Designer's showcase


March 04, 2001|By Karol V. Menzie | Karol V. Menzie,Sun Staff

In the past, grand hotels, with their swagged and fringed draperies and brocade and bergere furnishings, were often the inspiration for home design. The rise of chains after World War II led to a more neutral, homogenous look. Now a few great hotels are seizing the design initiative again.

Case in point: The Willard Inter-Continental in Washington, known for its mint juleps and buzzing lobby, has just renovated its Jenny Lind honeymoon suite, an intimate space tucked under the hotel's steep mansard roof. The suite, named for a 19th century diva promoted as the Swedish Nightingale, features a foyer with American Empire furnishings and antiques, and a raised sitting room with a porthole view of the U.S. Capitol. Next to the sitting area is the oval bedroom, with louvered round skylight windows and a wrought-iron canopy bed, diaphanously draped. The bath includes a sunken marble tub with a dramatic view of the Washington Monument through a circular casement window. The color scheme throughout is soothing cream, beige and other neutrals.

The suite costs $1,400 per night. The Willard, which recently completed a $14 million hotel-wide renovation, is at 1401 Pennsylvania Ave.

For more information, call 202-628-9100 or visit

Smell the sea breezes?

It's never too early to think about returning to the beach. Deck out your cottage in style this year with bright, fresh linens from L.L. Bean Home.

Start with chambray 100 percent cotton 200-counts with white rickrack trim (per set, twin $85, full $120, queen $155, king $195). Add a pin-tucked floral bedskirt (15-inch drop, twin $79, full $89, queen $99, king $109) and a Seacoast Plaid duvet cover in 100 percent cotton with the same white rickrack trim as the sheets (twin $85, full $105, queen $125, king $155, shams $30-$35). For that sleeping-porch look, include a double-weave braided rug (periwinkle, $69-$389) and a cottage daybed ($499, $659 with trundle). What could be a more perfect place for that post-swim afternoon nap?

To order, call 800-221-4221 or visit / llbeanhome. --K.M.

Trendy pooches

If you include Fido and Daisy in your vacation plans, outfit them in style with accessories from Old Navy Dog, a new line of canine products from the trendy clothing retailer. Doggie daybeds, perfect for travel, come in red, dark denim, blue floral, blue or red gingham or blue plaid (large $19.50, small $15.50). Portable water bowls are $6.50 in blue plaid, red, blue or green gingham or florals, and have matching collar and leash sets ($6.50), and bandannas ($3.50). Sturdy enameled metal bowls in blue or red are $7.50 each and a pack of three brightly colored tennis balls is $4.50.

For the store nearest you, call 800-OLD-NAVY or visit


At this time of year, many basement furnace areas are home to trays of humid soil, where green things soon will be growing -- gardeners hope. For advice on proper seed-starting techniques, try a seminar at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Ladew Topiary Gardens, 3535 Jarrettsville Pike. The event is $25 ($20 for members) and will be taught by Marc Brooks, senior seed propagator at Pennsylvania's Longwood Gardens, and Tyler Diehl, Ladew greenhouse manager. For reservations or information, call 410-557-9570.

The Columbia Association is looking for vendors who can offer information about gardening or improving home exteriors for its second Home and Garden Expo in June. For more information, call Carol Wasser at 410-715-3161.


Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Liz Atwood, Home Front, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278, or fax to 410-783-2519. Information must be received at least four weeks in advance to be considered.

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