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Sourcebook for Cultivated Living

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    To wrap up our week of Instagram Inspiration, we're sharing our readers' favorite gardens around the world.

    We asked readers to share gardens they've spotted on trips by tagging their Instagram photos with #GardenistaTravels. Thank you to everyone who participated. After sifting through the photos, we've narrowed them down to 10 of our favorites. Join us for a quick global garden tour: 

    Highline, New York City, GardenistaTravels, by aktottawa | Gardenista

    Above: @aktottawa shares a glimpse of New York City's High Line Park. 

    Canberra, Australia, GardenistaTravels, by netherleighblog | Gardenista

    Above: The National Arboretum is just across this lake in Canberra, Australia via @netherleighblog

    Longwood Gardens in Philadelphia, GardenistaTravels, martyrich63 | Gardenista

    Above: A look at Longwood Gardens in Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia via @martyrich63.

    Instagram #GardenistaTravels via @wafflesoph

    Above: A courtyard in Garzon, Uruguay via @wafflesoph

    Instagram #GardenistaTravels via @cyncyncynsta

    Above: In the Yucatan, a shady spot in Mérida, Mexico via @cyncyncynsta

    Kamakura, Japan by erbafloral, GardenistaTravels | Gardenista

    Above: Overlooking Kamakura, Japan with @erbafloral

    Le Vermont Garden, GardenistaTravels | Gardenista

    Above: Tall daisies in Le Vermont, France by @fanyreyem

    Newport, Rhode Island by graygreengoods, GardenistaTravels | Gardenista

    Above: The Garden Pavilion at the Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island via @graygreengoods

    Oaxaca, Mexico by dilettante_gardener, GardenistaTravels | Gardenista

    Above: Cacti growing on the sidewalk in Oaxaca, Mexico via @dilettante_gardener

    Pine trees in Turkey via @staghornnyc | Gardenista

    Above: Small pine trees in Pamukkale, Turkey via @staghornnyc

    Itching to travel? Take a look at our City Guides. For more adventures see #RemodelistaTravels

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    Tired of seeing the same old thing on Pinterest, the Remodelista editors looked to Instagram for inspiration—and discovered a winter's worth of getaways. Let's travel with them:

     h2-hotel-coyuchi-sheets-remodelista

    Above: Are hotel sheets the ultimate luxury? Meredith rounds up the best in 10 Easy Pieces: Hotel Sheets.

    Drift-House-Port-Fairy-Victoria-Australia-suite two-Remodelista

    Above: Private veranda, check. Breeze, check. Snack hamper at check-in? We're there. Margot tours An Upstart B&B, Australia Edition.

    Frida-and-Diego-Pendant-Lights-from-CB2

    Above: Margot tracks down two versions—budget and luxe—of a festive woven hanging lamp that makes any room feel like a vacation. See her picks in High/Low: A Jaunty Hat-Shaped Lamp.

    Guana Island BVI ; Gardenista

    Above: If Julie mysteriously disappears without even a suitcase, send someone to check this white-washed villa. It's her idea of Paradise Found: Guana Island in the BVI.

    Hix Island House Vieques ; Gardenista

    Above: A favorite escape for architects in the winter? Vieques. Julie explains the lure in The Architect's Choice in Puerto Rico.

    For more of the Remodelista editors' Instagram feed finds, check out the rest of the week's coverage of Instagram Escapes.

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    We're willing to spring forward on Sunday only because it means we can get to Ikea an hour earlier. Goal: Window garden. Budget: $50. Shopping list:

    ikea-window-garden-gardenista

    National Geographic Photo of the Day, Nemophila flowers in Japan | Gardenista

    Pear Salad by Freunde von Freunden | Gardenista

    DIY Planters (good for kids) from Lonny Magazine | Gardenista

    • Above: Kid-friendly DIY beaded planter hangers. Photograph courtesy of Crafting Community. 
    • A beginner's guide to cut flowers

    Instagram and Pinterest Pick of the Week

    Gardenista Instagram Pick of the Week: @gtowey

    • Above: "Shopping for dinner" —@gtowey

    Gardenista Pinterest Pick of the Week:

    Above: Emma Galloway, a food writer in Perth, Australia, has pinned inspirational and useful tips for edible gardens in her Grow Your Own board. 

    Did you miss our week of Instagram Inspiration? Catch up here. Head over to Remodelista for Instagram Escapes

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    Jane Hedreen and David Thyer live in Seattle’s Capitol Hill in a grand 1910 house that takes up six city lots and was once occupied by a US senator. Join us on a tour of their atmospheric gardens, which speak of another century.

    Photographs courtesy of Flora and Henri, Jane Hedreen's children's clothing company.

    seattle-grand-facade-garden-entryway-gardenista

    Above: Jane and David's youngest daughter, Frances, 11, mans the front steps in a Flora and Henri silk Fancy Dress made in Spain (the line's sizes go from newborn to 12). The house's Italianate details, such as the stuccoed arched entry, Juliet balcony, and colonnaded French doors, are courtesy of a remodeling that took place in the 1920s for a senator who wanted a Palladian villa.

    Above: A pair of blue atlas cedars, planted when the house was built, form a towering, moving screen over the front walk.

    bedroom-view-window-atlas-blue-cedars-seattle-gardenista

    Above: The master bedroom has wall-to-wall views of the blue cedars.

    Above: The house came complete with a dreamy if neglected walled garden. Jane added an irrigation system as well as trimmed box and yew hedges for privacy. On her wish list: a lap pool down the middle.

    Above: The south side of the house has an orangerie, a leaded glass plant bay, off the dining room. The exterior is flanked by Japanese maples.

    Above: Unearthly looking Podophyllum by the kitchen door.

    Above: The garage/carriage house is thick with Boston ivy and other greenery, including a bed of Gunnera and Podophyllum in the sunken garden's old fountain.

    Above: Jungly rice paper plants and variegated foliage.

    Above: An indoor view of the orangerie planted with small olive trees, which have borne some fruit (Jane tried orange trees, but they succumbed to scales). It has a Tiffany tiled floor in bright blues and golds.

    seattle-garden-allium-vase-dining-room-table-gardenista

    Above: A long-stemmed allium from Jane's garden in an antique etched bud vase stands alongside Ted Muehling porcelain seashells and a Nymphenburg porcelain arm and miniature skull.

    For more of our favorite grand spaces, see:

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    This week we're celebrating California gardens (and dissecting a few favorites for ideas to steal). We'll visit Big Sur on a misty morning, create Hollywood glamor with metallic pots, and add romance with grasses. Join us for a week of ideas for indoor-outdoor living:

    Table of Contents: California Cool ; Gardenista

    Above: See 103 images of California Cool in our Gardenista Gallery of SoCal Gardens. Photograph by Lana Von Haught.

    Monday

    big-sur-cliffside-garden-fougeron-view-bedroom-gardenista

    Above: It's a 250-foot drop to the ocean from this cliffside garden in Big Sur. Take in the views with us in this week's Architect Visit.

    hand-forged-niwaki-hedge-shears-gardenista

    Above: In this week's installment of our new Gardenista 100 guide to the best products for gardens and outdoor living, we've compiled a wish list of Hand Tools to buy in 2015.

    Tuesday

      LA-Hancock-Park-metallic-pots-cactus-garden-gardenista

    Above: Worlds collide in LA's Hancock Park, where Old Hollywood glamor meets contemporary cool in this week's Garden Designer Visit. Photograph by Lana Von Haught.

    portable-fire-pit-Brasero-Sahraoui-gardenista

    Above: For your coming summer convenience, we've rounded up the best portable fire pits in this week's 10 Easy Pieces. Meanwhile, take a look at our list of less mobile outdoor cookers in 10 Easy Pieces: Fire Pits and Bowls and 10 Easy Pieces: Chimineas.

    Wednesday

    santa-ynez-garden-grasses-drought-tolerant-garden-pamela-burton-gardenista

    Above: In this week's Curb Appeal post, we've rounded up nine ideas for creating a painterly, romantic effect with drought-tolerant Perennial Grasses.

    Thursday

    Black facade Gundry Ducker ; Gardenista

    Above: Would you paint (or stain) a facade black? We explore the pros and cons of Black Facades in this week's Hardscaping 101 post.

    Friday

    10 Favorite Converted Garages, Garages Turned Into Living and Work Space | Gardenista

    Above: From surf shacks to garages transformed into tiny cottages, we visit our favorite California Outbuildings in this week's Roundups post.

    Over on Remodelista, Julie and team is headed to the West Coast for a look at California Cool interiors. Check out their report here.

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    The mist and mystery of the Big Sur coastline inspires grand gestures (remember social media mogul Sean Parker's over-the-top Game of Thrones wedding where guests reclined on fur pelt beds in the forest primeval?). Today we visit a cliffside garden that hovers 250 feet above the crashing Pacific.

    San Francisco-based architect Anne Fougeron designed a three-bedroom house with dramatic views (and the requisite walls of glass) and Marin-based landscape architect Eric Blasen surrounded it with a garden that thrives on medieval morning mist:

    Photography by Joe Fletcher via Fougeron Architecture.

    big-sur-cliff-side-garden-joe-fletcher-gardenista

    Above: To create the house, Fougeron designed two rectangular boxes connected by a glass-walled library. "The long, thin volume of the house conforms to the natural contours of the land and the geometries of the bluff, deforming its shape and structure in response, much like the banana slug native to the region's seaside forest," says Fougeron.

    Above: A double-cantilevered master bedroom on the lower lever of the house has floor-to-ceiling windows and dramatic views of the ocean.

    big-sur-cliffside-garden-fougeron-view-overlooking-ocean--gardenista

    Above: A concrete retaining wall offers shelter from the wind on the patio.

    big-sur-cliffside-garden-fougeron-view-bedroom-gardenista

    Above: Roof overhangs on the east and west facades protect the windows and the front door from sun and wind.

    big-sur-cliffside-garden-fougeron-view-steep-drop--gardenista

    Above: The northern exposure offers sweeping views of the ocean.

    big-sur-cliffside-garden-fougeron-view-overlooking-ocean--gardenista

    Above: The house is tucked into the cliffside 250 feet about the shoreline.

    big-sur-cliffside-garden-fougeron-view-drought-tolerant-plantings-gardenista

    Above: Grasses and drought-tolerant evergreen trees surround the house.

    big-sur-cliffside-garden-fougeron--metal-sided-facade--gardenista

    Above: The house is cantilevered over the cliff.

    big-sur-cliffside-garden-fougeron-view-kitchen-gardenista

    Above: The kitchen and living areas are on the upper level of the house.

    big-sur-cliffside-garden-fougeron--metal-sided-facade--gardenista

    Above:  Says Fougeron, "A one-story concrete wing perpendicular to the main volume holds the ground-floor bedrooms and has a green roof; it is the boulder that locks the house to the land."

    For more of our favorite misty spots on the California coastline, see:

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    Buy a good hand tool and it will last a lifetime (Exhibit A: Michelle's 25-year-old Felco pruners). For the second installment of our Gardenista 100 guide to the hundred best outdoor and garden products of 2015, we've rounded up both new and classic tools—to love now and, one day, pass on to the next generation of gardeners:

    Cutting Tools:

    Pruners

    French Leather Handled Pruners, Gardenista 100 Best Hand Tools | Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by John Merkl for Gardenista.

    These Leather Grip Bypass Pruners from Garrett Wade may look pretty with their leather-sheathed handles, but don't be fooled. They mean business. Ever since we had the pleasure of testing them, we've wanted a pair of our own. They're perfectly balanced, pleasantly weighted, and have forged steel blades to make quick work of bushes and small branches; $67.50. 

    Berger German Hand Pruners from Garrett Wade, Gardenista 100 Best Hand Tools | Gardenista

    Above: Also from Garrett Wade and new this spring to the company's offerings, the Premium Anvil Hand Pruner is made in Germany by trusted landscape toolmaker Berger. This is the only Anvil-style hand pruner in our mix, intended for cutting dead branches (leave the live cuts to the bypass blades); $64.75.

    Felco 2 Pruner, Gardenista 100 Best Hand Tools | Gardenista

    Above: The Felco No. 2 Pruner is the company's original model and the everyday favorite of LA-based landscape designer Judy Kameon, whose gardens surround the homes of celebrities Sofia Coppola and Mike D. of the Beastie Boys; $53.65. (For more on Kameon, see Required Reading: Gardens Are for Living.)

    Pruning Shears

    barnel_shears_britt_willoughby_dyer-gardenista

    Above: From Portland, OR, Barnel Hedge Shears are used by Steve Lannin, gardener to British landscape designer Arne Maynard at his Allt-y-Bela estate in Wales. The 27.5-inch lightweight shears are $52.99 on Amazon. (Watch the seasons change at Allt-y-Bela in A Gardener's Diary: A Year in Wales with Arne Maynard.)

    hand-forged-niwaki-hedge-shears-gardenista

    Above: New from Japanese toolmaker Niwaki, a pair of hand-forged Mamiya Shears set a high standard for craftsmanship. With carbon steel blades and white oak handles, they're made by a fourth-generation blacksmith near Tokyo; $204.17 from Niwaki.

    Okatsune Shears, Gardenista 100 Best Hand Tools | Gardenista

    Above: Niwaki's Okatsune Precision Hedge Shears are the tool of choice for Jake Hobson, a sculptor who shapes trees in the soft, billowy style known as cloud pruning. (Learn more in Topiary: Cloud Pruning as Arboreal Art.) Made in Japan with two-toned white oak handles, the shears are $85.66 on Amazon.

    Loppers

    anvil-loppers-gardenista

    Above: Anvil loppers. Photograph by John Merkl for Gardenista.

    There are two kinds of loppers: bypass loppers (with overlapping blades) and anvil loppers (with blades that meet to cut). We typically use bypass loppers for cutting live wood and anvil loppers for cutting dry or brittle wood. 

    bypass-loppers-gardenista

    Above: Bypass loppers. Photograph by John Merkl for Gardenista.

    We got to know Garrett Wade's premium pruning loppers when we featured in a Giveaway a while back; choose from heavy-duty Anvil Loppers ($60), Bypass Loppers ($40), or both for $85.

    Felco 21 Loppers, Gardenista 100 Best Hand Tools | Gardenista

    Above: Michelle uses Felco 21 loppers, made in Switzerland with adjustable bypass blades; $104.49. (For specific pruning needs, check the Felco Lopper Comparison Chart.)

    Digging Tools:

    Hand Trowel

    DeWitt Dutch Hand Trowel, Gardenista 100 Best Hand Tools | Gardenista

    Above: Dutch toolmaker DeWitt has been manufacturing garden tools in Holland for more than a century. We trust their Dutch Trowel, guaranteed to hold a sharp point and not bend; $28 at Terrain.

    Fisher Blacksmithing Trowel, Gardenista 100 Best Hand Tools | Gardenista  

    Above: This Garden Trowel from Fisher Blacksmithing is made the old-fashioned way: its steel is heated to a red glow, then shaped on an anvil with a hammer. Made in Bozeman, Montana, it has a sharp point to penetrate soil and a hand-turned black walnut handle; $58 on Etsy. (Meet the maker in Fisher Blacksmithing Tools for the Gardener.)

    Great-Dixter-Trowel-by-Sneeboer-gardenista

    Above: A specialized trowel from Dutch toolmaker Sneeboer, the Great Dixter Trowel has a particularly long and thin blade to make it easy to dig in narrow crevices and tight spots. It comes fitted with your choice of ash or cherry hardwood handle; $43.10 from Garden Tool Company.

    Digger

    Japanese Hori Hori Tool, Gardenista 100 Best Hand Tools | Gardenista

    Above: For devotees of the traditional Japanese hori hori tool, this one is a classic: made in Japan of stainless steel by Nisaku/Tomita, the Hori Hori Tool is $25.86 on Amazon. (With a California-made leather holster, the Tool and Leather Sheath Set is $39.50.) Learn more about the beloved tool in My Most Versatile Garden Tool: Hori Hori Knife

     

    Diggit Hori Tool, Gardenista 100 Best Hand Tools | Gardenista

    Above: For those of us who don't trust ourselves around sharp blades, the Diggit Hori Garden Knife is an alternative with an equally enthusiastic following. It's been reimagined with dull edges—sharp enough to cut through roots and sod, but dull enough to keep your hands safe—and a round handle comfortable enough to use all day. Made in Seattle, the knife is guaranteed not to rust—even if left outside all year long in Pacific Northwest rain; $35. 

    Cultivator

    Hand Made Cultivator, Gardenista 100 Best Hand Tools | Gardenista

    Above: This Three-Tine Hand Cultivator is hand made in Boring, Oregon; the tang is twisted into the wood handle so the joint will not come loose; $35.85 at Garden Tool Company. (Read about the maker in Red Pig Garden Tools, Hand-Forged in the USA). 

    Cultivator Made in Holland, Gardenista 100 Best Hand Tools | Gardenista

    Above: Gardener's Supply Company partnered with a fourth-generation family-owned business in Holland to manufacture a line of long-lasting basics. The Gardener's Lifetime Cultivator is made in Holland of Swedish steel; $29.95. 

    For more of our favorite hand tools (including some you didn't know you need), see:

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    California's great garden designers borrowed nearly every good idea they've had from earlier centuries, and yet have managed in a mere hundred years or so to create an original and instantly recognizable style. We have Thomas Church to thank for that.

    Church was California's first great landscape architect, and during the course of the 20th century he gave us outdoor rooms, the kidney swimming pool, and an unshakable belief that our lives should be connected to the landscape.

    "Gardens are for people," Church wrote in his 1955 book with the same title. During a career that spanned four decades, he designed more than 2,000 gardens that capitalized on California's perfect climate and the same restless urge for wide open spaces that propelled pioneers to cross mountains to get here. 

    Here are 10 garden ideas to steal from California landscape architect Thomas Church:

    Worship Trees

    olive-tree-andrea-cochran-california-garden-gardenista  

    Above: Photograph via Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture. For more of her work, see A Peaceful Retreat in Northern California.

    Design a landscape to take advantage of existing trees; they will block wind and provide shade better than any other solution you can devise. "It's no wonder that when we first think of a garden we think of a tree," said Church, who considered trees "the greatest single element linking us visually and emotionally with our surroundings."

    Some Trees Have Got to Go

    The job of a garden is to lure you outdoors to spend time in natural surroundings. A poorly sited tree—too big for your yard, or blocking a view—is a detriment, Church believed. "Consider pruning before chopping down; perhaps it is possible to both keep the tree and reveal the view it supposedly hides," he wrote. "On the other hand, some trees have got to go. It's sad but there is is. ... If a tree is choking your house or yard, by all means get rid of it."

    Don't Block a View

    california-vineyard-garden-andrea-cochran-grasses-gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture.

    "Distant views of mountains and water, intimate views of hills and woods, views over cities at night, all have an endless fascination for people," Church wrote. "Put as few obstacles and diverting lines between you and your view if you want it to retain all its drama."

    Borrow Other People's Views

    santa-ynez-garden-grasses-drought-tolerant-garden-pamela-burton-gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Pamela Burton & Company Landscape Architecture.

    Don't build a fence you don't need, Church advised: "Instead, look out at the neighboring property. Someone else is maintaining it and paying the taxes; you're enjoying it."

    Create Outdoor Rooms 

    Outdoor patio terrace LA California Judy Kameon ; Gardenista

    Above: Garden designer Judy Kameon transformed a Southern California courtyard into a "front room" of a 1930s home. For more, see Required Reading: Gardens are for Living by Judy Kameon.

    People need more space—but not necessarily indoors. In fact, it is much more palatable to inhabit crammed quarters if you can do some of your living elsewhere. Church's gardens created spaces to lounge, cook, eat, or entertain outdoors. The idea is to blur boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces so that home and garden are connected seamlessly.

    Native Plants 101

    california-carmel-garden-native-plants-bernard-trainor-gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Bernard Trainor and Associates. For more of his work, see Bernard Trainor's Most Beautiful Swimming Pool.

    If you're designing a garden from scratch, Church suggested you look around: what plants are already happily growing in the landscape?

    In a seaside garden in Carmel, California (Above), landscape designer Bernard Trainor planted native ceanothus, sedges, wild rye, and native succulents including dudleya, noting: "This was a special opportunity to design with many indigenous plants that existed on this coast long before human habitation."

    Smooth Out Sharp Edges

    Donnell-Garden-Sonoma-Thomas-Church-Charles-Birnbaum-gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Charles Birnbaum via The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

    "A curved line against a view presents the least irritation" to the eye as you seek a distant view, Church believed. To that end, his gardens had irregularly shaped patches of lawn, kidney-shaped swimming pools, and meandering paths.

    The Journey is the Destination

    california-gardens-sunset-campus-thomas-church-ferns-gardenista

    Above: A wide, shady path at the edge of the Sunset Magazine campus gardens designed by Thomas Church. Photograph by Michelle Slatalla

    Gardens should look good from every angle and have no obvious "beginning" or "end," Church believed. He designed curved paths to convey a pedestrian leisurely from one area to the next and edged them with garden beds of layered plantings to create mystery and depth.

    Style vs. Principle

    big-sur-cliffside-garden-fougeron-view-drought-tolerant-plantings-gardenista

    A house perched on a cliff 250 feet above the sea in Big Sur was designed to fit into the contours of the landscape. For more of this house and garden, see Architect Visit: The Medieval Mist and Mystery of Big Sur.

    Above: "Style is a matter of taste, design a matter of principle," Church wrote. It doesn't matter whether the style of your garden is English cottage, Italian Renaissance, or Noguchi-minimalist. It will look good and serve you well if you design it following four principles: unity, function, simplicity, and scale. 

    In other words, a garden and house must be interconnected, work together, have no distracting flourishes, and be in proportion to one another.

    Pare Down the Palette

    grasses perennials Adam Woodruff Garden ; Gardenista

    Above: A planting scheme of perennials and grasses designed by Missouri-based garden designer Adam Woodruff, who won our 2014 Considered Design Award for Best Professional Landscape.

    A simple planting scheme with a limited number of varieties will make maintenance easier, Thomas Church believed. Start with a strong garden design, and you can always go back later and add more plants if you want.

    gardens-are-for-people-cover-gardenista

    Above: See more of Church's ideas in Gardens Are For People; $43.65 from Amazon.

    For more ideas from our favorite California gardens, see:

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    Cooking outdoors and sitting around a fire with friends are two of life's greatest pleasures. In anticipation of warmer months, we've rounded up 10 of our favorite portable fire pits—to use in the yard or to take along if you go camping or to the beach.

    We've limited our list to wood or charcoal burning fire pits; they are smokier than propane but give off more heat. And remember: safety first. Use a fire pit on a non-flammable surface such as gravel, pavement, or dirt and keep it away from the house.

    Daze portable fire pit ; Gardenista

    Above: Portable and yet "built to last a lifetime," a large steel Daze Fire Ring is 31 inches in diameter and has a thermal ceramic coating. It sits on three 14-inch-high legs and is $834 from Haskell.

    portable-fire-pit-fire-basket-gardenista  

    Above: Made of oxidized steel, a Fire Basket fire pit measures 22 inches wide and 24 inches high and the basket has an 11.8-inch diameter; $200 from Cool Material.

    mokeless-wood-burning-portable-fire-pit-gardenista

    Above: A compact 15-inch Smokeless Wood Burning Fire Pit has double steel walls to capture smoke and ignite it before it escapes. It weighs 46 pounds and is $239 from Ultimate Patio.

    Ikea Broko fire pit basket ; Gardenista

    Above: From Ikea, an affordable option is the Brokö Fire Basket. But don't get excited if you're in the US; it's not available here. If you're in the UK, it's available for £25.

    house-doctor-firepit-black-portable-gardenista

    Above: From Danish design house House Doctor, a two-piece Black Firepit has a metal fire bowl that rests on a three-legged base is €360 from Living and Company.

    Portable fire pit kadai kit ; Gardenista

    Above: A metal wok from India has a grill and sits atop a three-legged metal base. A Portable Kadai Kit also comes with a duffle bag for storage and is £125 From Burford.

    portable-fire-pit-Brasero-Sahraoui-gardenista

    Above: A portable brazier, the metal Brasero Sahraoui measure 24 inches tall and 24 inches wide and weighs 22.7 pounds when assembled; €129.90 from  Maisons du Monde.

    halo-portable-fire-pit-gardenista.  

    Above: From Landmann, a short-legged steel Halo Fire Pit has a 24-inch fire bowl and comes with a metal spark screen and poker. It is $57.99 from Amazon.

    folding portable fire pit ; Gardenista

    Above: A 22-inch steel Folding Portable Fire Pit has four legs and comes with a spark screen cover and poker; $59.81 from All Modern.

    fire-pit-campfire2go-portable-gardenista

    Above: A 26-inch Campfire2Go Fireplace by Char-Broil has a matte porcelain enamel bowl and will burn wood or charcoal. It comes with a mesh screen; $60.99 from Amazon.

    For more of our favorite ways to spend time outdoors cooking, eating, or lounging, see:

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    Molten gold planters are fitting for a garden Howard Hughes once owned, don't you think? Garden designer Kathleen Ferguson added glamor and just the right amount of glitz to the Old Hollywood hacienda (and created play spaces for her clients' four children).

    Built in 1926 for wealthy Hollywood widow Eva Fudger, the Spanish Colonial estate sprawls over nearly three-quarters of an acre. Its location next door to the Wilshire Country Club attracted avid golfer Hughes, who rented the house for an exorbitant sum—$1,000 a month—before buying it for $115,000 in 1929, on the eve of his 24th birthday and shortly after his wife filed for divorce.

    Hughes vacated in 1942. By the time current owners Ash and Niroupa Shah bought the Hancock Park property in 2011 for $6.3 million, the house needed updating—and the garden needed more. "It needed a complete overhaul," says Ferguson. "We moved hedges from the back area to the front. We put in new lawn. An existing eugenia hedge was planted next to ficus. So we pulled out the ficus and used it in another area."

    Let's stroll around the grounds:

    Photography by Lana Von Haught.

    LA-Hancock-Park-Howard-Hughes-house-Facade-Gardenista

    Above: Architect Ronald Coate put the kitchen door (L) on the front facade. On the second-floor balcony are aqua pots with dwarf olive trees.

    To reach the main entryway, you pass through wooden gates beneath the house (R) to arrive in a cobblestone courtyard. "We needed something strong and bold to guide people to the front door and down the driveway," says Ferguson.

    LA-Hancock-Park-metallic-pots-cactus-garden-gardenista

    Above: A cluster of metallic gold planters sits at the base of the entryway stairs. Tall Euphorbia variegate 'Ammak' (handpicked by Ferguson at a local nursery) look like cacti.

    hancock-park-la-garden-visit-stucco-spanish-succulents-gardenista-0073

    Above: Ferguson bought three sizes of Tall Flared Cone Metallic Gold Pots from Asian Ceramics (which sells to the trade only). A retail source is Potted, where owner Annette Gutierrez carries the Asian Ceramics line.

    hancock-park-la-garden-visit-stucco-spanish-succulents-gardenista

    Above: "The homeowner is very fond of gold fixtures," says Ferguson, who repeated the gold planters throughout the garden to tie the design together. "The pots are an added detail to connect the inside color with the outside of the house."

    hancock-park-la-garden-visit-stucco-spanish-succulents-gardenista

    Above: The hardscape is new; the homeowners chose to repeat cobblestone throughout the garden. "Pretty much all the landscape had to be redone, but we were able to keep the magnolia tree on the patio," Ferguson says. The saucer magnolia (Magnolia x Soulangeana) has large pink flowers in early spring.

    hancock-park-la-garden-visit-stucco-spanish-succulents-gardenista

    Above: Many of the succulents in the garden came from The Tropics nursery in West Hollywood.

    hancock-park-la-garden-visit-stucco-spanish-succulents

    Above: A closeup view of Echeveria 'Afterglow' in bloom.

    hancock-park-la-garden-visit-stucco-spanish-succulents

    Above: An Agave sisilana variegata likes well-drained, sandy soil and a hot climate (it thrives in growing zones 9-11).

    la-hancock-park-kathleen-ferguson-pool-potted-plants-gardenista

    Above: The clients replaced a kidney-shaped pool with a rectangular one that is easier to cover. On the other side of the eugenia hedge is the country club.

      hancock-park-la-garden-visit-stucco-spanish-succulents-gardenista

    Above: In all, there are 80 planters, most with succulents. "They give another layer to areas where there are patio areas or terraces, to tie everything together," Ferguson says.

    hancock-park-la-garden-visit-stucco-spanish-succulents-gardenista

    Above: The aqua glazed pots are also available from Potted.

    Howard-Hughes-LA-garden-salvia-citrus-trees-gardenista

    Above: Salvia and citrus trees line the driveway.

    hancock-park-la-garden-visit-howard-hughes-salvia-gardenista

    Above: Salvia l. 'Santa Barbara' is a hardy, drought tolerant plant that thrives in full sun.

    For more Hollywood glamor, see:

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    Add romance and hazy color to your life—and create instant curb appeal—by planting perennials grasses in a front yard, alongside a path, or as a mini meadow. 

    Hardy, drought-tolerant perennials grasses are year-round friends who will turn golden and feathery in winter months. The graceful, architectural clumps are equally striking when planted in broad swathes or as punctuation in an ornamental garden bed.

    Grasses are a cornerstone of a naturalistic style of landscape design that owes its current popularity to Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf, whose planting schemes recently transformed an eyesore elevated railroad track into New York City's magnificent High Line park. We've borrowed a few ideas from him and other garden designers to come up with a list of ways to add curb appeal with grasses:

    Crowd Control

    curb-appeal-perennial-grasses-illinois-front-yard-garden-gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Adam Woodruff & Associates.

    On a busy corner lot in Springfield, Illinois, garden designer Adam Woodruff replaced his own front lawn with a modern interpretation of a cottage garden. The mix of low-maintenance perennials, ornamental grasses, and shrubs creates a colorful mini meadow and dissuades pedestrians to stay on the sidewalk instead of taking a shortcut across his yard.

    Woodruff included a number of grasses in the mix, including Sesleria autumnalis, Sporobolus heterolepis, Spodiopogon sibiricus, Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster’, and Molinia litoralis ‘Transparent'.

    curb-appeal-perennial-grasses-adam-woodruff-illinois-gardenista.

    Above: Close-up views of Woodruff's planting schemes reveal how he created a painterly effect. At (L) is a mix of Helenium ‘Mardis Gras’, Origanum laevigatum ‘Herrenhausen’, Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’, Astilbe chinensis ‘Purpurkerze’, Eryngium yuccifolium, and Perovskia atriplicifolia. At (R), plants include Amsonia hubrichtii, Perovskia atriplicifolia, and Salvia ‘May Night' .

    Front Lawn Fix

    perennial-grasses-as-front-lawn-alternative-lucas-lucas-gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Lucas and Lucas.

    Healdsburg, CA-based landscape architects Lucas and Lucas substituted drought-tolerant perennial grasses for turf in Sonoma, creating a low-water front lawn that glows golden at sunset.

    Pathway Border

    piet-oudolf-hummelo-garden-grasses-gardenista  

    Above: In Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf's own garden, he planted low-growing late-season grasses to avoid obscuring the view. Interspersed are such perennials as Veroniscastrum virginicum (R) and clumps of taller Molinia caerulea grasses. 

    For more of Oudolf's grassy garden designs, see Required Reading: How to Recreate Piet Oudolf's Painterly Landscapes.

    perennial-grasses-molinia-caerulea-drought-tolerant-gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Davis LA.

    If you want to recreate Oudolf's planting scheme, Molinia caerulea is a hardy perennial in growing zones 5-9 and thrives in full sun. A Large Field Clump Of Molinia Caerulea is $12 from Bluestem Nursery.

    Pots & Planters

    purple-millet-grass-curb-appeal-gardenista

    Above: Our DIY planters editor Julie Chai created deep purple drama with millet in a pot. For a materials list and step-by-step instructions, see DIY Patio Planter: Dark and Stormy Shades.

    Cottage Garden Makeover

    cottage-garden-sarah-price-perennials-grasses-stipa-gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Sarah Price Landscapes.

    British garden designer Sarah Price added low-maintenance grasses to ornamental borders to create drama and height in a historic cottage garden in Oxfordshire.

    cottage-garden-sarah-price-perennials-grasses-stipa-gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Sarah Price Landscapes.

    A detail of Price's planting scheme reveals how she used a simple, pared-down palette of sedum, salvias, origanum, erigeron, and Stipa gigantea to create structure, texture, and color all year.

    Foundation Garments

    Artist Georgia Marsh Rhode Island garden; Christine Chitnis; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Christine Chitnis for Gardenista. For more of this garden, see At Home with Rhode Island Artist Georgia Marsh.

    In a Rhode Island garden, artist Georgia Marsh planted grasses along the foundation of the house, using them as a hedging plant to add an extra layer to the garden.

    Punctuation Marks

    Georgia Marsh Rhode Island garden Christine Chitnis ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Christine Chitnis for Gardenista. For more of this garden, see At Home with Rhode Island Artist Georgia Marsh.

    A single clump of tall grasses creates height and depth in an ornamental garden bed at artist Georgia Marsh's home in Rhode Island.

    Fence Substitute

    Sheila Bonnell Orleans Cape Cod Kitchen Garden ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista. For more of this garden, see An Architect at Home: A Kitchen Garden on Cape Cod.

    Tall clumps of grasses "hide a multitude of sins" in architect Sheila Bonnell's Cape Cod garden, where they soften the look of a chicken wire fence that surrounds the vegetable garden.

    Garden Sculpture

    south-africa-garden-grasses-boxwood-gardenista

    Above: South Africa-based landscape designer Franchesca Watson uses tall grasses to create focal points to draw the eye in a suburb of Constantia. For more of this garden, see Garden Designer Visit: A Study in Green by Franchesca Watson.

    A clump of grasses, deliberately sited, can have the same visual power as a three-dimensional statue in a garden.

    For more of our favorite ways to use plants to create curb appeal, see:

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    As you outfit an outdoor room, remember: The most accurate predictor of how much time you'll spend there is comfort. A well-made, comfortably proportioned outdoor sofa is the best way to give an indoor living room serious competition.

    As part of our new Gardenista 100 guide to the best outdoor furniture and accessories of 2015, we've rounded up seven of our all-time favorite outdoor sofas—both classics and new designs—that we'd love to sink into with a book this summer:

    honore-vintage-chair-serax-gardenista

    Above: Designed by Annick Lestrohan for Serax, a 52-inch-long Honore Chaise has an iron and elastic frame and comes with cushions; it is €1,089 from Fonq. 

    dehors-upholstered-outdoor-sofa-gardenista

    Above: A Dehors Sofa from Alias Design has a stove enameled steel frame and weather resistant acrylic cushions. For more information and prices, see Alias

    outdoor-sofa-danish-finn-gardenista

    Above: Currently on sale from Design Within Reach, a 76.5-inch-long Finn Three-Seater Sofa from Danish design house Norm has a teak frame and mildew-resistant Sunbrella cushions (available in white or black); $1,670.25.

    outdoor-sofa-white-upholstery-teak-skargaarden-gardenista

    Above: From Scandinavian designer Skargaarden, a Haringe Lounge Sofa has a stainless steel frame and teak slats that will weather to a silvery patina unless oiled regularly. Waterproof cushions are sold separately. The sofa is 72 inches long and 28 inches deep; $3,060 from Horne.

    outdoor-sofa-wood-james-perse-gardenista

    Above: A teak Montecito Daybed from James Perse Furniture has weather resistant cushions and is manufactured in the US. For more information and pricing, see James Perse.

    outdoor-sofa-henry-hall-designs-cushions-gardenista

    Above: Designed by Ted Boerner, a Mariposa Sofa from Henry Hall Designs has a handmade frame made of FSC-certified teak and is 76 inches long. Cushions and pillows as shown require 10 yards of fabric. For more information and pricing, see Henry Hall Designs.

    outdoor-sofa-restoration-hardware-leagave-gardenista

    Above: From Restoration Hardware, a 70.25-inch-long three-seat Leagrave Sofa made of weathered teak is $2,295 (it's also available in three other sizes). Cushions are sold separately at prices ranging from $695 to $1,655 depending on fabric.

    For more of our favorite outdoor furniture, see:

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    Here's a hardy mix of dark and moody perennials and grasses that needs little water and makes a dramatic statement at an entryway.

    Photographs by Meredith Swinehart.

    container with purple millet, black mondo grass, sweet potato vine | Gardenista

    Above: This all-foliage combo with purple millet, black mondo grass, and sweet potato vine was inspired by one that Gardenista editor Erin Boyle spotted in her Brooklyn neighborhood. Its dark hues have the perfect dose of spookiness.

    black mondo grass | Gardenista

    Above: Black mondo grass is one of the few truly black plants, and it has a spidery look perfect for letting it creep over the front of a container. I started with mature plants in 1-gallon nursery pots, but you can find a 2.5-quart pot of Black Mondo Grass for $8.99 from Lowe's.

      Purple Baron millet | Gardenista

    Above: Ornamental millet is one of my favorite plants...and it was surprisingly hard to find this time. I had to hit all my local nurseries, as well as some that are farther afield, before I spotted Purple Baron (Pennisetum glaucum) and Vertigo (Pennisetum purpureum.) If they're not available near you, good substitutes include the more widely available purple fountain grass or any kind of plum-colored phormium. (And in spring you can start it from seeds; a packet of Millet Purple Majesty seeds is $3 from Amazon.

    Bewitched sweet potato vine  | Gardenista

    Above: I love this newer sweet potato vine—it's called Sweet Caroline Bewitched ($5.99 from Home Depot), and has a fuller and less trailing habit than the more common types with deeply lobed leaves. It echoes the color of the purple millet and adds a nice textural contrast to the upright, wispy grasses.

    black mondo grass, loosening roots | Gardenista

    Above: If roots are matted, I gently loosen them before planting.

    Purple Baron millet | Gardenista

    Above: Millet's seed heads make gorgeous cut flowers, but you can also leave them intact to attract birds who will feast on the seeds.

    As a side note, a few friends asked if this millet is the same kind that many of us eat. As far as I can tell, Pennisetum glaucum, also known as pearl millet, is edible, though the harvest from just a few seed heads may not amount to much. If you're interested in growing millet as an edible crop, you can find several types from the Sustainable Seed Company.

    container with purple millet, black mondo grass, sweet potato vine | Gardenista

    Above: This fall display will look good well into the season, though the sweet potato vine is an annual and will die back in climates where it freezes. The millet turns brown after cold weather arrives, but you can leave the grasses as they are through the winter months—they look beautiful after a dusting of snow.

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    Black is a color to take seriously. It adds drama and depth, and if you paint a house black you send a message that you're not afraid to be noticed. But it's a high-maintenance color compared with white). And how do you paint a house black without making passersby wonder if a vampire lives inside?

    Is black paint the best best choice for a facade? Read on (and then tell us what you think in the comments below):

    Pros:

    Black is Beautiful

    There's no denying the drama and authority of a black house. It makes a strong visual statement and, like a black dress, needs minimal accessories to complete the look.

    black-victorian-facade-san-francisco-euphorbia-gardenista

    Above: A black Victorian facade in San Francisco needs nothing more to dress it up than a single succulent, a multi-branched euphorbia next to the front stoop. For more, see 11 Traditional Houses Gone to the Dark Side

    Basic Backdrop

    Black is a good foil for green. In a garden or against natural surroundings, black will recede and focus attention instead on green foliage. This enables the eye to draw better distinctions among different shades of green. Yellow-green leaves and blue-green leaves appear more varied and layered against a black facade or fence, making plantings appear more lush.

    black-facade-dark-exterior-paint-gardenista

    Above: A modular summer cottage by Danish architectural firm Lykke + Nielsen sits in a forest north of Copenhagen. See more of it at Pre-fab Perfection: An Instant Summerhouse from Denmark.

    Blank Canvas

    Black—like white and gray—is a neutral color and contrasts well with many other materials, textures, and hues. 

    Black painted trim Brooklyn facade ; Gardenista

    Above: Black trim and windows creates a dramatic contrast to a brick facade on a Brooklyn townhouse by architect Ben Herzog. For more black-painted trim and black factory windows, see Hardscaping 101: Steel Factory-Style Windows and Doors.

    Derek Jarman black seaside cottage in Dungeness, Kent ; Gardenista

    Above: The facade of filmmaker Derek Jarman's black seaside cottage in Dungeness, Kent is lightened by sunshine yellow trim. For more of this garden, see Garden Visit: Derek Jarman's Prospect Cottage at Dungeness.

    Derek Jarman garden cottage Dungeness Kent ; Gardenista

    Above: Derek Jarman's cottage. Photograph by Brother G via Flickr.

    The yellow trim lightens the mood of Jarman's black facade to create a backdrop for a seaside cottage garden.

    Cons:

    Faded Beauty

    Sunlight fades dark colors faster. On the exterior of a house, black paint will blister and peel faster than a light color. This is because black paint heats up and cools down (expanding and contracting more than a light color) as it absorbs more rays from the sun. (One way to mitigate this problem is with conscientious preparation before painting. The biggest cause of blistering and peeling paint—of any color—is water seeping beneath the surface. Thoroughly scrape and sand a surface before painting to prevent that problem.) 

    swatches of favorite black paint recommended by architects on Gardenista

    Above: We asked architects to reveal their go-to shades of black paint. For the full list, see Paints & Palettes: Architects' 8 Top Black Paint Picks.

    Blemish Booster

    On a surface, black accentuates imperfections. Any blemish, chip, gouge, or flaw on an exterior wall will draw more attention if it's painted black.

    black house paint facade ; Gardenista

    Above: On the other hand, if you want to emphasize textures—such as the grooves in siding or the trim pieces on a facade—black paint will "outline" the layers. Photograph by Grant K. Gibson.

    black-victorian-grant-gibson-gardenista

    Above: Black on black on a Victorian house in San Francisco with identical trim and body paint color emphasizes the architectural detail of elaborate moldings. For more, see 11 Traditional Houses Gone to the Dark Side.

    Hothouse Effect

    A black house will absorb more heat from the sun than a white house. A white or light-colored house will reflect more rays, keeping indoor temperatures cooler in hot summer months.

    white paint picks ; Gardenista

    Above: White (and other light colors) will reflect rather than absorb the sun's rays. For a list of architects' favorite shades, see 10 Easy Pieces: Architects' Favorite White Paint Picks.

    Dark Shadows

    We have strong cultural and historical associations with the color black. It reminds us of Halloween, deepest night, and the Salem witch trials. By painting a house black, you are making a strong statement (and may scare the neighborhood children).

    black-rubber-house-kent-uk-gardenista

    Above: The Black Rubber House in Kent by architects Simon Conder Associates. For more, see 10 Modern Houses Gone to the Dark Side.

    Shades of Gray

    Is gray a compromise color? Depending on whether you choose a brown-gray or a blue-gray shade of paint, you can create a warm or a cool mood. By pairing a gray body paint with black trim, you still can signal "dark" intentions while avoiding many of the drawbacks of black (for instance, gray will absorb less sunlight than black).

    black-facade-addison-strong-san-francisco-gardenista.

    Above: Painting the body gray (and the trim black) is another way to create a dramatic facade. Photograph via Addison Strong Design Studio.

    10 Best Exterior Shades of Gray Paint ; Gardenista

    Above: Our 10 Favorite Shades of Gray Paint run the gamut from warm tones to cool.

    curb-appeal-black-house-white-trim-gardenista

    Above: With dark gray body paint, white trim, and a glossy black door you can achieve a moody intensity. See the color palette our paints expert Stephanie Dorfman came up with in Curb Appeal: Picking a Perfect Paint Palette for a Dark Facade.

    perfect paint palette for a dark facade ; Gardenista

    Above: A shade of gray with brown undertones will look warm on a facade. Stephanie explains how to pick a warm gray in A Perfect Paint Palette for a Dark Facade.

    For more ways to use black paint to great effect on a facade, see: 

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    Do you ever wish you could flip through Gardenista as if it were a glossy paper magazine?

    We've pulled together some of our favorite stories into curated collections on Flipboard. If you don't have a mobile device, Gardenista on Flipboard looks great on the web. See our Gardenista Flipboard magazines if you want to browse our archives of our favorite posts.

    Flipboard DIY Gardenista

    Above: Remember when Alexa made DIY Moroccan preserved lemons? See that project and more favorite Gardenista DIYs on Flipboard

    Flipboard Gardenista DIY Garden Design

    Above: We're pulling together our favorite Garden Design posts in a curated collection on Flipboard.

    lipboard-gardenista-hand-tools

    Above: Keep track of all our new hand-picked Gardenista 100 guide to the best tools and accessories of 2015 (plus a selection of our greatest-hits planters, pots, and fire pits from our 10 Easy Pieces roundups) on Flipboard.

    flipboard-gardenista-magazines

    Above: Read all 13 of our curated collections from Gardenista on Flipboard.

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  • 03/12/15--08:00: DIY: Painted House Numbers
  • House numbers have their own personality—and say something about yours. When we saw this easy DIY painted house numbers project by Jones Design, we immediately started dreaming about fonts. (If you get sick of a typeface, you can just paint over it.)

    For step-by-step instructions, see Jones Design.

    Photography via Jones Design.

    DIY-materials-painted-house-numbers-gardenista

    Above: You probably have most of the materials on hand. See a list of supplies at Jones Design. You'll also need house numbers in a typeface you like (or use Jones Design's template).

    diy-painted-house-numbers-chalk-gardenista

    Above: First use chalk to make a transfer. 

    DIY-painted-house-numbers-DIY-trace-gardenista

    Above: Tape the chalked numbers to the door.

    DIY-painted-house-numbers-DIY-pencil-gardenista

    Above: Trace the numbers. When you lift away the paper, you'll see faint chalk outlines to guide you as you paint.

    DIY-painted-house-numbers-DIY-black-white-gardenista

    Above: Use a thin paint brush, take your time, and apply as many coats as you need. For complete instructions, see Jones Design.

    For more, see:

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    From the Department of Famous Love Letters:

    In 1941 when a young Charles Eames proposed marriage to Ray, he wrote, "I am 34 (almost) years old, single (again) and broke. I love you very much and would like to marry you very very soon. I cannot promise to support us very well. But if given the chance I will sure in hell try."

    He sure in hell did. In 1945, the designer began brainstorming ideas with fellow architect Eero Saarinen for a pre-fab house where the Eameses could live in LA's Pacific Palisades. By the time the iconic modernist home was built four years later, the design had changed radically—because of the garden.

    Nearly 70 years later, Case Study House No. 8 and the 1.4-acre property that inspired the Eameses' work for the rest of their lives remain intact, overseen by the nonprofit Eames Foundation. The other day photographer Mark Robinson (whose online shop OEN is one of our favorites) visited with his camera:

    Photography by Mark Robinson except where noted.

    eames-house-meadow-gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Daniel Schreurs.

    The original plans called for a cliffside house to overlook the ocean. But post-war steel shortages caused delays. Waiting for construction materials to become available, the Eamese picnicked on the property and fell "in love with the meadow." To preserve it, they changed the design of the house.

    eames-house-exterior-facade-gardenista.

    Above:  Photograph via LA Places.

    Built in 1949, the house was redesigned to fit into the landscape and became the home of the husband-and-wife design team for the rest of their lives (Charles died in 1978 and Ray died 10 years later).

    eames-house-la-garden-view-gardenista

    Above: A shaded patio, with a corrugated steel overhang, and a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows connect the garden to the living room.

    eames-house-la-landmark0living-room-gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Ricardo DeAratanha via Los Angeles Times.

    The living room has a 17-foot-high ceiling and 10-foot-high potted houseplants to reinforce the connection to the natural surroundings. 

    eames-house-la-living-room-gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Ricardo DeAratanha via Los Angeles Times.

    Among the artifacts original to the house is a ball of dried tumbleweed that hangs from the ceiling; the Eameses collected it on their honeymoon in 1941 as they drove from Chicago to the West Coast.

    eames-house-la-gravel-path-gardenista

    Above: The house, preserved in its original state to the extent possible, has had plumbing and electrical repairs (and original fabric recently was re-glued).

    eames-house-facade-la-landmark-gardenista

    Above: The Eames house and garden are open to visitors; to make a reservation, see Eames Foundation.

    eames-house-la-maple-tree-seedling-gardenista

    Above: A seedling seeks the light.

    eames-house-la-patio-chairs-gardenista

    Above: Originally designed as a metal chair in the 1940s, Charles and Ray Eames' a Molded Plastic 4-Leg Side Chair with a metal frame now has a seat and back made of recyclable polypropylene. The Eameses "continually updated their work as new materials became available," according to Design Within Reach, where the licensed design is available in 13 colors (including white, as shown) for $319 apiece.

    Above: The Eames house is at 203 Chautauqua Bloulevard, Pacific Palisades, California.

    For more Eames design, see:

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    Confession: We want to dismiss James Perse as a well-funded dilettante (his father owns Maxfield in LA), but he's the real deal. He's better known for his clothing lines, which cater to the well-heeled California surfer/snowboarder/skier, but we're more interested in his made-in-the-USA home collection. His pieces may not work everywhere (his collections are named Brentwood, Malibu, Norcal, after all) but the proportions are good, the craftsmanship is high, and the lines are clean. Oh, and did we mention that we really like his beach towels and totes?

    James Perse Carbon Lounger | Gardenista

    Above: The low-lying teak Carbon Chaise. For pricing information, contact James Perse Furniture. Photograph via LA Times.

    Malibu Sling Chair | Remodelista

    Above: The Malibu Sling Chair; call for pricing.

    Burlingame Table Teak James Perse | Gardenista

    Above: The Burlingame Table; call for pricing.

    Colony Chair James Perse | Gardenista

    Above: The Colony Chair; call for pricing.

    James Perse Beach Towels | Remodelista

    Above: James Perse Double Stripe Beach Towels are $225 each. Pricey, but nice.

    Cross Creek Directors Chair | Gardenista

    Above: The Cross Creek Directors Chair.

    For more of our favorite outdoor lounge furniture, see:

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    Look at your garage. Shelves of hockey sticks, rusty rakes, mystery cardboard boxes that haven't been opened since your last move. Now close your eyes and imagine—a guest bedroom, a studio, a clubhouse. For inspiration, take a look at 10 garages saved from themselves:

    10 Favorite Converted Garages, Garages Turned Into Living and Work Space | Gardenista

    Above: A one-car garage outside of San Francisco became a guest cottage, or "grottage," with the addition of French doors, a wall of storage space, and a tiny kitchen and bath. Read the whole story in Outbuilding of the Week: The 186-Square-Foot Guest Cottage. Photograph by Nicole Franzen for Gardenista.

    10 Favorite Converted Garages, Garages Turned Into Living and Work Space | Gardenista

    Above: In their own home, the owners of LA-based Dry Design Studio dismantled their existing garage and rebuilt it with the same timbers, organized in a new layout more conducive to family life. Read more in Steal This Look: Live/Work Kitchen by Dry Design Studio.

    10 Favorite Converted Garages, Garages Turned Into Living and Work Space | Gardenista

    Above: A Hollywood couple remodeled their 100-year-old garage to become a miniature house in full, complete with a living space, kitchen, bedroom, bath, and private patio. Read the whole story in Rehab Diary: From Garage to Tiny Cottage in LA, on a Budget. Photograph by Bethany Nauert.

    10 Favorite Converted Garages, Garages Turned Into Living and Work Space | Gardenista

    Above: Model Carolyn Murphy enlisted decorator Schuyler Samperton to turn her unused Santa Monica garage into a retreat for arts and crafts. Almost unbelievably, Samperton managed to accomplish the transformation in only three days. Get the details in Carolyn Murphy's Painting Studio—in the Garage. Photograph by Grey Crawford. 

    10 Favorite Converted Garages, Garages Turned Into Living and Work Space | Gardenista

    Above: SF-based architect Cary Bernstein Architect turned a 1908 two-story garage into part playroom, part guest bedroom, complete with a full bathroom and wine cellar (for when the kids no longer need the space to play). Read more in Architect Visit: Cary Bernstein Resurrects a Circa 1908 Garage. Photograph by Sharon Risedorph.

    10 Favorite Converted Garages, Garages Turned Into Living and Work Space | Gardenista

    Above: Melbourne, Australia-based Hearth Studio turned a garage into a small home complete with kitchen, dining area, bedroom, and bath (with green clawfoot tub). The designers managed to fit it all in while retaining the character of the garage, including its hardworking concrete floor. For more, see Outbuilding of the Week: Garage Turned Studio Apartment. Photograph by Lauren Bamford.

    10 Favorite Converted Garages, Garages Turned Into Living and Work Space | Gardenista

    Above: Seattle-based design firm Graypants turned a garage into a multipurpose entertaining and lounging space for a home at water's edge on Vashon Island, Washington. The firm dismantled nearly all of the garage's original walls and repurposed them as flooring inside the new building. An L-shaped portion of the original garage remains; the aging walls can be seen from the encased glass interior. Photograph by Grant Harder via Dwell.

    10 Favorite Converted Garages, Garages Turned Into Living and Work Space | Gardenista

    Above: A Portland, Oregon couple converted a garage into three distinct parts: a ceramics studio, a storage room for bikes, and a wood shop. The ceramics studio, shown through the sliding glass doors above, is partitioned from the rest of the space to be free of dust from the wood shop. Read the whole story in Rehab Diaries: A Garage Turned Studio Workshop in Portland, OR.

    10 Favorite Converted Garages, Garages Turned Into Living and Work Space | Gardenista

    Above: Directory members DISC Interiors turned a backyard one-car garage into a small garden sitting room with a desk, bookshelves, reading chairs, and antique mirrored doors. See the details in A Garage Turned Garden Room in LA. Photograph by David John.

    10 Favorite Converted Garages, Garages Turned Into Living and Work Space | Gardenista

    Above: Seattle-based JAS Design Build turned an old boathouse on Lake Washington into a multipurpose family center with changing room, shower, and storage for sports equipment. For the whole story, see Architect Visit: Lake Washington Boathouse by JAS Design Build.

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    Find more ways to make better use of the garage:

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    This week Julie and the Remodelista editors went West to revel in California's laid-back look. They checked into LA's hippest hotel, toured a vineyard estate with ancient olive trees, and settled the question of whether Viking stoves are better than Wolf ranges for once and for all (or did they?).

    Healdsburg ranch olive trees ; Gardenista

    Above: Christine heads to Healdsburg, CA to explore the meaning of "urban earthy" in this week's House Call.

    Eames chair ; Gardenista

    Above: In this week's Object Lesson, Megan explores the history of the iconic Eames lounge chair. Meanwhile, Michelle reads Charles Eames' love letters to Ray and heads to the couple's Pacific Palisades garden to see the meadow that inspired America's first couple of modernism.

    Wolf stove kitchen bouquet ; Gardenista

    Above: Wolf vs. Viking. Janet investigates The Great Stove Smackdown. Find out what side Julie, Michelle, and Francesca are on...and whether their friendship can survive.

    Half gold Lightbulb Remodelista

    Above: Leave it to Izabella to find a glamorous hotel kitchen (gold-dipped lightbulbs included) in this week's Steal This Look.

    hotel-covell-tiled-area-gardenista

    Above: Julie discovers Retro LA Glamor in Los Feliz at the Covell Hotel. And just down the road in Hancock Park, Michelle finds more molten gold metallic accents (and vestiges of Old Hollywood) in Howard Hughes' Hacienda Garden.

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    Find the rest of this week's report from the Remodelista editors' trip to LA at California Cool.

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