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STYLE : DESIGN : Cover Story

Absolutely on purpose, this sofa is exactly the color of grape jelly and Popsicles. Working for a Santa Monica couple with three children under the age of 5, interior designer Van-Martin Rowe used not just one but five brightly colored fabrics to fashion slipcovers for the family-room sofa. The pattern disguises small stains; better yet, the covers are washable in case of serious accidents.

Rowe, who a decade ago designed sportswear from pre-faded, pre-shrunk material, likes to think of his latest creation as “a dress with a side zipper.” It’s made from a multicolored Bergamo cotton chintz; melon, azure and raspberry heavyweight cotton sheeting; and black-and-white French piping. The pre-washed fabrics were sewn into one slipcover for the sofa body and separate cushion casings.

Owner Chris Amos says her original “cream-colored-before-children” fabric was lovely, but she wanted something bright and colorful that her children could play on. Says Amos: “We felt we could be more adventurous--because it isn’t permanent.” Rowe agrees: “If you get tired of the look, you can change the sofa’s outfit--just like a dress. It’s a lot less expensive than buying a new one.”


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