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Seeing the world in black and white

Black and white is back, and I couldn't be happier. I see black and white clothing in store windows -- in patterns ranging from splashy florals to natty stripes. I see furniture with black finishes at Pottery Barn, Pier I and elsewhere.

I open the pages of House & Garden magazine and see an ad for Drexel Heritage's Postobello blackish dark walnut collection. Shown is a poster bed dressed up with fresh white linens and a bench at the foot upholstered in zebra print. It makes me happy.

A few pages later I see Jade Jagger -- Mick and Bianca's daughter -- sitting in her black, white and red London home. Her dress is black. Her dog is white. My house is black and white. My two cats are black and black and white. Jade and I, so much in common.

Black and white -- especially with touches of lipstick red -- is, as they say, hot. Very hot.

Not that we haven't seen black and white many times before, of course.

Years ago, while covering the International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, N.C., I toured the Ralph Lauren showroom and came across a bedroom decorated in black and white.

The stainless steel bed featured a headboard and base upholstered in black leather. My favorite part was the bedding, however. The sheets, blankets and toss pillows were a pleasing mix of black-and white-houndstooth, windowpane plaids and buffalo checks.

I wanted to move in.

I had the same feeling when I saw the room at the last Decorators' Show House -- the Century House on Lincoln Parkway. Maryan Celani, from Smith and Schulte Furniture, chose a black, white and red color scheme for the room themed the Lady Loves Red.

My favorite piece was a chair upholstered in an oversized houndstooth.

I'm a sucker for houndstooth. Big time. I have a houndstooth tote. I have a houndstooth-trimmed outfit. I also have, in my possession, a roll of houndstooth upholstery fabric that I bought about a year ago, marked for clearance.

Someday, I will decide what in the world I'm going to do with it. But, at the time, I simply could not resist the pattern or the price.

And that's not all. Just recently, we installed black and white vinyl floor tiles in the play area of the basement. Our house is white with black shutters. The kitchen floor is ceramic white tiles with a black diamond pattern. We have black and white photographs hanging on the walls of the family room. My dinnerware is white with little black squares on the borders. If I run short on those, I have solid black and solid white stoneware to fill in.

And, my closet is full of black and white clothes. If nothing else, I'm predictable.

So now that black and white is big again, I can venture outside my own little black and white world into the trendy world of home decor. Yes, I want to hear about Schonbek's new collection of lamps and chandeliers with black crystals. Yes, I want to smile at the white plates with black polka dots at Target. And, yes, I will admit that I recently bought a black pet bed with a black and white checked cushion -- which flips to hot pink, incidentally -- knowing full well that neither of our felines will nap in it.

But it is black and white. Come on!

Yes, I am glad black and white is back. Alone, or with splashes of lipstick red or hot pink. Now, if I only could figure out what to do with my roll of houndstooth.

e-mail: smartin@buffnews.com

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