March 2014 Posts

Let’s Take This Outside. (How to Revitalize Your Porch.)

By: Danielle Cornely

source: Better Homes and Gardens

source: Better Homes and Gardens

Despite the chilly temperatures this week, Atlanta is heading into spring and we’re daydreaming of some quality outside time, particularly on the porch. Don’t let yourself be caught off-guard when May and June come around, start getting your space ready for some sweet summertime lounging now!

source: Better Homes and Gardens

source: Better Homes and Gardens

No matter what size your porch is, a fun and colorful indoor-outdoor rug instantly adds character and comfort to the space. It defines your space and provides solace for summertime bare feet.

source: obaz.com

source: obaz.com

Pillows and cushions! Many times outdoor furniture could use some variety in texture and hue. Add a pop of color while making your outdoor area all the more comfortable and luxurious with some bold and funky pillows.

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Plants make great decor! There are a lot of creative, unique ways to display your gardening handiwork. From turning a chandelier into a hanging planter, to using a shipping pallet as a vertical garden, the possibilities are endless. Check out last week’s blog post for some great information on how to start your own container garden!

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A little privacy is nice. Make the outdoors feel a little more secluded by putting up some sheer panels, or go bold with fresh prints and patterns. Bonus: this is a great way to help keep the porch cool!

fan andrewsherman

Speaking of keeping cool, don’t forget the outdoor fan! Especially here in the South, summer means humidity. Keep the air moving for a refreshing, cool breeze. Your porch is just as eager for warmer weather as you are. Get it ready!

Contain This! (How to Create Amazing Container Gardens)

By: Elisabeth Paulson

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Spring has sprung and elaborate landscape plans are on our minds. For some immediate gratification, why not plant up some containers? Starting these now ensures beautiful full growth later and annuals can be switched out periodically throughout the season. The best part? No pressure! Be bold – make mistakes! You are sure to be surprised what ends up being your favorite.

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This patio project remains one of our favorites. These vivid cobalt containers screamed for some depth of color. By using a variety of textures and forms (upright, trailers, fillers), we created container plantings that entertained all season long.

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We absolutely love the idea of using grasses in a sculptural container. This Bamboo Muhly Grass is showcased outside of Nashville’s State Capitol Building. We’d like to try this out on our own using a combination of grasses, from fountain forms to flowering grasses.

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I had the pleasure of working with some self-proclaimed plant geeks at Sprout Home in Chicago. This street garden in the Gold Coast celebrated the intense hues of shade-loving plants in the early spring. This photo was taken just after installation but we loved how the window boxes played off the container and the poufs of grasses in the ground.

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Many people think of plants like these hydrangeas and hostas as “in-ground plants” only. Not the case! Planting perennials in a container creates incredible fullness and all season interest. Plus, you are sure to have some pleasant surprises the next year (no promises…)!

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This edible container garden is a simple solution to growing lettuces, herbs  and other smaller veggies. The elevated height and ease of care makes food gardening less intimidating for the faint of heart. And these wooden wine boxes? These beauties can make any farmer bourgeois!

Put down the trace paper and return the rototiller, embrace the whimsy of the container planting and treat yourself to some eye candy!

Don’t Be Afraid of Your Freedom!

By: Stephanie Andrews

"I  feel like when I walk into my office, I am walking into my soul. I am exploded onto the walls. It's a visual feast. Every nook and surface is filled with a memento, a story...all deeply personal.  This office wouldn't work for anyone but me, and I like that."

“I feel like when I walk into my office, I am walking into my soul. I am exploded onto the walls. It’s a visual feast. Every nook and surface is filled with a memento, a story…all deeply personal. This office wouldn’t work for anyone but me, and I like that.”

Have you ever noticed that an artist tells their story through their clothes, decor and in almost everything they do? My good friend Gabrielle is one of those people. From anthropomorphic taxidermy to pin up girls to religious iconography and leopard carpet, this gal knows how to tell a fascinating and fearless story of her life and those who live in it. I thought you might want to take a peek.

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I have known Gabrielle LeBlanc McGrath (above) since 1997 when she was a graphic designer at KPMG where I was a purveyor of printing. We both decided to start our own businesses fairly soon thereafter. Gabrielle is an amazing designer – quirky, creative and clean. I admire her skills so much that I asked her to design the Balance Design logo and most of our marketing pieces. This is one of the best business decisions I have made.

"NOLA for New Orleans Louisiana spelled out in chicken bones. Reminds me of high school. I used to wear chicken bones in my hair, tied in with leather."

“NOLA for New Orleans Louisiana spelled out in chicken bones. Reminds me of high school. I used to wear chicken bones in my hair, tied in with leather.”

New Orleans is such a big part of Gabrielle. She grew up there and appreciates its layered history, architecture and her family of related and unrelated people. Gabrielle comes from a family of artists and of the arts. Her grandfather was a Renaissance man—a painter, a baker, a set designer, an engineer, and a cartoonist for the local paper. Gabrielle’s brother is an architect, and her sister, Nicole, is a milliner.

"No animals were harmed in this Victorian art form of anthropomorphic taxidermy."

“No animals were harmed in this Victorian art form of anthropomorphic taxidermy.”

I am sharing Gabrielle with you because I think she is a great example of embracing individuality without fear. I appreciate her style, her wit and her quest for a rich life.  She knows what she likes and is not afraid of making mistakes. I encourage you to go out on a limb to express yourself.  (And send us pictures!)

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