June 11, 2010

DESIGNING ENTRANCES

Making an Extraordinary Entrance!
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Noooo, not that kind....
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OH Hell no, not that kind either ...
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THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKIN' ABOUT!

I meant: Making an ENTRANCE EXTRAORDINARY
The First Impression is Always the Lasting Impression
(with everything, remember that...)
Making your home pretty from the street or driveway is Important! It's that whole "first impression" thing....
How else will all those bypassing "D-List-ers" whom you'll never let inside know how fabulously well you live otherwise?
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Yes, its formulaic, but its a good formula; a great pair of pots, urns, planters or boxes flanking your front door with some seasonal flowers or evergreens will give your entrance importance and also make it stand out against other parts of your facade, let alone the neighborhood. Regardless of what part of the country youre in, you can seasonally change the plants and flowers, or use lovely evergreens and/or topiaries year round.
Consider them the earrings which brighten up a pretty face!
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They don't always have to be a 'pair' and it certainly doesn't have to be a traditional home either. If your home is contemporary, one asymmetrically placed large pot with a funky Japanese evergreen or pampas grass in it and you'll have a beautiful sculptural addition to your otherwise plain entrance. Or, use two or three different height pots (of the same material) with similar plants in them for a great contemporary look.
Feng-Shui (pr: fhung schway) Masters say that something living by your entrance is good Feng Shui
Fung Shui my ass...Listen to ME...not some old fart in a silk bathrobe and $2 cotton shoes waving sticks around!
Entrances with planters make any home much more attractive than they would be without them. Some formal, some casual, some tropical, etc... Spend the money, do it RIGHT...
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I've spent countless hours searching endlessly to give you very specific examples of what's smart looking and expresses good taste (and what's not in good taste!). Notice the details, patina and simplicity. (God forbid you actually research anything yourself)
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These can be purchased online, or from local retailers they're from
SEIBERT & RICE, in Short Hills, NJ
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These containers can be ordered online, or purchased at
AUTHENTIC PROVENCE in West Palm Beach, FL


If you're a total idiot with plants, try a decorative covered urn, lantern or figure instead. Just something to anchor the door and say "hey, this is the way in."
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These decorative finials, statuary and lanterns can be purchased at DEVONSHIRE in West Palm Beach, FL

This group of planters are a fiberglass/resin material. They look totally like antique lead ones. Their patina is stunning. Again, these are subtle, suitable, lightweight and frost proof.
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These wonderful boxes and planters can be purchased online, or at DWELLING & DESIGN in Easton, MD
If you have a balcony, wooden deck or porch and weight may be an issue; a less expensive and attractive alternative is polymer-resin or fiberglass pots. Stylish and lightweight, these are perfect! They're also good for indoor trees as their lightweight and resin doesn't wick moisture as stone does. These below are all resin and handsome!
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LESS IS MORE..
This "faux French villa" is so totally over accessorized; pineapples, lions, Vase d'Anduze and limestone pots all filled with myrtle, impatiens, lavender, begonias and petunias...that, paired with that schmaltzy-ass, faux-finished glass canopy and door ensemble.
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Who do they think they are, Zsa Zsa Gabor ??
If the house above had the canopy and door frames painted black with only ONE pair of pots or pineapples it would be very pretty!

This hot transitional mess below is soooo Vegas....WTF??!!
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Lions are sooo freakin' common these days in (nouveau-riche) upper bracket neighborhoods, so don't buy Lions, OK? BUT, that cast-cement nymph with the expressionless face of a Mongolian miner is just tres Elegante' swirling that cement chiffon scarf...
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SELECTING GOOD PLANTS
Plants, and the way they're planted can make your entrance pots go from ho-hum to pee-in-ur-pants awesome! Below are some very easy-to-find plants that have been shown in many of the photos, herewith. These can be purchased at most garden centers, nursery's, even Home Depot.
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1. Topiaried Jasmine, under-planted with same
2. Woven-trunk Ficus Alii (Home Depot $19.)
3. White Spathiphyllum (Home Depot $20.)
4. Japanese Weeping Tsuga Hemlock
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Home Depot: All under $50!
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sCaLe Is SoMeThInG yOu MuSt
pUt A lOt oF eMpHaSiS oN!!
Planters by a door should be gutsy but not stupidly huge.

Most people err on the side of buying too small, which is not very impactful. Something that's so big you have to walk around it is bad too! Your guests snagging themselves on the roughly textured foliage of a plant which sticks out into the walkway aint right. Your mission is supposed to be making the approach more elegant, not a herbaceous gauntlet.
Below are perfectly scaled plants.
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USING POTS AS BARRIERS OR DIRECTIONAL'S
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1. Rhythymicity is established when passing along this walk. The allee' of tall, thin palms evenly placed with the olive oil jars draws you out and down the path.
2. These simple pots with their ball-shaped boxwoods under-planted with variegated ivy are acting as bollards to keep you moving forward to your destination.
3. The entrance to this lovely Formal garden is established by the two clay pots on plinths planted with Banana Palms and under planted with Lantana. This garden's focus is the center urn which draws your eye; creating a centerpiece and establishing formality. It is planted with a variegated hot pink Bougainvillea
4. These Colonial Williamsburg style planter boxes are separating the adjacent driveway from the main entrance walk smartly obscuring the vehicles from the entrance. (a common problem with front-loading garages)
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POOLS AND POTS
The large pool below in California has pots used as markers. The planters on the corners of the pool add verticality, boundaries and definition to the space. The idea is formal but the type of tree make it less so.
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This one below in Florida gives the pool a greater presence and establishes the pool and patio's boundaries. They are planted with single ball Gardenia topiaries and under planted with Coleus and Lantana which are drought tolerant
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This "modest" number below uses the pots with begonias to soften the "Grand" architecture and stairways. Otherwise, those balustrades would look like they're going up to the courthouse.
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This awesome pool below in California could've been tricked-out in a "Swanky Beverly Hills Look" with topiaries in elaborate urns, a white pergola, etc. However, its been done in a softer, more friendly "Santa Barbara" look. It's much more special done casually with random clusters of pots filled with simple solid colored plants.
Very Chic and inviting!
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The flower-filled pots surrounding the hot-tub in the Northeast give it a punch of color from a distance, otherwise it would be all bluestone, blue water with a green backdrop. The terra-cotta adds another earthy, warm color to balance the blues.
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BAD PLANTERS
Would you ever wear a fabulous Dior gown and earrings from the Dollar Store? Hells no...
Don't use some goofy, cheap-ass piece of crap for your container! Your home can be 100% more interesting with something low-key and elegant. It'll look like crap if you cheap-out and use some heinous plastic planters, or some low-budge pots u dug up from behind the garage...
These below are the ones you DON'T want trashing up your front door, they just scream "whiskey tango"
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And, below is what you definitely DON'T want to do!!!!!
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Nothing says welcome to your "dental-clinic style home" more than a pair of half-dead, scraggly, thorny plants in shitty pots placed too close together!
Remember: There should always be enough room for two people to comfortably walk side-by-side!
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PLANTING YOUR POTS
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Pots and decorative containers undeniably look best when under-planted with other flowers or contrasting plants. Sometimes however, a simple tree or topiary in a pot with nothing can be very effective as well. Mulch is too common; place marble rocks, as shown, or river-rocks (in my hand) on top of the dirt about two inches thick, this abates weeds and other crap from popping up around your plant. The darker river-rocks are by far the most chic.
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Decorating Kids Rooms

GET IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME New mothers create picture perfect rooms for their new turd-rolled-in-talcum, and then in 2 to 3 y...