DYVEKE McCUBBIN, 27, of Ellicott City has opened a shop in Savage Mill called La Decoratrice. As the name indicates, it's a home-furnishings store, but this is one with a difference. Nothing in the store is new. But neither is it really antique. Rather, most of the items are recycled, refurbished or re-created.
Among her wares are large mirrors framed in old, pressed-tin ceiling tiles, bookcases faced with antique screen doors, and coat racks made of oak window trim, with door knobs or golf clubs as the hangers.
This isn't her first effort as an independent businesswoman. While in college, McCubbin trained and groomed standard poodles for the dog show circuit. That experience, she said, taught her a lot of the fundamental practicalities of business life, such as contracts, payment arrangements and the misunderstandings that can occur in business transactions.
But a career as a free-lance art director convinced McCubbin that she had the emotional stamina to run her own business. Two things influenced her to open a business in home furnishings: a trip to a Paris flea market and a love of shopping.
The Paris show was filled with all sorts of items that she knew people would buy. She liked the idea of traveling to Europe twice a year to shop for her store. So the concept for the store was born.
"If I just furnished my own house, I'd have to stop shopping after a while because I'd run out of room. This way, I get to shop and shop and shop," she said. "I'm making a business out of my shopping hobby."
McCubbin stocks one-of-a-kind items, such as furnishings painted by Columbia resident Osaka Jorgensen. A folding screen painted with topiaries is particularly attractive. Jorgensen plans in the future to paint furniture at the store on weekends. Customers could request items painted to order, with designs coordinated to a favorite print or pattern.
When not running her shop or shopping for stock, McCubbin shows standard poodles. "It's my vice," she says. She trains, grooms and breeds her three poodles. As dog fanciers know, poodles are clipped, much like topiaries, to be shown. McCubbin says that clever clipping and grooming can improve a dog's features, much as a new haircut can change a person's appearance.
"It's like sculpture, only with poodle fur instead of clay," she said. Her puppies won't be ready for the show circuit until next winter, but she's getting her fix by showing a friend's poodle at the Howard County Fairgrounds this weekend.
La Decoratrice opened June 29 at Savage Mill.
Summer in Savage
The summer in downtown Savage promises to be busier than usual because the work in Carroll Baldwin Hall is finished.
The Screaming Puppets, a Beltsville-area comedy improvisation troupe, returns to Savage for a show July 21. This family-friendly troupe combines audience participation and suggestions in its impromptu hilarious skits.
After the night's entertainment, the troupe offers a chance to play with the members and learn improvisational techniques. The teaching sessions are just as much fun as the performances.
Tickets are $10 for adults; $5 for senior citizens and youths to age 16.
In the Savage community newsletter is a buy-one-get-one-free coupon to be used at area stores. For $10, it's the cheapest date around. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m.
Karate America begins eight-week karate classes at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Carroll Baldwin Hall. Children and adults are welcome. Classes are $45 for the series.
Ice cream social
Mark your calendars for the ice cream social, sponsored by the Savage Community Association, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 10.
Come greet your neighbors after work in the cool of the evening, and enjoy the best of summer - friends, ice cream and fireflies in the park.