Elisabeth Paulson Posts

A Balance Design Original: The Grain Console

By: Elisabeth Paulson

This has been FUN. When I joined Balance Design nearly seven years ago, I met Stephanie Andrews (founder and chieftain) who could not have been more eager to expand her interior design business with innovative and creative designs. I grew up in the Northwoods of Wisconsin with an artist mother and a woodworker father, so I was profoundly excited to get on board. Throughout these years, Balance Design has pridefully designed custom pieces for our clients including bars, beds, and bookcases beyond. It was time to do something for ourselves…

We started with a console. Oh, the meager console: a room divider, a platform for the perfect lamp (or the mail-plop, or a mint julep). We thought, “Let’s make this better.” We live in “Intown Atlanta” as they call it, which is a series of connective neighborhoods surrounded by parks, each with its own identity. Old homes with bountiful character but not a lot of space. These are the homes that we cherish with our beloved clients to carve out memories. They deserve a perfect console, we say! It began, as so many things do, with reducing the scale, sketching a design, and finding the ideal craftsmen.

Utilizing our current gallery motif, “Modern Gothic,” our team challenged the current modern-means-straight-lines-only trend and added some curve appeal along with DRAWERS (did I mention drawers in a narrow console?) to create this doozy of a table. Harnessing our self-coined, “City in a Forest”, we have no shortage of native and unique species to build from. In this design, we capitalized on the beauty of the Mighty Oak. Michael Scialabba from Scialabba Construction in East Atlanta (also my ‘hood, represent), helped us procure the most incredible finish: inky-black lacquer with a series of lime wax which enhances the grain and luster of natural wood. All this plus v-notched routed detail, brass footings/hardware, and an uber-shiny gem tone on the inside of the drawers ( Auric by Sherwin Williams – my current fave). We have a winner, folks.

We are proud to introduce this piece, completely customizable in size, to you and yours. This is the first piece, hopefully followed by many more, in a collection we are calling “Grain”: a celebration of materials and natural processes that provides some honest-to-goodness furniture pieces that celebrate our unique habitats. We’ve got prototype 1.1 in these photos and in our window at our studio/gallery at 1653 McLendon Avenue in Candler Park. Thank you for your support so we can make more and more. We’ve got you, Atlanta.

All photos courtesy of the infinitly-talented Danielle Clockel for Balance Design.

Our Neighbors’ Kitchen

By: Elisabeth Paulson

The finished product of this home in the Lake Claire/Candler Park neighborhood of Atlanta was truly a result of contradictions. The galley kitchen was part of the original home, while the vaulted extension housed an overly-engineered laundry room and mud room. We unified this space with cleanly-planed, clear-oil-finished antique lumber beams that look like they were born there.

Photography by Danielle Clockel for Balance Design.

We were lucky enough to work with the couple that calls this place home and get to know them a bit. They love cooking and beer and added their own distinct styles to the home: hers more farmhouse rustic, his more modern. A European drinking sink and fittings, handmade beer tapper, and chef’s kitchen spray faucet were only a handful of requests to make this dream kitchen.

Photography by Danielle Clockel for Balance Design.

Since the narrow space didn’t allow for an island, we incorporated a New York style deli counter instead, opening up the windows to the side yard.

Photography by Danielle Clockel for Balance Design.

The counter was built from a 110-year-old live edge white oak from the Emory University campus and formed the foreground for a truly unique quartzite wrapped bar and lacquered floating wall cabinets.

Photography by Danielle Clockel for Balance Design.

This project was definitely one of our favorites! Not only were the clients creative and possessed an incredible sense of style, but the finished product is something we’re extremely proud of. With those exposed beams, a custom bar, and a deli style counter, what’s not to love?

Proud Plants: Five Foliage Choices For a Modern Sculptural Landscape

By: Elisabeth Paulson

Here in the southeast, the spring flower power of azaleas, redbuds, and dogwoods have bloomed and left us in awe, but ultimately shed their petals. Now what?! Let’s consider a smattering of sculpture, texture, and sheen to complement our homesteads. Here are five plants that add a force of form to your modern landscape.

Photo courtesy of Plant Zone.

Photo courtesy of Plant Zone.

Trachycarpus wagnerianus. While we may not be beachside, we can still enjoy a palm. This dwarf windmill palm adds immense sculpture to any modern structure. Give it some space and let it swank up your garden.

Photo courtesy of Buchanan's Native Plants.

Photo courtesy of Buchanan’s Native Plants.

Farfugium japonicum ‘Gigantea.’ We’ve been admirers of the leopard plant’s glossy saucers since seeing them at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. While they will bloom a tall spike in late summer, we appreciate these round clumps sans flower as well.

Photo courtesy of K. Bourgondien & Sons.

Photo courtesy of K. Bourgondien & Sons.

Muhlenbergia capillaris. Cotton candy grass! Need we say more? Plant several of these together to get this dreamy pink cloud.

Photo courtesy of K. Bourgondien & Sons.

Photo courtesy of K. Bourgondien & Sons.

Colocasia esculenta ‘Tea Cup.’ The teacup elephant ear has an upright form that holds water. Well shucks, we’ve got these guys coming our way next week…fingers crossed for greatness!

Photo courtesy of Gardenista.

Photo courtesy of Gardenista.

Allium, allium, allium. What flower could be more shapely than this onion relative? Loving this combination with the delicate texture of fern fronds. Depending on the type, these can bloom early spring to mid-summer, and range from 8″ to over 4′. The allium millenium can even be planted this spring for those of us who can’t wait.

Get out there, take some risks, and bask in the stately/feathery/proud beauty of mother nature.

Before and After: Outdoor Planters

By: Elisabeth Paulson

It is hot out there, folks. If your planter boxes are anything like ours, the spring annuals have lost their pep and blooms are melting before your eyes. Fear not – we have the solution. Here are three of our own transformative foliage additions that are sure to last…as long as we remember to water.

plantbefore1

plantafter1

Our doorway planters were looking less than welcoming and needed a major facelift. We kept our healthy heavy-hitters (lambs ears and Heuchera) and added the eye-popping Kong Coleus, impatients for color, and potato vine as a trailer. Come on in!

plantbefore2

plantafter2

This modern zinc planter box has followed me from my Chicago rooftop to my current Atlanta backyard. Such a shaded area loves the hovering, paper-like Caladium ‘Aaron’ and sculptural addition of ‘Bossa Nova’ begonia. A fragrant geranium doesn’t have blooms but a satisfying citrus smell that keeps the mosquitos away. Kong Coleus made an encore appearance that should last through the fall.

plantbefore3

plantafter3

We love a wall planter – this one flanks my own front door and welcomes me home. Staghorn ferns thrive in a vertical position during humid summers, and ‘Mona Lisa’ lipstick plants are an experiment in this felted-pocket home. Finally, a mosaic plant adds a geometric stripe to the plant party.

Celebrate summer and switch out the old for the new – embrace depth in color and a variety of leaf shapes and sizes. Even if your thumb is less-than-green, you can achieve a fresh foliage facelift.

Our Picks: 2016 Kitchen and Bath Trends.

By: Elisabeth Paulson

January is all about observing and predicting trends, or what’s “on trend” as we like to say. Pantone has come out with blush and blue as the colors of the year, but before we jump on board with them we’d like to celebrate these sultry and sophisticated concepts for kitchens and baths. Lurking in the shadows, we can’t wait to get moody in 2016.

bathtile

HEX-PLOSION! We love every detail of this bathroom but this playful-yet-sophisticated hexagon tile floor has us applauding the design risk. The bronze shower head and over-sized asymmetric mirror looks effortless (happy accident? Never!).

walltile

Photo courtesy of Amber Interiors.

DRAMATIC TILE WALLS: Speaking of tile trends, we are seeing more and more deep dark hues as wall treatments in bathrooms and kitchens. When in doubt? Go all the way up (or down).

bathfixtures

Photo courtesy of Remodelista.

BLACK FITTINGS: We are so happy that black finishes have returned to the mix, only more sleek and modern. Clean lines against this gorgeous stone have us wanting/needing to shower off.

blackappliances

Photo courtesy of My Unfinished Home.

BLACK APPLIANCES: The design buzz is all about tinted stainless steel and we understand why. We took this one step further (and more decadent for the serious cook) with our aspirational favorites from AGA. We are pretty thrilled with how this incorporated many of our favorite trends (caustic floor tiles, dramatic backsplash) in a mixed-modern approach.

wallfixture

Photo courtesy of Mad About the House.

WALL LIGHTING: Get off the ceiling! With so many sculptural and multi-valence lights out there, break away from your typical ceiling peninsula lighting and try something new, you wallflower, you.

Happy 2016! We couldn’t be more thrilled to try out some of these textured, inky and contrasting kitchen and bath trends.