Wisconsin Pottery

If a Colonial potter walked into my shop, the only substantive differences he’d find would be electricity and the wage scale," says Joel Huntley, co-founder of Wisconsin Pottery, a Columbus, Wisconsin-based studio that produces traditional, aged redware inspired by 17th- and 18th-century designs. "The materials, hand tools, and decorative techniques have pretty much remained unchanged for the past 200 years or so.

For the past 16 years, Joel, and his wife, Debra, have been making and marketing traditional earthenware plates, bowls, and jugs-former staples of Colonial kitchens and taverns. "Redware was basically the crockery of the common man," he says, explaining that the durable glazed pottery derives its name from the reddish hue produced by the mineral-rich clay after it has been fired. "It was the stuff they used every day. The red iron oxide in the clay gives it its distinctive Color." Originally intended for everything from storing spices to serving food, the utilitarian pieces often were decorated with designs in black or yellow slip–a creamy blend of clay and water that was applied before firing.

Joel’s appreciation for the humble earthenware began in 1975, when he enrolled at the Chicago Art Institute to study pottery and art history. After two years, he headed for England and was offered an apprenticeship in a small country pottery that produced simple domestic crockery. "I started out throwing small pots and doing all the grunt jobs, for roughly $80 dollars a week," he says. "But I was finally a potter and working with my hands."

Two years later, he returned to the Chicago area and married Debra, a drama teacher, who encouraged him to pursue his calling full time. Shortly afterward, the couple moved to Wisconsin where Joel worked as a housepainter but continued to throw pots "when I wasn’t painting, mostly at night in a garage," he recalls. The couple launched Wisconsin Pottery in 1984, after learning that an abandoned elementary school located eight miles out of town was for rent. "Like most artisans, I always dreamed of having my own business," he says.

While Debra managed the business and juggled a full-time teaching career, Joel threw pots–primarily simple slip plates and trays and traditional blue-and-gray salt-glazed stoneware. When the market for the salt-glazed pottery "went sour" in the mid-1990s, he expanded the line to include fancy slip-decorated wares and elaborate sgraffito, or "scratched," designs. Inspired by the works of David Spinner (1758-1811), a Bucks County, Pennsylvania, potter renowned for his elaborately decorated and inscribed wares, Joel began experimenting with traditional Pennsylvania German motifs–mounted horsemen, leaping stags, and fruit and flower designs. "I studied photographs and museum pieces, then basically added my two cents worth," he says.

Two potters work full-time with Joel, producing an extensive selection of lead-free, slip-decorated wares as well as signature sgraffito pieces. "Each piece is unique," he says, noting that all pots are dated, stamped, and signed, so as not to confuse them with actual antique redware. "No two pieces are ever identical. We’re a studio, not a factory."

Exploring Florida’s Gold Coast

Take a break from winter’s chill: this month’s 110-mile Historic Highways route runs from north to south along Florida’s east coast. We begin in the resort community of Palm Beach, then visit Delray Beach, Boca Raton, and Fort Lauderdale, once a haven for college students on spring break, and now a yachting center. We continue to Miami Beach, Miami, Key Biscayne, and end in Coral Gables. Dubbed the "Gold Coast," this region was established as a winter playground in the 1920s. Today, the Florida cities attract sun-worshippers from all over the world, as well as those drawn to the vibrant cultural life and restored historical areas. Southern Florida offers the active traveler abundant white sand beaches and water sports, golf, tennis, and natural habitats for bird-watching and canoeing.

PALM BEACH

Palm Beach was named for its palm trees, planted in 1878 when a Spanish cargo ship carrying them ran aground on the beach. The American architect Addison Mizner arrived in 1918. He designed many of the Spanish-Moorish homes along Ocean Boulevard, including Mar-A-Lago, built in 1923 for cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post. The Norton Museum of Art has extensive holdings of European, American, and Chinese pieces. Take Route 1 south 18 miles to Delray Beach.

The Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, (561) 655-2833. The Norton Museum of Art, (561) 832-5196. The Breakers, (561) 655-6611.

DELRAY BEACH

Settlers from Michigan and Japan established Defray Beach in the 1920s. George Morikami, a farmer and one of the earliest settlers, acquired 200 acres of land that he willed to the county to create the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. It includes a theater, galleries, tea house, nature trail, and bonsai garden. Military miniatures covering two thousand years of history are on view at the Cornell Museum of Art and History. The dates for the Delray Beach Community Center Antiques show are February 13 and 14. Continue on Route 1 south eight miles to Boca Raton.

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, (561) 495-0233. Cornell Museum of Art and History, (561) 243-7922. Antique Show and Sale, (561) 243-2233.

BOCA RATON

Legend has it that this inlet of jagged rocks was named "mouth of the rat" by Spanish pirates. In 1925, Addison Mizner designed the city plan for Boca Raton. Two of his surviving 1920s buildings are the lavish pink Boca Raton Resort Hotel and Club and the city’s administration building. Historic houses open to the public include the 1920 Old Schoolhouse, the 1937 Pioneer House, and the 1923 Historic Butler House, built from plans from Woman’s Home Companion magazine. Visit the International Museum of Cartoon Art, started by Mort Walker, the creator of Beetle Bailey. The Old Floresta Historic District along Cardinal Avenue has many small Spanish Colonial-style homes. Spanish River Park and Gumbo Limbo Nature Center are two places to take in native plants and birds. Take Route 1 south 20 miles to Fort Lauderdale.

Boca Raton Resort Hotel and Club, (800) 327-0101. Old Schoolhouse and Pioneer House, (305) 427-1050. Historic Butler House, (305) 429-0378. International Museum of Cartoon Art, (561) 391-2200. Spanish River Park, (561) 393-7815. Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, (561) 338-1473.

FORT LAUDERDALE

Named for several forts that protected settlers from Seminole attacks, Fort Lauderdale became a south Florida resort town in the 1920s. The Museum of Art features North and South American art and Dutch and Flemish paintings. The 1920 Bonnet House is the 35-acre estate of painter and art collector Frederick Clay Bartlett, whose furnishings, studio, and tropical plants are on view. The Fort Lauderdale Historical Society Museum has collections of local artifacts, Seminole and Colonial settlers’ clothing, toys, and a scale model of a fort. Stranahan House, built for trader Frank Stranahan in 1901, is a good example of Florida frontier design. The 1907 King-Cromartie House, a replica of an 1899 schoolhouse, and a Discovery museum complex are all housed in the 1905 New River Inn. Hugh Taylor Birch State Recreation Area is home to such endangered species as the gopher tortoise and golden leather fern. The Riverside Hotel, the oldest in Fort Lauderdale, has large guest rooms with Jacobean-style oak furnishings. Cont inue on Route 1 south to 195 east, about 30 miles to Miami Beach.

Museum of Art, (954) 525-5500. Bonnet House, (954) 563-5393. Fort Lauderdale Historical Society Museum, (954) 463-4431. Stranahan House, (954) 524-4736. King–Cromartie House, (954) 462-4116. Hugh Taylor Birch State Recreation Area, (954) 564-4521. Riverside Hotel, (954) 467-0671.

MIAMI BEACH

In 1920, 1,600 acres of mangrove swamp east of Miami were drained and developed into Miami Beach. During the 1980s, more than 800 pastel-hued structures in the Art Deco district, in the heart of South Beach, were restored and renovated, revitalizing the city. Today, the area boasts art galleries, clubs, and restaurants, along with the Miami City Ballet and the New World Symphony at the Lincoln Theater. The Wolfsonian–FLU Foundation Gallery offers rotating exhibits of American and European art produced between 1885 and 1945. The Holocaust Memorial has five main areas of sculptures and captioned photographs. Simply named The Hotel, a recently restored 1939 structure with 52 rooms, has been decorated by fashion designer Todd Oldbam with inlaid terrazzo floors, lush fabrics, and playful lighting fixtures. Adventurous divers might try the underwater Wreck Trek site in north Miami Beach, with two shipwrecks, the Patricia and Miss Karline.

Continue on Route AlA to 41 to 95 south about seven miles to Miami.

Miami City Ballet, (305) 532-7713. New World Symphony, (305) 673-3331. Wolfsonian-FIU Foundation Gallery, (305) 531-1001. The Holocaust Memorial, (305) 538-1663. The Hotel, (305) 531-2222.

MIAMI

Miami was incorporated in 1896. Today, the city is a melting pot of cultures with ethnically mixed neighborhoods such as Lithe Havana, Little Haiti, and Coconut Grove. The Art Deco Historic District runs from Ocean Drive to Lenox Avenue in nearby Miami Beach. Rare antiquities and decorative arts are on view in more than 70 rooms at the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. The Historical Museum of Southern Florida, in the Metro-Dade Cultural Center, interprets 10,000 years of Florida’s history from prehistoric Indian artifacts to 1830s Audubon prints. The Gold Coast Railroad Museum collections include Henry Flagler’s locomotive, a circa 1950 California Zephyr, and a Pullman car. In a 1930 Art Deco building, the Bass Museum of Art exhibits European paintings, and sculpture and decorative arts. From March 3 to 12, Miami celebrates Carnaval in Little Havana with food, concerts, and dancing events. Take Route 95 south to Route 913 southeast ten miles to Key Biscayne.

Vizeaya Museuni and Gardens, (305) 579-2813. Historical Museum of Southern Florida, (305) 375-1492. Gold Coast Railroad Museum, (305) 253-0063. Bass Museum of Art, (305) 673-7530. Carnaval Miami, (305) 644-8888.

KEY BISCAYNE

Linked by the William Powell Bridge, Key Biscayne and Virginia Key are two islands where visitors can catch a great view of downtown Miami. The area is popular with bikers, skaters, and watersports enthusiasts. The Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Recreation Area offers 494 acres to explore. Visitors may climb to the top of the 1845 brick Cape Florida Lighthouse. The 37-acre Miami Seaquarium is home to many rescued manatees, sharks, and sea lions. On the ocean, the Sonesta Beach Resort Key Biscayne offers 300 rooms. Backtrack about eight miles on Route 913 to Route 1 south to Coral Gables, a total of about 13 miles.

The Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Recreation Area, (305) 361-5811. Miami Seaquarium, (305) 361-5705. Sonesta Beach Resort Key Biscayne, (305) 365-2340.

CORAL GABLES

Similar to Palm Beach and Boca Raton, Coral Gables is a planned community of residential and commercial buildings with a Mediterranean flavor. George Merrick established the city from his 3,000 acres of citrus and avocado groves. His boyhood home, Coral Gables Merrick House and Gardens, is open and has been restored with family furnishings and artwork. The Lowe Art Museum displays antiquities and European and American sculpture. Don’t miss the Venetian Pool, a large rock quarry turned into a springfed swimming pool, where Johnny Weismuller and Esther Williams both swam. The Fairchild Tropical Garden is an 83-acre botanical garden with a conservatory, rainforest, and sunken garden. Built in 1926, the historic 279-room Biltmore Hotel is a great place to end a Florida journey.

Coral Gables Merrick House and Gardens, (305) 460-5361. The Lowe Art Museum, (305) 284-3603. Venetian Pool, (305) 460-5356. City Hall, (305) 446-6800. The Fairchild Tropical Garden, (305) 667-1651. Biltmore Hotel, (800) 727-1926.

Stencil over glass

Soften your Crew of the world with a simple stenciled design that is sprayed directly on a window. With a little white latex spray paint, you’ll have the look of etched glass at a fraction of the cost. The stencil gives you a bit more privacy, but still lets in the light.

Choose a precut stencil pattern that fits your window, or cut apart a stencil and reconfigure it to fit. You can also design and cut your own from Mylar plastic, found at crafts stores. Select a simple motif from your wallpaper, and trace and cut it from the plastic. If the stencil will run both vertically and horizontally, make sure the design works in both directions.

First, trim sides of plastic, if needed, so it fits within the window’s frame. Work out the design so it is centered on the window. Mark the beginning and ending points of each placement with tape. You may have to adjust spacing between repeats or use only a partial design at the ends.

Spray the underside of stencil with stencil adhesive. Press to inside of window. Tape edges with painter’s tape to catch straying paint. Spray latex paint over stencil using long, even strokes. Several light passes give a more even coat and avoid runs and drips. Let dry slightly, reposition stencil and repeat the process. When dry, clean up shaggy spots with a razor blade.

Your painted stencil will last several months if protected from scratches. To remove or change design, scrape away paint with a razor blade.

Ribbon lampshade

A basic lamp goes one shade better with the help of sponge-painting and wire ribbon. A self-adhesive shade and wire-edge ribbon are the keys to this easy project. Paper shades work best since fabric may fray at the cut lines. Choose ribbon that’s in proportion to the lampshade. We used 1-inch-wide ribbon for a shade that’s 9 inches tall. A 1-to-9 ratio is a good guideline.

Materials: self-adhesive shades (available at fabric and crafts stores) or paper shades, which will allow paint to adhere; rice paper to fit the adhesive shade; tacky crafts glue; wire-edge ribbon to fit the bottom of the shade plus 1 yard; acrylic paints to match the ribbon; natural sea sponge (available at crafts and paint stores); paper clips; crafts knife.

Instructions: Following the manufacturer’s directions for the adhesive shade, cut the rice paper to fit the lampshade pattern, then apply it to the lampshade. Sponge-paint the shade with one or more colors. Make sure the painting is even by turning the lamp on. However, do not work with lamp plugged in or turned on.

Measure the circumference of the bottom of the shade and find the halfway point opposite the back seam. Divide the space between the seam and halfway point into increments spaced 2 to 3 inches apart. Mark these increments with paper clips. Measure the width of your ribbon. At the point opposite the back seam and 1 inch up from the bottom edge, cut a vertical slit that measures 1/8 inch longer than the width of the ribbon. Cut parallel slits 1/4 inch from either side of the first slit. Continue around the shade, cutting two vertical slits at each paper clip.

Starting at the set of three slits, push the ribbon into the center slit, back out the next slit, and continue weaving it around the shade. Pull the end back out of the original slit. Tie the two ends in a bow and trim.

Home improvement tricks

* Space-saving techniques, not visual tricks, make the most of the cottage s small rooms. By designing an efficient wall-to-wall desk and storage unit (left, Jeffrey carved a work area out of one corner of the living room. Storage cubbies fitted with wicker baskets stow everything from file folders to fabric swatches. Fabric-covered corkboards keep memos and design inspiration at eye level.

* Liberal doses of white keep the doses color scheme from becoming overwhelming. Painting formerly dark woodwork white provides crisp contrast provides unifying line from room to room (below). Upholstering larger furniture in white denim also quiets the scheme so that pattern can doses in pillows and accessories. The same while denim, this time with a richly handed top, drapes a doorway.

* With so little space to decorate, Jeffrey could indulge in the details. A folding screen (above) upholstered in a striped fabric creates a dramatic focal point without consuming much floor space. It also can be used for privacy. Some pillow fabrics were dyed with tea to give them a faded appearance. Furnishings–including wicker and painted pieces-are both antique and "aged" with point.

* If you spend much of your time in the kitchen, why not put the stereo there? This Craftsman-style base cabinet (below) also serves as a media center. Jeffrey painted it white and replaced wood panels in doors with glass to make the piece appear less bulky. Checked fabric behind the glass hides stereo equipment and enhances the cottagey look. Another option? Use fabric without the glass. Then you can tuck speakers behind closed doors.

* A full-size dining table would have swamped the small breakfast nook. But this 1940s bamboo table above) is a good fit, and it gives the nook the Feel of a real dining room. "Irs probably actually a buffet table," Jeffrey explains. "But its narrow dimensions work perfectly here." Other space-saving dining solutions might include a drop-leaf or console table, anything with a glass top (it consumes less visual space), even folding cafe or wooden chairs.

* In the bedroom (right),, an upholstered headboard and matching pillows create a focal point but also are practical for reading in bed. The antique cover;et, with its Scottish thistle embroidered design, belonged to Jeffrey’s grandmother. On o bamboo side table are pieces of Mouchlinware, antique wooden boxes commemorating towns or castles. Jeffrey collected the souvenirs while traveling in Scotland. Simple cotton Roman shades (below) are left unlined to filter-but not block-the sunlight.

* To hide the kitchen s 25year-old slider windows, Jeffrey designed simple sheer curtains, banded with a contrasting floral fabric and strung on tension wire inset into the window frame (right. Metal grommets and marine hardware give the treatment a nautical look.

* Pointed effects add "ago" to newly pointed walls. In the study (, Jeffrey mixed oil- and water-based paint then brushed it onto the wall in uninterrupted top-to-bottom strokes to create a streaked look. In the bedroom (page 180), brushing on o "milk wash’ of watered-down white paint over a base color gives the walls a hazy effect. In addition to "aging" the surfaces, the techniques also help to tone down strong color.

* A simple while denim slipcover gets the star treatment with the help of contrast welling and an applique (b By stitching the applique on loosely, it can be removed easily before the slipcover is cleaned. Jeffrey uses remnants of more expensive fabrics judiciously on small throw pillows.

* Skirting the area under the kitchen sink hides ugly plumbing and creates co softness Ir/gh. Jeffrey used the same star appliques as the slipcover, this time in yellow, to embellish the bottom of the skirt. To make the floors checkerboard pattern, use a yardstick or template to mark off the squares. Then mask off each color with painter’s tape. Although a small roller is the quickest way to apply the paint evenly, Jeffrey used a brush and thinned oil paint to get this streaked effect.

Rewriting the rules

Everyone knows that at the beach normal rules don’t apply. Especially when it comes to decorating. For this jewel-box beach cottage in Del Mar, California, interior designer Jeffrey Alan Marks happily brokeor at least bent-many of the rules, opting for high style without sacrificing fun or function. Want to make waves of your own? Read on.

A dreary color scheme clearly dated the 1925 cottage’s last redecorating when Jeffrey Marks took it over from his parents several years ago. "Everything was dark and much of it was faced in redwood with ’70s earth-tone touches," he says. He envisioned a breezy update with a lively attitude, a place where he and associate Robin Eisman could meet with clients or relax with friends. "I wanted it to look like an old ’40s beach towel," he says, "faded yet colorful."

The first law to go was Rule No. 1: Paint the walls white to make small rooms look bigger Jeffrey picked a warmer palette of saturated colors that energize and envelop rather than expand the pint-size spaces. While sacrificing a greater sense of spaciousness, he gained intimacy and a bit of drama. He even played up the house’s inherent coziness by making each room a different color, thereby breaking Rule No. 2: Stick to a single wall color to create visual flow.

Rule No. 3: Small rooms shouldn’t wear big checks. In the kitchen and dining nook, a 1970s-era remodel had left its curse in the form of really bad linoleum. Rather than replace it, Jeffrey painted right over it with a bold checkerboard design, turning the squares on the bias so the pattern actually makes the room look larger. He found that concrete paint-the kind used on garage floors-adhered best to the old flooring. The oil-based paint was thinned with mineral spirits so it would streak when applied. A coat of clear polyurethane makes the surface durable. On the kitchen walls, bright yellow paint gives the room a sunny disposition, even on cloudy days.

The house has a humble history: Formerly the manager’s quarters for a nearby hotel, the 900-square-foot cottage is smaller "than most of my clients’ entry halls," Jeffrey says. But he’s learned one important rule worth keeping: It’s not how much room you have but what you do with it. "Even though the house is small, all my friends gravitate here," he says. "It’s a very happy house."

Piece by piece decorating

Being bitten by the antiquing bug means bringing things home, one by one, year after year. You need moderation, an eye for mixing, and a knack for display to keep a home’s accumulation from looking like an overstuffed antiques shop. Patty and Bob Laufer have pulled it off. Though they’ve spent years of weekends and vacations rooting out country collectibles, they show off their much-loved quilts and other finds with restraint. "I’m very turned off by too much," says Patty, who avoids abundant displays of any one type. "I want my house to look like a house, not a museum." Enter the Laufers’ clapboardstyle home and learn to weave together a tasteful display-one thing at a time. atty, an educational consultant, and Bob, a lawyer, bought their quirky home nine years ago. Like the Laufers’ style, the home’s structure is a delightful patchwork of individual pieces. It began as two 19th century barns on separate plots of land in Connecticut’s Fairfield County. In the 1930s, the barns were moved together and joined.

Bright sunlight floods through high windows in the barn’s former loft space, now used as the main living and dining room (right). In this great-room, cathedral ceilings and white walls provide an airy backdrop. When combined with subdued furniture, the background nudges colorful collectibles to center stage. To bring the spacious room into human scale, tall display shelves build a bridge between the high ceiling and the furnishings. At the sofa’s shoulder, a triple quilt stand makes the sitting area feel cozier.

The Laufers are down-to-earth collectors, which means they buy only what they love and know they will use. Textiles are a particular passion. And though this is a collectible that is often tucked away, even antique quilts and rugs see the light of day in the Laufer home.

On the dining side of the great-room, a hutch (left) with a true opendoor policy displays folded quilts. Elsewhere, says-Patty, "I have them hung, laid on beds, folded in cabinets, and I change them around a lot." For protection, the quilts are positioned away from direct sunlight. Patty also periodically refolds them so they don’t develop permanent fold marks.

The Laufers’ pieceby-piece home (above has topfloor bedrooms, a living space at ground level, a kitchen in the walkout basement, and o great location on Ihe Stuck River (top) Treasured photographs (left) of the original barns sho how they made their evolutionary journey to their present site.

Graphic quills and homey rugs help ground a tickingstripe sofa, a newly made wicker chair, and a Windsor-style chair. The classic, clean-lined furniture sets a simple stage where the real stars are whimsical folk art, baskets, and books.

Extra quilts are folded and stacked for display in hutches and on open

shelving. Patty pulls out seasonal quilts at Christmas or during summer and throws them over beds, the sofa, and even the dining table when it’s not in use.

Old rugs join the artful quilts to create a soft and colorful decorating basis for each room. To avoid visual clutter caused by too much pattern, large rugs, such as the one that anchors the dining table (right), are chosen for their simplicity and neutral color. Bright color is left to smaller rugs, which can be found scattered patchwork style on the floor or hung on the walls. Patty looks for clean wool rugs with intact or nicely bound edges. She’ll occasionally buy a flawed rug and have it fixed if the price is right. For care, she merely airs and sweeps them.

For a quiet scheme in the guest bedroom, Patty shows off only blue-and-white quilts, layering different textures on the same bed for interest. During forays to flea markets and antiques shows, the Laufers look for softly timeworn pastel-color quilts from the 1920s and ’30s that still have a lot of body. "A little rip or stain doesn’t bother me," says Patty, who pays an average of $250 for her finds, "as long as the quilt is in good condition and can be mended or folded to protect the flaw." Even when quilts around the house become worn from use, their patterns live on. Patty has the unblemished sections sewn into throw pillows, such as the pillows on the guest bed (left).

In the great-room’s dining area, mix-andmatch chairs surround an old pine drop-leaf table. The two chairs with "pillow-back" top rails (see the head of the table) are Hitchcock chairs. Other chairs are pointed black to mix in.

One challenge she faces is accommodating her changing tastes. When she first started collecting, Patty zeroed in on primary-color quilts. Instead of getting rid of the bolder quilts, she simply rotates them onto display shelves, reserving her now-preferred soft pastels for the living areas.

As the Laufers’ house and tastes evolve, the collecting continues but never overwhelms. "I have lots of focal points," says Patty. With their things always on the move, the Laufers’ patchwork style resists appearing staged and offers a fresh view wherever you look.

Caring for Quilts

Quilts are key to the Laufers’ style. These cleaning tips will extend the life and beauty of your fabric finds.

An intriguing passageway leads from one former barn into what is now the guest bedroom of the other. When the barns were joined, most of Ihe original rustic plank doors were kept. Some were stripped and refinished; others were painted.

Pieces of dishware are within easy reach, especially in the breakfast room (above) and the kitchen. A treasured collection of ironstone-a white semipporcelain-is used daily.

The Laufers’ approachable philosophy means leaving cupboard doors wide open or off (left) to display their things.

Remove dust from quilts by gently shaking them or dusting them with a vacuum set on light suction. For extra protection, put a nylon stocking over the attachment.

Launder only when absolutely necessary. For most cotton quilts made after 1910, clean in a washing machine set on the gentle cycle using a mild detergent and tepid water. Rinse the quilt a few times.

Handwash older cotton and linen quilts. To wash, place the quilt in 3 to 4 inches of tepid water in a clean bathtub. Use a mild cold-water detergent, a mild dishwashing detergent, or a laundry product formulated for quilts. Gently knead the quilt in water for a few minutes, being careful not to pull or wring it Rinse until the water runs clear.

Dry wet quilts by laying them flat on the floor or outside (wrong side up) on clean mattress pads or towels. A wet quilt is very heavy, so don’t hang it or lift it in a way that puts stress on the fabric or stitching.

Professionally clean antique quilts at cleaners that specialize in them. However, a valuable quilt that is in poor condition should not be cleaned at all.

Planning Your Bath

Custom crown moldings were added to the cabinetry to create a formal look. A pair of storage towers (left) flanks the toiler and is bridged by a large cabinet and an open display shelf.

Them’s room for everyone when The grandchildren and their parents visit. Kids get a vanity all to themseves while slill being able to keep an eye on the adults.

Hinged doors would have been clumsy in this cad bath, so pocket doors were used instead.

If you like the idea behind Jack-and-Jill bath layouts but can’t quite figure out how you’ll make one work in your home, take a look at these floor plans. You may be able to modify one of them to fit your needs.

Elbow

When a bathroom needs to fit in a corner or has to bend around a closet tl, an elbow plan will often work best. The jog in the elbow configuration can also be used to skirt low ceilings when you’re building a Jack-and-Jill bath in a second story and want to avoid the dead space under the eave (right.

Rectangular

Rectangular layouts are ideal for installing Jack-and-Jill baths in a small space. Use these layouts when you want to put a bathroom between two bedrooms located on the some side of a hallway (left, or when you have a pair of bedrooms in a lofted space, such as a half story or finished attic (right).

Square

Square Jack-and-Jill configurations are particularly versatile. They can be built in corners like elbow plans (left), or between two bedrooms (right). Square plans often offer a little more space, so it’s easier to add a separate tub and shower, or a separate compartment for the toilet.

Walls with imagination

Wipe away those nothing-to-do blues. Display boards and drawing areas give kids’ rooms big style while encouraging little ones to be creative. But don’t stop there-even adult spaces will benefit from these great-looking, hardworking hangings.

To miter he corners, fold the felt corner point in toward the board. Staple it in place along the edges of the board, then trim away the point (top). Fold down the "ears" thaat remain and staple them in place to finish the miter (middle). Hot-glue buttons and bows to the corners of each felt board to cover the anchors that attach the board to the wall (bottom).

Heartfelt Play

Cheery felt-covered boards hung at toddler-height (above) sport oversized letters, numbers, and shapes. The fun felt cutouts beg little ones to put together a word or two. There’s nothing magical here. Friction holds the shapes to the board, just like it did in kindergarten class.

Begin with three 24×36-inch pieces of homasote board (available at home improvement stores). Then cut three 30×42-inch pieces of felt, using different colors for variety.

Center the board on the felt. Wrap the felt to the back and staple at the center of each side. Make sure the felt is even and tight. Continue stapling, working to within 6 inches of the corners. Miter the corners as instructed in the caption (left). Fasten the boards to the wall with wall anchors. Cut letters, numbers, and shapes from contrasting felt using stencils or computergenerated figures for patterns.

Draw on Creativity

It’s a childhood dream come truedraw on the walls with mom’s permission. Create this easy-clean border, or make a wall-size canvas for kids who do art in a big way. The key is to use a paint that is guaranteed washable with just a soft cloth and mild household cleaner.

To assemble a ledge (right), use 3/4-inch-wide cove molding, 3-inch-wide fluted molding, and 2-inchwide crown molding. Nail the cove to the wall along the border’s bottom edge. Nail the fluted molding to the cove molding. To install the crown, put wood glue along its upper edge. Hold piece in place and nail through pre-drilled pilot holes in the crown so nails go through the cove molding and into the wall.

Using a hard-lead pencil, level, and yardstick, mark a 12-inch-wide border at a comfortable height for your child. Tape off the border with painter’s tape. Paint the border with two or more coats of the washable paint following the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure to let the paint cure at least two days before drawing on it or the markings will not erase. Remove the tape.

Cut strips of molding to fit the wall width, then paint the molding. The top of the painted border is edged with 3/4-inch-wide triple-bead molding. Nail in place. The bottom of the border is edged with a ledge made from cove, crown, and fluted moldings. Assemble the ledge as instructed in the caption (below). Fill nail holes, and touch up the paint.

Kids’ original artworks made with water-based markers can be cleaned with baby wipes.

Put a Cork on It

Ringing a room with corkboards is a perfect way to show off a student’s favorite things. Making this colorful border (above) is easy when you use pre-routed picture-frame molding, 12-inch-square corkboards, and a little paint (all available at home improvement stores). Buy the thickest corkboards you can; our cork measures 3/8 inch thick, so pushpins hold securely in place.

Cut strips of 1 2-inch-wide picture-frame molding to fit the wall width. Paint the molding and corkboards with two or more coats of latex paint. Paint both sides of the cork to prevent warping.

Using a hard-lead pencil, yardstick, and level, mark the bottom of the border at a comfortable height for your child (ours starts at 30 inches high). Nail the bottom molding to the wall along this line so the routed edge faces up to hold the corkboards. Set the cork in place on the molding. Nail the top molding in place with the routed edge facing down. If necessary, use additional nails or double-face tape to hold the cork in place while installing the top molding. Fill the nail holes with wood filler, and touch up the paint.

All-Points Bulletin

Let a series of framed bulletin boards play host to a teen’s treasures. Cork sheeting from a home improvement center or office supply store lets these boards reach giant proportions without subjecting the walls underneath to holes and mars.

Picture-frame molding that is pre-routed to hold glass can also hold corkboards. You simply set the cork in the lip of the molding pieces instead of adhering it to the walls, so your surfaces are saved from major damage.

Cork sheeting comes on a roll in a 24-inch standard width. Cut sheeting to desired length, then cut foam-core board to match. (Our sheeting measures 24×40 inches.) Use the thickest cork you can buy so that pushpins go all the way in; our cork is Sz inch thick. Bond cork sheeting to foam-core boards (available at crafts and art stores) using nonflammable contact cement (available at home improvement stores). Paint the front side of the cork sheeting with two coats of latex paint.

To make the frames, cut prerouted, 2-inch-wide picture-frame molding to fit around the cork, mitering the corners. Secure the mitered corners with wood glue, then clamp with corner clamps. Nail with brads from the outside (two per corner). Paint the frames. Assemble the bulletin board as instructed in the caption (below). Oh

The precut lip of pie frame molding holds cork sheeting and foam-core board in p-ace lt. Lay the bonded cork and f,-come board inside the from.. Cut cardboard The precut lip of picture frame molding holds cork sheeting and foam-core board in place (left). Lay the bonded cork and foam-core board inside the frame. Cut cardboard slightly larger than the foam-core size. Lay it over the foam-core and staple to the back of the frame.

Mount two sawtooth picture hangers on the frame. Use a level to hang frames evenly.

As an alternative, use ready-made frames. Just cut cork and foam-core to fit. Make sure the cork and foam-core layers are thick enough to lay flush with the back of the frame.

The new American style

Like the best new cooking, the freshest decorating this season blends a variety of tastes and cultural influences-some exotic, some comfortably familiar. We’ve picked four distinctive looks and broken them down into simple design "recipes." Find one that suits your palate, or sample from a variety of styles-and stylish details-to create your own decorating menu.

Comfort Food

Casual decorating should be soothing to the body and soul. But too often it’s like a bland meat-and-potatoes meal, satisfying our hunger for comfort and function but leaving us craving style. The best new casual looks combine down-home ease with big-city sophistication. Here are the key ingredients:

Wicker adds ease to any room. But for a less porchy appearance, look for pieces that mimic upholsery shapes. The "club chairS (right) echoes sleek designs from the 1920s and 1930s.

Softly tailored upholstery. Some of the sloppy slipcovers of years past were as flattering as baggy sweat suits. Current upholstery styles borrow elements from our weekend wardrobe-brushed denims, bomber-jacket leathers, fuzzy chenillesbut give furniture a tucked-in, casual-Friday polish.

Mixed media. Now that consumers are more comfortable blending furniture styles and finishes within a room, manufacturers are mixing it up on a single piece. The armoire and end table (right) pair cherry and pine woods; the round table and coffee table blend wood and leather with metal. Clutter control. Put overstuffed rooms on a diet with clever storage pieces, such as the luggage-style coffee table and six-drawer end table (right).

Caribbean Salsa

If you’ve tangoed down the produce aisle lately, you’ve probably noticed the tropical influence. Mango, papaya, kiwi, plantain-the colors are straight off a Carmen Miranda costume. The same vivid palette is influencing home furnishings, with hues ranging from citrusy Euro-brights to pumpedup pastels. You decide how spicy to make it But here are some tips to keep in mind:

Start small. Unless you want to live in a state of constant visual stimulation, slip in small amounts of color by focusing on accents, such as pillows, artwork, and rugs. Keep the color quieter on larger spaces, such as the walls and big upholstery.

Take your room’s temperature. A cool combination of blues, greens, and violets (left) can give a space a calm, restful feeling; oranges, yellow$, and reds raise the energy level considerably.

White’s always right. Large doses of white (like the sofa, left) give the eye a place to rest and provide contrast, making bright colors appear crisper.

Catch of the Day

Fax machines, car pools, call waiting. It’s no wonder we’re having a collective escape fantasy. Even if you can’t run off to your own deserted island, you can bring that no-worry attitude home with you. The essential ingredients include furnishings and fabrics with a breezy, sunblushed quality-the kind of stuff you’d expect to see at a beachy inn. Here’s how to pull it together:

Travel light. Don’t burden your rooms with excess baggage. Bring only the essentials on this decorating getaway: a cozy bed, an armoire or chest to stow clothing and clutter, a convenient bedside table to hold personal treasures, and a pile of books. Wear it down. Look for furniture-old or newwith an aged appearance. Whitewashed wood, even obvious brush strokes on painted pieces, make a room look assembled over time.

Loosen up. Banish stiff "wallflower" arrangements by easing furniture away from the walls or placing it on the diagonal, such as-the-armoire (right). What have you got to lose? You can always move it back later.

Far East Fusion

Check out the latest restaurant listings. Chances are you’ll find a few that mix Asian-style cooking with something else, say, Cuban or Tex-Mex. The same thing is happening in home decor, largely in response to our desire for simplicity and serenity in our homes. In the dining room (right), blue-and-white porcelain, a stenciled fretwork border, and a sisal rug give French-influenced furniture an Eastern accent

Here are some ideas for updating tradition with a touch of the Far East:

Not ready for a full-sie color commitment For a quick, inexpensive fix, pile citrus fruits in a glass bowl or pick a bunch of colorful gerbera daisies .

Sheer curtains are another way to create a light-and-breezy look. To give panels substance and to tie them in with your decor, buy an extra twin sheet and use it to band the bottoms of curtains.

Simplify. Highlight one or two collections instead of many; display only what is meaningful and beautiful. Keep patterns to a minimum as well.

Go natural. Think of the surfaces and textures found in a Japanese garden-bamboo, stone, wood, straw-and try to weave these into your decor.

Be serene. A cluster of flickering candles or a fresh orchid floating in a bowl of water can bring a sense of harmony and calm to a room.

Side Dishes

You don’t have to redo a whole room to bring some fresh ideas into your decorating. Here are a few of the details that give the four looks on the previous pages their special appeal. Try adapting any of these ideas to create your own personal style.

Clean lines and minimal ornamentation give the French-style dining chair (below leff a Zen-like grace. Order is evident even in the simple tea setting (below right).

An old postcard wedged between layers of glass is both modem and nostalgic. Buy readymade frames with glass backing. Or, adapt existing frames by replacing the solid backing with a second piece of glass.

Shutters are essential to beach-house style. To get the look without redoing your windows, hinge together odd-sized shutters to make a folding screen. These came prepainted. To instantly "weather" them, sand off the paint in spots.

Painting a piece of flea-market or unfinished furniture is a relatively inexpensive way to give a room a bold shot of color. Pull the color scheme from your room’s fabrics. And don’t be shy. You can always repaint it later.

A sisal rug’s absorbent surface is perfect for stenciling. Use readymade stencils or make your own by tracing and enlarging designs in art and decorating books. This pattem was inspired by Chinese fretwork.