Garden Tour: Formal French Design on Lake Minnetonka

When homeowners that love to entertain purchased this house on Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota, the house and grounds needed a complete renovation. They desired to enjoy the yard with their kids and guests and create better views of the lake. “The yard was very woodsy and was jeopardized by junky invasive species,” says landscape architect Meg Arnosti of Windsor Companies. “The new layout is very French and formal near the house, and adjustments into less formal and woodsy as you move away from the house.”

Project architect Dan Gleeson placed sculptures out of the homeowners’ set in areas that honored them. The plan also included cleaning up the plants that are invasive to show the perspective, including a cutting garden for floral arrangements and building an indoor pool with a terrace above it. Circulation around the yard was also enhanced, so the customers could take the big parties that they like to sponsor outside.

at a Glance
Who lives here: A family of four
Location: Orono, Minnesota
That is intriguing: This garden was inspired by French landscape layout and especially the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Windsor Companies

“The property provides a number of adventures,” says Arnosti. The atmosphere is atop a mountain over Lake Minnetonka. A daring axis in the shape of a broad bluestone route lined in shrubs connects the back of the house and the terrace to a modern sculpture. Wing walls enclosing the sculpture terrace frame the stunning view.

Windsor Companies

On the opposite side of the house, the redesigned driveway terminates in an official entrance courtroom with a sculpture in the middle. The new columns foreshadow the house’s French villa–inspired renovation.

Windsor Companies

Together with the boulder walls, yet another modern sculpture and elm trees articulate the bounds of a large bluestone terrace right off the house and function as a transitional space between the house and the yard.

Rectilinear lines articulate the proper distances but are softened by plants. Pachysandra serves as a blanket of green immediately enclosing the terrace, while Annabelle hydrangeas bloom right beyond the walls.

Windsor Companies

“This terrace is the customers’ favorite part of the yard, and they also use it all the time,” says Arnosti. They use it casually whenever the weather permits and to their regular parties. Whenever the Minnesota weather has them housebound, they can can still enjoy the gorgeous view around it and out to the lake.

Windsor Companies

The axis in the house to the lake overlooks this rectilinear pond along with the huge sculpture, and brings out the eye to the lake beyond. “The pond has been a way to formalize the lake at the terminal stage of this axis,” Arnosti describes. The pond provides a different transition between the natural and built landscapes.

Windsor Companies

The proper stucco walls that border the rectilinear terrace back become less formal as they curve around the ideal side of the house. Lady’s mantle and Brookside geraniums accentuate this part of the wall’s border in green, yellow and purple.

This sinuous part of the wall overlooks the cutting garden, arbor and tennis court. “Windsor also did extensive and amazing work renovating the inside of the house, but nearly everyone who comes over comments on how much they love the landscape,” says Arnosti. It’s easy to see why.

Windsor Companies

The graceful curves of the less formal stone route extend all the way round the border of the lawn, separating it in the woodsy place.

The lengthy arbor using a pavilion in the centre sits between the perennial cutting garden along with also the tennis court, which Gleeson put on the bottom part of their property. He centered a large abstract sculpture in front of the pavilion. Its combination of curves and crisp edges fits right into this region of the landscape.

Windsor Companies

Beautiful cutting gardens adorned in barrels direct up to the pavilion. The homeowners use it often for gathering floral arrangements, once more connecting their house to the spectacular landscape.

Longwood Gardens’ Pathways Invite Exploration
Garden Tour: Edith Wharton’s The Mount

See related

Replace vs. Restore: The Fantastic Window Debate

Generally, it is preferable to retain old windows and mend them up for energy efficiency — it prevents material from entering landfills, can save yourself money and preserves a specific charm that new windows might not have. However there are drawbacks too.

Experts: On the House in Progress blog, homeowner Aaron (a pseudonym) does a cost-benefit evaluation of replacement versus restoring his windows. He computes that replacing his windows would have cost him $16,000, and he would recoup his investment in energy savings following 30 decades. Restoring his windows cost him roughly $8,800, and he’ll recoup his investment in energy savings in 16 decades.

Cons: However, the hidden costs are time and energy. If Aaron had paid somebody to revive his chimney, then it may have cost more than it might have cost to replace them.

Which window is ideal for you? Read on and weigh the two sides to find out if new or uninstalled windows would be the best choice for your home.

Cathy Schwabe Architecture

The windows on the best of the San Francisco dining area are first; the windows on the left were salvaged from the deconstructed region of the home.

The aesthetic pleasure obtained from restoring — and even salvaging — windows is a very clear motive for using old windows.

Brennan + Company Architects

Jared Edwards of Smith Edwards Architects told a reporter for The New York Times that there were just two reasons to replace windows for more light or to eliminate window maintenance.

DSPACE Studio Ltd

Rotted eyeglasses, deteriorated sashes and leaking air may typically be fixed in window restoration — even a sterile window is not always too much gone for restoration.

But occasionally a home’s windows are actually beyond repair, especially if restoring them would not conserve any type of historic element to the construction. If your windows are 30 years old (or older), restoring them will not make much sense, aesthetically or historically.

Photo by tuppus via Flickr Creative Commons

Ben Herzog

If your residence is in a historical district, such as this Brooklyn brownstone, check if you’re allowed to replace your windows. Restoring may be the only alternative.

Hanson Fine Building

If you have the choice to replace, adding contemporary windows to a historical home can be a wonderful way to bring the contemporary aesthetic in. This bumped-out window was added to a West Philadelphia kitchen with Hanson General Contracting for a more modern look and a little additional space.

Schwartz and Architecture

Occasionally new windows may have a feel. In this 1907 home, Schwartz and Architecture installed new windows at a fourth-floor dormer expansion nevertheless retained the classic aesthetic of the home.

Inform us Are you really going to replace or restore your windows, and why?

Energy-Efficient Windows: Understand the Parts
Energy-Efficient Windows: Decipher the Ratings
Update Historic Windows for Charm and Efficiency

See related

California Mediterranean in Los Angeles

Interior designer Darci Goodman had some wooing to do if it came to the Long Beach, California, remodel. Her customers, a couple with three children, were confident in her work, but the husband had convincing. “I think he saw dollar signs in the beginning,” Goodman says. “But following the first pair of tiles in the bathroom was installed, he found how the space was able to breathe and find another life.”

The designer altered exactly what she says was once a”run-down, characterless” home into a traditional residence that contrasts Mediterranean — a style Goodman calls California Mediterranean — and perfectly matches the family’s laid-back lifestyle.

at a Glance
Location: Long Beach, California
Size: 4,500 square feet
Designer’s question: Obtaining the husband to Understand the value of an interior designer’s job

Darci Goodman Design

The sea, clouds and sand motivated the living room’s palette. The traditional, symmetrical furniture positioning gets an update from turquoise accents and coastal castles: a selection of coralreefs, seashells and starfish, and Mediterranean floral throw pillows in varying colors and patterns.

Coffee table: Restoration Hardware; club chairs: Noir Furniture

Darci Goodman Design

Goodman’s clients threw a tiny foliage into their home’s coastal combination in this tablescape arrangement of branches and cut flowers. The composed symmetry of the candleholders, framed photos and cupboard drawers is tousled from the sudden curves of these potted branches and flowers, including organic allure.

Darci Goodman Design

Sea grass and abaca chairs, a customized wood table and brass chandeliers add organic texture into the dining area; the timber tones bring warmth into the crisp white walls.

Dining chairs: Pottery Barn; dining table: habit, Darci Goodman; chandeliers: Restoration Hardware

Darci Goodman Design

The traditional and subdued gray-green colour of the powder room cupboard and masculine captain’s mirror have been softened from the skinny and playful starfish wall display.

Related: 10 Artful Powder Rooms

Darci Goodman Design

The styled windows, country-chic color pendant and classic rolled-rim tub bring an elegant and classic flair into the bathroom; the Mediterranean-inspired hassock functions as a stool and a horizontal surface on which to throw clothes and towels.

Bathtub: classic, Kohler; pendant: customer’s

Darci Goodman Design

Photos of the women along with other household members pepper the house with memories and warmth. An enlarged picture of the women on top of child-friendly soft-closing drawers leans against the wall.

Dresser: Ordinal, Anthropologie

Darci Goodman Design

Goodman gave this turquoise framework to her customers when she had been asked to assist with a party that had been thrown at their house. She discovered the framework and thought of the couple; the quote reflects their”loving character toward each other,” she states. Goodman adds that she could not resist”adding a different splash of turquoise” into the home’s interior.

Darci Goodman Design

The customers wanted their children to get the freedom to play and grow in the home and with the local children who’ve become their intimate friends. Goodman explains her customers’ community as one where children still play in the streets and parents fulfill outside to grab on their lives. “This is a throwback to a different age,” she states.

Darci Goodman Design

The women use their doors as sport props for”all kinds of make-believe,” Goodman says. The doors give the children the perfect mixture of whimsy and privacy, letting them call out to each other within the open top door.

Darci Goodman Design

Meals are eaten at the dining table, but friends and family can pull up a stool around the kitchen island for your in-between hours.

Whenever Goodman looks at pictures of the home, she feels a tremendous sense of pleasure; the spouse’s vision of a house that wasn’t too traditional, decorated or shabby was attained and extended throughout the whole home’s design. She”didn’t want to go overboard with all the shabby role, but she did want the laidback, relaxed feel of a shabby chic house, which I think we achieved,” says Goodman.

As for your husband, Goodman says that he eventually sang her praises.

See related

18 Winners from the Architect's Toolbox

Over the past several months I have been working on an assortment of posts that identify and describe different tools that architects and other designers use when designing a house. These tools (proportion, layers, relations, happy accidents and more) can help create a house that’s more than an easy shelter — a house that fills more than a pragmatic need. Using those tools in a proficient manner will likely lead to a house that inspires and nurtures you.

Mahoney Architects & Interiors

Scale and proportion. These are two of the simplest tools to use incorrectly. Who hasn’t seen an ill-proportioned elevation or space? Maybe the columns are too thin or the windows too significant. In any case, as it goes wrong it can be very unsettling. So getting scale and proportion right is something that architects and designers try to find.

Eck | MacNeely Architects inc..

Located spaces. Not every space is foreground or background. Some spaces are simply in between.

Sometimes we create this type of space to stake a claim to get a space of their own and at times it’s to create a transition between the two. No matter the case, find out how architects and designers create these in-between spaces.

LDa Architecture & Interiors

Vestibules. Originally conceived as an air lock to keep gusts of cold winter air from entering the home, the vestibule has taken on a personality all its own.

Not very inside nor outside, a vestibule is supposed to be a transitional area that keeps rain, mud and unwelcome guests from the house appropriate. These transitional spaces, even though more common on older homes, can make their way into a more modern aesthetic, as can be seen here.

Randy Brown

Bridges. For a number of sites, the ideal solution to connect the home to its property is a bridge. Whether tenuous, ethereal, forceful or lively, a bridge could create a desired transition space between outside and inside, between landscape and home.

See how bridges can create these transitions and choose a part of their own.

Bosworth Hoedemaker

Roofs. There are many important functions to get a roof. Though its primary purposes is to lose water and protect us from the elements, a well-thought-out roof does much more. It can tether us to the landscape or let us soar upward and away. Along with the very best roofs can do both at exactly the same time.

Connections. Homes connect to the ground in various ways. Some burrow and anchor themselves in the ground. Others gently touch down at the minimum way. Some appear to slip along the surface, seeming like they can slide to and fro.

Placing the way a house is connected to the floor goes well beyond technical, structural issues and speaks to how we understand our connection to the ground.

Watch a few of the possibilities here.

Eck | MacNeely Architects inc..

Layers. Art and designers use spatial layering to make smaller spaces appear larger and more interesting by connecting to — or suggesting — spaces outside. We can create this effect by breaking up a space into bits that have defined beginnings and finishes utilizing framed openings, columns and “floating” walls to indicate more. The outcomes are richly complex spaces.

Smith & Vansant Architects PC

Considered hallways. So many halls are handled as afterthoughts throughout the design procedure. Instead of being contemplated spaces that can enhance our everyday experiences, these hallways allow us feel like the proverbial mouse scurrying to and fro.

This does not need to be the case, because these glorious halls manifest.

Winn Wittman Architecture

Rotations. A rotated square and motion along a diagonal are just two apparatus architects and designers use to achieve accent and a feeling of greater size.

Both instruments rely on a grid of 90 degrees — and the sudden introduction of an element askew from that grid.

Dara Rosenfeld Design

Bedrooms inside a room. Art and designers occasionally create a room within a room to reduce the scale and provide a more romantic setting — nesting a space within an area, a little like Shaker nesting boxes along with Russian matryoshka dolls.

So next time you get beneath the covers of your own four-poster bed or engage in a conversation in an inglenook by the fire, do not forget that you’re appreciating the kind of space architects are generating for centuries.

Watch some recent examples here.

Smith & Vansant Architects PC

Interior railings. Sure, building codes dictate that railings need to be a certain height, have the ability to withstand a certain force and be in a position to prevent a small world from passing through.

But railings are so much more. The code dictates are the beginning point. See how many architects use railings to bring a whole new dimension of style in their layouts.

Aleck Wilson Architects

Natural light. Art and designers relish the opportunity to explore ways to bring natural light indoors. Whether it comes through a side window, skylight or natural light enlivens a space.

One of the wondrous facets of this design element is how the light varies with the time of day and the seasons. Capturing and shaping this light will enhance your house and your life in the most basic and profound ways.

Dick Clark + Associates

Open corner windows. The traditional method of making a space is to construct four partitions, each connected and perpendicular to the adjoining wall. Doors and windows can then cut or “punched” into the walls to join rooms and present views and light. This all started to change in the 19th century when architects started to create “cornerless” rooms.

Eliminating the defined corners of this space was just like removing the corners of a square bowl. The space within the area, such as the water within the bowl, would flow freely, spilling out to the adjoining rooms and the exterior, due to modern glass and glazing technology, as can be seen here.

Searl Lamaster Howe Architects

Window particulars. Even though there are many designs and sizes of windows, my favorites have reduced sills, tall heads and deep shows. See why here.

Kipnis Architecture + Planning

Solar electricity. In a current ideabook we toured a smartly designed house as one that’s respectful of Earth. In a second story, we introduced the Hudson Passive Project, a house that relies almost entirely on the sun because of its cooling and heating. Taking advantage of the sun’s power is growing in importance as a design tool.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

Rain displays. Better materials and practices, including tighter envelopes, have made our homes easier to cool and heat and much more efficient. Gone are the times of drafty windows and doors, sky-high energy bills and uncomfortable rooms.

But of course there’s a side effect to owning a house that does not flow energy from every crack and gap. Moisture buildup within our walls and also a lack of clean air coming into the house can create poor air quality. Watch how the downsides could be mitigated if constructing a more efficient house.

AIA, Bud Dietrich

Happy accidents. I have long since learned that not every event could be controlled, not every outcome predicted. I have discovered that, in actuality, an unexpected outcome could offer a joyous surprise that enriches life.

Witt Construction

Symmetry. Stand in front of a mirror and look on your own. Draw an imaginary line down the center of your face and torso. Chances are good that your left and right sides match and that you’re symmetrically composed. Not too symmetrically composed, mind you — there is going to be a small variation from side to side. Small differences add interest and keep items from becoming too static.

Explore how architects create and use symmetry in their layouts.

See related

'Soft Modern' Style Offers Best of Both Worlds

Defined by right lines, neutral colors and minimal ornamentation, modern style can split a bunch in two. Some adopt the style and can’t envision their environments with no. Others believe it cold and need nothing to do with it.

A modern aesthetic can even define a lifestyle, with its strict no-clutter policy. That is the tricky part for me personallypersonally: the part that is no-clutter. I really like things and will always have special items in my house which remind me of good times. I believe minimalism to be a bit of a bummer. An individual can go overboard with stuff.

I’ve noticed some fantastic distances on that be able to strike a happy balance by warming up the cold and introducing an extremely thoughtful mixture of well-curated details without clutter. I predict this “soft modern,” and it works with several different kinds of design. Notice how designers are mixing curved edges with straight lines, pairing colorful pattern with neutrals and leading the charge of this no-clutter nation.

Amy Lau Design

I really like this space. With mainly straight lines, all of the bits feel quite clean and modern. The great contrast of this timber dining table and grass cloth against the stark white sideboard are extremely pleasing to the eye. An organic wood lamp is paired with the sideboard to decorate this look. Notice how the elegant chandelier is a sharp contrast to the squared-off borders of this table.

Dufner Heighes Inc

The center pieces in this space feel modern, from the oak canopy bed into the iconic Hans Wegner Papa Bear Chair. On the other hand, the blue colour of this suede wallpaper and billowy curtains soften this modern bedroom.

Rachel Reider Interiors

The geometric profile of this table paired with the overscale abstract artwork resonates modern. The colorful palette of this art and accessories creates a softer, more approachable general style.

Beth Dotolo, ASID, RID, NCIDQ

The traditional modern architecture of this area is equaled by the colorful zigzag pattern of the rug. Jewel tones are pulled out of the rug and replicated in the throw pillows. Though this space doesn’t read as silent, it still feels modern and sleek.

Get Floored With a Bold Area Rug

Only the simple addition of the natural wood stool and the orange toss pillows makes this room feel soft and textured despite the otherwise modern, neutral palette.

Amy Lau Design

Within this fantastic bedroom that the classic, modern lines of these beds and nightstand are softened from the splash of citron everywhere. With this powerful color or coordinating accessories, the space would feel much more minimalist and not as interesting. Throwing in a punchy colour is just one simple way to soften modern details.

Venegas and Company

I really like this sleek space. Again the modern lines and shapes in the cabinetry and tile are softened from the finish on the rift-cut walnut cabinets. The soft, driftwood feel of the finish is an excellent contrast to all the squared-off angles.

Amy Lau Design

Geometrics generally read as modern. But with the accession of sheer curtains and organic-shape furniture, also with minimal clutter, the overall effect this is soft modern.

Rachel Reider Interiors

The sitting area in this master bedroom has been graced with the timeless Arco Lamp from Design Within Reach. This typically modern mild of metal and stone is softened with the curves of this seat and dining table. A soft palette of sky blue, chartreuse and plum further soften the dreamy mood.

Tell us : Can you consider a soft modern style for your property? Allow me to know your thoughts in the Remarks section.

So Your Design Is: Midcentury Modern
So Your Design Is: Transitional

See related

Charming, Rustic Lakefront Cabin at Minnesota

What is new is old — very literally in the case of the charming cabin. The owners bought the property with the intent of tearing it down, but after meeting with four unique builders and using plans drawn up three times, they fought the idea. They then met with Lands End Development and eventually found a firm that shared their vision for maintaining the appearance of a 1920s lake cottage. The house has been taken down to the studs — leaving the first fieldstone fireplace intact — along with the renovation started.

Nevertheless, this totally rebuilt house is imbued with the sense that it’s been in existence for years. Working closely with Lands End Development and their in-house designer, Michelle Fries, the owners were closely involved with each the architectural and decorating choices. These three different viewpoints turned into a winning triumvirate.

Their combined mission was to provide the house a comfortable, timeworn appearance. “The owners were planning for a long time and had plenty of ideas on how best to make the house feel like it had been in existence for a while,” says Fries. “They opted to go with reclaimed pine flooring, decided to not use any drywall except in the closets and were responsible for a lot of the collected look of the furnishings and finishes.” What is new? What is old? Let the games begin.

at a Glance
Who resides here: Dana and Mike Jacob, who use this as a year-round weekend house
Location: Woman Lake, Central Minnesota
Size: 1,300 square feet
That’s intriguing: Woman Lake is a portion of a four-lake chain that includes Child Lake, Girl Lake and Little Woman Lake.

Michelle Fries, BeDe Design, LLC

The walls, ceilings and floors throughout the cabin are walnut. “Since there’s so much wood, we put a stain on the beams so they would stand out,” says Fries. “We pulled some of this colour from the floor and also used the same stain on the fireplace mantel. Overall, it offers a more layered texture when you walk into the house.” A map of Woman Lake hangs over a mantel decorated with things like a red candle lantern along with a classic wicker fishing basket. On the left, a coatrack has been fashioned out of oars.

The sleeper couches were bought from Slumberland for its first cabin, and the pillows are from Pottery Barn.

Michelle Fries, BeDe Design, LLC

The kitchen has been purposely designed with a mix of cabinet fronts to increase the home’s collected look. “When I was growing up, you would walk into a person’s cabin and there are a random mix of kitchen cabinets,” says Fries. “Nothing matched; it had been all about function. This is a contemporary spin on that same type of feeling.” The cupboards are knotty alder, along with the darker-stained ones to the left of this stove hide the fridge. “The Jacobs had the Elmira cooker in their heads from the start of the project, which also drove the overall appearance of the room,” says Fries.

An old ladder hangs over a dining table built by Lands End Development. Dana attached ropes into candleholders and then hung them from the ceiling. She sticks out the decorations and candles to coordinate with the season. To the right, a buffet shirts an integrated wine rack.

Michelle Fries, BeDe Design, LLC

The Saturnia granite counter enclosing the sink has been extended a chunky appearance with a 21/2-inch rock-face ledge. The counters by the cooker and on the buffet are wood, another contrasting element that adds to the pulled-together-over-time look of the room. A lot of the cabinetry hardware has been left over from the old cabin and then supplemented with pieces found on the internet.

Michelle Fries, BeDe Design, LLC

“You will find red accents throughout the home,” says Fries. “It is quite ‘up north Minnesota’ to find a lot of red in cottages, along with plaids. It is the sign of a cottage.” That spirit is alive and well in the master bedroom, that has a small nightstand that Dana Jacob already owned, striped drapes from Bed, Bath and Beyond, and bedding from JCPenny. The bed belonged to some close family friend of the Jacobs’.

Michelle Fries, BeDe Design, LLC

The charm factor continues in the bathroom, where a sewing table that had been in Dana Jacob’s family for years has been transformed into a vanity. The Murano container spout from Thompson Dealers and a long-neck tap from Delta Victorian add some height. Vertical beadboard walls and whirlpool shower doors contribute to the homey feeling of this room. “We wanted to stick with a unique cottage feel, thus a frameless glass door did not fit in,” says Fries. “And we also wanted light to leak into the shower.” The tumbled travertine tiles were chosen to add feel to the room.

The mirrored medicine cabinet was made from among the older cabin’s windows, as well as the antique claw-foot bath was restored by Lands End Development. The fixture is from Murray Feiss.

Michelle Fries, BeDe Design, LLC

Every one of those cozy sleeping nooks includes its own window and can be illuminated by means of a fixture that has been made out of old fish lights bought from Christmas Point. Fries clarifies that “due to the way the lot is graded, we had to gain elevation when we inserted the guest bedroom [accessed through the door at the back of the photo]. So stairs were necessary, and also the concept we decided on was to make a bunk hallway. It accomplishes the practical demand for the stairs and adds extra sleeping area.” The bedding is from Northern Exposure, and the pillows were awarded as gifts to the Jacobs.

Michelle Fries, BeDe Design, LLC

Set in an acre of land, the log-sided cabin comes with a covered porch. The entrance leads into the living room. The guest bedroom and bunk hallway are to the left.

Michelle Fries, BeDe Design, LLC

French doors on the lake-facing side of the cabin open into the living room, and the kitchen is on the right. Dover post fixtures from Troy Lighting sit on rock columns. The building in the back is presently used for storage, but the Jacobs plan to turn it into a sauna.

Michelle Fries, BeDe Design, LLC

Who doesn’t love an outdoor shower? “It is one of the things that’s put in at a lot of these cottages,” says Fries. “It is such a luxury to take a quick outdoor shower after coming a day off to the boat.” A nearby door (not visible in this photograph) provides entry to the house.

Since completing this project, Michelle Fries has started her own firm, BeDe Design.

Guest Groups: A Stylish Small Cottage

Cozy Vermont Cabin Blanketed in Charm

See related

Garden Design Essentials: Texture

At least 2 of those senses come into play when you bring texture to the landscape: touchand sight.

Marjorie Elliott Bevlin composed in Design Through Discovery: The Elements and Principles, “Textures are so much part of our environment we generally take them for granted.”

Nothing can be truer in the outdoor world. Everything from sleek, polished river rocks to thorny agave plants comes with an inherent texture. But texture can be viewed. Visual texture is an important design component for capturing the drama of light or shadow against surfaces or lending depth, measurement and definition in comparison.

Touch: Give your backyard a tactile quality with the addition of masses of soft, fuzzy, or feathery plants to the places where your ankles or hands will brush against them. Touching the velvety leaves of lamb’s ears can trigger any number of emotions — most likely pleasurable ones.

Sight: The most elementary rule I follow in creating minutes of visual texture is to pair bold foliage with nice foliage. Another way to express this is with plant forms and amorphous ones. Each reads more uniquely when placed in juxtaposition to the other.

This suggestion works equally well with the surfaces of distinct outdoor fabrics, together with plants in a container garden, or in a dramatic boundary, seen from a distance.

And remember, texture doesn’t have to be messy or busy. Give yourself the challenge of blending two key plants as a signature duo then replicate that pairing across the landscape to get a sublime and sophisticated appearance.

More in this series: Utilizing Lines in Garden Design | Using Rhythm in Garden Design

Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture

As powerful as a black and white photograph, texture can be dramatic when the colors remain the same. Here, a sleek cast-stone paver rests in a bed of pebbles, too in the exact same concrete colour. The eye will immediately read this pairing as a pleasing texture contrast. The soft feather grass lends a surprising accent.

Debora carl landscape layout

This low-water layout is anything but dreary. It is a fabulous example of using contrasting textures such as effect, especially in a small space. The needle-fine blue fescue grasses appear soothing as a carpet beneath bold-shaped, red-tinged Kalanchoe, also known as throw plant. I’m unsure which cultivar the designer used, but one that is similar is that the aptly called Kalanchoe thyrsiflora ‘Bronze Sculpture’.

Debora carl landscape layout

Here’s a textural burst in a container garden, based around the dramatic variegated Aeonium, a succulent which has a different, flowerlike arrangement.

One of the popular variegated forms is called Aeonium decorum ‘Sunburst’. Notice how this magnificent plant commands our attention, but also how it’s complemented by narrow, small-leafed and trailing succulent forms. They look happy to allow the sunny Aeonium take center stage.

Studio H Landscape Architecture

Most textures, 1 colour. An all-green planting scheme does a good job of demonstrating our attention reads textures in a single palette. The row of feathery papyrus stalks is silhouetted in front of a retaining wall, whereas the curved clipped-box contours on the hillside above have a heavier quantity. Collectively, these distinct green textures produce a pleasing visual tension — and balance.

Philpotts Interiors

Texture is an important layout component when you are selecting outdoor fabrics and furniture. Here, the picture all-weather upholstery plays well with the huge bird of heaven foliage seen past the lanai.

Those two fearless impressions are balanced with the finely woven wicker seats along with the polished wood side table. This setting has been an invitation to relax, feel the breezes and revel in the moment.

Molly Wood Garden Design

All the foliage is lush, green and textural, although the hardscape, pergola/awning and furniture upholstery is glossy and white. What a relaxing garden room.

I like the only suggestion of colour comes from the trees and trees as well as the turquoise accent cushions. The texture story continues where the concrete walkway appears to float over a gravel bed.

Huettl Landscape Architecture

Various textures and colours combine here to get a stunning vignette. Even if this layout had no colour, your eye would still read the a variety of textures, from the long, slender wands of lavender to the threaded blue grass at the base of the Japanese maple tree, with its burgundy, palm-shape leaves. Threadlike golden conifer textures occupy the front of this bed.

Don Ziebell

Here is a favorite quote from Design Through Discovery (Bevlin) on texture, which this open-air living room illustrates: “Tough textures … have a warmth about them which makes most men and women feel at ease — the sorts of textures seen in brick and stone, jagged wall surfaces, and in thick carpets and nubby draperies.”

Tough textures abound here: rustic wood for the fireplace mantel and exposed beams; woven wicker furniture, irregular brick pavers and mortared rock for the fireplace and walls. Every one these surfaces are organic and comforting.

Tracy Stone AIA

The surface textures within this spalike outdoor shower space make it so very special. According to the designer : “The shower now offers a deck of ironwood, smooth-trowel plaster walls and an enclosure made of recycled resin panels with embedded reeds.” The privacy panel using an embedded reeds echoes the nearby planting of reedlike horsetail (Equisetum hyemale) — a pleasant, textural touch.

Utilizing Lines in Garden Design

Utilizing Rhythm in Garden Design

See related

How to Attract Birds to Your Garden

Our feathered friends are much like us — they simply want a place where they feel at home. Here are a couple of suggestions to create your house a welcoming place for birds to shake a tail feather throughout the seasons. Be ready year-round, since migrating birds may discover your spot a destination destination if others have gone south.

Between Naps on the Porch

Everyone wants a roof overhead and a good meal. This landscape, right to a climate that gets lots of rain, supplies both. That said, there are a couple of strategies that can transform any backyard into a joyful bird house. While I naturally concentrate on illustrations in my native California, these four simple strategies can be applied anywhere, in any zone.

Las Pilitas Nursery

Create habitat. For multifamily housing, think about planting a native tree or two. Birds of a feather not just flock together, they flock into the trees they know. For example, there are hundreds of California indigenous bird species that is only going to make their houses in native pine trees. Birding publications are a great source of information to find out what habitat your favorite feathered friends seek.

Gainey Store

Little Bird Feeder – $65

Serve dinner. Nectar and seed claws, like a good Zagat score, will bring the hungry. Here, again, local birding novels can be informative, and understanding which birds you hope to host can also be helpful. For example, robins follow a strict Atkins diet (high-protein worms just, thank you), while hummingbirds subsist on sugary snacks and bugs.

Las Pilitas Nursery

If you would rather save time and money and handle your feathered guests very nicely, look into native seed- and – fruit-bearing foliage. For example, that Coffeeberry (Rhamnus californica) provides a feast for fowl from Oregon to Baja.

Las Pilitas Nursery

For the greatest bang for your dollar, assess bird bed-and-breakfasts that provide both preferred habitat and diet. For example, many California native birds like the acorn feast made by the coast live oak, which is also a favorite community habitat.

Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture

Host happy hour. Goldfinches sip from water columns in this farmer’s cabin. This rain string likely feeds the neighborhood watering hole. Other favourite happy hour places include birdbaths and biological ponds.

Cassy Aoyagi, FormLA Landscaping

Enjoy the company. You never know who may create your location home. (Yes, that’s a real red-tailed hawk bathing.)

Tell us Have you applied any of these strategies? Please show your successes off below.

See related

So That Your Style Is: French Country

What it is: Just like it sounds, French country style springs from the gentle hills and valleys of rural France. It’s an unstudied, collected approach, constructed on firmly entrenched regional customs and on cherished objects handed down through generations. Simple and sincere yet effortlessly elegant, it satisfies the soul as far as the eye.

Why it works: The French tend toward an inherent sense of taste and refinement that keeps this unassuming style from feeling pedestrian. Inspired by instinct along with a knack for striking a balance, French country décor constantly finds its centre, no matter how many disparate components you throw in the mix. It marries an old-world sensibility having a border of elegance that keeps it perennially fresh.

You’ll enjoy it if … all your bathroom products are lavender blossom. You love getting your hands dirty in the garden. You crave stability and can’t endure discord. You believe wine tastes much better in a chunky tumbler than the usual stem glass. Move over, Julia Child — you create the meanest coq au vin around.

Much More ‘So Your Design Is’:
Conventional | Arts & Crafts | Art Deco | Hollywood Regency | Rustic | Old World | Cottage
Transitional | Contemporary | Midcentury Modern | Industrial | Eclectic | Coastal | Preppy

Warmington & North

Style Secret: Simple, Stylish Furnishings

You know those men and women who can rifle through the clearance clothing rack and emerge with a outfit which looks like a thousand dollars? It’s the same with all the French and their furnishings, which nimbly straddle the line between elegance and performance. Though French country pieces are largely free of the vases which historically have marked more affluent French design, they’re shapely and well scaled, with an eye toward equilibrium. And because the rural French of old needed to be sure every piece would work its toughest, it is not unusual to see multifunctional case merchandise or other furnishings which can transition into where they’re needed most.

In keeping with all the accumulated look, steer clear of matchy-matchy furniture sets. Instead, mix wood pieces in a variety of organic finishes.

New-world chic: The seating area above epitomizes the French country strategy to furniture. The fauteuil seats, table and shelf all mix in sophisticated yet unstudied stability, tied together by the colour scheme of gentle whites and dove grays. They have just enough decorative boom to lift them over the strictly practical, however they’re on no account gaudy or overdone.

Style Secret: Flowers

Blurring the boundaries between inside and outside is a cornerstone of life in France’s rural areas (really, throughout the united states). Thus, no French country interior is complete without flowers, whether they’re clustered in a pottery vase, blooming on linen upholstery or carved into a wooden mirror frame.

Fresh blossoms and foliage should look as if they could have come out of a garden just beyond the doorway, organized casually and without affectation. Choose flowers that flourish in the areas where the style originated: sunflowers, irises, poppies.

New-world chic: The group on this breakfast table feels homey, cheerful and completely welcoming. The jug of flowers is the star of the scene, with encouraging players (a bowl of fruit, a rooster-bedecked pitcher) amplifying the impression of country living.

Adeeni Design Group

Style Secret: Clear, Warm Colors

Whether they’re bright, deep or pale, French country colours have a gentleness about them which contrasts to instant relaxation. Whites are warm, not stark; believe cream, ecru, ivory. Other colours pull straight from the landscape: Beautiful sages and lavenders, sunny yellows and sky blues, peony pinks and brick reds.

New-world chic: Basically, this kitchen and dining area comprises a trio of main colours. Yet the nuances in the palette take them to more sophisticated territory: creamy yellow, rich red, dull royal blue. Since the stronger colours are used only in small dabs, they do not hamper the laidback mindset of their room.

Amy of Maison Decor

Style Secret: Accents With Purpose

Rarely will accessories in a French country room be purely decorative. They usually have an undertone of viability: wall-hung plates which can be pulled down to get support, jugs and jars which home kitchen staples, baskets which corral plump produce from the garden. Open shelving is a natural partner with this look — everyday things enjoy pride of place instead of languishing behind cabinet doors.

New-world chic: The oversize candelabra on this table anchors the room however also serves a purpose. It harks back to the days when candles and fires were the primary light source for the farmers and peasants of the French countryside. Even though it holds its own with decorative swoops and swirls, its performance keeps it from feeling pretentious.

The Lettered Cottage

Style Secret: Layered Fabrics

Just enjoy the furnishings, French country fabrics make an artful, engaging potpourri. Toile is your quintessential print for this style, but throw in a couple of notes of gingham, stripes, florals and solids to get a pleasing pastiche. Textural fabrics, such as lace, tapestry and matelassé, give the visual interest that the look needs. Avoid formal textiles like damask, which can feel too prim.

New-world chic: 2 distinct toiles unite with oversize gingham checks in this airy bedroom, unified from the lavender palette (a nice nod to the lavender which blossoms across French areas). The soft, swooping canopy adds just the ideal touch of elegance and drama.

Read thousands of bedrooms

Zuniga Interiors

Style Secret: Soft Weathering

At a style that’s intended to reflect longevity and heritage, spanking-new furnishings and accents stand out. Instead, French country requires just a tiny dust and rust. Painted pieces should feel stressed, like they’ve withstood years of wear and use. Bypass shiny metals in favor of wrought iron, burnished bronze or pewter, instead with a couple dings and scuffs. You can even get away with a slightly frayed coverlet or even a threadbare spot on a cushion.

New-world chic: This inviting seats vignette feels as though there is a story behind each piece in it — it is just like the most stylish group of hand-me-downs possible. Even the brand new things whisper old. The faded colours of these fabrics feel perfectly in accordance with the patina of the woods.

Susan Serra

Design Secret: Textural Surfaces

No stainless steel or minimalist tile — French country surfaces demand visual depth and use their imperfections proudly. Cloak the walls in plaster, stucco, rock, or a mix of three throughout the home. When it is implemented with a practiced hand, a thick layer of drywall mud can be a less expensive solution to these pricier substances. In the event you choose simply to paint the walls, consider a glaze or other treatment which will stop them from feeling flat. For those flooring, cherry and slate, natural timber and tumbled earthen tile strike the right notes.

New-world chic: The scope hood within this kitchen is covered in tiny mosaic tiles — a riff on tradition, but it works because it approximates the rough look of a more traditional French country surface. The raised detailing on the backsplash enriches the sense of measurement.

K & M Designs

Style Secret: Roosters

Much of the appeal of French country style lies in a sprinkle of vibrant accents — and what is more iconic than the princely rooster? The challenge would be to limit yourself: There’s such a glut of rooster-themed bric-a-brac in the market which it’s easy to get caught up in the madness and get a space that’s more Old MacDonald than old France. Instead, pick one or two pieces, such as a kitchen rug, a cookie jar or a painting. Then practice the art of restraint.

New-world chic: Notwithstanding the statuette which crows from the island, this kitchen keeps the rooster details. The three-dimensional detail on the scope hood blends into the background until you look carefully. The backsplash over the cooktop, a hand-painted farm scene, complements the poultry pieces in a more subtle manner.

Much More ‘So Your Design Is’:
Conventional | Contemporary | Transitional | Cottage | Eclectic | Industrial | Coastal | Arts and Crafts | Hollywood Regency

French Country Blend
French Kitchen Design

See related

Design Tastemaker: Catalina Estrada's Fantastical Backgrounds

Item designer Catalina Estrada considers herself an artist first — probably why her Current wallpaper collection for Coordonné has Got the artistic gravitas of a mural. ” [Product design] was something I started discovering on the way. I started receiving proposals from different customers, and I thought it’d be a wonderful idea to give it a try. But when I got the pre-samples, I fell in love with everything; it is very amazing to see the way my examples fit in different goods,” says Estrada.

Catalina Estrada

Catalina Estrada

A home office (first photo) is changed to a stunning night scene in the forests. In this photo, a rustic midcentury living room turns to an almost psychedelic setup.

What and who are your design inspirations?
I’d say the Arts and Crafts artists, using their obsession for details and ornaments.

Catalina Estrada

What projects are you working on today?
I am working on a lot of projects at precisely the same time: bed covers, handbag lines, travel bags and more — all of them very exciting projects. I am also fairly focused on building my own brand.

Catalina Estrada

Estrada’s fantastic interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood.

What inspires your work?
I have been very lucky to travel a lot, and this was a great source of inspiration for all I do. I take inspiration from many sorts of music, art — notably folk art — design, movies and style. I especially enjoy Latin American musicians, musicians and writers. Virtually anything or anyone that touches my emotions can easily inspire me.

Catalina Estrada

“I have always been attracted to character, dating back to my early youth in Colombia’s countryside,” says Estrada. The elements of her upbringing — critters, blossoms, gardens and colour — are all a part of her favourite images, which explains why the Coordonné collection is such a special selection and assortment for Estrada.

Catalina Estrada

This wallpaper pattern in an Easter egg palette is less stimulating than the remaining scenes and patterns from Estrada’s Coordonné collection, which makes it a fantastic choice for the bedroom.

Can you still draw by hand, or is everything in your workplace electronic?
I draw hand my own artwork projects.

Catalina Estrada

Here, the dining table’s foundation is converted into a striking work of art.

Estrada dedicates her first blog post to her mother, from whom she “inherited [her] love for colors.” Estrada also credits her mother’s house for a website of inspiration, “a place of dreams, vibrant and stunning colors … lovely memories,” she states.

Catalina Estrada

The most significant thing in your work desk is …
I want some sort of visual order, so aside from my pc, I try to maintain as few things on the desk as I can, otherwise I can’t work very well.

Q: If you could pick one colour to live with for the rest of your life, which is it and why?
For me personally, one color only is simply not an alternative.

Wallpaper: The Bold and the Gorgeous
DIY Project: Wallpaper Goes Mobile
Turn a Wall to a Window With the Magic of Allergic Wallpaper

See related