Happy New Year! I hope you had a delightful holiday season and are starting the new year with a bang! Ok, y’all…it is cold. Really cold! Take a look at my fountain:
As I write this in Fayetteville, the projected low tonight is 4 degrees. Ouch! So, as you might expect, there hasn’t been a whole lot happening outside in the garden around here. But as I sit here in the den, bundled up in the new robe I got for Christmas and a toasty cashmere throw, I realize there are plenty of fun new things happening inside to share with you. What follows is a somewhat random collection of accessories and flourishes I have added around the house in recent months. The one theme that unites them all, though, is bringing the outdoors in which is the perfect way to Live Outside the Box this time of year (without getting frost bite!).
One of my favorite new additions is this pair of antique French garden plans. Another purchase from my friends at French Metro Antiques in Fayetteville, the plans occupy what had been a large blank spot on the wall in the living room. Next to them are two wood pieces that definitely bring in a bit of the outdoors. The ball on the floor is sculpted from the root of a teak tree, and the gnarly thing next to it is the root structure of a tree that I dragged out of the white river years ago and turned into a sculpture.
This plan shows the design for the chateau and royal garden in the town of Luneville, France:
While this one is titled simply, “General Plan for the Menagerie of the King.”
Across the room are two more framed pieces that were a gift from my wonderful parents. They came from Marshall Clements in Little Rock and are actual leaves with designs cut or scraped into the top layer.
Also in the living room is this aged wood pedestal that I used to display a sculpture I already had. It almost seems to have been made out of driftwood, which is a favorite theme of mine, and I especially like the contrast of the formal French style and the rustic material used to execute it.
Another small way I brought the outdoors in is with crystals. I got a basket full on a trip to Hot Springs this summer and went a little nuts with them all over the place! They really are naturally beautiful objects, and I like how they look combined with this sculpture.
Crystals also help bring to life this arrangement, which combines two striking elements from two close friends, as well as some creative thinking. The crystal votive holder was a gift from my friend and fellow designer, Christopher Todd, and the gilded bronze vide-poche (“empty-pocket”) came from French Metro Antiques. Putting them together and adding air plants to create a unique display was the idea of one of our employees, Rebel, and I think it came together beautifully!
Meet Barry the barracuda. He now reigns supreme over the den! Well, ok, Barry isn’t a real barracuda, but rather a stylized, silver-leafed resin sculpture, but I think he is the perfect combination of “contemporary meets rustic” for this room.
On the credenza beneath Barry is a whole host of other natural and outdoorsy items, collected over the past year or so including a deer skull, a turtle shell, river birch bark shavings gathered from a clients garden, a stone sculpture by Arkansas artist Michael Davis Gutierrez (another generous gift from great friends) a graphite leaf, geode bookends and various rocks and pebbles, several of which have been ‘donated’ by friends in what has become somewhat of a humorous custom.
This final piece also involves the generosity of friends, along with a tale of blatant copy-catting! A friend and client who takes daily walks began collecting the many beautiful feathers he would find during his outings. In an inspired moment, he decided to display them by combining them with a twig basket into a stylized nest. When I saw his creation, I fell in love with it, so he secretly began collecting more feathers for me. So, here you have my 100% plagiarized version, along with a real ostrich egg which was a gift from another friend this past Christmas. It just seemed like a natural, if obvious, fit!
There you have it: my version of bringing the outdoors in this winter. I hope these little touches might inspire you to undergo a similar project of your own. After all, just because it is cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t Live Outside the Box! See you in a month!
Exterior designer Daniel Keeley is an Arkansas native and founder/principal of DK Design. His work has won numerous awards and accolades and is featured regularly in various publications. For more information visit dkdesignoutdoor.com.