Vintage store takes you from Eames to...


Vintage store takes you from Eames to eek!

Pass through the doors of 525 N. Charles St., and a smile crosses your face. Forties music wafts through the room, and the Philco Predicta television plays Baltimore shows of years past.

No, it's not Aunt Marie's house, it's Zooks, a new store spotlighting mid-century modern furniture of the '40s, '50s and '60s. Zooks will open Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in conjunction with the Downtown Partnership's First Thursdays events.

Zooks is the brainstorm of filmmaker Nancy Hackerman, interior designer Stanley Kroiz, and former mortgage banker Stephen Basel. The trio hopes to share their love of 20th century design with Baltimore through the vintage store.

Zooks features a range of items from original designer chairs by Charles Eames and Mies van der Rohe to fun, "kitsch" kitchenware. Pieces come from around the world, says Mr. Kroiz.

"I can always tell when an item comes from the '40s or '50s -- it makes me smile. It has a very futuristic look and is modern -- even today," says Ms. Hackerman.

"It's about optimism of the future," she adds. "It brings back memories of childhood too. And, it's just plain fun."

@ Here's a chance to see the work of up and coming furniture artists. The Meredith Gallery, 805 N. Charles St., next week will showcase furniture made by students from the Rhode Island School of Design and the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.

The summer exhibition features work by students studying under the masters who have previously shown their work at the gallery.

The exhibition opens with a reception from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday and will continue through Aug. 15. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.


Jill L. Kubatko

Celebrity seats

Everyone has a favorite place to sit and think. Grandpa had his rocking chair, and Dad has his recliner.

Elle Decor, June-July issue, offers a glimpse of where celebrities park their assets after a long day at work.

Iman, Eva Gabor, Dana Delaney, Erica Jong, Bruce Boxleitner, Bill Blass and many others show off their choice seats in the summer issue.

Elle Decor claims its readers will find the pairing of personality and perch a kind of "Rorschach test." From Iman's exotic, tall and sleek dining room chair -- a gift from new husband David Bowie -- to Mr. Boxleitner's rustic rocker, a relic from his hippie days, the celebrities' tastes are reflected in their choices.

The stars say they chose the chairs out of sentimentality, or for looks, comfort, durability, versatility or artistry.


Jill L. Kubatko If you like to capture special moments on film anywhere and everywhere, maybe this new product is for you. Ewa Marine has introduced underwater protective housing for cameras and camcorders that lets you take pictures when you're snorkeling on a reef or just playing with the kids in the pool.

The waterproofing device provides a custom fit for cameras with a flash and camcorders of all sizes. The manufacturer claims it also protects cameras from sand and moisture.

Made of a thick, two-ply plastic with double-laminated edges and stainless steel parts with screw-down closing rails, it features an optical glass port that can provide clean picture-taking for the auto-focus lens. Adapters are included for easy rotation of auto-lenses or telephoto-zoom lenses.

The suggested price for the SLR camera housings ranges from $159 to $229. Look for the product at Baltimore Service Supply, ** Service Photo and Eastern Camera Mart. Information: (800) 257-7742.


Jill L. Kubatko Forget Mick and Quigley and, for heaven's sake, stow that grotty Barbie. A new coffeetable book called "Living in Australia," by Betsy Walker and Jean Wright, sets out assertively to dispel any notion that "outback" is synonymous with "backward."

In fact, "outreback" might be more the word for the mostly avant-garde, modernist, and post-modern dwellings so beautifully pictured in the book, published by Chronicle Books (1992, $35). Residences range from terrace houses in the Sydney district of Paddington to rehabs in Melbourne to "cottages" in Queensland. Some are in big cities, some in the distant country, but all are united by a curious starkness (if it weren't for the dazzling colors, one would be inclined to say "chilly harshness") that may be the true leitmotif of Australian living. It's not unappealing, but it's not what you expect, either. And while these carefully chosen examples may not be at all indicative of the way most Australians live, they do say something about the forces that forge cultural and artistic conventions.

A sentence in the introduction, by Ms. Walker and Roger Poole, a fellow of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, underscores the point: "Australia is simply too far away from its cultural roots to participate in a constant dialogue with Europe and North America; it has been forced to find and develop, and now delights in, its own language of style."


Karol V. Menzie

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