Walk This Way

A Barren Austin, Texas Landscape Becomes a Peaceful Retreat
for an Avid Gardener and Her Family

Side Yard8Judging by the looks of this enchanting residential property, it’s hard to imagine the host of problems that once plagued the rejuvenated site. Kudos goes to B. Jane, owner of Austin-based B. Jane Gardens, a full-service landscape design and build group, who turned the formidable half-acre lot into a complete sanctuary.

“They had poor drainage in places, standing water, and the backyard sloped toward the house and would flood the patio in heavy rains,” Jane explains. “This was resolved though grading, drainpipes, diverting water, and creating more permeability in the soil through aeration and adding organic matter.”
In addition to tackling the tasks at hand, Jane, who studied sculpture and landscape architecture, also managed to assemble a visually dynamic outdoor space filled with numerous points of interest. “The actual act of building is important to me,” says Jane, who enjoys the design installation process.

The weather in Central Texas plays a major role in her profession. “We have drought, floods, 12-degree to 112-degree temperatures, alkaline soil or limestone, and lots of deer,” she says. “I have to take all of these issues into account when designing a space to ensure proper drainage and water retention, and that the vegetation that is chosen can handle the harsh climate.” Sunroom27
Another consideration for this particular project was the exterior of the house. “The style of this home isn’t common in Austin. It was nice to be able to design a more traditional formal garden supporting this particular architectural style,” says Jane, who had her work cut out for her. “Designing and building a garden/landscape that evoked a more formal French-Country feel in almost full shade with a herd of deer nesting in the lawn each night was challenging.”

Besides the fact that she had to contend with the deer that were consuming everything in sight, Jane also needed to make the environment more inviting for the wife who enjoys gardening and for the family that spends a lot of time outside, which includes frequent entertaining. Artful objects were strategically placed throughout, like a soothing fountain near the master bedroom that softens the sound of the air conditioner and a Saint Francis of Assisi statue near the patio that belonged to the homeowner. “She has a love for animals and plants,” says Jane.

Key features include an existing conservatory and patio, a brick retaining wall, and a delightful garden path in the backyard that makes it possible for the wife to meander. Green remains the dominant hue in this tranquil landscape. “Keeping a more minimal color palette creates a more serene space,” says Jane. “With this type of garden, we were looking for pops of color versus a bombardment.”

Garden Path26Among the various plantings that made the final cut are an assortment of orchids, philodendron, and cactus that appear throughout the conservatory. There are outdoor plants aplenty, like the fig ivy that covers the house, the Asian jasmine ground cover, and shell ginger and holly fern. Podocarpus was planted next to the home.

Stepping stones lead the way to the yard. Dwarf yaupon, asparagus fern, and Aztec grass lend color and texture to the landscape as do crinum, purpleheart, wood violet, lamb’s ears, thornless prickly pear, and creeping stemodia. “The property is open to the neighborhood,” says Jane. “Deer actually nest in their yard, so we needed to have highly deer-resistant vegetation.” Drought-tolerant plants were another essential for the Texas climate.

Bergin Patio24
LED lights illuminate the garden and the patio furniture, which was refurbished with new powder coating and upholstery. “The homeowner has a great sense of style. She selected the fabric as well as making the final choice on the powder-coat finish,” says Jane.

Though the conservatory and the back patio provide enticing indoor-outdoor living, “It’s more about the paths for her,” says Jane, about the wife who likes to take leisurely strolls through the foliage and putters in the garden. While the expansive patio can accommodate larger gatherings, the winding paths offer more privacy for contemplation. “It makes light maintenance easier for her and it’s about the experience of discovery; she gets to see when a new plant has bloomed,” says Jane. The same theory applies to the Japanese maples alongside the house that create a canopy effect. “It’s like a little tunnel that opens up to the backyard,” she adds. “I like to create opportunities for discovery so that you don’t see everything at once.”

Today, the property has a cohesive quality and a natural flow that begins in the front yard and continues out back. Jane even took the dramatic height of the house into consideration by playing it down with surrounding plant beds. “The house is nestled into the landscape now,” she says. Wandering through the gardens to observe the latest embellishments that only nature can bestow never looked so good.

WRITTEN BY JEANINE MATLOW PHOTOGRAPHY BY RYANN FORD

Raising the Barn

SE1208-06 Malbec Sirocc6411Turning an old barn that was intended for horses into a state-of-the-art family home is no easy feat. Doing so in an environmentally responsible manner with an

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impressive aesthetic to match, poses an even greater challenge. Yet, all of these goals were met during this incredibly remarkable project. The objective was to transform a 1920s concrete barn that had been in the client’s family for eighty years into a custom home, while keeping the exterior similar to the original structure and incorporating as many existing elements as possible. Clearly, Mike Serrao, general manager and owner of Malbec Homes & Renovations in Calgary, Alberta, who was responsible for the design and construction, was up to the task of the complex transformation that resulted in a 3,600-square-foot residence on over two acres of land. Serrao began by weighing the options carefully. “You have to think outside the box. It’s not simple. I built the house seventeen times in my head before I touched it,” says the creative force behind the transformation who had a lot to consider. “It has to make sense. We had to seal the house, have the proper envelope, proper heating, etc.” DSC_87686442_Copy9 Oversize windows flood the home with natural light while providing scenic views of a nearby golf course as well as the rural surroundings. The exterior keeps the integrity and character of the barn intact, and the interiors, described as “rustic industrial,” feature a number of custom touches turned conversation pieces, especially those made with salvaged materials from the original site. Contrasting textures and natural wood elements combined with steel contribute to the one-of-a-kind creation. An abundance of existing historical and sentimental materials from the original barn takes the act of repurposing to new heights. For starters, the wood ceiling from the original hayloft was repurposed for hardwood floors and stair treads, while the roof trusses were incorporated into the great room ceiling with the purlins reworked on stair stringers. SE1208-06 Malbec Sirocc6448The fireplace mantel in the great room and the wood framing around the kitchen cabinets were made from the salvaged hemlock of horse stalls—complete with chew marks that make them the ultimate in authenticity. Cladding on the kitchen island that came from the original tin roof supports the industrial vibe. A barn door that leads to the media room was made from reclaimed barn board, and the concrete fireplace surround was constructed to resemble distressed barn board. Recessed windows lend interest to the once flat elevation. A second story was built into the trusses to incorporate a media room, guest room, bathroom, playroom, and office, increasing the square footage by roughly 40 percent without expansion in any direction. The open-concept floor plan complete with spacious rooms, natural light, and vaulted ceilings consists of many features that are in current demand.SE1208-06 Malbec Sirocc6671 Everything was well planned and meticulously executed from start to finish. The environment is ideal for entertaining with a back deck and bar area in the great room, which has a kegerator and connects to the outdoor space and the home office. On the main floor, four bedrooms, a bathroom, and a laundry room can all be accessed from a single hallway. The staircase, with its mesh railing and second-story bridge, acts as a focal point for the home. Though it’s understandably tough for Serrao to single out a favorite feature, he is especially fond of the stairs. “I like stairs to look like furniture. . . ; they’re probably the best piece of furniture in the house,” he says. The fact that he believes in collaboration paid off in the end. “When clients use your ideas, other people feed off of them,” he says. “In drama, the best acting happens when everyone says ‘yes’ and [builds] on it.” SE1208-06 Malbec Sirocc6674As he demonstrates through the natural beauty of this highly customized home, when you put your trust in the right contractor for the job, anything’s possible. “You have to make sure the contractor has the imagination. You work with them for months like they’re family. Design wise, you should brainstorm and really talk about what you want to accomplish and then let them go with it; try to see what they see,” says Serrao. “The whole house turned out better than expected because the [homeowners] were awesome.” Written by: Jeannie Matlow After Photography by: Mike Haywood Before Photography by: Evan Mounsey  

The Savvy Startup – How to Launch Your Dream Business for Less

Startup When you’re thinking of starting your own business, one of the biggest fears you’ll face

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is the seemingly insurmountable cost of getting your company off the ground. After all, new businesses require ample cash flow to cover costs ranging from licensing fees to office space to advertising campaigns. It’s no wonder that so many potential entrepreneurs assume a new business is out of their budgetary reach before they even begin. But with a bit of research, advance planning, and savvy decision making, you can launch your business on a shoestring. Here’s how to start acting like a frugal entrepreneur to trim costs, spend smart, and start your new company on a budget you can actually afford. GET CONNECTED. Networking allows you to create personal relationships with individuals who are familiar with your industry and the costs of doing business in it. You can link up with like-minded entrepreneurs by attending industry conferences and joining business-oriented social networking sites sucha as LinkedIn. Then, you can use those connections to help you with everything from determining competitive industry fees to finding an affordable accountant who specializes in your field. RETHINK THE WORKPLACE. If you think you need a fancy office or spacious retail space to open shop, it’s time to reconsider your options. You can reduce the cost of the physical space you need to run your company in a number of ways. At the start, you can work from home, conduct your business by e-mail and phone, and hold meetings in public spaces. Or you could rent a small, affordable office space and outfit it with secondhand furniture and equipment to cut costs. Finally, if you’re looking to enter the retail or restaurant industry, you could partner with another business and hold pop-up events in their space until your company takes off. FIND ALTERNATIVE FINANCING. Entrepreneurs are no longer restricted to bootstrapping their own business or getting loans from financial institutions—or wealthy family members—to raise capital. Thanks to the advent of crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, the general public can now pledge money to back your business idea. Just know that raising funds through these less traditional avenues will still require plenty of work on your end. You’ll need a clear creative business plan to really sell people on your idea and entice them to spend their hard-earned dollars on it. LEARN THE ART OF BARTERING. When you’re launching a new business, every penny counts. Bartering lets you cut costs by offering your goods or services to someone as payment instead of cash. Whether you need a new website or want a photographer to take headshots of your staff, suggesting a trade is a smart financial move. You can also reach out to art school students who might work for free or for a low fee in exchange for letting them use the images or designs as part of their portfolio. PROMOTE FOR PENNIES. You don’t have to shell out the big bucks for a public relations plan or a splashy advertising campaign to promote your new business. Whether you’re selling a product or a service, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to spread the word by investing your time and creativity, not your capital. Start with social media, which is a free platform that can get your business in front of the eyes of potential customers. Maintaining a presence on popular social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can help you build a distinct brand, drive traffic to your website, and generate a buzz about your company as it evolves.

Hit the Books

The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau In his New York Times bestseller, Chris Guillebeau shares fifty telling case studies of individuals who have built a successful startup for a modest investment. It includes valuable details on each company from precise startup costs to telling mistakes they made along the way.

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries Author-entrepreneur Eric Ries shares his scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups. Pick up the book to learn how to be more efficient with your funds and control human creativity more effectively in your work.

The Suitcase Entrepreneur by Natalie Sisson Catering to on-the-go entrepreneurs, this book by digital nomad Natalie Sisson promises to help you choose your own adventure and launch a location-independent business. Inside you’ll find advice on everything from how to reach a global audience to how to live a free, balanced, and adventure-filled life.

Written by: Ashley Gartland

 

United Spaces

Boles Res 036395_Copy22When interior designer Zach Azpeitia is first approached by a client, especially one building a new home, he generally knows that the plans are going to inevitably change. Which is exactly what happened when the designer with Atlanta-based Pineapple House was enlisted to transform one couple’s dream home into a comfortable and sophisticated place to relax, live, and host their growing family and grandchildren. “It’s a collaboration,” says Azpeitia of working with the homeowners, architect, and builder to create an optimum living space for clients. “Once the homeowners came to us and gave us the plans . . . we started working with them and found out [their needs] and we altered the plans a little bit.” Those alterations included some major erasing of walls and heightening of ceilings on paper to open up one of the home’s most important rooms: the kitchen. The kitchen—a 1,000-square-foot space boasting an open floor plan that

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seamlessly connects the casual dining area with the family room—is the highlight of the golf-course set home located in an Atlanta suburb. The space originally had a couple of walls dividing the three areas into separate yet cozy spaces. But after talking more with the homeowners, who wanted to be able to host large family gatherings in the 8,000-square-foot home, Azpeitia redrew the plans and eliminated the segregating walls. “The homeowners’ kids are grown up so they really live in this space the most and wanted it to open to the family room,” he explains. Boles Res 026357_Copy7Next, in order to open up the entire space, the ceiling was heightened significantly from 12 feet to an impressive 16 feet with a large cathedral ceiling in the family room area. “We actually raised the ceiling to give the room more volume and added more windows to be more connected to the outside,” says Azpeitia. As the home sits perched on a hill, the outside patio boasts a stunning view of the golf course and pool, and by connecting the inside with the outside it extends the living space dramatically. The focal point of the kitchen is the dramatic limestone-covered range hood, which, says Azpeitia, was so heavy even the builder was concerned with how it would remain in place. But after much tooling and engineering, the team figured out a way to install the massive piece, which resulted in a stunning fixture in the transitional-style kitchen. To keep the three spaces seamlessly connected, walnut hardwoods run throughout while the furnishings—which boast a neutral color palette of grays and tans with pops of green and blue—are similar in their transitional lines. Granite countertops and a limestone backsplash pair well with custom cherry cabinetry that extends into the family room. To keep the cabinetry from feeling too “kitchen-y,” Azpeitia designed it to look as if it were pieces of oversize furniture. To break up the granite, though, one of the large islands features a wood top, while to keep the space cohesive, two fireplacesBoles Res crop less ran7319—one in the dining area and the other in the family room—are prominent fixtures at both ends of the expansive yet cozy room. To enhance to the dramatic ceiling height in the family room, Azpeitia added wood trusses from reclaimed barnwood. A large chandelier from Fourteenth Colony Lighting serves as one of the focal points of the family room while custom draperies in a soothing green floral pattern by Lee Jofa soften the rustic elements. An Indonesian hutch featuring a gray finish achieves the same soothing, softening effect in the kitchen area. In order to let the major elements shine such as the limestone hood, reclaimed barnwood trusses, and stone fireplaces, Azpeitia kept the base of the room neutral. “There’s a lot going on in this space,” he says. “We just wanted the background to complement the space. We just wanted that background to go away.” The result of tearing down and moving walls and heightening ceilings—on paper at least—was well worth the time and effort, says Azpeitia. “The homeowners absolutely love it,” he says, adding that the open floor plan works well for their growing family. “They’re really enjoying the house.” Written by: Blake Miller Photography by: Chris Little Photography

Family Gathering

CrownPoint97-026247_Copy23Goose Pond is a 625-acre lake located in Grafton County in western New Hampshire. A secluded body of water with beautiful views, it offers a tranquil, peaceful location for homeowners and vacationers. “We had been looking for the perfect spot to build for several years. We saw a home in South Carolina that had a lovely modern English-cottage feel, but we weren’t completely happy with the location,” explains Audrey Brown, owner of this 6,500-square-foot home. “When we came upon this lot on Goose Pond in Canaan, New Hampshire, we fell in love with it and the

area. We knew that this was the right place to build our cottage.” The Browns wanted to capture that English-cottage style and designed the exterior with that in mind. When they started on the interior, they consulted Crown Point Cabinetry, a family-owned and operated business, handcrafting custom cabinetry since 1979, and located in Claremont, New Hampshire. “The Browns were very specific in their desires,” says Mark Wirta, then Sales Designer for Crown Point, and currently Sales Manager. “They wanted a functional kitchen with lots of space for their family to spend time together.” Wirta created a kitchen design with an Early-American feel. “Our kitchens are 100 percent custom, so we were able to accomplish everything the Browns were looking to do,” he explains. “They wanted pine, which we stained an amber brown. Then we hand-brushed a pitch black milk paint over the stain giving the cabinetry a burnished, warm, worn feel.” The under stain gave the pine an aged wood look according to Wirta, so the cabinets took on the appearance of a lived-in, well-loved kitchen. A baked-on finish provided exceptional durability. CrownPoint97-046224_Copy7The 12-by-15-foot kitchen opens to a dining room and a living room. “Whenever someone is cooking, it seems like everybody ends up in the kitchen,” says Brown. “We wanted a gathering area for our children and grandchildren to socialize comfortably, so we left a generous space behind the island, between the kitchen and dining room.” The cabinets create the impression of fine furniture with toe-kick detail and custom touches. There’s a paneled back to the island for a finished look. “The turnings that provide additional support for the Vermont Danby marble countertop, keep the island light and open looking,” adds Wirta. “In the butler’s pantry, the cabinet has divided panes of glass and therefore has the feel of a buffet rather than a kitchen cabinet.” Brushed stainless pulls blend with the stainless appliances. Because the kitchen is open to the other rooms, the Browns were concerned that it look attractive from a variety of angles. “The 48-inch Wolf range and vent hood became a focal point from the living room, so we wanted that view to be particularly appealing,” says Brown. The professional vent hood is inserted into a custom-finished cabinet frame. There is a recessed rail with lighting in the cabinetry and the homeowners had a brick backsplash installed to reinforce that warm, welcoming home feel. Copper pots hang on a rack for an Old-World touch. There’s no refrigerator in the main kitchen area by choice. “We have a large, deep refrigerator and felt it would be overpowering in the kitchen, so we tucked it discreetly in the butler’s pantry,” says Brown. “However, there are two drawer refrigerators in the island cabinet for easy access to milk, juice, and those things used most often.” The Kohler apron-front sink adds to the English-cottage ambience. Crown Point Cabinetry delivers its products nationwide, as well as to the Bahamas and Canada. “Since we often do our designs long distance, we supply samples of working cabinet doors before we begin building the cabinets so the homeowners know exactly what they are getting,” explains Wirta. “Some customers, like the Browns, become intimately involved in the design. Others give us a general overview and then let us carry the ball. We work comfortably either way.” Brown absolutely loves her kitchen, and, for Mark Wirta, that’s what really matters. Written by: Carolyn M. Runyon Photography by: Crown Point Cabinetry  

Happy Place

CoverFinal4639_Copy7 When you buy an older house, it takes effort to personalize it and make it your own. Just ask designer Tammara Stroud of Seattle-based interior design firm Tammara Stroud Design. “The previous owners of this home installed a kitchen island that was about five feet tall and functioned as a display cabinet rather than an island for food prep, entertaining, and dining,” Stroud explains. That choice worked well for the former residents, but Stroud’s clients needed to make a change. “For this young family, the kitchen represents the heart and soul of the home. The original island placement made the space feel disconnected from the rest of the house. It did not feel friendly or welcoming,” says Stroud.

Besides the island, other design updates included removing open shelving, replacing the range hood venting, repurposing a built-in water dispenser niche, and modernizing the appliance garages.
Stroud takes a sustainable approach to remodeling. Before demolition, Stroud first assessed what could remain. “The perimeter cabinets were in good condition. Some did not have doors, but that was easy to change,” she explains. Stroud kept the flooring and window treatments as well. Once the designer knew what was staying, she contacted Second Use, a Seattle company that retrieves and resells building materials from remodeling projects, and they took the original island cabinetry and countertops.
After demolition, work on the new island began in earnest. With each project, Stroud asks her clients to create idea books with pictures that show colors and styles that appeal to them. “Many clients have a hard time verbalizing what they like. Having visuals makes it easier for me to see what makes them happy,” she explains. Here, the homeowners’ idea book revealed an affinity for turquoise, blues, and sunny yellows. Those clues helped Stroud choose turquoise for the island color.

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Of course, in addition to looking good, the island also had to function for the family’s needs. Stroud asked, “How many people would sit there? What activities would they do there? How did they want to use it?” Stroud notes that many times functionality is ignored in a kitchen because homeowners do not think through how they will use the space. She says, “Ask yourself, when you open your refrigerator, where will you set food when you take it out? When you take something off the stove, where do you set it? Where do you prep your food before cooking it?”
The new island is multifunctional. The expansive surface provides plenty of room for prep. A chrome faucet sits above the white-porcelain sink. Orange-red barstools add seating. One side of the island holds trash and recycling bins and a dishwasher. The opposite side offers cabinets for extra storage.
Once the island design was complete, Stroud addressed the other features that the new homeowners wanted to update. The open shelving design dilemma was resolved by adding Shaker-style doors. The previous water dispenser niche was repurposed as wine storage. A new stainless-steel range hood provided adequate venting. And retractable doors were used to streamline the appliance storage space.
For the new countertops, Stroud chose quartz for durability. The gray tone works well with the vibrant accent colors and the neutral perimeter cabinets and flooring. A stripe of cool-colored sea glass tiles contrast with white subway tile. Yellow, blue, and orange-red chairs pop against the simple white table.

A good lighting plan provides an essential but often forgotten element of good kitchen design. “If you don’t have adequate lighting, your kitchen won’t function well,” says Stroud. “Again, you have to think through how you’re going to move in the kitchen.” Natural light from the windows and can lights provide general illumination. Glass pendants over the island offer task lighting and add a decorative and personalized touch. Strip lights along the top cabinets provide ambient lighting to create a softer mood.
But it’s not only the practical elements of the remodel that make this design a
success—it’s also the emotion. “I love the vibrancy of color in this kitchen,” says Stroud. “It seems like such a happy place.”

WRITTEN BY RONDA SWANEY PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARCELA WINSPEAR PHOTOGRAPHY

Paradise in Puntacana

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It is not often that one of the world’s most well-known and respected

fashion designers decides to step outside the drawing room and off the runway and into the world of design travel. Though it’s commonplace for an interior designer to lend his name and expertise to the decor of a hotel or resort—there’s the Kelly Wearstler-designed Viceroy in Miami and the Christian Lacroix-designed Hotel du Petit Moulin in Paris, for example—for a fashion designer to do so is outside the norm.

But no one ever said Oscar de la Renta was just any fashion designer. The Dominican Republic-born designer has a residence on property at the luxury Puntacana Resort & Spa, the main property to the boutique and more intimate Tortuga Bay Resort & Spa. It’s the latter, though, that bears de la Renta’s signature design aesthetic—luxurious and refined—with a touch of casual Caribbean comfort. As a member of the Leading Hotels of the World and the only AAA Five Diamond-awarded hotel in the Dominican Republic, Tortuga Bay boasts just thirteen luxuriously appointed villas along a private three-mile stretch of white sand beach. It’s the perfect setting for the designer’s pet project, where he showcases a mutual respect for both his Caribbean heritage and his high-fashion lifestyle.
The plantation-style interiors of Tortuga Bay—from the alfresco lobby to the luxurious oceanfront suites just steps from the white sand beach—is where de la Renta pays homage to the privacy and sense of calm the designer loves deeply about the Dominican Republic. Working closely with architect Rhina López Marranzini and Dominican Republic-based designer Aurora de la Rocha, de la Renta established a playful yet sophisticated color palette of white, beige, and yellows, which add warmness, calmness, and simplicity to the rooms. The backdrop of the crystal-clear, turquoise-blue Caribbean water serves as the perfect complement to an otherwise wholly neutral aesthetic—which is exactly what de la Renta had in mind when

he made the serene setting the focus of this intimate yet luxurious property.

But it’s the addition of locally sourced materials such as wicker, sea grass, and mahogany, which were used to create the custom chairs, rugs, four-poster beds, and all other furniture in the suites all made by artisans from the Dominican Republic that are the highlight of the property. Rustic natural elements mesh seamlessly with white walls and crisp, white 350-count Frette linens while pops of color are scattered throughout. It’s the perfect coupling in paradise.
Design was not the only focus when Tortuga Bay was dreamed of. While relaxation is one of the key elements to this luxury property, adventure is also an integral part of what makes Tortuga Bay so appealing. (Regarding the former, the Six Senses spa on property is exquisite, featuring an extensive spa menu and indoor and outdoor relaxation areas overlooking the turquoise-blue water and white sand beach.) Professional golfers come to Tortuga Bay to play its forty-five holes of championship golf boasting six oceanfront and fourteen ocean-view holes on the Tom Fazio-designed Corales and P.B. Dye’s La Cana. Set between rocky cliffs, coral reefs, and the expansive Caribbean Sea, Corales is the true draw to Tortuga Bay. The ocean, inland lakes, natural cliffs, and coralina quarries prove to be impressive if not challenging obstacles for even the most experienced golfer.
For those who don’t hit the greens, the property offers half- and full-day excursions that allow you to experience Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic fully. Between zip-lining the island jungles and exploring the Dominican Republic’s natural caves to horseback riding on the beach and snorkeling the nearby reefs, there are ample opportunities to leave the chaise lounge behind in favor of adventure.
But while de la Renta has certainly put his touch on the property, it’s an understated elegance that makes Tortuga Bay so special. From the serene privacy to the elegantly-appointed suites, Tortuga Bay is a can’t-miss destination on the growing island of Dominican Republic.
Written by Blake Miller

Pigment and Plants

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Use Colors to set the Mood in Your Garden

Written by Catriona Tudor Erler

Color is a powerful force in the garden. It can soothe, excite, be restful, imbue energy, or make a space feel larger or smaller. Armed with a little knowledge and the willingness to engage in trial and error, you can create color combinations that set the exact tone you want in your private garden paradise.

HARMONIZE WITH COLOR COUSINS. Hues next to each

other on the color wheel, such as blue and violet, take on the properties of each other and blend. These monochromatic color schemes are generally most successful when you vary the flowers’ scales and textures.

Sometimes, monochromatic color theme gardens can go too far. The early-twentieth-century British garden maven Gertrude Jekyll wrote, “. . . people will sometimes spoil some garden project for the sake of a word. For instance a blue garden, for beauty’s sake, may be hungering for a group of white lilies, or something of the palest lemon-yellow, but is not allowed to have it because it is called the blue garden, and there must be no other flowers.”
INSPIRED COMBINATIONS. Complementary colors make a strong statement. Vincent van Gogh poetically described his love of color complements in an 1888 letter to his sister, Wilhelmina, “…there are colors which cause each other to shine brilliantly, which form a couple, which complete each other like man and woman.” He suggested combining cornflowers, white chrysanthemums, and marigolds for a motif in blue and orange; heliotrope and yellow roses for a lilac and yellow motif; and poppies or red geraniums set among green leaves for a red and green combination.
British plantsman Christopher Lloyd encouraged the bold use of color to create excitement, an element he believed was essential to successful gardening. “Two colors may shout at each other,” he wrote, “but they are shouting for joy.” He advocated using color contrasts because these have the most “pop.” Lloyd suggested combining the purple flowering Verbena bonariensis with a red dahlia such as ‘Grenadier,’ adding the reddish foliage of Canna indica ‘Purpurea’ for further emphasis. Blue and yellow is another classic contrast. Lloyd combinedVerbena bonariensis with the yellow-green flowers of Patrinia scabiosifolia, and placed blue flowering Iris siberica against the chartreuse yellow foliage of Bowles sedge (Carex elata ‘Aurea’).
WHITE AND GRAY. A delicate spray of white flowers, such as baby’s breath or Crambe cordifolia can create a sensation of shimmer in the garden, rather like white fairy lights strung in a tree. Beware: bold clumps of white tend to punch holes in the design, leaving a

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visual void. Use white to make colors appear brighter, giving them definition. In his novel East of Eden, John Steinbeck wrote, “Every petal of blue lupine is edged with white, so that a field of lupines is more blue than you can imagine.”

Gray foliage helps to link disparate colors; however, not just any gray will work. Silvery grays tend to be too show-stopping, grabbing all the attention rather than being a silent partner. But blue-gray and plain gray are highly useful for bringing cohesion between two conflicting colors and transitioning from one color scheme to another. Gray is also excellent to calm glare or harsh sunlight.
Seeing flowering plants side by side is a huge help in finding the right combinations. Walk around the garden with a newly purchased plant to find the right setting. At the garden center, place flowering plants next to each other to find the color and texture combinations that make your heart sing.
Placing plants for the best color combinations is a fine art that often relies on trial and error. But you can’t go wrong by using your favorite color combinations to put a personal stamp on your garden. If you like it, it’s right.

Hawaiian Luxury

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