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WANTED

Let the endless summer begin

May 22, 2003|David A. Keeps | Special to The Times

It doesn't matter where you live -- in a courtyard apartment or a Malibu mansion -- Memorial Day is the time to consider the great divide of indoor-outdoor living.

Ocean-blue cabana striped cushions and hunter-green market umbrellas have sprouted, and the truth is out: No matter how tasteful your interiors, the housewares available for your backyard and beachfront are as visually subtle as a day at the carnival.

These patio and poolside lounging and serving pieces, however, have a design savvy and color palette that would look right inside even the most urbane home.

Most important, they'll do double-duty when alfresco season comes to an end.

Havaianas bamboo-embossed rubber sandals make the flip-flop from outdoor shoe to indoor slipper, and California designer Kerry Cassill's Indian printed cotton pareu can serve as a throw or table runner.

Casa Armani's bamboo and sage-colored canvas lounge chair, low enough for sunning and sleek enough to sit by a coffee table, is complemented perfectly by the earthiness of its leaf-shaped ceramic serving dishes, which are a beautiful addition to any dining table.

Spinning rich olive tones into contemporary shapes and patterns, Jackie Shapiro's plastic platters and dishes for French Bull evoke Marimekko and Fornasetti designs that will give a color-saturated kick to contemporary interiors.

Even inexpensive items can live a useful life after their place in the sun. A nylon mesh tote in an updated stripe of neutrals and sky blue can hold magazines or craft projects indoors. Target's coral bucket can be used as a bottle chiller in the summer and a vase in the fall, and don't be surprised if the kids want to use the colorful and shapely plastic place settings in Pier 1 Import's woven picnic basket at the breakfast table all year long.

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CARRYALL

An updated, understated cabana stripe adds zip to a nylon mesh bag; at Clover in Los Angeles, (323) 661-4142; $10.

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JUST ADD A BREEZE

Start on the right foot with Havaianas bamboo-print rubber sandal, above; at Una Mae's in Los Angeles, (323) 662-6137; $16. Kerry Cassill pareu, Pickett Fences & Petticoats in Los Angeles, (323) 467-2140; $50. Folding chair with curved bamboo seat and tailored canvas back; at Armani Casa in West Hollywood, (310) 248-2440; $450.

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DAZZLING

Jackie Shapiro's plastic platters and plates for French Bull, left, are bursting with color; at Room Service in Los Angeles, (323) 653-4242; from $8 to $25.

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JAZZ IT UP

On cloudy days, you'll be tempted to break out this picnic basket and its colorful contents, right, to brighten the breakfast table; at Pier 1 Imports; $32.

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A NICE CHANGE

During summer, use the flower pot as a bottle chiller or for making sand castles. Come fall, put it to its intended use; at Target; $4.99.

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GO ALFRESCO

Richly detailed ceramic serving dishes, below, are made in Thailand; available at Armani Casa in West Hollywood, (310) 248-2440. $30, $40 and $65.

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