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June 22, 1996|CYNDI Y. NIGHTENGALE

Woodworks

Let your kids be the kings and queens of the castle with bright wood furniture by Barbara Butler of San Francisco.

Butler stains, rather than paints, her pieces, so the grain shows through. "Because the stain runs, I carve the pieces to keep the stains in place," says Butler, who gives her collection a rustic, handcrafted look.

After graduating from college with a political science degree, Butler decided she didn't want a desk job. Instead, she worked for a bricklayer, then with her brother renovating homes. This experience gave her the foundation she needed to create her designs.

"I started with play structures, which I still make, then outdoor furniture for kids," Butler says. "I gradually moved to indoor furniture."

Her works include beds, desks, chairs and cabinets. All is custom but have common themes.

The beds (from $4,500 for standard single) have storage drawers underneath, the width of the bed. The headboards and footboards are stained on both sides, so the bed can be set in the middle of the room. The cabinets (about $6,500) can hold large televisions, and the desk (about $4,500) has secret hiding places throughout.

For information, call Butler at (415) 864-6840.

Petite Pans

Bigger isn't always better, especially when you make a large meal and the leftovers end up spoiling in the fridge.

To meet the needs of smaller families and singles, Le Creuset has introduced its line of mini cookware. The pans are constructed just like the standard size pieces, and they're available in the same bright colors.

The grill (about $70, 10-inch-by-10-inch) is reversible; one side is ridged for steaks, chicken or fish; the other is smooth for eggs, pancakes or sandwiches. The grills can be used on the stove top or the barbecue.

The saute pan (about $50, 8 inches in diameter) features a glissamail surface designed for high-heat cooking.

The round French oven (about $120, 2 3/4 quart) is for slow-cooking needs, such as a small roast or stews and casseroles. And it can go straight from the oven to the table.

Le Creuset cookware is available at Macy's ([714] 556-0611) and Williams-Sonoma ([714] 751-1166), both in South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, and the Cook's Garden in Laguna Beach (714) 494-8253.

Adventure-Scent

Lavandou and Valencia are the newest aromas to fill the air at the Aveda Corp.

Lavandou blends lavandin, spike lavender and clary sage oils for a fresh, airy, sense-soothing quality. It is reminiscent of a summer day in the French countryside.

Valencia, a mix of a tropical fruits and other botanical essences, energizes and uplifts with its citrus notes.

The new aromas, in stores in July, will be available in Pure-Fume candles ($16, $9 for refills), diffuser oils ($20 for 1 ounce) and aroma mists ($12 for 2 ounces).

Aveda products are at the South Coast Plaza store in Costa Mesa. For other locations, call (800) 328-0849.

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