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Wing chairs for the young setChildren grow...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Wing chairs for the young set

Children grow up fast, and children's bedroom furniture is starting to keep pace. New children's furniture is more fashionable and functional, with classic styles that are appropriate when kids are 5 and when they are 15. The Kathy Ireland Home collection for Vanguard Furniture includes small wing chairs, sleigh beds, desks and armoires that appeal to adolescents and parents.

Children's rooms aren't just for sleeping; they are also for playing and working, says the mom and former model. Ireland's tips for decorating children's rooms include:

Involve your kids in shopping for furniture, including testing items in the store for comfort and fit.

Offer your child an edited selection of acceptable color schemes to choose from.

Look for furniture with storage space, especially large drawers that are accessible to children.

Avoid trendy items children will outgrow, stick to the classics, and be sparing in the use of licensed characters, which may lose popularity quickly.

Prices range from $532 for a play table to $3,066 for an armoire. For information on where to find Vanguard furniture, call 828-328-5601, Ext. 126.

Relaxed but stylish

While relaxed decorating may suggest sneakers in the hallway and mail piled on the dining room table, English stylist Atlanta Bartlett believes relaxed rooms can be airy, comfortable, feminine and clutter-free.

"Livable does not mean lacking in style," she says in her new book, "The Comforts of Home: Creating Relaxed Rooms With a Romantic Feel" (William Morrow, $30).

Her approach involves adding one or two personal items -- like flowers, blankets and vintage dresses -- to otherwise minimalist rooms. Relaxed styling can be romantic with a few flowered accessories on white or neutral backgrounds; sensual with richer colors and textures; elegant with a few tasteful cashmere, gilt and period pieces; or eclectic when flea market finds dress up plain rooms. -- S.A.

Mirror, mirror on the wall

The new mirrors by the Millersville-based design company Niermann Weeks are more eye-catching artwork than simple tools for checking your appearance.

The Carcassonne mirror, 45 inches in diameter, is based on a round window frame company chairman Joe Niermann found in Spain. It uses steel fret work to create a flower and petal design and has a slightly rusted finish. The Liselund mirror uses a two-panel mirror and tall, slim columns to create a contemporary look. The Mazarin mirror features a large frame and braid-shaped decorations at the top corners in a gold leaf finish.

The new mirrors are intended to add depth and warmth to any room while showing off their own distinct design and craftsmanship. They range from $2,720 to $3,950 for the frames plus $460 to $650 for antique-finish mirrors. Niermann Weeks mirrors are available through the company's Washington showroom. For information, call 202-488-1220. -- S.A.

Step up to storage

Ethan Allen offers storage solutions that are eye-catching and practical in its new Treasury of American Home Interiors. You can mix and match components of the company's American Impressions collection, including long or short drawers, cabinets with doors, and bookshelves, to make a multilevel step wall. Inspired by Chinese furnishings, the finished unit looks interesting while offering a practical place to stash the necessities of life. Prices range from $319 for two small drawers to $1,119 for a six-drawer unit.

Graceful display cabinets, clever armoires that hide home offices, and country-style jelly cupboards and pie safes in soft blue, red and green finishes are a few of the company's other creative storage solutions.

Catalogs are available for $14.95 by calling 800-228-9229. Free copies are available at Ethan Allen stores.

-- S.A.

Please send Home Front 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.

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