An inside look at design trends
Architect Patrick Sutton is one of 10 area designers -- and the only Baltimorean -- whose work is featured in the Washington Design Center's eighth annual Design House. Also sponsored by Veranda magazine, the exhibit is open now and runs through June 30.
The exhibit gives the public a chance to see the furnishings, fabrics and floor coverings offered at the design center's 65 manufacturer showrooms, usually accessible only to those in the design trade. Visitors can buy the items on display from participating designers, and view photographs of the work of 75 interior design firms in the area.
Sutton's room (right), a coolly luxurious bedroom, features an eclectic mix of textures and styles, united by a pale palette.
The Design House is on the concourse level of the Washington Design Center, 300 D Street S.W. Admittance to the Design House is free, and no reservations are required. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, call 202-646-6108.
The outdoor living room
The time is at hand when the deck or patio will get more use than the living room, as people move outdoors for gardening, games or just sitting around.
Furniture manufacturers have noticed that people are spending more time, and more money, on sunroom, deck and outdoor furniture, and are responding with an array of styles. (No more green plastic chairs, unless you live in an area where outdoor items must be chained to the porch pillars, lest they wander away.)
Major manufacturers such as Benchcraft, Brown Jordan, Samsonite Elite, Suncoast and Veneman are introducing new lines in woven wicker, synthetic wicker, cast aluminum and teak. Among the choices are Kettler International's Atlanta line, combining teak and aluminum, and Telescope's outdoor recliner (above) with easy care cushions. Stores from Target to outdoor-furniture boutiques have a variety of styles, in all price ranges.
* If you have a yen to visit other people's beautiful gardens -- and what gardener doesn't -- send for a copy of "The Garden Conservancy's Open Days Directory: The Guide to Visiting Hundreds of America's Best Private Gardens," 2000 Edition (Abrams, $14.95). Seventeen new cities have been added to this state-by-state guide to when private gardens are open to the public. One of the additions is Annapolis, where seven gardens are profiled, including that of the William Paca House. There are also listings for Baltimore and Washington. For a copy of the guide, call toll-free 888-842-2442, or send $14, plus $3.50 for shipping and handling, to the Garden Conservancy, P.O. Box 219, Cold Spring, N.Y. 10516.
* Learn about wildflowers today at 2:30 p.m. at Cylburn Arboretum, 4915 Greenspring Ave. There will be a presentation by Jean Worthley, and a guided walk with Joyce Holmes. Both are local wildflower experts. The events, and parking, are free. For more information, call 410-367-2217.
Goldilocks goes modern
Want to give your child a thorough grounding in contemporary art furnishings? Fill his or her little head with images of Alvar Aalto vases and Eames chairs and Terence Conran fabrics?
Try this as bedtime reading: Steven Guarnaccia's amusing "Goldilocks and the Three Bears: A Tale Moderne" (Abrams, $15.95). The book's three cool bears live in a split-level house, and Goldilocks wears orange capri pants, a chartreuse top and a fetching orange bow. It's a hoot for those who recognize the iconic nature of the bears' possessions. For some reason, this version seems to emphasize the pointlessness of the plot, but that's OK; it's still a cautionary tale of social grace. Look for it this month in hipper bookstores.
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.