Originally created 09/21/03

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Seeing red

Interior design is on "red alert." Safe neutrals are starting to feel stodgy. Red makes us feel alive, passionate, strong.

We've seen the crimson tide on the runways, and now it has come home to sofas and chairs, toasters and coffee-makers, lampshades and bed sheets. Check out the evidence in the fall Pottery Barn catalog, Better Homes and Gardens' 100 Weekend Decorating Ideas and the October issue of House Beautiful.

Granted, many of us may be going mad for red in much smaller doses than the late Diana Vreeland, former editor of Vogue. The walls in her office were lacquered red and covered with neatly tacked-up photographs and clippings. Vreeland's passion for red didn't stop at her office door. She ordered uber decorator Billy Baldwin to furnish her Park Avenue apartment like "a garden in hell," and he did it using lacquer reds everywhere - on red floral wall coverings, carpeting and walls.

"Red," Ms. Vreeland said, "is the great clarifier - bright, cleansing and revealing. It makes all other colors beautiful. I can't imagine becoming bored with red - it would be like becoming bored with the person you love."

All cracked up

When paint gets old it cracks. Since many of us like things that look old, paint can an inexpensive ally. One of the easiest-to-achieve antique paint effects is crack-painting. Just spread a coat of wood glue onto any surface, wait about an hour, but not more than four hours, and apply a coat of flat latex paint over the glue. Flat latex paint is the only kind that is guaranteed to give this effect, and will do so within minutes. The fresh paint will begin to crack and appear as if it had been there for a century. If you're uncomfortable using white or yellow wood glue, you can purchase a product made for this purpose. It's used in the same way as glue, but costs about three times as much. For all practical purposes it is glue.


Contact Features Editor Tharon Giddens at: 823-3347 or tharon.giddens@augustachronicle.com.



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