exterior design Posts

Need We Say More: Steamy Shower Goodness

By Melody RichardsonThis is the steamy outdoor shower of our dreams! This outdoor oasis is a part of the aptly named Woodman’s Treehouse featured by Dwell Magazine. We could certainly imagine ourselves freshening up and getting close to nature in this gorgeous space. Couldn’t you?

Serene and Strong: Zen Gardens

By: Danielle Clockel

Everyone needs a place they can go to be still and quiet, and unwind from the stress of the day. For some, that place is a comfy chair nestled within a room in the home. For others, it’s a luxurious bath. And still others find their peace in nature. The garden has long been a place to go to reflect and regroup, and none is more up to this task than Japanese zen gardens. (I mean, it’s in the name!)

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Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

While they are called “rock gardens,” don’t think you have to completely forsake your beloved plants. Most zen gardens heavily feature stonework and pebbles, but mossy patches and petite trees are also right at home here.

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Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

Maybe you just don’t have a green thumb. Hey, we’re not judging you. Immerse yourself in the meditative process of raking intricate swirls (symbolizing ripples on water) into the pebble gravel of your rock garden. It may be neutral in color, but this garden has visual interest galore!

Minimalism may be a common theme in these kinds of gardens, but don’t fret, maximalists — you can still go big! Shapely trees, peaceful ponds, meandering bridges, different levels…this garden has it all.

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Photo courtesy of Damien Douxchamps.

You can still feature color even if you’re more into rocks than roses. Different stones have different hues, and arranging them in a geometric patchwork creates a fun, modern look.

Because of Atlanta’s climate, it’s easy for us to get wrapped up in landscapes full of lush greenery and bright flowers. But that’s not the only way to turn your outdoor space into a personal paradise! Just picture yourself in the quiet serenity of these zen gardens, and find your inner peace.

Our Picks: The Ideal Poolside Chill Spot.

By: The Balance Design Team

Things are heating up here in Atlanta. Summer is just around the corner, and in our neck of the woods that is one long season! How do we plan to beat the heat? Dive right in!

Stephanie’s pick:

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Photo courtesy of Home Designing.

I feel very inspired by Japanese zen gardens, like this one in Kyoto, Japan. My dream includes a natural pool with Koi, moss, pavers and boulders, wonderful Dr. Seuss-like trees and zen temples. Every place I look would be a place for my eye to rest and marvel.

Elisabeth’s pick:

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Photo courtesy of Stylish Eve.

I imagine a scene where an architect, landscape designer, electrician, and pool installer held hands and sung “Kumbaya” when they designed this perfectly transitional poolscape. Always on the search for such cooperative examples of indoor-outdoor space, this patio has it all: outstretching architecture, multiple hang-out levels, sultry lighting, tropical foliage, even an impressive outdoor shower. Let’s throw some Moroccan tiles on the side of that hot tub and call it a day (or night), folks.

Shelby’s pick:

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Photo courtesy of My Design Chic.

The foliage, the loungers, the incredible and beautifully set table — this pool area incorporates my two favorite ideas: hostessing and relaxing. This photo screams summer garden and pool party to me. Who wouldn’t want to sip on some bubbly rose at this beautiful pool?  Swoon worthy!

Danielle’s pick:

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Photo courtesy of Life With a View.

Look, I’m just gonna say it: I hate hot weather. But I love water. How do I reconcile these two extremes? Natural hot springs, of course! This geothermal pool is nature’s hot tub, surrounded by a sturdy yet beautiful rock ledge and the delightfully gritty Icelandic fields beyond. Be still, my icy heart.

Melody’s pick:

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Photo courtesy of Decoist.

When I think of relaxing poolside my mind immediately goes to my childhood summers, where I would spend several weeks in Turkey. To bring that feeling home requires special touches of the mediterranean. In my ideal poolside setting there is beautiful blue tile work to channel the feeling of the crystal clear waters. It is also incredibly important to me to have a space to entertain and/or lounge from day to night and still interact with people in the pool. This setting gives me just about everything I could hope for; there is space to comfortably lay out and tan, swim, entertain, and even build a fire in the evenings. It is my ultimate mediterranean oasis.

Deirdre’s pick (our newest team member!):

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Photo courtesy of Ritz Carlton.

I love the greenery surrounding this pool, the lines and dropoff of the infinity pool, the wood deck, and the water feature gargoyle spouting water into the pool. Total eye candy. And the most beautiful and spa like pool I’ve been in! Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico.

However you choose to kick it poolside, we hope our favorites have given you the get-up-and-go to head outside.

Balance Design Holiday Wish List!

By: The Balance Design Team

We’re getting into the holiday shopping spirit! Wanna know what’s on our wish lists?

Stephanie

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Gift for the home: I love the lines of these Bruno Mathsson Eva Chairs for my living room. So sleek and well designed, I definitely need a pair of them.

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Photo courtesy of OfDesign.net.

Gift for the soul: Looking forward to a peaceful and rejuvenating vacation in Japan…just need to buy the tickets!

Elisabeth

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Gift for the home: This painting knocks my socks off. “Sea Light” by Tommy McDonnell, a 60×48 multimedia piece, has the most unique straight-edge-meets-organic composition. Plus, he apparently does all his work on his beachfront terrace under banana palms. (Available at Gregg Irby Gallery, one of our local faves!)

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Photo courtesy of Southern Living.

Gift for the soul: Nothing makes me swoon more than a magnolia in bloom. I’m talking the enormous, evergreen, crazy-shady beasts that make up this land of ours. My homestead lost our century-plus oak tree this year and my hope is that the planting of a magnolia in its place will help with the melancholy of our empty front yard (though it probably won’t bloom for another 10 years).

Shelby

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Gift for the home: The blue coloring of this Kazak rug is unique to these type of rugs, and this one is pretty much a work of art for your floor. To me, it’s not about filling your home with stuff, but collecting beautiful pieces that will last.

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Gift for the soul: This beautiful bag not only supports a local Atlanta business but it’s amazing quality! (Plus, I’m in desperate need of a sturdy bag for work that is light, has adjustable straps, and will hold everything from my laptop to my tape measure.) 

Danielle

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Gift for the home: I’m in love with the moodiness of the Temple Mirror. The cathedral window shape and antiqued mirror are calling my name in a faint, ethereal whisper.

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Gift for the soul: Two things I can’t resist are Scandinavian art and teapots, and this Marimekko teapot is both! I drink tea with breakfast, lunch, and dinner year-round so this little stunner would be well loved.

Melody

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Gift for the home: I’ve never seen anything quite like the delMare table. It’s truly a special piece–only 35 will ever be made. This table looks just like the ocean floor and would satisfy my deeply rooted love of the sea, while still living here in the city. 

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Photo courtesy of Olive Avenue Jewelry.

Gift for the soul: My boyfriend and I recently celebrated our 6th anniversary and family and friends have been asking the dreaded holiday question of “when are you getting married?” I’m personally in no rush, but (just saying) if it were to happen this holiday season, this would the perfect ring for me! I love the vintage feel of the band, and the unique rose gold finish. 

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.