Elisabeth Paulson Posts

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!).

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

A Very Koselig Holiday from Balance Design.

By: Elisabeth Paulson

It is December 23rd in Atlanta, and the weather is cloudy, rainy, and unseasonably warm. Most of the season’s rush has died down and the best part of the holiday has begun: time with family, friends, or even the long-anticipated alone time. Either way, our wish for contentment and joy reminded us of a word that doesn’t exist in the English language: “Koselig.”

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Photo courtesy of Just The Design.

In Norway, the word “Koselig” (roughly pronounced “Kush-lee”) is both a noun and a verb. We understand it to be a feeling especially welcomed in the winter season: cozy, intimate, and warm. It could be a dinner, a conversation, a fire. To ensure my English accuracy of this definition, I decided to reach out to some long-lost Norwegian relatives who were generous in their responses. Here are some Koselig musings from the experts:

“Joyful, heartwarming, fireplaces and family, relaxed, balanced, safe.” – Anita Salamonsen

“You have just entered your home from a long skiing trip, you are cold, wet and the house was left with no heat on. You open the door, the heat is on, fire in the fireplace, dry clothes hanging over a chair and a hot meal with a burning candle is waiting for you. Your wife has made the house koselig for you. Then you give her a hug and a kiss -or- en kos.” – Arne Hostvedt (What a charmer!)

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Photo courtesy of Planete-Deco.

“It’s mostly little old houses that are well kept. And when you come inside it’s nice and clean and quite often full of little things the owners have collected over the years, and most important of all, candles.” – Lise Margrete Hostvedt Hjarder

“One meaning is a very nice time together over a meal, homeparty, trip travel, etc. Everything is warm, not cold.” – Wiviann Mostervik Hostvedt

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Photo courtesy of DigsDigs.

Here at Balance Design, we wish you all a cozy, content, and intimate holiday season. We are grateful for our clients, friends, family, neighbors, and talented team! 

Koselig, y’all!

Hot Colors for Spring

By: Elisabeth Paulson

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Spring is the perfect season for bright and bold color combinations – fire hot corals and oranges that contrast with tried and true jade greens and almost-black blues. The end result is a classic, edgy, and fresh look that elevates the style of any room.

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LAVA: With this red-orange hue, the bolder the better. From lips to bags to bedsheets, we say bring it on. Not for the timid, this Louis Nui bedding from Trina Turk should add a little fire to your night.

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JADE: Tonal subtleties ranging from army to olive green make jade a timeless foundation to play off of. We’re fans of the Rhys Chair from Anthropologie for a big impact, or you can keep it simple with the Hiddenite Glass Sculpture from our good friends Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams.

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CITRUS: Lemon yellow adds zing to any room. A fresh, fun color, it’s perfect for making an accent piece really pop. Shown above is the Upbeat Table Lamp from Currey & Company.

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INK: We are loving the almost-black gradient these days. This green-blue-black tone looks rich in luscious velvets and slick lacquer. Above, this color is featured as a full-panel wallpaper, Aurora Peat, by Calico Wallpaper.

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HOT CORAL: While technically in the lava family, this pink has a purpose. Pair it with any neutral to go from bland to bold. In this woven cotton Gypsy Rug from Dash & Albert, hot coral plays the leading role.