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Designers sharing sources

Ever wonder where interior designers come up with a painter who works wonders on your walls, or find an unusual accessory that is just perfect for the living room, say a small paper castle? Well, sometimes, designers wonder, too.

More than 600 of them attended the International Furnishings & Design Association's first exhibition for professionals recently in suburban Bethesda, Md. Billed as "Secret Services & Super Sources," the event featured about 75 artisans, suppliers and manufacturers who do not have floor space at the Washington Design Center.

Among them was Peter Koos, a freelance artist from Old Westbury, N.Y., who makes buildings out of paper.

For the past six years, he has sliced, folded and glued thousands of bits of white cotton rag paper together to form replicas of Palladian villas and Gothic cathedrals or create fantasies of biblical or mythological origin.

The resulting constructions can be toylike table models or facades suitable for hanging on the walls.

An IFDA member had glimpsed Koos' work last spring at the Washington Craft Show and invited him to participate in the recent exhibition. That's where Washington designer Sarah Boyer Jenkins, scouting new sources at the show, saw his work.

She selected a Beaux-Arts facade to use in the room she has decorated for the National Symphony Orchestra Decorators' Show House, which opens in Washington today.

A Koos model from the Smithsonian exhibit entitled "New York Allegory I," which took 380 hours to create, was sold to a Maryland resident for $8,000.