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Byline: Sandra Barrera Staff Writer

Tina Romasanta loves shopping for offbeat, eclectic home furnishings.

But arranging them in a way that says ``showroom,'' not ``storeroom,'' has never been her strength.

So when the 38-year-old single mother moved into a new Encino apartment last month, she called on interior arranger Katie Anglin to create a balanced, expert look using all her favorite possessions.

``I just don't have the time,'' says Romasanta, who works full time as a nurse. ``And even if I did have the time, I don't think I could do what she does.''

Settling people into a new house, reorganizing cramped dorm rooms and finding a spot for that awkward, oversize family heirloom you were about to hawk on are just some of the services Anglin offers to busy homeowners and apartment dwellers.

Her job is to take the frustration out of interior decorating. And she does it all in the course of one day and at a fraction of what it would cost to hire an interior designer.

Arranging is such a specialized niche that people often hear about it through word of mouth. Yet it's been around for at least six years, when a group of interior designers first formed the Interior Arrangement Design Association.

Kathy Chikato, 53, was looking for a way to incorporate an armoire she inherited into her two-bedroom Burbank condo. Seeing how Anglin transformed a room in her aunt's Beverly Hills home, she decided to give her a call.

``I told her, `Do whatever you want to do,' '' Chikato says. ``I didn't care. I gave her free rein.''

Anglin placed the antique armoire in front of a mirrored wall in Chikato's living room. A comfortable couch sits off to the left -- some four feet from the window and backed by a sofa table topped with family portraits and other accessories.

``If I were to hire an interior designer, they would want you to buy all new stuff,'' Chikato says. ``But she works with what you have.''

Romasanta had no idea arrangers existed until she saw them featured on a segment on HGTV five years ago. She was living in Sherman Oaks at the time and was in desperate need of a room makeover.

An Internet search for the IADA led her to Northridge-based Anglin (, who she in turn hired.

``She did a really good job,'' Romasanta says. ``So having seen what she can do, I just had to call her to do this (Encino) one.''

The new two-bedroom apartment that Romasanta shares with her boyfriend, Wayne A. Williams, and her 8-year-old daughter, Danielle, is in shambles on the Saturday morning when Anglin shows up.

Romasanta moved in two weeks ago and, except for day-to-day necessities, all of her furnishings, trinkets and artwork are pushed up against the walls or remain in boxes waiting to be placed somewhere.

Exactly where they're placed is for Anglin to decide.

``I don't have a plan in mind, but I'm pretty much always changing things,'' Anglin says as she walks from room to room, taking snapshots with her camera.

``If an interior arranger came into my house, they would change it totally different from what I know because we all have tunnel vision when it comes to our stuff. We get used to thinking, `Well, that lamp is going to go with that table,' and we don't think of anything differently.

``If she had a more contemporary feel, it would really change what I'm going to do,'' Anglin adds. ``But, for the most part, it's all very spontaneous.''

Arrangers aren't just decorators. They often help pick paint colors, spruce up windows and offer tips on buying furniture for certain rooms of a home.

Realtors regularly hire arrangers to stage open houses. And some even offer ``e-arrangements'' in which they e-mail a suggestion for a do-it-yourself makeover by working off of client-supplied photos.

It isn't magic. It's based on a formula, Anglin says. ``Look at the architecture, look at the furnishings, know the client.''

She stands in Romasanta's living room and contemplates the seating arrangement. She centers the three-piece entertainment unit on the wall and then plays around with the brown leather sectional couch, angling it -- with the help of store-bought sliders-- until she decides it's most functional when facing both the TV and the glass door leading to the terrace.

A sofa table parked beneath a window on the same wall is moved up against one end of the sectional's backrest. And a shabby-chic armoire trades places with a wood-carved settee from the adjoining bedroom.

And she's only getting started.

By the time Romasanta walks through the door later that same day, her apartment is the model of perfection.

And it only cost her $500.

``I was so surprised,'' Romasanta says a couple of weeks later. ``She did things I would have never thought of doing, like the way she angled the couch and put the armoire in the bedroom. I didn't know what I was going to do with that thing.''

Sandra Barrera, (818) 713-3728

Living room transformation

Interior arranger Katie Anglin transformed this Encino living room using her client's hidden treasures and a few smooth moves.

1. Centered the three-piece entertainment wall unit.

2. Angled the brown leather sectional so that client Tina Romasanta could face both the windows and the TV.

3. Gave the parakeet a new, more central home by moving the table it sits on away from the wall to the back of the sectional.

4. Switched out a boxy paper floor lamp with a more shapely Southwestern-style one from the bedroom.


5 photos, box


(1 -- cover -- color) All the right moves

Rearrange your old furniture for a look that's totally new

(2 -- 3 -- color) Rearranging expert Katie Anglin, left, confers with client Tina Romasanta at Romasanta's Encino apartment. In the master bedroom, far left, Anglin moved the bed away from the wall and positioned it at an angle in one corner. A table was placed behind the bed for a decorative touch. The cream-colored armoire to the left was originally in Romasanta's living room.

(4 -- color) BEFORE (living room)

(5 -- color) AFTER (living room)

Evan Yee/Staff Photographer


Living room transformation (see text)
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 20, 2007

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