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Style made easy
Decorate: Insider's Tips From Top Decorators by Michael Lassell (Filipacchi Publishing, $45) is just what you would expect from a Metropolitan Home product: beautiful pictures, great decorating ideas and vibrant writing that cuts to the chase.

Lassell, who has been the features director of Metropolitan Home for more than a dozen years, presents 33 homes from places as diverse as Milan, Italy and California, along with tips from the top interior designers who decorated them. The interiors fall within seven design areas: the use of white, the use of color, natural looks, mid-century modern, mixing styles, softening up modern design, and the "new traditional." These areas are illustrated with some 200 color photographs in the 256-page book. It offers readers ideas of things they can incorporate into their own homes and makes the proposition look both easy and natural. In selecting the houses he did, the dust jacket reveals, Lassell endeavored to reduce confusion and anxiety usually associated with remodeling a house and present expert advice about how to create great-looking rooms that you can live in comfortably.

New Orleans area readers will find lagniappe in the fact that Decorate includes two homes in the Crescent City, including the mid-century Lakefront home owned and decorated by local journalist Ellen Johnson and her husband, urologist Ronald Swartz, and the 1960s ranch-style home of Tricia and Lewis Stirling, designed by local architect and interior designer Brian Bockman. A photograph of the living room of that home graces the cover of the book.

Decorate covers the interior design bases by portraying houses, apartments, townhouses and condos in configurations that range from an industrial loft to a converted stable, with much in between. Each house feature includes a "Key to Style" section that outlines what makes the interior design of that particular living area work. It also has a "What the Pros Know About ..." section that discusses such things as compatible colors, dark walls, window treatments, molding and trim and other design elements.

On a related note, the historic townhome of local architect-interior designer John Chrestia is featured in the November issue of Metropolitan Home as a good example of how one can incorporate a thoroughly modern interior into a historic veneer. Local photographer Kerri McCafferty photographed the piece.

Lovely Loos
Originally scheduled to open on the day Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Tubs and Things (4609 Magazine St., 895-0052) delayed its premier until the middle of October and hopes to make bathrooms in the area more beautiful.

"I'm specializing in vintage tubs ... but I also handle Kohler and Jacuzzi," says owner Suzanne Snell. "I also have pedestals and lavatories, some consoles with the marble and sink already in them, toilets, faucets and all that stuff."

Elizabethan Classic and Belle Foret are among more uncommon brands at the shop, but Tubs and Things also sells items by Rohl, Porcher, Kohler and Jacuzzi. Snell also carries light fixtures and chandeliers by James Moder, wall hangings, and indoor-outdoor fountains by Ecosphere.

Changing the Linens
(3632 Magazine St., 891-6483; earlier this month moved into a larger retail space just one block from its previous location in a storefront previously occupied by Beauvoir clothing store.

The new location gives Bellanoche about 2,000 square feet of space -- an increase of about 400 feet over its old space-- in which to display its offerings of contemporary bedding and linens from makers such as Bella Notte, Pine Cone Hill, Sferra, Pillow Talk, Area and Dwell as well as heirloom-quality quilts, sleepwear, accessories and custom-made beds.

The shop also has added rugs to its inventory, focusing on the brightly colored and patterned area rugs that British artisan Kaffe Fassett designed for Dash & Albert, and leather-lined sisal and woven rugs from Merida.

Bellanoche, owned by Kim Dudek, who also operates Belladonna Day Spa, provides in-store and in-home design consultations, will accommodate special orders and has a bridal registry.

Same store, different address
Accessories in Brass
, which has been in business for more than two decades, has moved into a corner storefront with huge showroom windows at 4537 Magazine St. (899-6237;

Owner Jan Chimento says she moved the store of antique, modern and reproduction solid-brass hardware, fireplace accessories, bath hardware, door accessories, mailboxes and more after Hurricane Katrina caused the ceiling of her old store at 3112 Magazine St. to collapse. Hurricane Rita added more damage.

"It's a little bit smaller, but it's a better location and has good windows," she says of the new digs. "I was kind of embedded in the other place, plus the block had become more college-oriented with fashion and shoe stores. There were no other antique shops there."

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