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Trend Takes Shape In Hand-Painted Wall Stripes

Two is the magic number. All it takes is two shelter magazines to be talking about or showing the same sort of thing, and you have a trend - or at least a hot idea in the making.

Color is the big trend - on walls, upholstery, everywhere. The magazines have been showing it for months now.

But one take on the theme is just starting to emerge: color in the form of hand-painted stripes on walls. The look has more gusto and texture than striped wallpaper.

Find good examples of it in the September issues of both House & Garden and House Beautiful.

H&G; shows it in the New York apartment of jewelry designer Annalu Ponti, where “lavishly painted and textured walls evoke Italy” and where color is a “tonic” to the “asphalt avenues of midtown Manhattan,” writes contributing editor Akiko Busch. Interior designer Lucretia Moroni did a terrific job in choosing aggressive yet warm colors that do not fight with each other or wear out the eyes.

There are lilac walls in this apartment, red walls, ocher walls and, most notably, green striped walls in the living room.

“The stripes vary in width - the thinner, dark green vertical ones have been sponged, while the wider, lighter stripes have a softer effect.”

In House Beautiful, find more green striped walls in the hill country home of Orlando Diaz-Azcuy, a Cuban-born, San Francisco-based interior and furniture designer. Diaz-Azcuy wanted a sophisticated country look in his weekend retreat, a tiny 1940s clapboard house in the hills of Sonoma County. He turned his bedroom into a “tented chamber” by painting apple green and off-white vertical stripes on the walls.

Trompe l’oeil painting on the ceiling turns the stripes into a tent. The colors say country, and the look is refined.

The second trend to report this month is of a culinary sort - namely, an ice cream sort. Both Martha Stewart Living and House & Garden are offering up an unlikely dessert: vanilla ice cream drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar.

Turn to H&G;, where the entire issue is themed “Luxury,” and to page 205 for specific instructions.

The secret is in the luxury ingredients:

Has to be Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream. Has to be 150-year-old balsamic vinegar from the Cavalli family in Reggio Emilia, Italy.

We gave it a try and were pleasantly bowled over. This is not your salad bar balsamic vinegar.

Italians drink it as an aperitif. While still a vinegar, the flavor is sweet, but complexly earthy. The combo with the Haagen Dazs is an elegant marriage of sweet and tart.

There is one slight problem. It’s going to cost you. H&G; made a mistake in its pricing of the balsamic. Instead of $29 for 500 ml, the correct price is $160 for 100 ml through Zingerman’s Mail Order in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Everything you wanted to know, but were afraid to ask:

Surfing the Internet. Roasting a chicken. For those who think dignity cannot be spared - it is simply too late to ask how either is done - pick up September’s Martha Stewart Living.

Even though it is self-serving (her Web site,, makes its debut Monday), Stewart does the electronically challenged a huge favor with a four-page piece titled “Internet for Beginners,” complete with definitions of key terms.

Same thing with “Roast Chicken 101,” complete with step-by-step pictures.