Ask Alice

Do you have an interiors dilemma? Consult our resident specialist
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The Independent Online

Dear Alice,

Dear Alice,

Q. I'm having my kitchen redone and wondering what to put on the floors. I love limestone, but I'm worried about my child falling off his high chair and bumping his head. What do you recommend?
Emilia Jones, by e-mail

A. Avoid the cheapo laminate at all costs. With young children, I think the perfect solution would be to go for rubber flooring. Forget the diving-suit clichés - rubber is fabulously tactile, soft underfoot and hard-wearing - as well as being able to absorb noise brilliantly, which means that toddler's mealtimes won't be quite so wearing. Sinclair Till in Wandsworth (020 7720 0031), sells a range of studded rubber tiles, as well as Italianate Terrazzo rubber tiles and coloured plain rubber rolls (£35-£45 per square metre).

Q. I've just had my loft converted, and the builders have fitted horrible inexpensive door handles. But none of the DIY shops have anything nicer. Can you help?
J Alton, Clapham

A. When you're creating a new space, it's worth making sure that the smallest details look right. Turnstyle Designs (01271 325325;, sells a glam range of hand-stitched leather, glass, pewter, wood, chrome and metal door and bathroom hardware.

Q. I have recently moved from a small flat to a larger house and the few pictures that I own suddenly look very insignificant against my expansive walls. I can't afford to buy originals, yet don't want to have to make do with prints. Any suggestions?
B Reese, Twickenham.

A. The interiors shop Maisonette, working with the Tate Gallery, has designed a range of "paint by numbers" kits. They supply you with a ready-primed canvas, with your chosen design outlined, and acrylic paints. They're available in a range of abstract expressionist designs, from £85 to £155 (Maisonette: 020-8964 8464; If you want something more individual, contact Vincent Wainwright, who will produce a colour palette to suit your décor and style, along with design sketches from which you make your choice. The end result: your own 3ft-square canvas (from £350). If you want something grander, Vincent can work similar magic on your wall (a handpainted 12ft wall, from £900). Contact Vincent at his shop, Whippet, in Balham (020 8772 9781).

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