Buyers of new homes have become obsessed with bathrooms -- the bigger and more extravagant, the better.
When the National Association of Home Builders recently surveyed 440 buyers on their bathroom preferences, 58 percent wanted two baths. Then there's the interest in amenities:
Fifty-seven percent wanted color toilets, sinks and tubs, not white.
More than 80 percent demanded a separate shower enclosure instead of just a nozzle in the bathtub.
Sixty-six percent wanted a dressup/makeup area.
The survey was conducted among people who said they were thinking about buying a house or had been reading new-home publications, but were far from settling on a particular style.
Mary Jo Peterson, a design consultant from Brookfield, Conn., says customers are often looking for "luxury showers and accessories, as well as art-like lavatories and jewelry-like faucets, heated toilet seats and stone floors."
In high-end and demonstration houses, master baths often include his and her showers as well as refrigerators in drawers to hold medicine that needs to be kept cold, a coffee bar and cable-ready television to watch while shaving or bathing.
-- Knight Ridder/Tribune
Pruner is kind to the arms
Add this to the growing list of ergonomically-correct garden tools -- a pruner that claims to reduce awkwardness and effort.
Fiskars' Gooseneck Swivel Lopper features a rotating cutting shaft that allows the user to keep his arms in a horizontal position -- even when cutting horizontal branches. The device's long "neck" also helps reach into tight places.
The lopper has some cushy foam grips, nonstick blades and, at a relatively light weight of 3.75 pounds, what more can a gardener require? Alas, such advantages have a price -- specifically: $49.99 retail.
For more information, call 800-500-4849 or visit the Web site at www.fiskars.com.
-- Peter Jensen
Bring your mother to "Homewood: An Aromatic Spring" today and make her Mother's Day smell sweet. The event, which takes place at Homewood House Museum, 3400 N. Charles St., explores the use of herbs in early American households. You can even make an herbal gift for Mom. The event is included in museum admission: $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $3 for students. Moms, ignore that. You all get in free today. Homewood House is open from noon to 4 p.m. today. Call 410-516-5589 for more information.
Take your time as you stroll through the gardens on the seventh annual Old Woodlawn Garden Tour. The self-guided tour, which takes place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. next Sunday, begins at St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 2119 Gwynn Oak Avenue. A map and guide with walking and driving instructions is available at St. Luke's. Admission for the 1 1/2-mile tour is free. Call 410-594-9486, Ext. 6, for more information.
This year's Flower Mart is poised to be a blooming success. Wednesday's event takes place in the heart of Mount Vernon at sites surrounding the Washington Monument.
Flower Mart offers a glorious garden variety of demonstrations, entertainment, and, of course, flowers.
Demonstrations include: how to mix fruits and vegetables into flower arrangements; how to use vintage containers to romanticize arrangements; how to care for orchids; and much more.
Entertainment includes performances by the Baltimore Opera Company and the Calvert Hall Jazz Ensemble. As for the flowers, expect dazzling displays from Sans Souci Nursery, Bolton Hill Blossoms and more.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The rain date is Thursday. Call 410-323-0022 for more information. -- Tamara Ikenberg