Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Outstanding New Books for Garden Inspiration

‘English Gardens From the Archives of Country Life Magazine’ by Kathryn Bradley-Hole, and ‘Garden Design Master Class 100 Lessons from the World’s Finest Designers on the Art of the Garden’ are newly published by Rizzoli Books.

I was one of the founding editors
Garden Design magazine, with the great Dorothy Kalins — and I’ve studied, visited, and written about gardens around the world.

I grew up in the beautiful countryside on the South Island of New Zealand, surrounded by gorgeous gardens in the English tradition. No wonder I gravitate toward these two wonderful new books, with page after page of English and English-inspired gardens.

I highly recommend these two new essential garden reference books, which offer garden enthusiasts and beginners hundreds of pages of beautiful photographs and a lifetime of expert knowledge, information and ideas.

Each of these books is an essential reference that covers dozens of styles, locations, and both practical and poetic information.

‘English Gardens From the Archive of Country Life Magazine’ by Kathryn Bradley-Hole

In this weighty and beautifully designed tome of 494 pages, more than, sixty-two gardens are portrayed in full glory.

It is one of the most beautiful books on gardening, and a most profoundly inspiring book on the art and practice of garden design and maintenance.

Gardens shown and described in detail include gardens that are centuries old, and others that are as modern and visionary as tomorrow.

I like the way the book is organized around twelve stylistic groups. On its pages are castle gardens, cottage gardens, historic gardens, along with grand estates (Blenheim Palace and Chatsworth) and exquisite small garden plots.

Among the famous gardens in ‘English Gardens’ are Sissinghurst (a favorite of mine) as well as Kew and Wisley, and Gertrude Jekyll’s garden.

I love also the classical elegance and style of Rosemary Verey’s Barnsley House, and many other gardens by noted women gardeners.

Horticultural greats also include ‘Capability’ Brown, Piet Oudolf, David Hicks, the Bannermans, and Arne Maynard.

I admired also the fine examples of plant collections and plant collectors, cutting gardens, abstract gardens, glasshouses, formal gardens, informal wild gardens, and visionary gardens.

Also notable in ‘English Gardens’ are magnificent topiary gardens (you will want to pick up the hedge cutters and shears) along with kitchen gardens, borders, rose gardens, walled gardens, wild gardens, modern planting designs, and gardens with ponds and fountains.

Kathryn Bradley-Hole’s text is highly informative and enormously entertaining. There is a lot of horticultural information and practical and useful details.

There’s also a map of garden locations, and lists of gardens that are open to the public.

Oh, and there’s a charming Foreword by the Duke of Devonshire.

I admired also the index, as well as a bibliography with lists of important and useful gardening books for reference.

‘Garden Design Master Class’ Edited by Carl Dellatore

This beautifully designed and very comprehensive book consists of one hundred essays by world-famous garden designers/ landscape designers/horticulturists, garden visionaries and garden experts including Dan Pearson, Edwina von Gal, Jinny Blom, Charlotte Moss, Michael Trapp, Charlie McCormick, Arne Maynard, Nancy Goslee Power, Elizabeth Everdell and Dominique Lafourcade.

‘Garden Design Master Class’ spans hundreds of ideas and expert details on garden genres, principles, color hues, plant palettes, structures, ornaments, meadows, roses, perennials, bulbs, kitchen gardens, and trees.

I admire the way Dellatore selected essays that are philosophical, optimistic, abstract and theoretical. Each garden designer selected personal concepts, and some of them are wonderfully provocative and fresh.

‘Garden Design Master Class’ offers a comprehensive garden education. It’s rich with theory, practical information, and encouragement for gardeners to experiment and think long-term.

I found Dellatore’s 290 pages extremely original and very inspiring and helpful.

There’s an excellent index.


‘English Gardens From the Archives of Country Life Magazine’ is published by Rizzoli.

Garden Design Master Class’ is newly published by Rizzoli.

Photography published here with express permission of the publisher.

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Thursday, September 3, 2020

San Francisco Decorator Showcase 2020

The forty-third annual San Francisco Decorator Showcase has a dazzling array of designs, and interiors by vividly talented San Francisco and Los Angeles designers.

This year, the rooms are polished and lively with ideas and great style.

This showcase is not open to the public, and no-one can visit. Online only.

For the first time in its historical almost five decades, the house is presented virtually, with a beautifully produced tour of each room of the house, along with exciting features and tools for design fans to study and gain more information.

The Details

The San Francisco Decorator Showcase is widely considered to be the West Coast’s premier design showhouse event, renowned for featuring the work of the region’s top interior and landscape designers. All the funds raised through the Decorator Showcase benefit the San Francisco University High School Financial Aid Program.

Virtual tours launch Saturday, September 5, 2020

Tickets for the virtual tour are $25 and will be available online starting September 5 at www.DecoratorShowcase.org


“For the multidisciplinary Sundown Lounge we pulled from history, fashion, art, and contemporary culture, The Sundown Lounge of this grand William H. Toepke (1870-1949) Seacliff home is a moody and comfortable environment for game nights, cocktails, music, and lounging. The decorative painted ceiling, lime wash walls, and custom area rug are inspired by historic Spanish style patterning and materiality. The furnishings are a mixture of vintage, contemporary, and custom pieces spanning from the 1940’s to present day. Modern Nordic and Brazilian masters, Palle Suenson, Paavo Tynell, Arne Wahl Iversen and Jorge Zalszupin in dialogue with emerging contemporary visionaries Vincenzo De Cotis, Wonmin Park, Trevor Paglen, Davina Semo, and Noam Rappaport. The space is a saturated and layered escape.”

Leann Conquer and Alexis Tompkins

DZINE Gallery

“I wanted to presenting this serious gallery program for Elina Frumerman botanical photography in a new context. Clearly the matte black walls, composed of paint that incorporated black ink is a dramatic backdrop to the photography by Elina Frumerman, similarly with their own shadow backdrops. I wanted the stairs to be punctuated with glowing plants and flowers, like jewels.. On the landing, I added additional and larger format depictions to continue this dialog, but not too much. On the landing the framed botanical photographs are fewer in number, and equally powerful in their presence and arrangement.” — Philip Bewley, DZINE Gallery Curator and Gallery Director

It's extraordinary to see work that reinvents a canon of art —the dramatic depiction of flowers, plants and trees in contemporary way that is relevant to today. This exquisite photography by Elina Frumerman expands upon the meaning we assign to plants. There is technical virtuosity, artistic sensibility, and no effort and expense was spared by Frumerman, and by DZINE Gallery to get every detail of this project to be of the highest standard. There is the work itself, sublime and restrained in composition, glorious in its depiction that gives the viewer an emotional connection.” — Philip Bewley Gallery Director and Art Advisor, DZINE Gallery


Applegate Tran Interiors

“The initial concept was an artist’s retreat. As our vision progressed, the design morphed into an art collector’s gallery retreat with favorite pieces to surround themselves with and gain inspiration from. As designers, we are always inspired and affected by art and truly feel our concept is a reflection of this.

The art we selected is a mix of bold and bright contrasted against calm and serene. The large black and white is a bold geometric piece that we’ve placed next to the painting in calming green tones is a signature. Hongtao Zhou's Textscapes are the perfect example of an overall aesthetically pleasing work that is created by rigid text and cityscapes. We also threw in a nod to pop art with the David Bowie piece in the colorful custom frame. We wanted to add something soft and inviting and included the landscape in the corner of the room; it draws the onlooker in and makes you want to enter the painting and live in its serenity.

Vernon Applegate and Gioi Tran

Dina Bandman Interiors

“I love the vibrant and joyful mosaic tile pattern inspired by the iconography of the Otomi tribe in Central America. It is from New Ravenna, and sourced from Da Vinci Marble in San Francisco. It’s a very elevated level of art for a children’s bathroom. Foxes and Llamas prance in jewel-toned glass tiles. In contrast there’s a rich Venetian red, with classic white subway tiles. Art and design to inspire children.”

Dina Bandman

Tineke Triggs | Artistic Designs for Living

“The Liquid Lounge media room/bar is for a family’s fun and pleasure. I’ve created a romantic moment in the corner, secluded by a gold mesh screen. Family and friends can linger on the rose-color banquette with a dramatic geometric table. The star of the room is the digital art on the wall, by Danial Canogar. I also love the molten glass chandelier floating overhead that adds to this cool glamour.”

Tineke Triggs

Jeffrey Neve | Interior Design

“The gallery lounge offers quiet retreat. The focal point is the oil painting by Judith Rothschild from Hackett Mill. It floats elegantly above the marvelous vellum—top console from C. Mariani Antiques. I found the perfect chairs and lighting and tables from the De Sousa Hughes showroom.

Jeffrey Neve

The Virtual Tour

The 43rd annual San Francisco Decorator Showcase will launch its first-ever virtual event on Saturday, September 5 showcasing the distinguished work of more than 20 top interior and landscape designers who have transformed 27 distinct spaces.

Due to public health concerns around COVID-19, in-person tours will, unfortunately, not be permitted. However, this year’s San Francisco Decorator Showcase will include a comprehensive walk-through video tour of the house and landscaped spaces; an interactive 3-D self-guided tour, links to designer interviews and more.

The Mediterranean-style house at 22 · 22nd Avenue is located in the charming West Clay Park neighborhood and adjacent to Seacliff and the Presidio.


Sam Frost Studio 
Christopher Stark 

Applegate Tran: 
Jose-Manuel Alorda 
Christopher Stark 
Christopher Stark
Christopher Stark


Tickets for the virtual tour are $25 and will be available online starting September 5 at www.DecoratorShowcase.org.