plants Posts

4 Design Books to Inspire You

By: The Balance Design Team

There’s something about a beautiful, hardcover design book that all the internet browsing in the world just can’t compare to. If you’re on the same page (ha ha ha) as us, we think you’ll enjoy this list of some of our favorite inspirational sources!

If you love color, pattern making, and rugs, Absolutely Beautiful Things by Anna Spiro will inspire you to paint, mix color, and just create! As designers and entrepreneurs, finding space in our lives to be creative is essential. This time spent unplugging and pondering art and design is sacred, and this book takes us there.

Noted father/son architect duo Eliel and Eero Saarinen are most famously known for their neo-futuristic music halls, Finnish train stations, the Washington Dulles airport, and the St. Louis arch (just to name a few). Saarinen Houses is a fascinating look into their lesser known ventures designing and decorating houses all over the world with their signature style. It’s a classic study on mid-century modernism, rife with inspiration for newer generations of designers.

Nomad Deluxe is the perfect book if you’re looking to connect with the essence of the author and the subjects. Through gorgeous travel photography, this book links people and cultures on a deeper level, which we find helps guide our design process in a more meaningful way.

The Little Book of Cacti and Other Succulents may not be your typical “design book” (because it’s a plant book), but that’s what’s so inspiring about it. There are well known succulents as well as rare cacti with shapes, colors, and textures you’ve probably never seen before. It’s a welcome reminder that beauty comes in an infinite amount of forms, and that not fitting into the mold is something to be celebrated — not feared.

We think online resources for creative inspiration (like Pinterest and Instagram) are fantastic tools, and ones that we use every day! However, there is a deep joy in the tactile experience of holding a beautifully curated design book in your hands and leisurely flipping through the pages. It really is an art form all its own, and being able to proudly display the author’s work on your shelf or coffee table is a privilege.

The Plants of Balance Design

By: Danielle Clockel

Nothing breathes life into a space quite like plants. They’re colorful, lively, and many of them improve the quality of air in your home. At our studio, we have really embraced this concept! Let us introduce you to some of the plants we share our workspace with, and see if any of them might be a good fit for your home.

Phalaenopsis Orchid

Ah, orchids. So beautiful, so inspirational. Phalaenopsis is a pretty simple plant to keep happy. Make sure it gets good light, but not direct sun, as it will burn. Set this orchid on a windowsill with a view of trees or one that is covered by a sheer curtain; it loves soft, filtered light. Most importantly, stick to a routine. Most orchids do well with a shot or so of warm water once a week. And don’t be alarmed when its blooms fall, it’s simply done with that bloom cycle! Stick to the watering schedule and keep an eye on the leaves. If they’re healthy looking, your orchid should bloom again when it’s ready. Your patience will be greatly rewarded!

Sansevieria Cylindrica

Sansevieria is a succulent, which means it isn’t very high maintenance. It loves sunlight, but even if you don’t have a full sun window it should do pretty well. Just try to keep it out of a dark shady corner, that will make it sad. Its watering schedule is every other week at most, so you don’t have to panic if you realize you haven’t given it a drink in a little bit.

Pilea Involucrata

Aka the friendship plant. Aww! This is a great plant for beginners because it’s resilient and low maintenance. Water about once a week, or when the soil looks dry, and it’ll be a happy camper. It likes a bit of light but not direct sun, so it can go almost anywhere in your home that isn’t totally shady and dark (ours have been happy on desks, in bathrooms, and in the middle of the room). Also, you can take a cutting and submerge the stem in water for a while and you’ll see it begin to root. Once you see roots, you can plant this new friend in soil and watch it grow.

Bromelia

The Bromelia is a newcomer to our studio, but it’s definitely a favorite with its tall, lively red flower. Ours is in the storefront window, which gets a good bit of light but not full, direct sun (which would be too intense). It lets you know when it needs water, as the water collects in a cup at the base of the plant. When you see that it’s empty, fill it up a bit! Enjoy all this beauty while you can, the Bro is a love ’em and leave ’em type of plant, only flowering once. Luckily you’ll get a good four to six months of prime flower time from one of these, and once the bloom starts to die, the plant will begin producing “pups” or clones of itself. So you can pluck one of the babies and grow it into a new flowering Bromelia! The gift that keeps on giving.

More than just being beautiful, plants have their own personalities and quirks that help personalize a space. While not every plant is ideal for every room (or every person), there’s certainly one out there that’s a perfect match for you. Do a little research and a bit of hunting at local nurseries and you’re sure to find your soul plant!

It’s Element-ary! How to Incorporate The Four Elements in Your Home.

By: Danielle Clockel

The four elements of earth, fire, air, and water were used by the ancient Greeks as a way to simplify life’s complexities. Nowadays, we often refer to them in terms of our personalities. For example, maybe you identify with the free-spirited nature of the wind, or are passionate and fierce like fire. Whichever one speaks to you, here are some ways to really get in your element at home.

Earth.

Photo courtesy of Femina.

Filling your home with plants is the best way to immerse yourself in earthy goodness. But what if you don’t have a green thumb? We love pressed plant art as a way for everyone to celebrate their earth element roots in a clean, modern way.

Fire.

Photo courtesy of Frerik Hylten-Cavallius.

There’s something so comfortingly primal about fire. Grand fireplaces and outdoor fire pits are amazing to gather around, but not everyone has the space for them. That’s not an issue for petite ethanol-burning stoves. These little guys are perfect for feisty spirits in any size abode, especially since they don’t produce smoke.

Air.

Photo courtesy of Studio KO.

This is an easy one: just open up! Open any doors and windows you can and get some air flowing through your home. That feel of a gentle, calm breeze — what can be better? How about standing amongst flowing sheer window panels like some sort of goddess? Yes, that.

Water.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

Ceiling mounted rainwater shower heads. Floor inset soaking tubs. These are amazing ways to turn your morning (or evening) shower into a luxurious submersion, but what else? Match your floor and walls in a cool blue handmade tile to channel the experience of swimming through a beautiful lagoon every time you bathe.

Natural elements in the home, regardless of which specific one they reflect, make a space feel grounded, intentional, and authentic. And of course you can mix several elements in one room — whatever speaks to you!

Sophisticated Style: The Sitting Room

By: Stephanie Andrews

The interior designer/client relationship is a very special one, and we absolutely fell in love when these recent empty nesters approached us about redesigning their home. Their inspiration included pictures from the New York Times style section, their personal art collection, photos from their travels, and a cherished turn of the century family quilt.

Photo courtesy of Christina Wedge for Balance Design.

This couple wanted a home that reflected their personalities and sense of humor in a beautiful and comfortable way. Our favorite space to design was this front room, featuring the framed family quilt over a show stopping emerald velvet sofa. We revamped the fireplace, found this awesome mid century chair, and pulled it all together with the perfect wool/silk rug. The cherry on top? Beautiful brass accents.

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.