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Monday, March 26, 2012

Garden benches

For more inspirational finds, please visit www.quatrefoildesign.com

In our backyard, we have a spot that is ideal for a garden bench, but with all of the other higher priority items involved in finishing the house and getting it furnished, the garden bench took low priority.  However, we ended up having to replant some trees, and it became apparent that we needed to go ahead and find a bench so that the trees could be placed in their final position based on the size and scale of the bench.

I have been collecting some images of benches over the years, as I love the charming element that a classic bench adds to a garden. Many of the benches that I have seen and admired have been in the beautiful parks that can be found all over London.  This image shows a bench in Kew gardens (source).


As I was looking for inspiration photos, Cote de Texas’s most recent post had a beautiful picture of a curved garden bench.  I really like this style, but I need at least a 6 foot bench, and this style only comes in 4’ and 5’.

 
I have long admired the custom benches in this garden designed by John Howard. These benches were custom designed for the space.

A custom colored bench is a feature in this back yard from a house that was on a tour a few years ago.

A simple and classic garden bench, flanked by magnificent trees, makes a wonderful visual feature in this garden. Image from Southern Accents.

This is one of my favorite style benches, and is not too hard to find in the 4’ size (as seen here).  However, it is much more difficult to find in the larger 6’ size (and can be quite expensive). Image from old real estate listing.

Here is the larger version – there is something about the straight lines of the bench and the curves of the design that really appeals to me. Source unknown.

Richardson Allen makes a 6’ version of this bench.  It comes in natural teak, or any custom color painted in marine grade boat paint (so it is very hardy and won’t rot).  I do love this bench – this particular version is over my budget, though!  Also, as the bench is custom made for the customer, I could not wait for the standard lead time as we needed to move a tree that was incorrectly placed, and we need to do it while the tree is still dormant.

The Lutyens style bench is a classic (this one is made by Kingsley-Bate), and I kept visiting it in a local teak store as I thought it would look beautiful as a featured landscape design element in my backyard. 

According to what I could find on the internet, what we know as the Lutyens bench was designed by famed English architect Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944) for the garden at Little Thakeham, and is officially called the Thakeham seat.  When researching the origins of the bench, I stumbled across a company called Lutyens Furniture and Lighting, which was started by Lutyens granddaughter and sells furniture based on Lutyens’ designs.  According to the Lutyens Furniture site, not only was Sir Edwin Lutyens a prolific architect, but he also had a passion for and expertise in furniture design. Image source.

After much thought and consideration,  I purchased a Lutyens bench for the spot (seen above, in my back yard), and I am very happy with the decision.  The Lutyens bench has such a distinctive and classic style, and the size (6’ 5”) works very well for the space.  The bench is teak, so it will weather with exposure to the elements, and ultimately achieve a beautiful silvery gray color. Already the color of the teak is starting to mellow.

The bench can be seen from most of the rooms on the main floor, and it such a pleasure to catch a glimpse of it!  Landscape design by Alec Michaelides of Land Plus – now that spring is here, and the back yard is starting to bloom, I am simply awed by the beauty of the landscaping – Alec created a truly beautiful design for us.  I am such a big advocate of carefully considering the landscape when designing a house.  It is an essential design element, and makes our house feel as if it has been here for years.

When I was contemplating the garden bench decision, I pulled out a lovely book that I received for Christmas:  Gertude Jekyll and the Country House Garden.  Ms. Jekyll was known for her collaboration with Edwin Lutyens, and the book highlights several beautiful gardens that were a result of this collaboration (as well as many more).  In this book, I saw pictures of some of the original benches that Lutyens designed for the gardens that they worked on. (Click here to purchase on Amazon)

One of the original Lutyens designed benches, in a garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll.

A Lutyens bench found in an image on the internet (source unknown), at a house in France.




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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Veranda house on the market

For more inspirational finds, please visit www.quatrefoildesign.com

I have been reading quite a bit about gray slowly but surely become the new neutral of choice in interiors, so when I stumbled upon this picture recently, I thought it beautifully reflected this trend.  The gray of the sofa, the walls and trim work,  the tone on tone curtains with the slightly deeper shade on the leading edge – the room looks timeless, and hardly trendy, and I wondered if this room would have been cloaked in shades of beige and brown had it been designed 10 years ago. Library designed by Peggy Stone, photo credit Peter Vitale, via Veranda.

Given that this first image was featured in Veranda, I looked on the Veranda web site to check it out, but did not find it. It is interesting to me that Veranda does not keep all of their articles on the website – I wonder why?  However, it was not hard to find the images in the blogosphere.  This image (above) was found on Cote de Texas; Joni noted that the house reminded her of the wonderful houses she used to love from Southern Accents and older Veranda issues.  She noted that houses like this just aren’t featured as much in today’s interior design magazines. Photo credit Peter Vitale, via Veranda.

Thanks to Splendid Sass, I found all of the images from the article in one place. Photo credit Peter Vitale, via Veranda.

This image, from Veranda, really captured my attention.  The paneling on the walls and in the doors, the thickness of the walls, the beautiful pattern on the wood floor, the antiqued glass in the rounded entry – what beautiful attention to architectural detail.  This is a house that was beautifully conceived and designed to be true to the French style, not just in the interior design but the architectural design as well.  The circle motif above the door in particular caught my eye, and when I realized that this house was located in Atlanta, I also recalled that I had seen a similar design in a house that is currently on the market in Atlanta. Photo credit Peter Vitale, via Veranda.

Sure enough, this house is one and the same as a house that is listed by Beacham & Company – in the listing detail, the Veranda feature is noted.  The house was designed by Duane Stone, for designer Peggy Stone.  As the Veranda article notes, this house was a labor of love – a house build by a lifelong Francophile, to feature her collection of a lifetime.  Certainly the collection of antiques is impressive, but what I love about the house is that the bones and the setting are also so exquisite – the attention to detail is incredible, and this will stay with the house even when the antiques and objects go with Ms. Stone. 

The exterior of the house was not shown in the Veranda article, but it is as French as the interior, with the beautiful soft color scheme of the house and shutters, and the pea gravel motor court that extends to the front of the house, creating both a visual and a textural introduction to the house.  Image from the real estate listing.

Here is a picture of the living room/library, as taken by Blayne Beacham for the real estate photos.  It’s interesting to see that the room is set up almost identically to the way it was shown in Veranda, with the exception of the screen that is placed in front of the window.  So many times a room is styled in a particular way for a magazine, with accessories and furniture that the designer brings in just for the photo shoot. Not the case here! Image from the real estate listing, photo credit Blayne Beacham.

I always find it gratifying to see real estate photos, because it gives me a better understanding of how the house flows. From this perspective of the foyer, it is clear that the dining room is on one side, the living room (which I had incorrectly identified as a library) on the other side. Image from the real estate listing, photo credit Blayne Beacham.

Based on this picture, the stairs are at the back of the house, seen when entering the foyer. Image from the real estate listing, photo credit Blayne Beacham.

A different view of the stairs. Note the beautiful curve of the stair, and the herringbone pattern on the floors. I love the little painting under the sconce – what a charming place for a small piece of art. Image from the real estate listing, photo credit Blayne Beacham.

I don’t think that the kitchen was shown in the Veranda article (I looked high and low, and could not find my April 2011 issue), but it is beautiful and very much in keeping with the style of the house.   What I find to be interesting is that the house was designed and built in 2002 – 10 years ago – clearly Ms. Stone drew her inspiration from the style of Europe, versus the trends that were going on in Atlanta at the time. Image from the real estate listing, photo credit Blayne Beacham.

Another view of the kitchen that shows the connection with the adjacent rooms (breakfast room and keeping room). Image from the real estate listing.

The breakfast room. Image from the real estate listing, photo credit Blayne Beacham.

This angle shows how the kitchen opens to the keeping room and the breakfast room. I seem to recall seeing the Louis XV cardboard figure in Veranda, but could not find the image.  Image from the real estate listing.

A quick peek at the family room, with its many layers and textures.  The collection of blue and white pieces on the commode is the highlight of the room to me. Image from the real estate listing, photo credit Blayne Beacham.

The master bedroom. Image from the real estate listing, photo credit Blayne Beacham.

Beautiful fireplace in the master bedroom. Image from the real estate listing, photo credit Blayne Beacham.

Master bathroom, which was not shown in the Veranda article. Image from the real estate listing, photo credit Blayne Beacham.

Back yard. Image from the real estate listing, photo credit Blayne Beacham.

Formal garden. Image from the real estate listing, photo credit Blayne Beacham.

I would love to see this house after a new owner purchases it – certainly it will have an entirely different look and feel, given that the current homeowners have such an extensive collection of antiques and collected objects.  Wouldn’t it be interesting to see the house decorated in a more streamlined style?  The beauty of this house is that the bones are so wonderful, and it will suit any number of design styles because so much thought was put into the architecture and flow of the house.   

To see the complete listing, please visit Beacham & Company’s website (or click here).  To visit photographer Blayne Beacham’s blog, please visit http://www.thisphotographerslife.com/.


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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Books in a Living Room Vignette

For more inspirational finds, please visit www.quatrefoildesign.com

As I was looking through my pictures, searching for a particular one, I came across this image that never fails to please me (the interior design is by Birmingham based firm Caldwell Flake).  There is something so lovely about this vignette – the symmetry is pleasing, but so is the slight variation that can be seen in the arrangement of the tables on either side. The colors and composition of the design, as well as the pattern on the fabric and pillows, really draw me in. In the past I have always preferred solid curtains, but I am finding myself gravitating to pattern more and more these days. I always like solid colors on upholstery, though!

As I am still trying to expand my book collection for the many unfilled shelves in my library, I took a closer look at the books under the side table on the left.  I spy American Decorative Arts; The Art of War; The World’s Best Golf; The Battle of the Bulge; Battle at Sea; Living with Dogs; More is More: Tony Duquette (my best guess); Perfect Neutrals (this is also a guess –the first word is perfect, and the font matches the book cover); Mood Indigo: Decorating with Rich, Dark Colors.  If books are a reflection on the interests of the homeowners (and are hopefully not just props for a photo shoot!), this small collection reflects a couple who are interested in history, decorative arts, home, golf, and dogs.

For more beautiful and inspiring images from Caldwell Flake, please visit their website here: http://www.caldwellflake.com/




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To subscribe to my blog by email, click here. 
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Twitter: @TTIBlog 
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ttiblog/ 
Visit my online store, Quatrefoil Designwww.quatrefoildesign.com 
To see design, architecture, art, and decorative books that I recommend, please visit the Things That Inspire Amazon store. 

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