A casual look under foot
With something of the style of sisal and something of tweed, Bolon indoor/outdoor vinyl flooring offers a new look for casual spaces. The woven flooring, designed and made in Sweden, is available from Alison T. Seymour Inc. of Seattle. There are 16 colors and five designs. The company says Bolon has been used in kitchens, around swimming pools and in shops, homes and offices. It can be used backed or unbacked for floors, walls or upholstery. It's fade-resistant and nonslippery, even when it's wet. Bolon costs $22 to $27 per square yard unbacked, and about $32 to $37 backed. It's available at some retail outlets, including Carpet Works, 6402 Falls Road, 410-821-9468. You can also call the company at 206-935-5471 for more information.
-- Karol V. Menzie
For in-home offices
It's really a case of going where the customers are -- in their homes, working. Herman Miller Inc., the furniture maker, is introducing a line of office furniture for the home, designed for home-office workers and telecommuters. The products will be sold exclusively over the Internet -- at www. hermanmiller.com. The fine wood furniture offers functional space for writing, a place to read, support for computer, tele-communications and other equipment, as well as storage space. Prices range from $436 to $1,258.
* There'll be something for everyone at the Lilypons Koi Arts Festival from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. The event, sponsored by the Lilypons Water Gardens and the Frederick County Art Association, features garden tours, lectures on water gardens, crafts, artwork and more. There is a $2 per adult parking donation. Lilypons Water Gardens is at 6800 Lilypons Road in Buckeystown. For more information, call 800-999-LILY.
* Catch the Woman's Club of Chevy Chase's 39th annual antiques show on Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and next Sunday noon to 5 p.m., at the Clubhouse, 7931 Connecticut Ave., Chevy Chase. Admission is $7.
Fountains bubble up in a wave of popularity
Does dealing with the noisy babble of millennium life have you yearning for a little quiet time by a babbling brook? If you can't get back to nature, nature can come home to you.
Tabletop fountains that offer the cooling look and sound of a rippling rivulet are among the hottest home furnishings this year. These plug-in founts are usually made of ceramic, metal or stone, and feature an average of 2 cups of water running down a series of levels into a shallow bowl, recirculated by a built-in pump. (In these times of conservation, it's good to know they use little water.)
Virginia Dameron, assistant general manager of the Discovery Channel Store at Harborplace, says home fountains are so hot that her store has trouble keeping its 15 different styles in stock. Dameron adds that the store's most popular styles include a little meditation fountain that comes with a ceramic turtle and real grasses you can arrange over three tiers of slate, $135; and a ceramic model that features frogs, in two sizes, for $150 and $250.
Home bubblers are also springing up at many other stores around town. Pier 1 Imports in Pikesville offers a ceramic "tranquillity fountain" for $75. And the Smith & Hawken store in Mount Washington features four tabletop gushers, from $165 to $300.
-- Sloane Brown
Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Karol V. Menzie, Home Front, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278, or fax to 410-783-2519. Information must be received at least four weeks in advance to be considered.