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February 20, 2005|By Lori Sears | Lori Sears,Sun Staff

Wood shutters: eye openers

The new Heritance hardwood shutters (right) from Hunter Douglas are an open-and-shut case. Easy to open and close, and made of durable natural wood, they offer the look of outdoor shutters inside.

Combining natural wood, a dovetail panel construction (which ensures that the shutters won't separate over time and let in light when they're not supposed to) and an attractive multi-coat Integra finish, the shutters provide a rich, warm feel to bay and corner windows, arches and French doors. Heritance shutters come in 2 1/2 -inch and 3 1/2 -inch louver sizes and are available in a range of frame types and hinge finishes. Heritance shutters retail for $996 for a 48-inch-by-60-inch window.

Hunter Douglas has also just introduced its Palm Beach custom shutters (above), made of an exclusive outdoor-grade vinyl that blocks UV rays and has reinforced aluminum at all stress points. Palm Beach shutters retail for $597 for a 48-inch-by-60-inch-window. Also new are the Alouette LightLouvers (right), 180-degree rotatable soft-fabric shutters that serve as shades and offer the variable light control of blinds and retail for $483 for a 48-inch-by-60-inch window.

To purchase, visit www.hunterdouglas.com or call 800-937-STYLE. Products are available at local window and shade retailers.

If only it knew how to iron

Doing laundry is a chore, no doubt about it. So, any help with that task would be most welcome. The new Mobile Laundry Center ($169) from Better Lifestyle Products vows to help those with cramped laundry quarters. The Mobile Laundry Center comes with a full-size fold-away ironing board with cloth cover (to reduce movement while ironing), a slide-out laundry hamper, three slide-out chrome wire baskets for storing ironed garments, a fold-out iron rest and an adjustable clothes hanging rack. The unit, which is height-adjustable and comes on wheels that can lock in place, folds up to just 23 inches in length.

The Mobile Laundry Center is available for purchase at www.betterlifestyleproducts.com / mobile-laundry- center.html.

Whatchamacallits and thingamajigs

We're not all Johnny Fix-Its. In fact, many of us can't do the simplest of home repairs. Even with how-to instructions, we're still a bit befuddled. And as for tools, well, they're a foreign language. Grout saws? Tubing cutters? Stubby awls? Plumb bobs?

Here's a chance for tool-phobes to catch up. The new book Field Guide to Tools (Quirk Books, $14.95) by John Kelsey, available at Amazon.com, offers a crash course in identifying tools, what they're used for and how to use them. With color photos of more than 100 tools, the book delves into the basics of many tools in the hardware store. Readers will learn the history of each tool, alternative uses, parts and safety tips, and see illustrated diagrams with step-by-step instructions for home fix-it projects.

Events

The American Craft Council art show kicks off Friday at the Baltimore Convention Center, 1 W. Pratt St. More than 650 artisans from around the country will be showing their wares. Show runs 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. $12; free for ages under 12. Call 800-836-3470.

See paintings and prints dealing with movement at the exhibit Fantastic Flights, through Feb. 27 at Gallery Imperato, 921 E. Fort Ave., Suite 120. Pictured below is a work by Jarrett M. Davis. Call 443-257-4166.

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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