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Page 2 / IDEAS, TRENDS, STYLE AND BUZZ | Design Notes

Armchair Travelers, Prepare to Enter Cyberspace

February 01, 2001|CANDACE A. WEDLAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Leave it to La-Z-Boy to design yet another recliner that makes it easier than ever not to have to get up.

The new Explorer chair is part of the furniture company's "e-cliner" line. Not only can you sink back into an adjustable recliner, but you can also surf the Internet at the same time.

In a package deal with Microsoft's WebTV Networks, the furniture manufacturer has combined its classic chair with a Sony WebTV Plus Internet receiver, a keyboard and two months' worth of WebTV Plus service, including interactive television, e-mail and the Internet access.

A wireless keyboard (battery operated) tucks into the left armrest, along with a built-in tray that lifts and folds out like an airplane tray. The keyboard is removable, allowing the plastic tray to hold other items, such as magazines--or those notes you're making about ways to relax. The right armrest also holds storage space with a drink holder, room for a remote control and . . . more notes about ways to relax.

The chair retails for between $1,049 (cloth upholstery) and $1,299 (combination leather and vinyl).

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Shower power. With a touch of a button, you can design a custom shower.

A control module called ESS (electronic shower system) installed in a shower wall can be programmed to thermostatically regulate water temperature (68 to 113 degrees) and control the length of time the shower water runs--perfect for the person who takes a 10-minute shower and not a second longer, or for the family trying to conserve water. Three separate programs can be entered into memory.

ESS is part of the Ondine line of shower fixtures designed and manufactured by Interbath Inc. in the city of Industry. The control unit connects to any shower head already installed in the bathroom, as well as any additional features such as separate body sprays. It comes in a variety of finishes, from polished chrome or brass to satin nickel, and starts at $3,800. You can see it for yourself at http://www.interbath.com or in a live demo at Snyder Diamond in Pasadena. For other retailers, call (800) 423-9485, Ext. 420.

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The Palm Springs Desert Museum is devoting a weekend to "Modernist Residential Architecture in the Desert." On the afternoon of Feb. 24, the museum will conduct a Palm Springs home tour by motorcoach to homes designed by architects Richard Neutra, John Lautner, William Cody and E. Stewart Williams. A keynote address by Joseph Rosa, curator of architecture at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburg, follows the next day, along with a panel discussion on "Architectural Reinterpretation." In the afternoon, a tour will include Rancho Mirage homes by Neutra and Crombie Taylor.

Saturday costs $100 per person; Sunday's activities are $50 for the symposium, $100 for the tour and reception. The Palm Springs Desert Museum is at 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs; to register, call the museums's Annenberg Theater at (800) 325-4490.

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E-mail: candace.wedlan@latimes.com.

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