Ah, Bliss -- in a Windsor chair


May 02, 2004|By Lori Sears | Lori Sears,Sun Staff

For now, you can call Gilbert Bliss a "Knight of Windsor." While the Freeland man isn't British royalty, he is a member of the Windsor Institute's Royal Orders, an honor society for Windsor chairmakers, and has earned his "knighthood," having completed nine difficult courses. After two more, you can call him an "Earl of Windsor."

After his wife gave him a woodworking class as a 50th-birthday present, he hasn't looked back. Bliss has been making reproduction Windsor chairs for the past seven years now. Before, he had worked as a social worker and in a lumberyard.

Using oak, maple and pine, Bliss makes numerous Windsors, including the classic sack back, the Philadelphia high back, a family bench, side chairs and settees of any length. Chairs are available in various colors and finishes, and prices vary, but range from around $450 for an unfinished small side chair to around $1,200 for a large fan-back chair. Each chair takes about four weeks to complete.

Several of Bliss' chairs are on display at G. Beaumont Pottery, 13726 Jarrettsville Pike in Phoenix. To order, call 410-343-0007 or visit www.windsorsbygil.com.

Have courage, and fix it yourself

For some of us, fixing a broken appliance seems an impossible task. Our first instinct -- call the handyman. But that's not so for Dan and Judy Ramsey. The husband and wife -- authors of the new book If It's Broke, Fix It! (Alpha Books, 2003, $21.95), available at Amazon.com -- are fix-it gurus. Their book aims to help ordinary homeowners repair most household problems, including a leaky faucet, broken coffeemaker, broken doorbell and clogged drain.

The book includes step-by-step repair instructions for more than 525 common household problems. Readers will learn how the item is supposed to work, how to diagnose problems, how to decide if the item is worth fixing and how to repair it. The book also lists sources for parts, tools and service centers.

Fun and functional

Functional and funky. Useful and unique. Nifty and neon. That about describes the latest home products from Umbra, the company that likes to mesh style with function. The new tray table, dubbed Loop (left, $132), features a plastic tray supported by height-adjustable folding chrome legs. The table comes in clear lime or clear neon pink, and folds flat for easy storage.

Other new products include Arling, a spiffy acrylic magazine rack (right, $50), available in lime or neon pink, and Sway ($13), a decorative, eye-catching, plastic trash can with a capacity of 2 1/2 gallons.

Items are available at www.umbra.com. Call 800-387-5122.


* Through May 9 at the Galleries at Quiet Waters Park, 600 Quiet Waters Park Road, Annapolis, see Flowers and Fish, acrylic paintings by Anne Dawson, and browse various works by members of the Laurel Art Guild, including Kay Sandler's pastel Cyclamen (right). Call 410-222-1777 for hours.

* The Maryland House & Garden Pilgrimage runs through May 15 in several Maryland counties. Visitors can tour 13 homes in Anne Arundel County today, 11 homes in Talbot County Saturday and eight homes in Baltimore County May 15. Tours run 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Each day's tour is $25. Call 410-821-6933 or visit www.mhgp. org.

Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Lori Sears, 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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