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The little black dresser Add to ...

If anyone needs proof that Vancouver's design scene is significantly more whimsical than Toronto's or New York's, they need only look to the work of Judson Beaumont.

Known for his far-out children's furniture, the affable designer and craftsman operates under the cutely named mantle of Straight Line Designs Inc., which in fact turns out such decidedly non-linear items as anthropomorphic grandfather clocks and chests of drawers that appear to be melting.

More recently, though, Beaumont has been taking baby steps toward producing slightly more grown-up fare, taking, for example, a classic of women's fashion (the little black dress) and offering his own, inimitable riff on it (the little black dresser).

"I love doing the children's stuff, but I'm also trying to produce what you might call classier pieces," he says with a chuckle on the phone from B.C. For his first venture in this direction, the result isn't exactly Chippendale, but the little black dresser demonstrates real wit in both its execution (check out the sexy contours of the fully functional piece, which has elegant aluminum buttons for drawer pulls and a glossy black finish) and its statement on furniture as fashion.

Although I first saw the piece, which is 48.5 inches tall by 14 inches wide, at New York's International Contemporary Furniture Fair in May, it will be making its Canadian debut this weekend at the Interior Design Show West ( www.idswest.com) at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Made of maple veneer over medium-density fibreboard, the lightweight "spaghetti strap" design slips easily over closet rods and costs about $1,800. A wall-mounted version is also available.

If you do happen to seek it out at IDS West today, be sure to also stop by the main stage at 4 p.m., where I'll be speaking with stylist Janette Ewen on how to style your home like a pro without breaking the bank. There'll be grown-up tips, I promise.

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