2021 Holiday Gift Guide

  1. Petite Flamenco Outdoor Umbrella from Santa Barbara Designs
  2. Mamagreeen’s Bondi Tall Adirondack and Footrest (kids’ version available)
  3. Ambient Tall Lantern from Gloster
  4. Gloster’s Lima Corner End and Ottoman
  5. Janus et Cie Montpelier Lanterns (26″ – 39″ tall)
  6. Wooden Hammock by Adam Cornish
  7. Outdoor Incense by The Floral Society
  8. Houe Click Rocking Chair  (kids’ version available)
  9. Forest Folly Double Old Fashioned Glasses (set of 6) from Bernadette Schaeffler
  10. The Root Tree Stand by Garden Glory
  11. Shokunin Kamado Grill from Kalamazoo Gourmet
  12. Caneline On The Move Side Tables

Curating your outdoor experience is key to living beautifully outdoors. When you’re ready to #LBO at your home, contact us!

Preeminent Chicago Designers

Dear Enthusiasts of Creativity and Beauty,

May I have your attention?

Today we’re celebrating and sharing with you our very favorite Chicago designers, architects, and builders. Not only do you get to meet them, you get to see a favorite title they recommend. (Shall we say . . . a peek behind their thought curtain.) P.S. We’re including ourselves. Yup.

Not only have these respective individuals had an incredible impact on Chicago’s design scene, they have worked with our clients as well. WHICH MEANS . . . we are biased.

But seriously, it’s so justifiable. Preeminent professionals should receive attention and be known. I mean, that’s who you want to work with, right?

Without further adieu . . . 

Above: Craig J-S, President and Co-Owner of Topiarius (in case you don’t recognize him). He says, “I love craft – not crafting, but craft. I like things that take time and effort. This is reflected in my hobbies – gardening, cooking low and slow, woodworking. There is something to the equation Time + Effort = Understanding.”
In the Company of Stone by Dan Snow is this equation in craggy perfection. Snow is part Master Stone Mason, part artist and fully a philosopher.

Above: Yup this is me. Sara J-S, CEO and Co-Owner of Topiarius. Garden History by Tom Turner was the first book that concisely portrayed the necessity of gardens throughout history and the world in all their various shapes and sizes. It was the a-ha moment that we are part of something larger.

Above: Travel by Design presented by The Design Leadership Network is close to Jessica’s heart. Jessica, owner of Jessica LaGrange Interiors,  was asked to contribute some pictures and commentary from her favorite places to travel. All the contributors are architects, designers, landscapers, lighting designers. Jessica couldn’t help but suggest a second book called Sant Ambroeus Coffee Bar Cookbook, which allows her to make one of her favorites – their flourless chocolate cookie. YUM!

Above: Annie Leibovitz Portraits 2005 – 2016 by Annie Leibovitz is a classic and a favorite of Sarah Vaile owner of Sarah Vaile Design. Leibovitz’ images from this decade are compelling and some serious eye candy. Sarah asks a valid question, does the work of a photography master of our generation really ever go out of style? My answer . . . nope. 

Above: Now this book COLORSTROLOGY by Michele Bernhardt is fascinating. Aimee Wertepny, visionary and owner of PROjECT, brings some light-hearted fun to the table this season. Not only can we learn about ourselves, but learn about color too. Definitely!

Above: Kevin Toukoumidis the Founding Principal of dSPACE Stuido recommends Urban Oasis: Tranquil Outdoor Spaces at Home by Rebecca Gross. He’s correct in saying that it’s a very timely read during this pandemic. Spending time at home, especially outdoors, is the name of the game. Why not do it in your very own oasis?

Above: We all need a great reference book, especially in home design. Kevin Klinger, partner and senior manager at Savăne Properties, keeps A Field Guide to American Houses by Virginia and Lee McAlester on his shelf because it is a great guide for styles, aesthetic, roof lines, materials, etc. Never ever hurts to be solid with the basics. 

Above: Eric Kraus, owner of 88 Construction, has learned quite a bit about building from Why Buildings Fall Down by Matthys Levy and Mario Salvadori. Kraus says that the authors use structural disasters as a teaching tool to make engineering interesting and relatable.  When it comes to building, he finds it’s always better to learn from other people’s mistakes when he can. (True.)

Alternatives to Poinsettias

It made no sense to me. I was in charge of getting 5-8 senior highers to polish the donated box of Red (not) Delicious apples. They would then hand them out at the Christmas Eve service. No one I asked knew why this tradition had been continued for years.

Traditions can be amazing. Traditions can ground you. Traditions can remind you of who you are. Traditions throughout the year can provide you with an ebb and flow framework connecting you to friends and family.

But . . . when there is no identifiable meaning or reason they’re done or any kind of reflection upon continuing them, aren’t they just rote behaviors wasting time and money? Yes. Yes, they are.

In a year that’s made us all change (temporarily!! Go vaccines, go!) our holiday plans and traditions, we are looking for new ways to celebrate and decorate. We are looking for ways to not be boring and complacent!

(Listen. It may seem like a small “thing” or maybe not that important, but I thought those damn apples were a small thing until I suggested we shouldn’t hand them out anymore.)

So, if there is ONE holiday tradition worth exploring it’s the Red Poinsettia.

If you love them, GREAT.

If you buy them out of duty — fear not! There are some gorgeous alternatives. I strongly suggest you explore these three possibilities.

Cyclamen, Norfolk Pine, and herbs like Lavender or Rosemary.

Cyclamen come in multiple different colors, white, shades of pink and red. The blooms are gorgeous. They’re great for table tops because they’re much shorter than Poinsettias. I mean you can leave them on the table while you’re actually eating!

Norfolk Pine are an excellent evergreen that mimics the Christmas tree shape. In a lovely container, they can be placed on a mantle, shelf, or windowsill. Trees everywhere! Make your own forest display.

And using an herb plant, like Rosemary or Lavender (above), you know you’re adding to the overall ambiance with these great scents. They come in all sizes and shapes. Our favorite are the smaller topiary versions. The fresh scents of summer are magical, especially for us that experience winter. I know you may be thinking, “I have to have my Poinsettia!”
We are happy to provide that for you.

But what why not try something else? I know we’re capable.

Our brains can make new connections. We can change our patterns. Our brains are malleable! Just like our nervous system, our brains have been proven to have the capability to adjust and change with new experiences.

When we turn off autopilot and try something new, we see differently. We have the ability to experience multiple songs at the top of the pop charts rather than a one-hit wonder.

We want you to try something new. Not for the sake of it being the latest and greatest trend. But, because living beautifully outdoors (and indoors) should be purposeful, vibrant, zestful and have joie de vivre! Bottom line it’s not boring!

So rather than continuing the Poinsettia tradition because it’s what you’ve always done, our “fruit basket upset” (a favorite childhood game) world is the prime time for your winter celebration to include Cyclamen, Norfolk Pine, and an herb plant like Rosemary or Lavender.

Place Your Orders Today!

(And, yes, we’re still delivering Poinsettias too! No judgment.)

2020 Holiday Gift Guide

The 9 Holiday Gifts That DON’T Fit Under Your Tree

Okay, okay . . . yes, 2 + 9 could fit under your tree, but hey, we piqued your interest. 

  1. Studio Shed. Starting price is $10,000.
  2. Cloud Hunter Kit, $349, from Garden Glory.
  3. Outdoor RS2 Football Table, $6,500, design by Rafael Rodriguez.
  4. Black Lion Pot (Big), $299, from Garden Glory.
  5. Monkey Face Pot (Big), $349, from Garden Glory.
  6. Heated Outdoor Helios Metreo sofa, $6,200, from Galanter & Jones.
  7. Outdoor RS Ping Pong Table, $4,850.
  8. Fatboy Outdoor Original Bean Bag, $349.
  9. Shirly Blanket, $250, from Apparis.

Let’s Live Beautifully Outdoors!