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Britain's Martha comes to the states. (Arrivals).

DID YOU KNOW THAT carnations stay fresher in fizzy lemonade instead of water? Or that you can keep rust off garden tools by storing them in a bucket of sand tossed with vegetable oil?

Such are the preoccupations of a Martha Stewart shopper. But with Stewart's trading habits worrying Wall Street like a stubborn stain, the public ponders a deeper crisis of confidence: Who in America will stand for wholesome homemaking now that the aristocrat of craft has been herself besmirched?

Or maybe the public doesn't care. Either way, Anne McKevitt is riding into the breach, wallpaper aloft and stencils at the ready.

The founder and CEO of Anne McKevitt Ideas is England's glammed-up, carrot-topped retort to Stewart's subtle earth tones and painstaking homespun. The Scottish home designer, author and television host markets a line of affordable products that promises a bang-up home on any budget.

She recently made her first U.S. appearance on the Home Shopping Network, released a new book, Style Solutions, and is negotiating with a major retailer to launch a line of goods for the U.S. market.

Does her arrival presage a tug of war in the aisles of discount decor?

Certainly not, says McKevitt, as she displays a panel of blue plastic tile and a can of innovative paint (it's pre-mixed). She tolerates the inevitable comparisons to Stewart for the sake of publicity and revels in her role as Martha 2.0, but prefers not to wake the dragon by calling herself a direct competitor. The market is big enough for two, she says. Stewart's camp isn't commenting.
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Title Annotation:Anne McKevitt
Author:Sherwood, Sonja
Publication:Chief Executive (U.S.)
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2003
Words:265
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