After years of designers bringing nature indoors, this spring's trend does the reverse: Furniture for the outdoors is mimicking indoor living. Martha Stewart's newest furnishings at Kmart include pieces so comfortable, you can turn your porch, deck or patio into a living room or dining area.
The Victoria Collection has added a three-seat sofa with plush damask-print cushions, a scratch-resistant coffee table and two easy glide rocking chairs to accompany last year's biggest seller, a leaf-patterned dining table with rotating serving tray and mildew-resistant cushioned dining chairs. Also new is the Galveston Collection, an eight-piece dining set with a frosted tempered-glass tabletop, rotating tray and four swivel chairs. An addition to the Montecito Collection is a sleek steel frame outdoor bar with a pentagonal table and four chairs in easy-to-clean sling mesh. Complete dining and bar sets retail in the mid-$300s.
Top your tables with new Martha Stewart lanterns in punched pagoda, framed mesh and cutout patterns filled with votive candles, retailing at $12 to $15. Add ambience with an umbrella or canopy in the mid-$100s.
Buy these products at your local Kmart or online at www.bluelight.com.
Bob Vila adds on more tips for remodeling your home
In Bob Vila's quest to restore America's dwellings, the television host of TLC's Home Again and general know-it-all of building and refurbishing homes has co-authored a new book, Bob Vila's Complete Guide to Remodeling Your Home. Vila and Hugh Howard look at every detail from what you want and need in your particular job to hiring and working with contractors.
He offers suggestions on elements of design, style and living space; minimizing stress; and getting the best use of your dollars. Vila reveals trade secrets and gives technical and legal advice, all paired with helpful photographs and drawings. Find the $23.95 guidebook at Barnes & Noble, amazon.com or www.bobvila.com.
Nice to have a ma'am around the house
Despite all the jokes about wives' writing "honey-do" lists for their husbands, it seems women are the ones who get the to-do lists done.
According to ACE Hardware's recent survey of 1,000 homeowners, 70 percent of the time women assume some or all of the responsibility for the jobs around the house.
These "handyma'ams" are more likely to conduct research and seek help on home projects than their counterpart -- the handyman. Spring is when to-do lists appear, either on paper or mentally, say respondents to the survey. The home project areas topping America's lists are getting rid of clutter, reorganizing storage, improving or enhancing the yard or garden, replacing items such as an electrical switch or showerhead, painting a home's exterior, enhancing safety and repairing the driveway. So what are you waiting for? Get busy.
* Baltimore Clayworks will exhibit Bonsai in Sites: Collaborations Between Tree and Container, a ground-breaking collaborative exhibition that merges two art forms: contemporary ceramics and Japanese bonsai. Ron Lang, curator of ceramics with the Maryland Institute College of Art, has invited 15 respected ceramics artisans from the United States and abroad to create a work of art that will contain a bonsai tree for exhibition. The results of the collaboration can be seen from May 4 to 25 at the Baltimore Clayworks Gallery, 5707 Smith Ave., Baltimore. Information: 410-578-0058.
* The Maryland Daffodil Society, the oldest society of its kind in the United States, celebrates the flower also known as narcissus at the 77th annual Maryland Daffodil Show from 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday at the Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St. Seasoned and novice exhibitors are invited to enter the 199 classes in the show. You do not need to be a member to enter, but you must register. Information: 410-659-4162.
Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Liz Atwood, 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.