Friday, September 24, 2010

My New Favorite Thing

Okay, I'm simple. But, I bet by the time you've finished reading this, you're going to want this product for your own home!

We needed new toilet seats. I've never been able to figure out what our cleaning people use on the toilet seats, but it's something that seems to etch away the finish. Anyway, the time had remember, that Garden Club party, right?!

We like the sort of "vintage looking" toilet seats, that have some exposed chrome metal. They just seem to go with the house better. Honestly, I bought these because they looked the best...their super-cool function was just a bonus.

"Watch" these photos...and I promise you, there is no trick photography, or time lapse used!

Look mom, no hands! This is a Bemis Whisper-Close toilet seat. No motor. No electricity. Just a great hinge device that very, very gently lowers the seat and lid, either separately or together. All you do is give it a gentle push, and it lowers itself, like a graceful ballerina en pointe.

Just think of the peace-making implications in your home. Oh, I think I smell a Nobel Prize!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Call Me Crazy!

A couple of weeks ago, I was doing some of my weekly yard clean-up, and it suddenly occurred to me that we were hosting a Garden Club brunch at our house in two very short weeks. Yeah, panic set in. I was looking at our front yard, and it was not a pretty sight!

Our foundation hedges had become overgrown (even with regular trimming), and were experiencing old-growth die-out. The Sansevieria had taken a major hit in our hard freeze this past winter, and there were only a few straggling stalks remaining. The Zoysia grass that we had planted 20 years ago--and ripped out 10 years after--had managed to reestablish itself. It had completely choked out the beautiful Jasmine minima bed on one side of the yard, and was making great progress on the other side. The bed of Macho ferns was anything but macho and the giant Bird of Paradise plant was on the verge of taking the moon and beyond.

I decided that a complete rip-out and redo was needed. Luckily, we work regularly with Joe Argentine of Argentine Landscaping, and he was prepared to come to the rescue. I did a quick design, and within a week he had the materials together and his crew came in, ripped out and replanted in two days.

Okay, yes...they finished at 6:00 PM last night, and the Garden Club was arriving at 9:30 AM this morning, but you could barely tell that it wasn't an established landscape.

Take a look at the process. Here is what it looked like going in:

Here is the process:
The old grass and Jasmine required 6-7 passes with the stripper, then the crew diligently scraped, shoveled and raked to remove old soil and roots to bring the bed heights to where they should be for the new sod.

I decided that rather than continue the battle with the Zoysia grass, it might be better to call a truce, and replace with brand new Zoysia. This way, when the old grass pops up, it will look like the new grass. Embrace the enemy!

Here is the new front garden.

I feel like the house can breathe again! I can't necessarily recommend last-minute landscaping, but I'm glad to have gotten it done. It takes a party to get the house cleaned up, right?

And even better, since I haven't owned a lawn mower in about 10 years, the neighbor offered to let me use his anytime I want. Do you think this means I should offer to mow his grass....?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Scale Matters

In addition to our interior design services, space planning and landscape and garden design, for many years we have created custom art for residential and commercial projects.

With the advancements in print technology, and new, more affordable materials that have become available to print on, in the past couple of years we've been able to produce very large scale images which can really make grand statement.

In the first photograph, you can see a couple of pieces that are available from our image catalog at This image catalog has selections from several genres that might suit many needs. These are hanging in our office.

But in addition, we specialize in creating custom images that might be more pertinent to the theme or setting. These next images were created recently for a hospital facility, where some very unadorned hallways were crying out for large scale art.

We actually have the capability to create art up to 10 feet by 4.5 feet! And a piece that large is one bold statement, especially perfect for loft-style settings!

We can create the art pieces as simple stretched canvases, or images can be printed on paper in many textures, and framed for a more traditional application.

If a piece of personalized art is something that you might enjoy (and they can make a great gift!), we hope you'll contact us to discuss the project!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Icing the Cake

Aren't the finishing details of a design project like icing on a cake? I mean, cake is just cake, right? But icing....well, you get what I mean.

Getting this bathroom to the near completion point has posed its challenges, but now the sweet parts are happening, and the project is taking on a personality.

Shower/bath tile being installed.

Travertine, like the flooring, but this time in 6"x12" tiles, with randomly set glass mosaic pieces.

You can see how the glass mosaic in the shower matches the integrated glass sink and counter top!

Notice also how the subtle coloring in the Venetian plaster finish on the ceiling, by Ron Francis, ties in the project's accent color. Hey, these things don't happen by accident!

One more piece of icing--the softly-folded Roman shade at the window. Because of their clean, simple form, I especially like Roman shades in the bathroom. This one was fabricated as a single valance with two separately operating shades to offer variations in natural light levels.

Still waiting on the faucets and mirrors, but next time you see this bathroom, it will be a finished project. And I can promise there is still a surprise or two in store!