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Furniture Safaris to North CarolinaGail Humphrey describes...


Furniture Safaris to North Carolina

Gail Humphrey describes herself as a "deep-discount, down-and-dirty shopper." Combining her passion for shopping with a sales and marketing background in home furnishings, she's started Furniture Safaris -- guided shopping tours to North Carolina's famous furniture discount stores.

Ms. Humphrey can take you to all the name-brand manufacturers' outlets, but she also goes off the beaten track to the places known mostly to locals, such as High Point furniture market sample sales. If you're looking for particular pieces, she personalizes her tour to fit your needs.

The savings can be substantial. But beyond bargains, she says, "We have a great time. It's shop-till-you-drop time."

The two-day tours, costing $250, are limited to six people per group. For more information, call (910) 883-9256.

Star-spangled house

In the Fourth of July spirit, the current issue of Country Living features an historic house in Keymar, Md., which sits on land that once belonged to the Francis Scott Key family. The 1750 clapboard dwelling of Bill and Dot Strauss is filled with antique furniture, collectibles and patriotic decorations; the magazine devotes eight color pages to it. Appropriately, the article, "At Home in Maryland," starts on page 76.

Furniture of the stars

We always knew Ikea furniture was hip as well as affordable, but we didn't realize how hip until now. MTV has chosen the Swedish-based company to furnish the house of "The Real World" next season. For those of you who aren't twentysomething, MTV's highly rated program is a semi-documentary about seven strangers picked by MTV to live together. And now, they'll be doing it with style. Look for those good-looking, ready-to-assemble furnishings on the sets of "Beverly Hills 90210," "Melrose Place" and "Seinfeld" as well.

Designs on tile

Some are taken from classical paintings, some from prehistoric cave drawings, some are original designs. But all these three-dimensional tiles are exquisitely handcrafted and suitable for decorating kitchens, baths, mantels or gardens.

Nilsa Garcia-Rey's Artiles, ranging in price from $12 to $65, can be used singly as a decorative wall plaque or in a series to create a frieze.

F: For more information or to order, call (617) 267-8731.

For those of you wondering whose handiwork illustrated last week's cover story about the growing popularity of eclectic design, it was the work of designer Richard Taylor of Taylor-Siegmeister. He mixed together diverse furnishing styles, periods and fabrics for a unified setting.

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