Martha Stewart, the original do-it-yourself home-decorating guru, has come up with a do-it-yourself line of furniture.
This week she's unveiling her Everyday Rooms collection for
So far, there are 20 pieces in the collection, which includes bedroom, kitchen, and living room pieces such as a china cabinet, a kitchen island with a butcher block top, a bar cabinet, and an entertainment center. Bathroom furniture will be introduced in the fall, and home office furniture next spring. The furniture is being sold at IKEA-esque prices aimed at a price-conscious mass market. An antique-inspired queen bed sells for $299.99. A round living room side table is $79.99. A white kitchen Windsor chair is $49.99. None of the pieces tops $300.
''Martha Stewart wanted to bring affordable, stylish furniture to the mass audience," Chernes says.
There is even an upholstered sofa for $299.99. ''People are so used to ready-to-assemble couches just being futons," says Hillary Blumberg, vice president of design for the Martha Stewart Everyday line that includes other housewares products for Kmart. ''We wanted to do an upholstered piece that is a little more refined. No one has tried to do it before. They've just accepted what's in the marketplace."
With its stained wood and veneer construction, the furniture pieces, which range from country style to a more traditional look, are probably in no danger of being confused with the upscale Martha Stewart Signature furniture line for Bernhardt, where a Windsor chair goes for $400 and a sofa for $1,500.
Still, ''it is pretty durable," maintains Chernes.
''We're drawing from the same aesthetic," says Blumberg. ''It's all based on the look shown in the [Martha Stewart] magazine. Any furniture we will do will have a really classic, timeless look to it. Martha is a collector and we are trying to offer looks that exist as antiques. We're looking for things that are collectible and trying to re-create them."
Chernes and Blumberg hope that unskilled home decorators won't be put off by having to assemble the furniture, though they emphasize the furniture is truly ''easy" to put together. ''The night table takes half an hour," maintains Blumberg. ''The armoire, almost two hours."
On the other hand, if you're dying for a Martha Stewart Windsor chair, $49 sounds better than $400.
''We think it's the best design out there, for the price," says Chernes.
The Martha Stewart Everyday Rooms collection is available at www.kmart.com. For information, call 1-800-866-0086.-- LINDA MATCHAN
Just when it seemed there couldn't possibly be another new product for storing leftovers, here comes Tupperware with a different one. The FlatOut! container expands like an accordian to hold as much or little as you need. At full capacity, it holds 4 cups of food or liquid. When not in use, it folds as flat as a frisbee. The green 3-cup set of three containers is $16.50. The orange 4-cup set of three containers is $18. Order by calling 1-888-887-9273 or online at www.Tupperware.com. -- LINDA MATCHAN
Artists' open house
Bruce Winn pointed himself toward a career in crafts at age 6 and never looked back. In 1997, he teamed up with Michael Roseberry, and their pottery has been sold in galleries from the MFA and the de Young Museum in San Francisco to Barneys New York and Dean & DeLuca. Saturday and Sunday in Tiverton Four Corners, R.I., the partners will be showing their decorative tiles in an open house that will offer tile-making demonstrations for children and design ideas for everyone. The open house will be Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information, call 401-812-0010 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. -- MICHAEL PRAGER