Form and Foliage

Wild is wonderful, but a garden that honors precision and placement speaks to us in an equally remarkable way. Gardenista looks to the symmetry and geometry of French gardens in this compilation of great ideas for outdoor spaces. The beauty of some of these juxtapositions — a manicured lawn and a vivid tangle of roses; shapely rows of hedges and the explosion of small flowers across a brick wall or trellis — is deeply gratifying.

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Timely Trends

Even the most time-honored traditions in interior design are amenable to fresh inspiration. The Aesthete takes us to the Kips Bay Decorator Show House in New York City for a stroll through some classic interiors, flush with new life. Marble and stone gleam with contemporary opulence; bas-reliefs and antique paneling become lavishly modern. Key trends clearly hinge on rooms replete with rich hues and homage to past splendors.

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A Cozy Conservatory

Temescal Alley is home to the recently relocated and expanded shop, Crimson Horticultural Rarities, where you will find unique and lovely living specimens to adorn your own living spaces. Plants, scents for home and body, gardening accoutrements, books and bits of curio fill and spill from every corner to create an enchanted realm that is remarkably local. San Francisco Cottages and Gardens magazine pays a visit to this cozy conservatory and lets us peek inside.

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Growing Downtown Oakland

It is undeniable that Oakland is experiencing a renaissance in popularity as a center for art and architecture, as well as an unprecedented surge in development, specifically in its downtown area. Oakland boasts more affordable living spaces and work studios than San Francisco can provide, but its steady growth as an epicenter for urbanism and innovation — ironically — may too quickly make it too exclusive and competitive a market for many of the people who currently call it home. This article from The Registry offers an incisive look into the varied layers of this conversation around Oakland’s flowering future.

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Durable Dimensions

The actual textured dimensions aren’t the only memorable facets of these wall panels built by the company Architectural Systems. They are also functionally resilient in significant ways: The stone used — recycled marble — is resistant to the elements and impervious to fire, making it ideal for both indoor and outdoor settings. The facades can be molded into a multitude of patterns — quarry stone, lava stone, wood grain, among others — all of which are striking in their detail and distinctness. Metropolis magazine offers a thorough look into the versatility and ingeniousness of these beautiful panels.

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Full of Ideas at Half Moon

In so many branches of our society, emphasis is rapidly shifting to how we can better approach the challenges of limited resources with sustainable practices. This program in Half Moon Bay called “Future Mavericks” seeks to blend ethics and aesthetics in visionary ways. It invites artists and designers to spend the summer exploring and executing ideas that are productive, progressive and ecologically sensitive. The beauty of the location plus the attuned mentoring this program promises will undoubtedly make for an extraordinary adventure. This essay at Design Observer gets excited about the future.

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Duet of Dark & Light

There is an everlasting beauty in the simple juxtaposition of black & white. California Home and Design gives us a taste of the wealth of variations inherent in this classic contrast. Clean, sharp, and graceful, these rooms exhibit how black & white can infuse a space with both modern, sharp style and casual, welcoming allure. Within the world of black & white, after all, there is a wealth of hues and shades; it’s up to you to decide how they intersect.

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What Lies Beneath

These brilliant rug designs, employing the materials and techniques indigenous to the Rabari tribe of western India, are a vivid example of how — contrary to popular belief — traditional motifs can abide by both classical and current aesthetic principles.  The husband-and-wife design team Doshi Levien commissions these rugs for their London-based company, with the aim of capturing the “serendipity” and imagination of this particular weaving process with the sophistication and skill involved in the creation of these lush, handmade compositions. These rugs become the meeting ground for tradition and innovation. Metropolis offers an insightful look into the practice.

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Oasis Outside Your Door

Some of the most complementary gardens are the ones that look inconspicuously yet perfectly coordinated with the home they enfold, promoting a feeling of connection to nature and serenity within it. The beautiful outdoor spaces designed by Judy Kameon and featured in her new book, “Gardens Are For Living,” seamlessly blend the majesty of a living landscape with the simplicity and functionality of common dwelling spaces, creating a dynamic periphery with the home at its heart. They inspire each other, quite literally. Architectural Digest features some enticing examples of Kameon’s work.

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Homeward Bound

What a dramatic way to invite nature into your home! This photo essay from California Home & Design presents a sampling of the beautiful, unique ways — both decorative and structural — a tree can become more than a tree. Centerpiece, canopy, anchor and art.

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