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THE SCOUT

Out of Africa, for a good cause

October 26, 2006|David A. Keeps; Craig Nakano

HAPPENING

Blazing with color, pattern and whimsy, the flora- and fauna-decorated pottery of the Ardmore ceramics studio of South Africa (www.ardmoreceramics.co.za) is collected by Queen Elizabeth but rarely sold in the U.S. Five pieces, including tureens, teapots and this zebra fruit dish handmade and painted by Zulu tribal members, will be offered at a silent auction Friday night benefiting the African Millennium Foundation, which supports female artists in Zimbabwe. Wangari Maathai, the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and founder of the African Green Belt movement promoting ecological sustainability, will read from her memoir, "Unbowed." The fundraiser begins at 7 p.m. at Inner Gardens, 6050 W. Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles. For tickets ($250) or information, (310) 289-9005; www.1amf.org.

-- David A. Keeps

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SEEN

Rev up your decor

It's a hot rod loaded with bad-boy attitude, "no helmet required," says Gene Gordon, a former office furniture designer who's launching a line of limited-edition Chopper Chairs. Each seat uses the same handmade leather saddle and chrome detailing seen in custom motorcycles and is built by die-hard gear-heads. The $15,000 GothRod, below, is the first of 30 numbered, built-to-order chairs from Gordon's Santa Monica-based company, Motorlounge. Others will have different detailing and colors, Gordon says. The GothRod goes on display today in, of all places, the Book Soup store at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. The design is the first of what Gordon says will be a line of furniture, "all with this gear-head inclination." www.chopperchairs.com.

-- Craig Nakano

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For pots or a perch

IS it a flower shop selling furniture? Or a furniture shop selling flowers? Either way, owner Isac Braun says his concept for Isac Orchids Etc. seems more foreign to customers here than in his native Cologne, Germany, where flora sold alongside furnishings is a more common sight. "Most people walk by and think it's an art gallery or something," says Braun, above, from his new Silver Lake storefront. "They're surprised that there's furniture for sale." His inventory includes a few modern couches from Bombast, a Canadian designer based in Vancouver, as well as plant containers imported from Germany and the Netherlands. The store's orchid arrangements start at $25, but it's the Amy Adams-designed modernist birdfeeder called Perch (above, $76) that attracts the most attention. "I have people who hang them in the kitchen or bathroom as a place to keep little things," Braun says, "just because it looks so pretty." 3337 1/2 W. Sunset Blvd., L.A.; (323) 663-0883; www.isacorchidsetc.com.

-- Craig Nakano

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INNOVATIONS

Getting a handle on pet fur

Cute cat toys are a dime a dozen, and press releases touting dog beds land in our e-mailbox every week. But innovations in grooming? Those are few and far between, which perhaps is why our product tester seemed so enthralled with the new de-shedding comb from Bamboo. Unlike bulky brushes, rakes and shedding blades, the Bamboo comb is smaller than a bar of soap, fitting nicely into the pocket for those trips to the dog park. Best of all: It works. Our tester gave the comb a trial run through the dense undercoat of a golden retriever-chow chow mix, and loose fur piled up with amazing speed. The suggested retail is $13.99; the comb also can be found in the cat aisle. For a retailer locator or online ordering options, www.bamboopet.com.

-- Craig Nakano

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Reaching the Scout: Submit suggestions to the Home section, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012; home@latimes.com.

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