Photo Essay

Tablescaping Demo

In case you weren't able to attend our first holiday workshop, we're bringing the workshop to you. Last Thursday, we demonstrated the art of Tablescaping, adding different elements to work together and create a centerpiece or display to your liking. We had a great turnout at both stores, and got some great shots during the Encinitas demo hosted by our Visual Merchandiser/Buyer TJ.

 Photo by Sonja Landis

Photo by Sonja Landis

Tablescape 1: Winter Wonderland

We started with a blank table to show the complete process of building the table from the base up. When working with artificial garland, make sure to bend and move the branches to liven it up.  It's also possible to use live garland in the same way for all of the tabletop arrangements shown here.

Since the first tabletop had a 'Winter Wonderland' theme,  what better way to do that than to add some sparkle. One of the benefits of using faux botanicals is that it incorporates elements like snow, glitter, and more glitter. And in TJ's words, more is better!

The mercury glass vases combined silver and natural elements to create a whimsical yet elegant focal point. Snow covered bare branches combined with circular ornaments and bells contribute to the wonderland mood.

Tablescape 2: Rustic White

 Photo by Sonja Landis

Photo by Sonja Landis

The next arrangement is ideal for someone who likes a cleaner, simple scheme.  And maybe someone who needs a truly functional table that guests can eat it. This look works well in a 'modern farmhouse' decor scheme.

Starting with a casual table runner and clean white accessories: a large ceramic vase and marble candlestick holders. These twig candlesticks are a great way to add a little character while keeping the look minimal.

The next layer that TJ added was a string of beads, some glittery (of course!) stems along with a few more whimsical elements: tiny house and snowflake votives to give the table a holiday touch.

 Photo by Sonja Landis

Photo by Sonja Landis

The vase can be filled with anywhere from 3-8 different items of dried botanicals, keeping in mind that you can interchange some of these with each season. After layering on the fan favorite 'Lastra' collection from Vietri's line, it's easy to see how this table will suit a holiday celebration but can easily transition to a year round tabletop.

Tablescape 3: Santa's Forest

Our last tablescape is a family favorite, and it might be hard to keep the kids away from this one. Once again, we started with a string of garland, this time choosing a more natural look. Next we layered in our tall Santa statues along with a couple different sized deer.

 Photo by Sonja Landis

Photo by Sonja Landis

 Photo by Sonja Landis

Photo by Sonja Landis

To add to the forest theme, our bird ornaments worked perfectly, having little clips so they can be added in securely. Vintage mercury glass brings an elegance to the vignette and we finished it off with antique tree toppers and ornaments, keeping in mind to work with odd numbers when accessorizing.

Don't forget to join us for our next demo: Holiday Homescapes - featuring tree decor, mantel decor and holiday swags. This Tuesday (election day!). RSVP here.

 

Gardenology Takes Manhattan : Inspo at ABC Home

When in the city that never sleeps, number one on our agenda is to hit ABC Home, a world of design inspiration on 6 cavernous floors. Here, one can find every possible home decor aspiration: antique sofas on creaky wooden floors, sparkling chandeliers hanging from high ceilings, Moroccan carpets in every color, a variety of eclectic dinnerware, and the displays, oh the displays!

Sitting right in Union Square, one can also hit the weekend farmer's market in the park when visiting ABC, based in the bustling Flatiron district among several other design stores.

Aside from the mismatched ceramic dinnerware, we also can't get enough of the general space. Observe the honeycomb tile floors, they're worn in but it works. And kudos to the genius that build a table around the large pillar that supports this beautiful old space.

Wandering along on the first floor, we are loving the mix of modern dinnerware atop antique furnishings. And beyond the honeycomb tile we find aged parquet floors.

The feminine prints and subtle green hues in this darling table setting brings us back in time to Grandma's house for dinner.

Last tabletop photo, we promise. But the mixture of quirky shapes, textures and soft neutral shades had us reeling! This look is so Mad Hatter tea party.

White sofas and sectionals over faded vintage rugs and a pop of texture and black- looks familiar, no?

The photo doesn't even begin to do these beautiful handcrafted ceramic pieces justice. But let's talk about this 'shelfie' - the juxtaposition of the modern and organic against the aged cement wall is to die for.

Oh hey, this looks familiar, too. Pom Pom at Home has their very own 'shop in shop'. We think it's safe to say that ABC Carpet and Home has good taste.

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And finally, a closer look at the beautiful details of the old building, details that are so common in places like NY but so rare for us Californians. At least we can show our appreciation for the little things.

We hope you enjoyed the tour. That was really only about three of the six floors. Do you have any shopping tips in NYC that you'd care to share?

Photo Essay : Amsterdam

So you might have noticed our exquisite windows, or perhaps our over-the-top bed? How about the madhatter tabletops? Those all come from TJ- our visual merchandiser extraordinaire. Wonder where he gets his inspiration from? This month, we were missing him while he traipsed across the globe to the Dutch mainland! Read on for TJ's recap of his trip to the carefree city of Amsterdam, and keep an eye on our displays for that Dutch aesthetic.

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We were lucky to snag an Airbnb on this street, conveniently located on the ground floor of one of these canalside homes.

 I'll take the little black house, please.

I'll take the little black house, please.

The whole city is built on pylons, which over time sink causing the canal homes to lean on each other. Despite this, I want to live in the small black home in the center of the photo on the left. I was obsessed with the entrance in the photo on the right, which led right into the service quarters of a former home turned Italian restaurant. Step right off of your boat right into your house. And there was an adorable orange cat who wandered into said Italian restaurant while we were eating there.

Another picture to validate Amsterdam's nickname 'the Venice of the North'. Most people can no longer afford an entire canal house so each home's floors have been converted into separate apartments with the main floors housing new businesses.

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Now a museum, an interesting floral arrangement sits at the entrance to one of a prominent Dutch family's former home, who made their fortune in shipping,

After a visit to the Van Gogh museum, we observed the many cyclists in the park. Cycling is key to the city’s character, and there are 400km of cycle paths. i found out when I was there that between 12-15,000 are fished up from the city's canals. Hilarious.

The Amsterdam Central Train Station has it all- ferries, trains, trolleys and buses. You have to have a ticket just to enter the building, but we somehow ended up inside for free as we were looking for the ferry. It all evened out when we saw an extremely expensive Starbucks.

We visited one of the oldest draw bridges that's still used daily along the one of the city's main canals.

This is one of the last remaining churches used for services, others are being turned into galleries and condominiums due to low attendance. The contrast of old and new, clean and gritty is something I could look at all day- and something European cities do so well. Everything was preserved so well instead of being demolished.

Paid a visit to a Dutch staple, the windmill. Visitors can climb to the top but it was packed with tourists.

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We caught the last bloom of the flower fields, if we had come just a few days later all of the petals would have been dropped.

A modern addition to a very traditional Dutch garden, layering old and new. The gardens were a peaceful way to end the trip.

Photo Essay : Panama

We decided that whenever one of our team members takes a vacation, they are assigned a photo essay, so it feels like we were right there beside them. Our first assignment went to Jessica, our Marketing Director, who took a jaunt to Panama. Follow her recap below with photos of architecture, locals, food, beach life, and a little bit of history.

PANAMA CITY

 Panama City skyline view from the fish market.

Panama City skyline view from the fish market.

I’ve been to a few countries in Central America, but upon my arrival in Panama City, I was very impressed by how cosmopolitan it was. With new architecture, different neighborhoods, and a thriving shopping scene it’s definitely a place where an ex-pat could comfortably live.

 The historic Panama Canal- Miraflores locks

The historic Panama Canal- Miraflores locks

No visit to Panama would be complete without a tour of the Panama Canal, the reason for Panama's nickname as the 'international crossroads'. After a short movie and an interactive museum tour, I made it out to the viewing platform. Unfortunately, I didn't time my visit to see a ship come through, but the locks were impressive in themselves, having just learned the process of this man-made wonder.

 The streets of Casco Viejo

The streets of Casco Viejo

Casco Viejo, or 'Old Town', is the latest area of Panama City to undergo a restoration process. A delightful combination of historic and modern architecture, at times side by side, one can enjoy fine restaurants, cafes, upscale hotels, hostels, great souvenir shopping and a lively nightlife. While there are still some streets that one shouldn't wander down alone at night, the Spanish Colonialism of this part of the city brings a nostalgic curiosity to most travelers.

 The lobby restaurant at the American Trade Hotel

The lobby restaurant at the American Trade Hotel

While in Casco Viejo, there was one place I had to see on my list, the American Trade Hotel - a restored landmark owned by the popular Ace Hotel group. And of course, the design was spot-on, adding a modern element while staying true to the Spanish Colonial architecture. My favorites were the tile floors in the lobby restaurant as well as the oversize macrame wall-hangings.

BOCAS DEL TORO

 Old Bank, Bastimentos. Bocas Del Toro

Old Bank, Bastimentos. Bocas Del Toro

After a short 1 hour plane ride, I was on the Caribbean side of the country in the colorful seaside-town of Bocas Del Toro. Bocas is actually an archipelago made up of several islands each with a personality of their own. To get from island to island, there are water taxis. The image above is a view from the water taxi of the ‘Old Bank’ neighborhood on Isla Bastimentos.

 Tropical beaches on Isla Bastimentos

Tropical beaches on Isla Bastimentos

Although it’s a mere 10-minute boat ride from main island of Bocas del Toro, Isla Bastimentos is a different world. Home to a marine national park, I chose to stay on the remote side of the island at an eco camp resort called Palmar Tent Lodge. With large canvas tents nestled in the trees with views of the ocean, a short walk brought me to some of the most beautiful wilderness beaches I have seen, complete with an array of wildlife.

 'Up in the Hill' Organic Farm and Chocolate Tour

'Up in the Hill' Organic Farm and Chocolate Tour

Different tours are offered all over Bocas del Toro to suit a wide array of travelers. I opted to do the Organic farm + Chocolate tour. Perched on the highest hill in Bastimentos, a husband and wife team built an eco-friendly home and farm that holds great respect for the environment, using solar panels and recycled wood from their reforestation project. The tour was finished off with a tasting featuring different treats you can make using the popular cacao beans.

LOCALS

The people of Panama are warm and friendly, happy with their simple day-to-day activities. My favorite thing to do was chat with the local kids, who were patient when it came to my Spanish practice. And there were a few handsome gatos wandering around that liked to pose for pictures as well.

 Indi Lounge and Super Gourmet

Indi Lounge and Super Gourmet

On the main island of Bocas Town, it was easy to start to feel like a local. One of my fave spots to relax was the Indi lounge. With a spiritual, inviting atmosphere and ocean views it was hard not to unwind with a cup of tea here. The Super Gourmet down the road is a small grocery store with a famous sandwich spot in the back. The grocery store is basically the mini-equivalent of our Whole Foods, with lots of imported goods for the ex-pats that live in Bocas.

And that's all for my photo essay of Panama. I would certainly go back for more though!