Monkey business, good businessThis may be the Year of the...

ON THE HOME FRONT

January 16, 1994|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,Staff Writer

Monkey business, good business

This may be the Year of the Monkey. No, not the Chinese New Year, but a decorative motif called singerie. A number of 18th-century French artists painted these monkeys fashionably dressed and (if you'll excuse the term) aping human behavior. Singerie has been a popular decorative motif off and on ever since.

The revival of singerie now may be part of the current interest in animals and animal prints, but these engaging French monkeys don't have much in common with any back-to-nature movement. They are much too fashionable.

Maitland-Smith, manufacturers of home accessories and furniture, currently has 12 to 15 items incorporating the monkey motif, according to national sales manager Howard Shattuck. There are candlesticks and wall panels and lamps with monkeys cavorting over them. He feels, however, that the interest in monkey motifs is broader than singerie -- it's a popular design in accessories and fabrics from the Orient as well.

At the Kellogg Collection on Falls Road you'll find carved monkey candlesticks (the monkeys wear little red jackets) and monkeys holding woven mesh baskets for dried flowers. The store's interior designer Kim Eastburn sees it as a logical progression: "after the natural, a trend toward the exotic -- back to the jungle."

Did you ever wonder what happens to model-home furniture when the rooms are redone? Or the furnishings of a decorator's show house or a design center?

One of the places they have ended up in the past has been Decorators' Bargains in Savage Mill. The store, located in the New Weave Building, offered a large selection of such furniture at reduced prices, as well as an interior-design service and a decorative-accessories shop.

Now Decorators' Bargains has decided to drop its "previously owned" (but not previously used) furniture business and concentrate on interior design. By February, the store would like to sell all the floor furniture, which is good news for those who want high-style bargains. Prices, says manager Kara Nunley, are now 30 to 70 percent what they were originally. "And this is definitely not bargain basement goods," she adds.

For more information, or directions to Savage Mill, call (301) 490-4608.

Here's food for thought: Buying a nickel silver fork pin at Tomlinson Craft Collection can help feed the hungry. New Orleans designer, metal smith and sculptor Thomas Mann has created these striking utensil pins and T-shirts, the sale of which will benefit hunger relief agencies across the country. Twenty-five craft galleries are participating.

"Tom's work is nationally known," says owner Ginny Tomlinson, "and usually very expensive!" But the pins -- in the shapes of forks, knives and spoons -- are only $15, and the T-shirts -- displaying the utensils and the words "Hunger is not caused by scarcity" -- cost $20.

The agencies that benefit are located in the same cities where the pins and T-shirts are sold. In Baltimore you'll be able to help Viva House, a Catholic Charities agency that provides dinner for the needy.

You can find the Thomas Mann creations at Tomlinson Craft Collection stores in the Rotunda and Towson Commons through January 31.

If the '80s were a decade of conspicuous consumption, and if gardeners -- like everyone else -- are downsizing, then we may have a whole new trend going: "non-powered" tools for cleaner ** air, less noise and reduced energy consumption.

Otherwise known as your basic hand tool.

If the concept appeals, you'll be glad to know about a new line put out by V & B Manufacturing Company called Groundbreakers Landscaping Tools. The twist is their versatility. There are 13 different models, but gardeners need only two or three of these combination tools to meet most of their needs. (Each tool has dual working heads.)

The "6 'n 1 Tool Kit," for instance, includes two sizes of handles that are easily interchanged with three lightweight heads. It retails for under $40.

Groundbreakers Landscaping Tools are available locally at home and garden supply outlets.

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