HOM BRIEFS What's new!

Remember that old stick-on film that made your windows look frosted?

Artscape Inc. has given it a whole new look.

The Oregon company makes Light Effects, nonadhesive window film that simulates textured glass and provides privacy without sacrificing light. The film comes in subtle patterns designed to complement various decors.

It's also easy to apply. You just spray the window with water, position the film and then use the squeegee that comes with it to remove the remaining water.

Find Light Effects at Home Depot and Ace Hardware stores. Suggested retail prices are $19 and $23, depending on style.


The shelf

Who hasn't dreamed of creating a fabulous room redo on a budget, just like those cheapo makeovers on the home-decorating shows?

Lisa Quinn doesn't just dream. She does it.

Quinn, a California interior designer and set designer, worked her budget-friendly makeover magic on 21 rooms for her new book, "$500 Room Makeovers." The book includes before and after photos, ideas, explanations of the transformations and plenty of how-to information, including instructions for re-creating some of her projects.

Quinn's rooms represent a variety of styles, but she seems to favor a youthful vibe that ought to appeal especially to younger people with first homes and lean budgets.

"$500 Room Makeovers" is published by Clarkson Potter and sells for $22.50 in softcover.

Mix it up

Some rules were made to be broken when it comes to table settings, interior designer Michael Tavano says in the March issue of Traditional Home.


For a "casual" breakfast, for example, he has liberated the utensils from their regimented positions and placed them atop the plate, with the knife stuck through the tines of the forks. The napkin appears to be falling out of the bowl.

Individual flower stems are placed atop two stacked glass cake plates in the middle of the table.

Small matching flower arrangements beside each plate are intended as take-away gifts for the guests. Randomly scattered across the table are white figurines of Chinese peasants -- an unexpected way to show off small collectibles.

Changing course

House Beautiful, the venerable design magazine founded in 1896, has undergone a makeover. Stephen Drucker, the new editor in chief, unveils a new vision in the March issue.

"One of the new rules of House Beautiful is, every photograph is taken for a reason," Drucker said. "You immediately ask questions. Where did that come from? What color paint is on that wall? The idea of a magazine is not to make a reader work for the information."

The most radical concept in Drucker's vision is getting rid of long, boring house stories and replacing them with Q&A's; that are easy to scan quickly. He's also making the photographs larger so readers can study the details in them.

"The whole magazine is like a conversation," he said "It's not ponderous. It's not trying to be intellectual. Everyone speaks in their natural voice. We don't clean it up."


Drucker believes that one of the reasons readers are unhappy with design magazines is because they don't reflect the way folks really live. "The real fantasy of people is to sit outside under a white market umbrella eating on a terrace," he said. "It's not living in a loft."

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