Nursed back to health, house holds antique shopWhen Betty...


April 10, 1994|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,Sun Staff Writer

Nursed back to health, house holds antique shop

When Betty Ruano and Nancy Wilkey bought the old house that would eventually become Sunporch Antiques, the turn-of-the-century building was falling apart and termite-ridden. "Plaster was holding it up," says Ms. Ruano with a rueful laugh. Two years later, the former nursing teachers have almost finished renovating it and have just opened what they call "the neighborhood's antique store" on Falls Road near Lake Avenue.

The two women already had a Sunporch Antiques shop in Savage Mill, but they live in Roland Park and wanted to establish another location where they could work closer to home. Their specialty is American country primitive, but they deal in all sorts of antiques and collectibles (no reproductions, however).

So far, the two have had trouble keeping their store fully stocked -- their "affordable antiques," as Ms. Ruano describes them, sell almost as quickly as they come in, so the place looks a little sparse.

As soon as things get settled, they plan to offer classes in decorating with antiques and refinishing. (They redo much of the furniture themselves.) For more information, call (410) 377-2904. Sunporch Antiques is located at 6072 Falls Road. Monika Burwell likes to say she's a builder of gardens rather than a landscape designer. Because her company, Earthly Pursuits, is so small (only her son Joshua and his crew help with the installation), Ms. Burwell finds she develops personal relationships with her clients.

"My goal," she says, "is to inspire as many people as possible to the concept of gardening." Even if her customers don't have a zTC green thumb, she likes to get them involved.

Her specialty is creating gardens that have their own beauty all four seasons of the year. If a project is more than the client can afford all at once, Ms. Burwell is happy to work in stages.

The sister of nurseryman Kurt Bluemel and former colleague of Wolfgang Oehme from Oehme van Sweden in Washington, Ms. Burwell creates perennial gardens, fish ponds, walks, vegetable gardens -- just about anything but lawns. "The lawn is on its way out, environmentally speaking," Ms. Burwell says. (She feels they're a waste of time, space and resources.)

For more information, call (410) 426-2849. When the Friends of the U.S. National Arboretum holds a rare plant auction, you can count on unusual and exotic offerings. This year you'll be able to bid in live and silent auctions on more than 300 plants, trees and shrubs. And if a rare Chinese redbud cercis racemosa doesn't interest you, you can bid on a trip to London to see the Chelsea Flower Show or other items, including Kemper Open passes.

Among the 1,500 plants on sale in the cash-and-carry tent will be dozens developed by the arboretum, as well as new and used garden books. John Creech, former director of the arboretum, will speak on gardens around the world.

The arboretum's third annual Gardener's Plant Sale and Rare Plant Auction will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The National Arboretum is located at 3501 New York Ave., N.E., in Washington. The phone number is (202) 544-8733.

A new survey on America's cleaning habits has just come out. Among the findings:

* When a home gets a major cleaning, the kitchen is most likely to be tackled first, the bathroom second.

* In addition, 93 percent of those surveyed do the major cleaning themselves, with cleaning windows and walls the two tasks done most often.

* Surprisingly, 69 percent of those surveyed who do major cleaning don't reward themselves for their efforts. Of those that do, the most common reward is going out to dinner (38 percent).

* Respondents clean routinely at least once a week (90 percent) and on average devote three hours to the task. (Do we really believe this?!)

* The favorite chore is vacuuming, while bathroom-related cleaning is the least favorite.

The survey was commissioned by Bissell Inc. in cooperation with Market Facts Inc. Survey findings have a 5 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level.

On the Home Front welcomes interesting tidbits of home and garden news -- events related to the home or garden, new stores, trends, local people with ideas on design and decorating, mail order finds, furniture styles, new products and more. Please send suggestions to Elizabeth Large, On the Home Front, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.


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