Just like your favorite pair of jeansWhen Expressions...


September 26, 1993|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,Staff Writer

Just like your favorite pair of jeans

When Expressions first started using denim as slipcovers and upholstery, the home-furnishings company found it didn't sell in Iowa City, where bluejeans are really work clothes. But the new look for chairs and sofas did well on Long Island, where denim is high fashion. For four years it's been a top seller for the company, according to its president, Ronna Griest.

Then, suddenly, this year everyone is doing it. Stone-washed comfort has become one of the hottest furniture trends around. Since Lee Industries' denim sofa appeared in Metropolitan Home a couple of months ago, the company has been getting 20 or 30 calls a day about it, says administrative manager Lina Morrow. And not one but two different denim sofas are featured in October's House Beautiful.

Why now? Well, casual comfort is the big news in home furnishings, and what's more casually comfortable than

bluejeans? Denim slipcovers are low maintenance -- they really are washable. "Fashion is having a bigger effect than ever on home fashion," says Linda Jones, consultant to Masco Home Furnishings, "so that denim has become the leading novelty fabric in chairs." Finally, it can be dressed up or dressed down, which makes it very versatile -- just like your favorite pair of jeans.

Interior designer I. Michael Winegrad had dream clients for the master bath he designed. They liked his taste and pretty much told him to do whatever he wanted to. Of course, they were his mom and dad, which made things easier all way round.

Robert and Dorothy Winegrad got more than they bargained for when they had their son remodel their home, including the master bath. The design was the Large Bath Winner in the 1992 Kitchen and Bath Contest sponsored by American HomeStyle magazine (formerly Decorating Remodeling). Look for the two-page spread in the October issue.

The younger Mr. Winegrad, owner of I. Michael Interiors in Baltimore, enlarged the bath by adding space from an adjacent room. The bathroom features a rounded glass-block wall, a large shower, a bidet, two sinks, lots of storage space and a faux-granite vinyl wall covering. An added bonus: the new bathroom brought the owners $5,000 in prize money. The idea is so simple you wonder why no one has thought of it before. Philip Belhous was looking for a way to put grass clippings in a trash bag when he mowed his lawn -- without having to get his kids to hold the bag open for him. He ended up inventing (and patenting) the Magic Funnel.

Made of corrugated cardboard, it's collapsible, reusable, and waxed on both sides so it's water resistant. Assembling the Magic Funnel is easy. You attach the top portion to the base, put it in a 30-39 gallon trash bag and secure the bag according to directions on the funnel. When it's filled, remove the funnel and tie off the bag.

This time of year, you can use the Magic Funnel for quick and easy leaf pick up. Indoors it's a handy way to create a large trash can when the kids are cleaning their rooms.

The Magic Funnel will be sold in this area at K-Mart starting October 10. The introductory price will be $4.95 during the month of October, after which it will cost $6.97. For more information call (213) 584-0688.

Uzzolo must be doing something right. The jazzy home-furnishings and accessories store opened in Harborplace six years ago, expanded to Annapolis, and last weekend had a grand opening for the newest Uzzolo in Georgetown.

If you haven't discovered this engaging little shop, take a trip down to the Pratt St. Pavilion. You'll be struck by the combination of high design and reasonable prices. With an eye to the tourists looking for gifts to take home, Uzzolo sells jars of Fragrance Puffs for as little as $6 and handblown oil candles for $13. More serious shoppers will love the art deco lamps and great collection of bar and counter stools. You'll find original designs of fine Italian furniture -- side by side with the less expensive and also good-looking knockoffs. "We have to sell those to stay in business," says store manager Lisa Young with a laugh.

Uzzolo is located on the first floor of the pavilion, center court. For more information, call (410) 752-8870.

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