January 04, 2016

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Revisting The Garden Blogger's Retreat

The bright New Year has brought an arctic blast along with it, which has me dreaming of warmer days and the glories of the garden. For the next 8 weeks each Monday I am gong to feature inspirational gardens that I have visited or admired. This is in the vain hope that it will make the trials of winter pass more quickly and enjoyably.
This post originally ran in May of 2010, but a recent call from an editor who was working on a story about it reminded me how enchanting this project was. I have added several new images to refresh it. Enjoy!

It was a real pleasure to have been included in the summer program at The Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge, MA. I was one of the five designers who were invited to reinvent a modest shed for the exhibit: Living Stylishly in Nature: Re-Imagining the Humble Garden Shed. Each space was so different and brimming with ideas that it was a must see. Best part of all, if you loved one, you could buy it and take it home! They were all on auction as a fund raiser for the garden. The exhibit of the sheds were up until Labor Day 2010.

The inspiration shot that guided me through the design process. I loved the romance of the room with the fabric on the walls and the double mirrors, as well as the large windows. How to bring this into the 21 Century for a garden blogger.

I had ten days on site to transform this humble building into something stylish. Now, ten days seems like an eternity. 

This is what the interior looked like when I first arrived.

The near completed floor painting. Painting a floor takes a lot of tape and 
precision but the result is worth it. 

The same shed ten days later on opening day. This is where my chic imaginary garden blogger would sit while she is busy blogging. The small windows were changed out to large  3’ x 6’ windows which now floods the space with light. The walls are hung with my Chantal fabric by my partner Thomas.
Thomas was amazing in his support and assistance through the entire project. He did the flowers. In this case that included a trip to the flower market in New York and bringing them up on the train.

I added two floor to ceiling mirrors to make the 10’0”X 10’0” space appear larger. The desk chair and small sofa are pieces from Hickory Chair which I had customized. The chair is in Ashley Plum and the small sofa is a stock heavily textured linen from Hickory Chair with pillows in my Window Box Lilac. The floor is painted from a design that was inspired by the timbering pattern of a 17th century house in Normandy. My good friend Dana Spot, who happens to be an outstanding decorative painter worked with me on the floor.
The completed project. No detail was overlooked right down to the fiber glass Whippets on the roof. 
I rather wish we had kept those for our own Bagatelle. 

To jazz up the roof and hide the asphalt shingles, I called a local contractor Philip Bickerton. He upholstered the roof and installed the dogs. No easy feat given the dormer and the nature of heather fencing.