As part of my design crawl in New York the past two weeks, I visited ABC Home and Carpet for some inspiration. The store never disappoints in its merchandise selections or displays. A designer I know says ‘This is where the awesome happens’. As usual I took a ton of photos (with permission) and some of those are on my Instagram feed.
On the second floor, as part of a storewide ‘Slow Design’ story, I saw this chaise designed by Marc Sadler that was constructed from recycled wine barrel staves.
It’s part of a larger group of furniture and accessories being fabricated by Barrique as part of their ‘Third Life of Wood’ program that supports recovering addicts in an Italian rehab facility. They make the furniture and the profits go back to the center. Wow. Here’s some more…
Antonio Citterio’s ‘Poltrona Lounge’ is both classic and contemporary.
Angela Missoni’s ‘Miss Dondola’ swing echos the same color and style that are found in her clothing lines.
Aldo Spinelli’s ‘Sardinia’ chair riffs on early twentieth century furniture design while being completely modern.
The furniture and its message are currently touring the U.S. Here’s a schedule.
Top photo by the author, bottom three photos via Barrique
I’m a fan of contemporary design. Because I work in a very traditional market, I don’t get to use it much in my landscape and garden design work. San Francisco based Scout Regalia has created two sleek products that would be at home on many patios and in many gardens–even traditional ones.
The first is really two products, both raised garden beds. One is available as a kit, the other pre-assembled. Both have a simple, elegant design that would be at home in a traditional or a contemporary garden. I’d love to see other colors added beyond the green used for the braces.
The Raised Garden Kit is essentially brackets and braces and comes with everything except the wood, soil and plants.
The Patio Garden Assembled is a smaller version that is shipped completed and ready to plant.
The team’s second product (and you’ll see what I mean about color in a minute) is also two.
Both take a modern twist on the classic picnic table and bench. Both have coated aluminum parts that are available in 210 colors. The difference is in the wood. The White Oak Table Set (turquoise) is the pricier of the two and is constructed from white oak. The Outdoor Table Set (orange) is constructed of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) redwood.
All photos via Scout Regalia.
Never have I seen so much done with so little. A garden center under the railroad tracks with no running water and no electricity? That’s Urban Garden Center in Spanish Harlem.
Plants, seeds and tools happily co-exist with dumpster dive finds and new merchandise that is used with aplomb, humor and an a sense of style that typifies its can-do attitude.
It’s totally wacky and fantastic. I loved it.
Spanning two blocks under the elevated railroad tracks from 116th to 118th Street, Urban Garden Center is a multi-generational family business with a big heart. They not only serve the immediate community, they work in the retail shop and are committed to and passionate about what they are trying to achieve and against all odds. Water is carted in several times a day in 250 gallon tanks from across the street. Electricity is via generator.
While I was there with my friend Elizabeth Przygoda-Montgomery of Shop Boxhill, I saw a young couple buying a pot of geraniums for their fire escape (a New York garden space) and a well-heeled Park Avenue type who tried to buy everything he saw…even if it wasn’t for sale! Three of my favorite vignettes are below.
Last year, one of the few things I liked at the Kips Bay Showhouse was Robert Canon’s planters.
This year I at ICFF I liked them even more. When I saw them again this past weekend, these planters were in my mind, one of the most original and creative outdoor products at the fair. They had a original and quirky point of view that would be at home in so many gardens.
Opiary, Canon’s Princeton based studio is creating organic looking, well priced beautiful containers and garden accessories from recycled materials. I’m going to try and arrange a studio visit.
All photos via Opiary.
No pictures for this one…
Do you know anyone who is willing to work for a 25% of the week for free? Many in the landscape design industry do. Here’s how: they do not charge for the initial consultation or other visits to existing clients. During the busiest months, April-May-June, when the phone is ringing with new clients, designers often meet with new potential project key holders 3, 5, sometimes even 10 times in a week. Let’s do the math…
Assume a 30 minute trip each way (this will also for the sake of argument include the time spent on the phone, emailing and prepping for the initial meeting and following up with a design proposal). Let’s also assume a 1 hour meeting – very few I’ve ever done have been less than 1 hour.
Here’s the math for 5 consults a week:
5 meetings = 5 hours + 5 hours travel/prep = 10 hours per week
Now consider that most of those meetings will be after hours or on a weekend which puts them into the overtime category and takes away from the designer’s family and necessary ‘off’ time.
What other professional do you know who would work for 10 hours or 25% of their standard 40 hour work week for free? Why do we?
Last Saturday, after talking about garden design at White Flower Farm, I met up with an old friend and we spent the afternoon in Litchfield, CT touring about and catching up. Our final stop of the day was Laurel Ridge.
There were tens of thousands of narcissus in bloom on fifteen acres of hillside deemed too rocky for farming.
The pasture was first planted in 1941 and is now supported by the Laurel Ridge Foundation. It was a lovely spring afternoon ramble!
I’ve been a member of Pinterest almost since its inception. I use it as place to store ideas both useful and random. I also explore other designer’s boards to see what inspires them and maybe understand a little bit about their creative process. Garden designer, Luciano Giubblei‘s, ideas for parterres blew me away.
The possibilities for these parterres skew the traditional idea and point towards a contemporary evolution of the form.Herringbone patterns, color field painting, Bauhaus textiles, rolling hills of vineyards and traditional parterres all exist as ideas and jumping off points. What’s more, to my eye they make perfect sense and I can visualize every last bit of it.
I’m switching out Tuesday’s Find to Garden Shop. I scout objects and products of all types for my landscape design clients from small accessories to large sculpture. I also love the hunt. So my inaugural post for this semi-regular theme starts where Tuesday’s Find lived…a vintage folk art sculpture found at 1st Dibs.
How much fun would this found object piece of folk art be in a garden? A clever DIYer with the ability to weld (or by taking the pieces to a local welder) could create something similar–but without the patina. This piece is available via Linda and Howard Stein on 1st Dibs or at their shop in Pennsylvania, Bridgehampton Antiques (open by appointment)
This year they got it right. The 2013 installment of Art in the Garden at Reeves-Reed Arboretum features the work of sculptor Tom Holmes. The dozen or so works are placed throughout the gardens and to see them all is to also see the garden in a new way.
An early morning walk revealed thoughtful placement of sometimes monumental work that had a direct relationship to nature. Mr. Holmes’ work and the individual placement throughout the arboretum challenges the viewer to think not only about the power of art in the landscape, but how relationships between art and nature can be formed.
The Reeves-Reed Arboretum is located on Hobart Avenue in Summit, NJ and is open dawn till dusk. A post on a previous year’s installation can be found here.
Tens of thousands of years ago, a glacial lake drained leaving behind basalt outcroppings now known as Moggy Hollow in its wake. Flash forward to the 1930s, when Leonard Buck planted them and established what would become a world class rock garden in a wooded glade on his estate in Far Hills.
Inch forward a few seconds in the earth’s history and you have the sunny and cool 21st century spring afternoon when I visited what is now a county park.
I am not a rock or alpine garden officiando, but the Leonard J. Buck Garden does something else very well. It seamlessly (for the most part) blends the gardeners hand within the broader context of the natural world. Even with the contemporary interest in natural planting schemes, this garden stands out.
There are large swaths of woodland, but they are augmented with pathways, viewing ledges, plants and rustic structures. There is evidence of slope conservation and reintroduction of native plants, and there also are the eccentric plants, such as the dwarf boxwoods (Buxus ’Kingsville Dwarf’) that mound up hillsides and on rock formations here and there.
Other groups of spring bulbs on a slope of hardwoods seem more natural. There are many varieties of ferns and Solomon’s Seal. There are Trilliums (thanks to the electrified perimeter deer fence) and Aquilegia and Epimediums and flowering trees. The thoughtful placement and planning of paths and bridges over the park’s meandering stream allows an easy ramble of discovery.
Directions to the garden can be found here.