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The Word / The Web

Information really is at your fingertips, whether thumbing through pages or tapping at the computer keyboard. This column will help direct you, both at the bookstore and on the Internet, to sources that will make life easier in and around the home.

July 25, 1998|MARK CHALON SMITH

The Word

Junk poetry: Melanie Molesworth's "Junk Style" ($27.50, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1998) and "Garden Poems" ($12.50, Alfred A. Knopf Inc., 1998).

Castoff cool: One man's trash is another's treasure, as the saying goes. If you don't believe it, just ask the folks who migrate between garage sales each weekend. Molesworth's "Junk Style" helps discard fans put their finds in perspective. She writes about why junk is cool and describes what can be done with everything from old furniture to weird kitsch.

The book has nearly 300 of Tom Leighton's photos showing how junk has been used to decorate homes. Beyond that, there's a source list of where to go around the country to find the best--and often cheapest--collectibles. As Molesworth puts it, "Flea markets, garage sales, auctions, thrift stores, your relative's attic--the sources of junk are limitless."

Well-versed: There are gardeners who get lyrical over anything green. If that fits you, take a look at "Garden Poems." This pocket-sized, 256-page hardback includes hundreds of poems extolling the beauty of flowers, trees, even lowly shrubs . . . anything that calls the soil home.

The writers span the ages, including Ovid, Homer, Dante, William Blake, Robert Frost, Oscar Wilde, Herman Melville, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, e.e. cummings and Octavio Paz. And, of course, Shakespeare, whose "The Gardener's Lesson" revealed, among other things, his impatience with intruding weeds: "I will go root away/the noisome weeds which without profit suck/the soil's fertility from wholesome flowers."

The Web

All-in-one: The Builder Web (http://www.builderweb.com) is one of those huge multi-link sites that takes time to maneuver but can be very helpful. Under one umbrella, it has pages on remodeling every part of the home, inside and out. From the bathroom to the kitchen to the deck, this site gives facts on how the job should be done.

The "Lumber" section offers details on what wood is best for different types of redecorating. There's also an area that focuses on office furniture, and window and door treatments. Of course, sponsors let you know where they think the best places are to buy all the needed materials.

Copper tone: Anyone who needs new plumbing has heard about copper. Many plumbers recommend it for dependability and installation ease. A pair of sites explain copper-mania in detail.

Both the Copper Development Assn. site (http://piping.copper.org) and the Copper Page (http://www.copper.org) have a commercial bent (local plumbers specializing in the metal are listed) but the information is useful in making a final decision. Categories in the the Copper Development Assn. page include "Why Your Builder Chose Copper" and "The Copper Handbook."

Under the latter section, the copper lobby claims that the metal is resistant to corrosion and scaling, among other things. Most important, we're told, it's safer because it won't decompose and fill your pipes with toxic gases.

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