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June 21, 1997|CYNDI Y. NIGHTENGALE

There's a pattern here.

Just ask studio artist John Eric Byers, who gives his wood furniture a checkered past.

"The patterning and painting is what makes the work so unique," says Byers, who builds, carves and paints his furniture in his studio in Portland, Ore.

Byers builds just about anything, from chairs to tables, but "cabinets and dressers are my forte," he says.

For instance, his Hatbox Cabinet No. 2, (about $15,000), a signature piece, looks like hatboxes haphazardly stacked 6 feet high. In fact, the mahogany cabinet is sturdy and functional.

"Pieces that really function, that's important to me," says Byers, who learned his craft at college in Oswego, N.Y. He developed his ideas when he was building furniture for an exhibition.

The Full-Checkered Moon bed (about $12,000) and the Vanity Not Sanity dresser (about $15,000) are variations on the checkered theme.

A lot of handwork goes into Byers' furnishings, so each piece is one-of-a-kind.

To give his furniture its exquisite detailing, Byers scores in the pattern, then sands it down before putting on several coats of milk paint to give each piece an antique, muted look.

For information on Byers' furniture, call his Oregon studio at (503) 288-5082.

Sun Block

Summer weather--high humidity, bright light and extreme temperatures--can wreak havoc on your furniture.

The sun's ultraviolet rays also can dull and bleach your furnishings. And overly humid conditions can crack the finish. Very dry conditions, such as those in Southern California, can lead to cracking, peeling and splitting, which exposes the wood beneath to dirt and pollution.

To prevent such damage, Weiman Natural Lemon Oil polish ($TKx) features UVX-15, a sunscreen, to help deter ultraviolet light from hurting furniture.

Weiman's Lemon Oil cleans while it preserves. And the oil has no silicone.

It is available in supermarkets, hardware and housewares stores throughout the county.

For a free brochure on wood care, send a self-addressed, stamped, business-size envelope to "Caring for Fine Wood Furniture" at P.O. Box 9569, Downers Grove, IL 60515.

Only Natural

Nature is again the inspiration for wallcoverings.

Circa, a vinyl wallcovering collection by Wolf Gordon, includes nine designs in 83 colors that capture the beauty of the earth's resources.

Autumn is one of the most elegant patterns in the line. The delicate leaf print makes a striking statement through its motif and colorings.

The wallcoverings are strong, waterproof and washable, making them ideal for kitchens, bathrooms and high-traffic areas such as hallways.

Circa wallcoverings are available through interior designers. The nearest Wolf Gordon showroom is in Los Angeles; call (310) 652-9120.

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