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Country Style : At Home in the Valley is a shopper's delight. It offers everything from chair pads to place mats and rugs.

March 12, 1993|GERI COOK

Hardly a week goes by that I don't get inquiries about chair pads. Hard to believe, but there are very few sources that aren't catch-as-catch-can. Most stores have two or three sizes and shapes, and if it's not the right size, the homemaker is forced to go "custom," a word that makes the bargain shopper grind teeth.

At Home in the Valley is indeed a find. Catering to country-style decor, there are myriad choices and sizes in chair pads, braided rugs, curtains, tablecloths, covers of all kinds, table protectors and throws.

Owners Steve and Nancy Steinhardt started their business 10 years ago selling at local swap meets. "I couldn't find the sizes I wanted," says Nancy Steinhardt, "because they simply were not available ready-made. I figured if I couldn't find them, neither could anyone else." Apparently, Nancy was right, since their out-of-the-way Van Nuys shop has been thriving since then, and Steve still maintains a booth at the Orange County Market Place.

The in-house inventory of chair pads is deep. Many shapes and styles are in stock. You'll find round, square, ruffled, plain, prints and solids for small chairs (14 by 16 inches) or large chairs (16 by 18 inches), 13-inch rounds for stools, 15-inch rounds for bentwood chairs. There are sets for rockers (normal and the hard-to-find jumbo size) and breakfast nooks. Most chair-pad designs have matching pillows ($11.50 to $15) and place mats ($4), napkins ($2.75), tablecloths ($12.50 to $38.50) valances and curtains ($11.50 to $15.50) and chair-pad grips ($1) as well as 60-inch-wide yardage for $8.50 a yard.

The prices are reasonable. However, the shop's chief advantage is that you don't have to go custom--not with the variety of sizes, colors and styles that are on the shelves in this happy, well-organized shop.

Hundreds of country-braided rugs are in stock, from doorway rugs to huge ovals. They come in tweeds, solids, banded and variegated designs. These touches of Americana, from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, are homespun rugs, braided from strips of cloth. They can be ordered to your specifications to match your fabric or wallpaper. To give you an idea of prices, the 6-by-9-foot Blue Ridge Mountain is $259.50.

Though most stores carry 10 to 20 designs in throws, this one has more than 150 designs of the Carolinas' finest 100% cotton Jacquard throws. A variety of country scenes are woven into these 4-by-6-foot two- and three-layer washable afghans, which are attractive as a coverlet on a bed, a sofa, or hanging on the wall. Big sellers are designs of homes, sports, trains, planes, cowboys and animals. The very popular Victorian rabbit throw is $36.50 and has a matching rug for $26.50.

For anyone into the country look, this is a treasure trove. A color catalogue with specific information is available and yours for the asking.

Geri Cook's Bargains column runs every Friday in Valley Life. Questions about shopping may be sent to her, in care of Valley Life, Los Angeles Times, 20000 Prairie St., Chatsworth, CA 91311. Letters will not be answered individually, but topics of general interest will be discussed in future columns.


* Location: At Home in the Valley, 16780 Stagg St., Van Nuys.

* Hours: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

* Cards: Visa and MasterCard.

* Call: (818) 780-4663 or (800) 551-0123.

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