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The Independent Online

Q. I have plain decor in my sitting room and simple, old furniture. I have been on the hunt for the perfect table lamp but I find the simple modern shapes from places such as Habitat a little bit plain, and the more traditional styles in the department stores too frumpy. Where can I find a lamp which is a bit more flowery and fun?
Petra Symonds, Chertsey

Q. I have plain decor in my sitting room and simple, old furniture. I have been on the hunt for the perfect table lamp but I find the simple modern shapes from places such as Habitat a little bit plain, and the more traditional styles in the department stores too frumpy. Where can I find a lamp which is a bit more flowery and fun?
Petra Symonds, Chertsey

A. Neisha Crosland (020 7584 7988; www.neishacrosland.com), in Chelsea, has just introduced a range of table lamps in various sizes, where the simple shapes of the base and shade are both covered in wallpaper from her own range. They would look stunning in your understated setting. There are several styles of wallpaper, and though they're not cheap (prices start at £125), they're pretty damn sexy.

Q. I have been redesigning my flat and getting rid of Victorian details that don't go with the modernist look that I'm after. The doors look old-fashioned and at odds with the rest of the place. I would quite like to let more light in too, and have been considering glass-panelled doors.
Michelle Levy, e-mail

A. A set of sleek, new flush doors would lend itself well to your new scheme, but can look dull without some embellishment. North 4 Design ( www.north4design.co.uk; 0870 7424 596) produces a range of brushed-steel vision panels and portholes; they come in kits, ready to be installed into any smooth door, or even into an interior wall. A 300mm porthole costs £143.50, plus p&p and VAT. Travis Perkins ( www.travisperkins.co.uk) can deliver plain, flush doors ready for painting from £22.60. Combined with some strong colours, these shiny silver portholes can look funky and allow light to permeate from room to room. Finish the job with some handles from Charles Mason ( www.charles-mason.com; 0800 085 3616), which sells polished or satin-finish chrome door fittings.

Q. I remember seeing a TV programme where gold letters had been used on the exterior of a house, but I have been unable to find any that are weatherproof.
Sasha Mitchell, by e-mail

A. Emily Readett-Bayley makes beautiful gold letters, hand-carved from renewable, light, forest timber, then gilded and sealed with waterproof varnish. The lightweight letters and ampersands have flat backs, and cost from £9.50 for a single letter, up to £85.50 for nine letters. Readett-Bayley's products are available on the Objects of Design website ( www.objects-of-design.com).

Q. Our basement floor got wet when a water main burst outside our house, and soaked our carpet. Although we dried it immediately, and it looks as good as new, there is a lingering smell of wet carpet.
Philip Cooper, Northampton

A. Hire a carpet-shampooing machine and fill the reservoir with water and white vinegar, in a ratio of 3:1, and "shampoo" the carpet. Allow it to dry, and the smell will almost certainly have gone. Leave bowls of the same vinegar at strategic points around the room if the smell persists for a few days.

Design dilemma? E-mail askalice@independent.co.uk

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