If you've seen Bratt Decor pieces, you've not forgotten them: the Casablanca crib with ostrich plumes ascending from each corner; the pleasantly squat armoire with dragonflies painted on its translucent doors; the scrolled iron Zanzibar bassinet draped in mosquito netting. Luxurious, yet funky.
And if you wanted them, you had to venture to such stores as Saks or FAO Baby. But the couple behind the cribs et al. (Stephen Bauer designs, Mary Bauer handles marketing) live and work in Baltimore, and they've opened a showroom downtown in a vast Victorian building that -- how perfect -- once housed an amusement park.
Priced from $700 to $1,500, their pieces are an investment -- but if your checkbook says yes, you'll be glad to bring such charm to your nursery.
The showroom, at 1103 N. Washington St. in East Baltimore, is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and by appointment, or you preview the line at www.brattdecor.com. For more information, call 888-242-7288 or 410-327-4600.
No more turkey troubles
As always, Williams-Sonoma has its impeccable fingers on the pulses of cooks anxiously anticipating Thanksgiving challenges. These well-conceived products can help eliminate some of the stress associated with that feast:
* No butler or cook? No problem. With this remote thermometer, no more frequent forays to check on the bird -- the device will page you when the correct internal temperature has been reached. $54.
* For velvety gravy, start with the Turkey Gravy Base, add milk and drippings, whisk, simmer, serve and hide the jar. Yes, yes, we frown on cheating as much as anyone -- but we're talking about a meal, not the SATs. $7.50 for 17 ounces.
* What could be more maddening than a perfectly browned turkey that lands on the floor? Avoid this sitcomish mishap with stainless steel lifters that maneuver the heaviest bird onto the serving platter (and can be used as carving forks). $12 a pair.
All items above are available at area Williams-Sonoma stores or www.williams-sonoma .com. -- J.K.
Slip something sensible on
We never fully understood the adage "A picture is worth a thousand words," until we groped for words to describe the magnificent winner of the Ugly Couch Contest, sponsored by Sure Fit slipcovers. Language fails us -- but we'll direct your attention not only to the chains on the arms but also to the lions' heads from which the chains issue.
But, to paraphrase another adage, beauty is only upholstery deep -- and when the frame is sound and reasonably attractive, why not cover the cherished eyesore with some attractive fabric? Slipcovers are no longer the plastic frights associated with stolidly middle-class suburbia -- they're an economically and ecologically sound way of extending the life of a piece of furniture.
Sure Fit offers dozens of covers -- velvet, cotton and synthetic blends; solids and patterns -- for sofas and chairs of varying sizes; prices start at $29. For more information, visit www.surefit.net. -- J.K.
One of a kind: Rob Ricci beadwork jewelry will be on sale at Crafters Gallery's fall show.
* About 50 artisans will exhibit and sell their works at Crafters Gallery's annual fall show, to be held at the Annapolis Armory, 18 Willow St., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $5. For information, call 410-268-0688 or visit www.craftersgallery.org.
* Make a day of it in delightful Chestertown: Investigate the furnishings, jewelry and other wares of 30 mid-Atlantic dealers at the Chestertown Antique Show & Sale, to be held at Chestertown Middle School, 402 E. Campus Ave. The show will run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 23, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 24 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 25. For information, call 410-778-0397. Then, head to Emmanual Episcopal Church's Festival of Trees to vote for your favorite tree, decorated by area individuals, organizations and businesses. The festival will run from noon to 8 p.m. Nov. 23, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 24 and noon to 3 p.m. Nov 25. The church is at 101 N. Cross St; for information, call 410-778-0845. -- J.K.
Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Mary Corey, 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.