Gardens, Fountains, Sculpture

Apr 082014


I am in the process of designing a parterre for our front yard.  It is the perfect solution to replace our lawn.  We live next to a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay and have had little success growing a lawn here without using chemicals.  A parterre is a formal garden constructed on a level surface, consisting of planting beds, typically in symmetrical patterns, separated and connected by gravel pathways. The beds may be edged in stone or tightly clipped hedging and may not contain flowers.

The gravel beds will be great for drainage.  Maryland has a ‘rain tax’.  The concept behind the tax is to help control the runoff into the Chesapeake Bay.  The tax is assessed on the percentage of your lot which is impervious to absorb rain.

French parterres originated in the 15th-century, often taking the form of knot gardens.  Knot gardens were first established in England in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

800px-Knot_garden_St_FagansLater, during the 17th century Baroque era, they became more elaborate and more stylized. The French parterre reached its highest development at Versailles which inspired many other similar parterres throughout Europe.  According to Wikipedia, “The parterre was developed in France by Claude Mollet, the founder of a dynasty of nurserymen-designers that lasted deep into the 18th century. His inspiration in developing the 16th-century patterned compartimens—simple interlaces formed of herbs, either open and infilled with sand or closed and filled with flowers—was the painter Etienne du Pérac, who returned from Italy to the château of Anet, where he and Mollet were working. About 1595 Mollet introduced compartment-patterned parterres to royal gardens at Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Fontainebleau; the fully developed scrolling embroidery-like parterres en broderie appear for the first time in Alexandre Francini’s engraved views of the revised planting plans at Fontainebleau and Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1614.”

Versailles Knot Garden


Parterres are the low embellishments of gardens, which have great grace, especially when seen from an elevated position: they are made of borders of several shrubs and sub-shrubs of various colours, fashioned in different manners, as compartments, foliage, embroideries (passements), moresques, arabesques, grotesques, guilloches, rosettes, sunbursts (gloires), escutcheons, coats-of-arms, monograms and emblems (devises)

Traité du iardinage selon les raisons de la nature et de l’art, pp 81–82 (quoted by Laird)




Summer Garden, St. Petersburg


Lake Maggiore, Italy



A knot garden is a garden of very formal design in a square frame, consisting of a variety of aromatic plants and culinary herbs including germander, marjoram, thyme, southernwood, lemon balm, hyssop, acanthus, mallow, chamomile, rosemary, Calendulas, Violas and Santolina. Most knot gardens now have edges made from boxwoods whose leaves have a sweet smell when bruised. The paths in between are usually laid with fine gravel. However, the original designs of knot gardens did not have the low box hedges, and knot gardens with such hedges might more accurately be called parterres.

So I am not sure if I have a preference on the height of my boxwood hedges.  I will have 2 knot gardens/parterres 21 feet square.  I came upon this similar knot garden design online which were my measurements.





18. memorial day weekend summer

This is so amazing.





Love the combination of blue green and yellow green.












This looks like a wondeful book.






The Great Gatsby




 April 8, 2014  Posted by at 3:17 pm Gardens, Fountains, Sculpture 1 Response »
Sep 032013

If you love mosaics,  New Ravenna Mosaics has a magnificent collection of  handcrafted luxury mosaics in glass and stone for residential and commercial installations.

Aurelia jewel glass mosaic


Sarah Baldwin, the owner and visionary behind New Ravenna, was inspired to create mosaics  after a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art in 1990, where she admired an ancient Roman mosaic design which was installed on the floor, with a repeating black-and-white pattern of marble and thought, “Why isn’t anyone making these beautiful things anymore?”  At the time she was studying for her masters in fine art painting at the University of Pennsylvania. She wanted to create mosaics using the tesserae as paint to create designs and  texture that would work in any style architecture or decor.  She has definitely created her vision.  That is what makes her mosaics stand out.  They are timeless and elegant.  I just love to see artists, artisans and masters in the field of the decorative arts take an ancient art form and create today’s masterpieces.
Kingston Lacy Stone Mosaic

Chinoiserie jewel glass mosaic

Marabel Stone Mosaic

Marabel  jewel glass mosaic

Marabel Stone Mosaic


Climbing Vine Jewel Glass Mosaic

tumbled marble mosaic backsplash

premium glass mosaic tile custom pool

Egret custom backsplash

mosaic tile patterns for spa

36 x 48 inch Leopard panel

mosaic tile patterns fileplace surround

Paisley Vine Jewel Glass Mosaic

Plum Blossom Stone Mosaic

Tile Market sign

The company offers decorative borders, murals, field tile and medallions.

Venus 5 3/8"

Alexander 6"

The inspiration for the company name was the ancient Byzantine city of Ravenna in Italy,  known for its mosaics.  New Ravenna,  a combination of honoring the ancient art of mosaic and making it American.  Today New Ravenna has 100 employees and is represented in over 200 designer showrooms across the country and internationally.

The website has  easy to use design tools to assist you in designing your mosaic.  The concept boards are great close ups that show you the colors and placement.

Marabel  jewel glass mosaic

Serena jewel glass mosaic

Climbing Vine

The Miraflores Collection – A collaboration with Interior Designer, Paul Schatz, the  ‘Miraflores Collection’ offers 19 complex infinite patterns inspired by his travels throughout Spain, Portugal, Mexico and a passion for Morocco and studies of islamic geometric art.

Paul Schatz Castilla Concept Board

Castilla stone mosaic

Castilla stone mosaic

Paul Schatz Avila Concept Board

Paul Schatz Granada Grande Concept Board

Paul Schatz Alcazar Concept Board

Jaen Grande stone mosaic

Jaen stone mosaic
My sister just saw The International Mosaiculture event at the Montreal Botanical Gardens. Incredible!  The show  is back in Montréal after a ten-year absence. Around 50 stunning works created by horticulturist-artists from 25 countries are displayed  from June 22 to September 29, 2013.









Apr 112013

The weather here is like a perfect summer day and my thoughts are about beautiful outdoor spaces and places.  The cherry and bradford pear trees are blossoming.  Life is good.  This is a great time to announce all the changes we have made at Beaux-Artes.    When  Beaux-Artes started in 2002 all of our products were made by a contract manufacturer.  We are now the manufacturer and have made numerous improvements in the quality of our products.  We now cast in the best urethane resin in the marketplace.  It is strong with a high heat tolerance. It  gives us beautiful reproductions of the historic ornament that is our trademark.   After a major learning curve, we now use 3-D software and CNC engineering machinery to scale and resize our decorative grilles and vent covers and recessed light trims.  All these improvements allow Beaux-Artes to offer the beauty of historic ornament in products sized for use in the modern building industry with what we refer to as ‘modern intrusions’, which provide us with all the creature comforts we have today without sacrificing classic beauty.   Technology and history have joined together.

See what I mean.  A before and after from our Arts and Crafts Style.



 April 11, 2013  Posted by at 3:59 pm Gardens, Fountains, Sculpture Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Apr 012013

Flowers are nature’s fleeting works of art, whether captured by the camera or an artist they look so beautiful as a collection framed within a wall panel.

I love botanical prints and found a great selection of  antique botanical prints.  Here are some by Ellen Wilmott which were done in 1910.  They are $95.

Photographers today are doing amazing work with flowers.  I love when they zoom in on blossoms.  Joyce Tenneson has a beautiful collection in her book Intimacy.  Her compositions are lovely and would be fabulous framed in a series.

Some fleeting beauties captured.

Real or painted??

A Beautiful book Flowers by Carolyn Roehm.  Amazing photography.  You can flip through this book on Amazon to see the contents.  I am happy it is Spring and gathering these images has been so much fun.

 April 1, 2013  Posted by at 5:31 pm Beauty Cult, Gardens, Fountains, Sculpture No Responses »
Mar 282013

Sculpture has been an important part of our culture since ancient times.  It endures through the ages and gives us a direct communication from the culture that created it.

Three dimensional art offers different angles, views and the play of light giving more emotive power to the piece.

Sculpture interacts with nature and the environment where it is placed.

Art helps us define who we are and what we find beautiful.  It can be used to enhance an otherwise uninteresting niche in our home or be a constant source of encouragement or comfort to us.

“A sculptor is a person obsessed with the form and shape of things, and it’s not just the shape of one thing, but the shape of anything and everything; the hard, tense strength, although delicate form of a bone; the strong, solid fleshiness of a beech tree trunk.”  Henry Moore

Sculpture is on my dream list.  A white marble female body and a bronze male by Richard MacDonald.


Feb 282013

Nature provides us with the most beautiful creations.  I don’t know why the Mineral Kingdom is not present in all our homes.  Mineral specimens are valuable investments.  I have used them in commercial projects as well, placing  large specimens on  pedestals.  They move beyond personal taste therefore appealing to everyone.  This beauty is gold and quartz from Arkenstone Fine Minerals.

Quartz is an excellent choice to begin with.

These specimens are amazing and so is the price tag.  This one is beryl, emerald and calcite.

How about this for aquamarine.

From my collection a quartz sphere.

Nature is a source of inspiration to create objects of beauty.  Furniture makers incorporating the beauty of wood, bone and mother-of-pearl into intricate inlays are one of my absolute favorites.  They deserve a place of honor to be appreciated for their artistry, craftsmanship and materials.  The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has a new furniture gallery where the focus is on materials and techniques used by furnituremakers from the 15th century to the present.  This eye-popping Mexican bureau veneered with mother-of-pearl required an artisan to saw shells for 5,000 hours.

Just received a catalogue from Wisteria with this Moorish chest with bone inlays for $2,999.

Wunderley offers the most beautiful selection of Middle Eastern inlaid furniture.  This mother-of-pearl chest is $10,500.

Mexican furniture maker Alfonso Marina’s beautiful craftmanship.

A magnificent  stone tub from Elegant Additions.

A Marble sculpture from Marble Statues.

What are your objects of beauty?





Feb 202013

Not sure I agree with this list, but here it is with pictures for your enjoyment.

  1. Catherine Palace, Russia
  2. Sleeper-McCann House, Massachusetts, US
  3. Castle Howard, York
  4. Powerscourt, Ireland
  5. Marble Palace Mansion, Kolkata, India
  6. Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, Malaysia
  7. Werribee Mansion, Australia
  8. Villa d’Este, Italy
  9. Falling Water, PA
  10. Chateau de Chambord, France

Catherine Palace

At the top of my list as well.

Exquisite floor, ceiling, walls and doors.

The amazing Amber Room.  In a class all by itself.

Love this wall of individual panels for the artwork.

Sleeper-McCann House

I disagree with this choice.  Not in my top 10.


Castle Howard









Marble Palace Mansion

Because this is a private residence no photography is permitted.

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Nov 092012

Last month Architectural Digest showcased the latest resort Selman Marrakech, a sprawling Moorish-style hotel minutes from medina. Developers Saida and Abdeslam Bennani Smires and decorator Jacques Garcia the creative force on the project. The exteriors are pure redbrick grandeur.

Love Moorish designs with all the intricate patterns.

There are 56 guest rooms and five riads. The interiors are Second Empire elegance with Napoleon III-inspired chairs, ebony-stained plasterwork, and antique carpets.
The ebony stained plasterwork is amazing.

I so enjoyed researching the other resorts mentioned in the Architectural Digest article. I know you will enjoy seeing them and want to add a trip to any one of them to your bucket list.
The Royal Mansour – Magnificent!

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Aug 022012

Am so enjoying the olympics.  The fab five women’s (girl’s) gymnastic team winning the gold medal and Michael Phelps breaking the record for the most gold medals of any athlete make this a historic  olympics.  I also love watching the aerial shots of London showing the amazing architecture.  So to continue with my historic tour of Britain with Blenheim Palace.

Blenheim Palace is the finest baroque house in the UK.  It is a monumental stately home situated in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England and one of the ten Treasure Houses of England.  It is the seat of the Dukes of Marlborough.


A gift from Queen Anne and a grateful nation to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, in recognition of his famous victory over the French at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704.

Sir Winston Churchill was born in the Palace in 1874.  On the Palace tour you can visit a permanent exhibition about him which is located next to his birth room.

The Great Hall is 67′ high with stone carvings by Grinling Gibbons.



The Saloon is also known as the State Dining Room and is now used by the family once a year on Christmas Day.

The magnificent paintings by Louis Laguerre.

The  Long Library

I love it when there is an inspiration from the past that can be translated into our homes today. Check out the highlighted banister in the Long Library.

Beaux-Artes has a historic reproduction grille that would make a fabulous banister. We are working on a two story foyer that has a banister that we can transform with our Queen Ann Grille. Our grilles are available in 20 different finishes or can be custom painted.

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 August 2, 2012  Posted by at 3:00 pm Architecture, Art, Gardens, Fountains, Sculpture 2 Responses »
Jul 252012

With the Summer 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony on Friday, July 27th at 9:00 p.m.,  it is a perfect time to feature fabulous London.  Big Ben is scheduled to chime more than 40 times the first day of the games.  The clock tower was Built in 1859 by Augustus Pugin and it is still the largest in the world.

Film Director Danny Boyle is the Artistic Director for the Opening Ceremony in the Olympic Stadium.

From the beginning, Boyle, the director of Slumdog Millionaire and the National Theatre’s Frankenstein, was prepared to take risks. Instead of relying on impressive numbers of heavily drilled participants, as at the Beijing ceremony, he designed a narrative about the British Isles based on the themes of Shakespeare’s last play and featuring a parade of emblems of national history and culture, from cricketers, farmers and 70 live sheep, to striking miners, suffragettes and a cloudburst of real rain.
Another reason for spiffing up Britain was the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, so the government has pumped billions of pounds into the city in anticipation of this year’s festivities.

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”-18th century author Samuel Johnson

Windsor Castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world, and the oldest in continuous occupation (over 900 years). It is one of the Queen’s three official residences, and is often said to be her favourite. Samuel Pepys proclaimed the Castle to be “the most romantique castle that is in the world”. That was in 1666, and the same is true today.

State Apartments

Buckingham Palace

Britain is a feast for lovers of all things classical.

London’s stylish, timeless neighborhoods.
Notting Hill

Notting Hill hosts the Portobello Road antiques market every Saturday.

Soho District

Famous Harrod’s in Knightsbridge

Another must see store is the brain child of Arthur Lasenby Liberty.  No other shop in London has such a strong iconic association with design.

Central London has top visitor sights with one of London’s most striking buildings, The National Gallery.

Westminster Abbey

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