Collected short subjects.

Designer benches

High-style designers are branching out into the furniture market.

MacKenzie-Childs, made famous by its quirky tableware, crafts equally high-quality and whimsical furniture, such as the Ridiculous Bench ($3,850).

Viewing this bench is like peeking into a fairy tale, with its odd combinations of patterns and accents. The kooky designs hand-painted onto the wood seem to be mismatched, yet join together in harmony alongside a fringe of handmade glass beads, brass buttons and silk roses. The reversible seat cushion toggles between a dark floral print and tomato and ochre stripe.

Other MacKenzie-Childs furnishings and accent pieces include beds, cabinets, chests, mirrors, tables and more seating. The new Courtly Campaign collection features signature MacKenzie-Childs embellishments such as the checkered pattern, combined with natural woven fiber. Furnishings and other products are available at Occasionally Yours at Easton and at

Tommy Bahama, the clothing line iconic of lazy summer sophistication, also is expanding its classy island charm to a furniture line, part of Lexington Home Brands.

The exotic Serengeti Bench is certainly a conversation piece, and adds funky flair to any room. The bench is included in Tommy Bahama's Kingstown collection, inspired by British Colonial design and punctuated by a hint of safari.

The comfy cushion features an adventurous zebra-patterned, hair-and-hide cover and decorative nail trim. The bench, along with other furnishings are available online at

-Megan Messer

Dream on

Not too hot, not too cold, the ChiliBed mattress, which debuted earlier this year, hopes to get it just right.

More than just a pad that goes under a spring mattress, the ChiliBed is a foam mattress with a network of pipes embedded throughout its center. A remote control sets the temperature and then water heats or cools in a pump and flows through the bed's interior coils.

The mattresses have been marketed as helpful for consumers facing insomnia, menopause, chemotherapy and other conditions that affect sleep. Caution should be applied to the uncomfortable extremes the bed can cool and heat to-the lowest it can go is 48 degrees Fahrenheit and the highest is 118.

Heating and cooling can be done in two zones for double mattresses. Prices start at $1,499 for a twin and go to $3,049 for a dual zone California King.

The mattress can be found online at and the websites of Target, Amazon, Mattress Giant, DriNights, Beyond Beds and QVC.

And here's some company pillow talk: The Chili Technology co-founder Todd Youngblood is the nephew of inventor Charles Hall, who created the waterbed in the 1960s.

-Jackie Mantey

Mirror mirrorThe modern furniture designer Porada, based in Italy, has created a variety of mirrored pieces that have a distinctively mid-century look. Available through, the Empire credenza ($9,600) and the Queen chest of drawers ($6,000) add a dash of reflection to any room.

-Sherry Beck Paprocki

Don't miss this

An appearance by HGTV interior designer Frank Fontana, star of "Design on a Dime," and other special events will mark this year's Building Industry Association's Parade of Homes, July 24 through Aug. 8 at Ackerly Park in New Albany. Fontana's appearance is scheduled for 11 am July 25.

Homes featured on the tour are loaded with design tips, ranging from cutting-edge appliances to landscaping trends that feature outdoor rooms that incorporate water as well as fire.

Despite an industry hit hard by the recession, eight builders will have completed elaborate homes by the Parade's preview party on July 23. "With the size of these homes I don't think anyone will be disappointed," explains Patty Sobiech, BIA assistant executive director. At least one home is larger than 5,000 square feet, and two of the homes were sold by early June. Prices range from $400,000 to more than $800,000.

Tickets to the preview party, which offers a tour of homes from 6-10 pm July 23, are $75. The tour is open noon to 9 pm Monday through Thursday, 10 am to

9 pm Friday and Saturday and 10 am to

6 pm Sunday. (There is no admittance one hour prior to closing.)

Tickets are $12 and parking is $2. Information regarding Fontana's appearance and other special events can be obtained at

-Sherry Beck Paprocki

Top 25 Following are the Top 25 real estate transactions for the last three months, as provided by CompuName of Westerville. Statistics are gathered for the greater Columbus area, including all of Franklin County and parts of Delaware and Fairfield counties. Price AddressBuyer/Seller $1,950,0002580 Sherwin Rd.,43221 Matthew A. Labuhn, trusteefrom James and Lori L. Hendrix

$1,225,000 3898 Baughman Grant,43054Andrew Fox Bohutinsky and Elizabeth M. Siemer from Donna M. Turlinski

$1,150,000 29 Wiveliscombe,43054 Thomas H. Mallory Jr. from Kimberly A. Danosi

$1,070,0007852 Fenway Rd.,43054Mark E. and Jane L. Thompson from Carol A. Thompson, trustee $1,049,000 12 Hawksmoor Rd.,43054Richard and Michelle Kolaska from Brian N. and Hara B. Priddy $1,000,000 2082 Fontenay Pl.,43220 George M. and Cynthia L. Tzagournis from Vivek Jainand Wendy Van Gastel $1,000,000 2481 Stonehaven Pl.,43220 Fifth Third Mortgage Co. from Ernie S. and StephanieL. Malas $950,000 13931 Whispering Ct.,43147Daniel M. Ritchey from Jerry L. Clum Jr., trustee $910,0005270 Brighton Pl.,43065Thomas James Jr. and Denise M. Busic from Gegory J. Rowe $875,000 7900 Ginger Pl.,43017 Stephen Michael Henck from The Arlington Bank $875,0007762 Chetwood Close,43054Paul R. and Stephanie A. Ryan from Stephen D.

and Lisette M. McVey

$871,0455316 Lake Shore Ave.,43082 Gene S. and Audri J. Humphrey from Jeffery W.

and Patricia L. Shaw

$850,0007104 Glacier Ridge Blvd.,43017 Gregory W. and Rita Balturshot from Kevin Knight and Co. $850,000 230 Stonegate Circle,43230Stephen P. and Barbara S. Huncklerfrom ArcherDevelopment Co. LLC $839,000 9434 Tartan Ridge Blvd.,43017 Mark and Tammy M. Berven from Romanelliand Hughes Building Co. $815,0007290 Waterston,43054 Adam M. and Jennifer K. Zochowski from RockyFork Investments LLC $800,000 4567 Northgate,43054 Fifth Third Mortgage Co. from Gerald A. and Judy A. Lacko $795,0009347 Naples Lane,43016 Malissa Donovan and Edward Sommer from Edith Elizabeth and Richard H. Jenk $787,040 8780 Lindsey Ct.,43082 Carol M. Burgett from Romanelli and Hughes Building Co. $764,1086029 Chimney Ct.,43021 Rafik Howlander and Laila Rabbani from Romanelli and Hughes Building Co. $750,000 6059 Saint Boswell Ct.,43017 Marilyn K. and Jerry D. Wiggam from Cynthia M. and Richard G. Orlando $730,500 5453 Rosalind Blvd.,43065 Kay Lynn Pontius from Romanelli Custom Homes Ltd. $725,000 5165 Preston Ct.,43065 Laura J. Calhoun from Jerry M. and Linda C. Wolf $725,0002400 Arlington Ave.,43221 John R. Trydahl from Norman J. Neubig $714,100361 S. Columbia Ave.,43209 Bruce A. and Julie W. Weinberg from Prudential Relocation Inc.

These stories appeared in the July 2010 issue of Columbus Monthly Homes.