Underfoot once again are floorcloths, now coated in...

ON THE HOME FRONT

January 23, 1994|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,Staff Writer

Underfoot once again are floorcloths, now coated in plastic

This winter Home magazine wrote about a revival of floorcloths -- those practical, elegant, decorative canvas coverings that graced George Washington's home at Mount Vernon. For Colonial-style homes (the most enduringly popular design in this area) they offer an authentic accent. And in any home they can serve as an original work of art that's as durable as it is beautiful. Modern-day floorcloths are painted on heavy canvas and then coated in plastic so they can handle serious traffic.

Carpet companies such as Saxony ([212] 755-7100) represent floorcloth studios; you can order through them. Closer to home, Dahne & Weinstein Gifts and Accessories ([410] 296-7004) is carrying a line of botanical floorcloths (the 3-by-5 size is approximately $100). For custom orders, the Florida artist who paints them can match wallpaper or other designs.

Floorcloths are easy to care for: Wash them with mild soap and water, and use a paste wax for extra protection.

All that glitters . . . in 1994 may be your coffee table, or your new accessories, or your wallcovering. Margaret Walch of the Color Association of the U.S. sees metallics as an important trend in home design colors. What's new is that it's the look of real copper, silver or pewter. "Comforting," she says. "Reminiscent of crafts, not post-industrial." Think of a silver-framed mirror, not a highly contemporary steel coffee table.

You may not be ready to buy a gilded chair, but wallcoverings are an easy way to work the look into your home successfully. While metallic wallpaper isn't new, Joyce Griffith of Papier Interiors says that "The ones we're paying attention to are the ones that look like antique gold leaf. They aren't contemporary." An Eastern-look paper has metallic gold as part of the paisley. On another, soft gold stars shine on a black background. Schumacher offers a wallcovering pattern that looks like sheets of gold leaf -- geometric, soft and downright pretty. And Winfield Design Associates features a whole book of metallic patterns called "The Golden Age."

Leslie Quinn has been doing a brisk business in antique tablecloths lately. After all, what better way to show off your best china at a holiday dinner than on a damask banquet cloth?

Ms. Quinn is an antique textiles dealer, one of the foremost in the area. If an interior designer needs an Aubusson tapestry pillow to complete the perfect room, he might call on Leslie Quinn to find it for him. She has Persian paisley shawls, Oriental silks, bed and table linens, Belgian lace, tapestries -- even American quilts. Her stock comes from all sorts of sources, including estates and other antiques dealers who don't specialize in textiles.

Ms. Quinn doesn't have a shop. She runs her business, Homestead Antiques and Textiles, out of an 18th-century farmhouse in Millers. While she sees people by appointment only, she does make house calls. Call (410) 239-6502 for more information.

Every once in a while something comes along that you have to have, even though you know you might regret it. Such a toy is the Bird Plant Alarm put out by Solar Wide Inc. The alarm looks like a small bird (it has real feathers) perched on a gold-plated probe. Stick it in the soil of a house plant, and when the soil dries out the bird begins to sing.

It sings for about two minutes every thirty minutes until the plant is watered, which is fine if you don't mind being nagged by a wren.

It sings, believe it or not, "Try to Remember" or "If You Love Me" or "You Are My Sunshine."

With average use -- I suppose that means if you don't let your plants get dry too often -- the bird alarm's two lithium batteries have to be replaced every year and a half.

The suggested list price is $7.99 for the blue or yellow model. If you can't find the Bird Plant Alarm, call Solar Wide Inc. at (708) 735-8500. The company will give you the name of the store closest to you, or send you one directly.

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