Inside & Out : Discoveries : All Right Angles

Maurice Martine's tables and lamps are not just your ordinary boxes.

Rather, they are precision-engineered cubes that are funky, functional and fun.

Martine, who has been an Orange County resident for 47 years, says the secret to his success lies squarely on his three-way mitered joint system.

With this system, Martine developed Cube Concepts--a collection of lightweight sturdy cubes made of medium-density fiberboard in which all six sides are finished. The open- or closed-framed cubes, which have weighted bottoms, come in an array of color combinations and can be laminated.

And by varying one dimension, Martine can customize the surface of a table cube or add drawers to make an end table or modular system. Among the unusual--and, it turns out, popular--variations of Martine's cube is the toilet paper dispenser. The top of the cube serves as a small table, and on one side is the tissue dispenser; an opening on top provides a handhold that makes the cube easy to move around.

Cube tables cost $275 to $395; the tissue holder is $295. Cube table lamps are $275 to $325. Martine sells the cubes at his South Laguna studio. Call (714) 499-9931.

Fighting Weeds

Pulling weeds from your landscaping and garden can be a tedious process, not to mention torture on your back. BioBlock and Weedblock by Easy Gardener Inc. in Waco, Tex., are products designed to control weed growth from the start.

BioBlock, made from 100% recycled fibers, is a biodegradable barrier that never needs to be removed. It also helps conserve moisture in the soil with "micro channels" that allow air and water to pass through its roots.

Weedblock is made of continuously spun and woven fibers that have "micro funnels" that taper at the bottom to block out more than 95% of the light that weeds need to thrive, while allowing air and water to pass through. Weedblock can also be used under walkways, patios, trees and shrubs.

BioBlock (3 foot by 25 foot for $5) and Weedblock (4 by 50 for $20, 4 by 100 for $40 and 6 by 50 for $30) are available at home and garden centers throughout Orange County.

Pillow Talk

Silk, velvet, Ultrasuede.

These soft, sensuous fabrics provide the foundation for the Ann Gish collection of decorative pillows.

Gish, of Newbury Park, imports fine fabrics for her 3-year-old collection, which includes table linens, lounge wear and bedroom ensembles that have a flair for the dramatic.

New in her spring line is the Sea Flower pillow, which exudes a flowing effect through texture and shape. Created to look like an anemone in full bloom, the fabrics are spiraled in folds, and they move like a flower underwater.

The pillows (16- or 20-inch sizes for $120 and $160) are available in crushed dupioni, a combination of smooth and textured silks, or crushed Charmeuse, a satiny lightweight silk. And they're washable, too.

They can be purchased in Orange County at Between the Sheets, Appointments at Newport and I. Magnin in Fashion Island Newport Beach, S. Michael David in Laguna Niguel and Barneys New York at South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa.

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