A recent article in the Wall Street Journal about who is buying luxury products was good news to me. Aspirational buyers love their gardens as well as the interiors of their homes. They hire designers. That, in my way of thinking, is a very good thing.
Many in the economic climate of the last several years have become DIY champions and warriors, ignoring that those of us who provide thoughtful design services that often make living in a spaces both indoors and out more efficient, sustainable and in the long run much more cost effective than doing it yourself.
Now that that mini-rant is over, on to the inspiration part of the aspiration. As part of my landscape design practice, I specify furniture and accessories for outdoor environments. Readers here know that I’m constantly on the lookout for pieces that will work for the transitional and neo-traditional outdoor living spaces I design. I have taken my now 4 year old Janus beauty book to more than one client appointment. Aspirational and inspirational, this catalog not only showcases furniture, its’ chock full of other ideas…if you look. The furniture is extremely high quality and super expensive…hence the aspiration part.
Here’s a look at 2011’s Beauty Book and some ideas I took away from it.
An extremely sophisticated color palette of washed out grey, ivory, citrus and aubergine. I’ve been seeing yellow and grey for interiors, and this makes sense of it outdoors.
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the chair, but what interests me is the display of neutral ‘naturalist’ shells, bones and other anthropomorphic items behind it. ( There’s a fast emerging trend based on historic naturalists and plant hunting — see Garden Design and the New York Times.)
There have been hints for a while that a totally neutral color palette is coming back…look how the small green lawn pops when it doesn’t have to compete. There’s a garden design lesson there.
Obviously styled to show off the furniture, I really like the dramatic, dark, glossy walls and wood decking in this image. Glossy with matte can work for structures as well as plant combinations and is worth exploring further.
Ideas can come from anywhere–it’s what we dream about and aspire to that inspires and informs the spaces we live in.