New on the blockYvonne Serio, owner of Valley Framing...



New on the block

Yvonne Serio, owner of Valley Framing & Fine Art, was having trouble finding the furniture she liked -- English-made pieces in classic 18th- and 19th-century styles -- in her price range. The solution? In July she opened her own shop, Sherwood Antiques and Fine Furnishings in Cockeysville (410-666-5433), with English and French antiques, reproductions and accessories at less than astronomical prices. It's on the street level of the white stucco building that houses Valley Framing, at the corner of Sherwood and York roads.

Today's natural decorating style calls for seasonal flowers in casual arrangements. Here are some ideas for creating the look from a recent issue of Southern Living.

* Choose flowers and vases in matching shades.

* To add color to a clear vase or pitcher, place sliced fruit in the water.

* Go with the natural shape of the stems. If they curve over the edge of the vase, the line will be just as effective as with more formal arrangements.

* Group fruits near vases of flowers to create the look of a still-life painting.

* Place single stems in small vases and group the vases together.

* Add one or two drops of bleach and one teaspoon of sugar to a quart of water for your own natural preservative. Enough minimalism. Manufacturers are finding that consumers want luxury -- even in apartments or small spaces in their homes. Now the home-furnishings company Niermann Weeks has put out a new collection of undersized light fixtures with grand ambitions. These miniature chandeliers are reproductions of antique European lighting.

This small Rinaldi chandelier, for instance, is 18 1/2 inches in diameter and 21 1/2 inches high. An adaptation of a French chandelier found in Charleston, S.C., it has four arms in a polychrome finish with rock crystal pendants.

Niermann Weeks fixtures are available through designers and architects. For the showroom nearest you, call 410-923-0123. Margot Kaufman's rules of home remodeling are simple:

* Anything, even a doorknob, ends up costing at least a thousand dollars.

* The more you fix, the worse the remaining things look.

* When a contractor assures you, "Don't worry, we'll clean everything," he's not telling the truth.

* It will never, ever be perfect.

Kaufman's book, "This Damn House!" now a Dell paperback ($11.95), is a must for everyone who has ever undertaken a home renovation -- or is thinking of it. This is the very funny story of her and her husband's attempt to turn a 90-year-old beach bungalow into a dream home, with disastrous results.

And you thought you knew everything about remodeling hell.

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