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INSIDE & OUT : SPACE: Artist Is Home Free in a Cozy Kingdom : Fitting Return

March 18, 1995|CYNDI Y. NIGHTENGALE

Sometimes it's best to leave well enough alone.

This is true for furniture designed by Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, which is being reproduced by Cassina USA in New York to celebrate his work.

Rietveld, born in Utrecht, Holland, in 1888, was heavily influenced by Cubist philosophy and the American contemporary work of Frank Lloyd Wright.

"Rietveld's furniture, especially his chairs, were engineered for the human body," said Cassina spokeswoman Alexandra Carlin. "All of his pieces take into account how it feels to the body."

A design characteristic of Rietveld's reissued work, part of Cassina's Masters Collection, is the top stitching that accentuates the edges of each piece. All specifications are true to the original designs.

The Utrecht chair ($1,690 for cotton, $2,197 for Ultrasuede) and sofa ($3,215 for cotton, $4,353 for Ultrasuede) are available in any fabric except leather from Diva in Los Angeles or MPLA in Solana Beach.

Frames That Talk

There are some moments in history--the Allied invasion of Normandy, the Babe's "called shot" in the 1932 World Series and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Dream" speech--that even today are awe-inspiring.

Remarkable Moments captures these pieces of history in lithographs and makes them seemingly come alive with frames that talk. With the press of the button at the bottom of the frame, you hear 20 to 30 seconds of an actual radio broadcast of the event.

You can hear King saying, "I have a dream," or narration from the U.S. Olympic hockey team's upset of the Soviets in 1980.

"The frames give you a deeper, more emotional experience," said Jeff Schwartz of San Clemente, who along with his brother, Gary Schwartz, came up with the idea. "Pictures are an instantaneous part of your decor, and you deepen the moment with the audio portion."

Jeff Schwartz, president of Talking Frames Corp., in Lombard, Ill., which distributes Remarkable Moments, has 12 commemoratives. "Gone With the Wind" and "The Wizard of Oz" are due this summer.

Schwartz is also developing a frame that has a famous audio to which a personalized message can be added.

Remarkable Moments are available as a 16-by-19-inch lithograph (about $130), in a plaque (about $100) and as desktop pieces (start at $40). They can be purchased at Successories at the Brea Mall, South Coast Plaza and Westminster Mall, and at Field of Dreams in MainPlace, Santa Ana.

For information, call (800) 666-3685.

Comfortable Style

How do you make a house a home?

In "Decorating for Comfort: The Marriage of Ease and Style," by Teri Seidman and Sherry Suib Cohen, it can be as simple as where to put the throw or finding a place to store everything.

Everyone's comfort level is not the same, and the book ($24, Villard Books, 204 pages) offers guidelines to help you find yours. Their system, the FSC Formula (Function, Style and Comfort), is carefully detailed based on four levels of comfort: Voluptuous, Social, High-Function and Cozy.

Voluptuous comfort is a "feet up, hedonistic" style. It highlights the senses with texture, visual delights and color.

Social comfort spotlights conversation and entertaining, such as a warm welcome in the foyer.

High-Function comfort puts function first, for kitchens, bathrooms, offices, media rooms and closets. Seidman, an interior designer, and Suib Cohen, a journalist, show you--complete with illustrations--how to "make everything work, but look like a dream."

Cozy comfort focuses on safe, snug, warm places such as breakfast nooks, window-seat niches and retreats.

All styles can be integrated into any interior--traditional, contemporary or country.

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