets when it’s time to sleep (admittedly a better solution for guest accommodations than for your apartment). Or just find a good-looking, tailored bedcover with a bolster or shams and your bed can do double-duty as seating. “Use storage units to keep personal belongings out of sight so it looks more like a living room or salon,” Cannon says.

 

JUST ASK Have a design or renovation question? We’ll do our best to answer it.
E-mail us at chicagohome@chicagomag.com. Sorry, we cannot take questions by phone, or guarantee individual responses.

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