A decorator on The Avenue


October 28, 2001|By Julie Klavens | Julie Klavens,Sun Staff

When I was a kid and I went to a friend's house," says Mia Pefinis Jensen, "I would come back and tell my mother how the house was decorated." And on family vacations, "I would look around the hotel to see how it was laid out, what was there."

That fascination with color, contour and configuration translated into a career as an interior designer and -- lucky Hampden -- an inviting studio on The Avenue (36th Street) where Jensen offers her expertise, whether one wants a little (perhaps some designer fabric to make a so-so sofa sing) or a lot (a floor-to-ceiling makeover for that simple, 4,000-square-foot shack one calls home).

Unlike many Baltimore-area designers, Jensen was determined to stay in the city. "I'm invested in the city. ... I'm a believer in the city -- I live in it, I bought this building in it, and I feel that if people have what they need in the city, they'll stay. And clients might find something different [at Nouveau Interiors] than they'd find in Owings Mills or Towson, ... [something] more contemporary, eclectic."

You might catch Jensen at her studio, but because she's often working at a residence or commercial space, she suggests that prospective clients call for appointments. Nouveau Interiors, 851 W. 36th St. in Baltimore, 410-243-7167.

Trompe l'oeil, made easy

The name, Simple Trompe L'Oeil, seems oxymoronic -- how could projects involving faux finishes and intricate patterns or images be completed with ease? But author Mary MacCarthy, a decorative artist, leads readers through the 20 projects with assured, clear language, an abundance of photographs and -- sigh of relief -- stencils.

A few of the projects (a key cupboard and a ribbon-edged mirror) verge uncomfortably on sentimental, and one is downright dizzying (a floor pattern of tumbling blocks that gives the illusion of depth). But most (a marquetry tray, a stenciled curtain inspired by a wall in a 12th-century Catalonian chapel, and a Gothic-revival frieze, to name a few) are fresh, pretty and appealing -- and spark a desire to run to the hardware store for the necessary supplies.

Simple Trompe L'Oeil, published by Firefly Books Ltd., is available for $19.95 at area bookstores. -- J.K.

Bearing on your future

Less costly than an astrological reading, and less cryptic than runes or the I Ching, they're game boxes: smallish containers that one gently shakes so ball bearings settle next to descriptive or predictive phrases, or dice total a telling sum. Thus may one learn the characteristics of one's next love, or the particulars of one's fate.

With delicious graphics -- a pinch of Victoriana, a dash of medicine show -- they're great silly fun at parties (and they're not bad during those private moments when one simply needs to know).

$10 at The Store Ltd., 5100 Falls Road (The Village of Cross Keys), Baltimore, 410-323-2350. -- J.K.


* The Mid-Atlantic Antiques Market continues because this is its second day today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Howard County Fairgrounds. More than 100 vendors from 14 states will present a strong selection of Americana, folk art and period decorative arts. Admission is $6. The fairgrounds are on Route 144 west of Route 32; for information, call 410-228-8858.

* ZYZYX! -- recently named one of the top 100 American craft retailers by a trade publication -- is exhibiting the works of Marvin Blackmore through the end of the month. The intricately carved black-on-black clay vessels are inspired by the beauty of the natural world, and reflect Blackmore's exposure to Native American arts. ZYZYX! is at 1809 Reisterstown Road in Pikesville, 410-486-9785.

Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Mary Corey, 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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