plants 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.

Design Challenge: Bedroom Solutions

By: The Balance Design Team

Last week Shelby outlined her wish list for her master bedroom, including a headboard for her bed, new nightstands, lighting, and a vanity area. Each of us browsed her Pinterest board and created our take on a perfectly “Shelby” bedroom.

Stephanie’s Solution

Shelby has a fun-loving, adventurous personality that I wanted to bring out in her room design. The low upholstered modern platform bed lets the organic wallpaper create a bold statement wall. The vanity (which is actually a children’s desk) has ample storage for Shelby’s collection of funky and fun jewelry. Her accessory style inspired my choices for the vanity stool, pendants, and mirror, which all have touches of gold. And of course, I had to add a hand knotted rug that can be used in Shelby’s next home too!

Elisabeth’s Solution

I was inspired by Shelby’s love of texture and the perfect shade of blue in creating this Bali-tastic Bedroom Boutique. This water-meets-print wallpaper from Eskayel is sure to motivate Shelby’s creative world while the organic linear black and white rug grounds the room (literally). The classic floating shelf is simply smart, providing a platform for this modern woven marvel of a pendant. The canopy bed is a new absolute favorite of everyone at Balance Design. Finally, a beautiful challenge for Shelby: root plants in glass by taking a cutting and growing her own piece of art in water. I hope this design inspires art, nature, and light for morning and night (intentional rhyming included).

Danielle’s Solution

Keeping in mind Shelby’s request for a clean, sleek look, I focused on things she loves (with a little inspiration from her Pinterest board). The dresser currently in the room will be removed, making room for a printmaker’s drawer desk with a rounded rectangular mirror to act as a vanity/primping area. The drawers provide stylish space for jewelry, makeup, brushes, etc. An accent wall painted in her “spirit color” will pick up the blue accents in this vintage rug, which really pops against an underlying sisal. I took a small leap with the bed — Shelby requested ideas for a headboard, but I know from her Pinterest that she loves sleek, modern canopy beds. Replacing the mirrored nightstands with these crisp marble shelves keeps the room clutter-free (and provides the perfect perch for an aloe plant or two!).

Melody’s Solution

Shelby’s love of natural wood really inspired this space. Using walnut furniture accented with metal and glass creates a natural-feeling, put together look. This desk used as a makeup vanity will provide some much needed jewelry storage and a space to sit and get ready for the day with the large round mirror. The wall mural is an homage to her favorite color, teal. This effect is more subtle than full on paint, but gives enough color and impact to still make a statement. The glass shelves are 10′ deep so she will be able to use them as nightstands without the bulk. Even a piece like this lovely wood and glass terrarium would fit (bonus: these plants require minimal attention). Finally, the pendants for either side of the bed add the little bit of sparkle for Shelby that she brings to us each day. 

Stay tuned next week when Shelby announces the winner!

5 Ways to Create Positive Energy in Your Home.

By: The Balance Design Team

We believe your home should be a haven, a place of peace and revitalizing energy, an escape from the stress of the day. While this involves very personal and varied priorities, there are a few tried and true ways to surround yourself with positivity in your home.

Stephanie’s Tip: Art Wall

Stephaniepos

Photo courtesy of Honestlywtf.com.

Nothing speaks to me quite like seeing my personal items displayed in a collection on the wall. Photos of places I have traveled to with loved ones, carvings, personal and family art, and ceramics can look amazing when arranged in a balanced and interesting manner. A collection like this is uplifting to look at and fun to tell friends and family the reasons why the specific items made the wall.

Elisabeth’s Tip: Bringing the Outdoors In

Elisabethpos

Photo courtesy of Bloglovin.

There is something about bringing home a new plant that heightens our senses and improves our mood. By reducing pollutants, carbon dioxide, and dust in the home, indoor plants are healthy as well as beautiful. There are other ways to let the outdoors in, however. Embrace artwork and photography with botanical designs, or the earth, sky, and everything in between. Open up your windows and doors, let a little dirt inside!

Shelby’s Tip: Organization/Minimalism

Shelbypos

Photo courtesy of MyDomaine.com.

Nothing makes me happier than quiet coffee time on a Saturday morning in a clean house. It’s my nirvana. Living in town in a small space really makes you embrace the “less is more” philosophy. I have learned to pare down my belongings to a minimal, organized approach. Everything in my house is a piece that is used often; I don’t collect items that I do not need or use (a la Marie Kondo), and everything has a place. Most importantly, organization and minimalism means that the items I surround myself with are only the items that I love.

Danielle’s Tip: Meaningful Pieces

As easy as it is to get swept up in what’s new and different, there’s something to be said for keeping a little history around. Maybe it’s a rug that’s been in your family for generations, or a piece of furniture lovingly handcrafted by a talented friend. To me, what really makes a home happy is when it has a soul — when it’s not just an assortment of the best looking items of the season, but a collection of important and meaningful pieces that carry with them memories and personality.

Melody’s Tip: Paint

Melodypos2

Photo courtesy of Houzz.com.

Paint can uplift the feel of any space. A clean white interior, for example, can create a feeling of unparalleled tranquility and comfort, an area to clear your mind and help you gain positivity and motivation. Equally uplifting can be a room packed with color! The contrast of cool and warm tones create an inviting place to share with others, and there is no better positivity gained than sharing a good space with great friends.

More important than a home that looks good is a home that feels good. What are some ways you cultivate positive energy in your home?

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.