japan Posts

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.

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. 

Wanderlust: Japan

By: Stephanie Andrews

After an incredibly beautiful trip to Italy last year, my husband and best friends and I began planning our next trip for 2017. It didn’t take much deliberating: we decided on Japan. We each have our own reasons for wanting to go, but for me it’s very personal. Japanese focus on simplicity, orderly and functional design, and attention to detail are values and aesthetics that I truly appreciate. And considering I grew up with Hello Kitty, love eating sushi out of Bento boxes, and created a Japanese modern garden in my backyard, I guess you could say Japan has always seemed magical to me.

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The Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in Tokyo features bountiful cherry blossoms, beautiful bridges, and rolling hills and paths. Formerly a castle ground of the Emperor, it’s now a national treasure for all to experience.

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I am drawn to many forms of Buddhism. The Kiyomizudera Temple in Kyoto was founded in 780 on the site of the Otowa waterfall and derives its name from the fall’s pure waters.

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Did you know that Japan has the largest number of architects per capita? Most people in Japan that can afford to buy a house build a new one rather that buying something pre-owned, so they build their custom dream homes without regard to resale. This tiny home has everything so well organized; it’s the epitome of efficiency and minimalism.

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If you’re looking for historical Japanese art from the masters, try the Tokyo National Museum. I would love to learn the technique behind those iconic brush strokes and create some Japanese inspired art from my travels.

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Obviously you can’t talk about Japan without mentioning sushi. Just look at that beautiful food! And getting to experience the real thing in Japan is sure to be a priceless experience.

Know of any hidden treasures in Japan? Must-see attractions? Comment and let me know!