Friday, October 8, 2010

Beautiful signs

Across from my favorite bookstore in Chicago (Unabridged Books which carries an amazing collection of design and architecture books and biographies), I noticed these beautiful signs on a school.
Carved in 1892, I think they really make a statement; I'd go to school here! Have a great weekend!
I'm currently reading 'Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the secrets of Brideshead' which I picked up at unabridged for only $6! Visit them while in Chicago!

Chicago Botanic Garden

Another spot in Chicago which I visited was the Chicago Botanic Garden, an amazingly HUGE and gorgeous set of different gardens a little outside of the city. My favorite part of the garden was the walled English garden. I've always wanted a little secret garden and the entrance to this one was just about perfect! Love that perfect shade of blue on the gate.
The garden was dedicated by Princess Margaret. I wonder what she thought about Chicago when she visited; I would love to hear as I'm sure it's entertaining!
This unusual folly was created in 1992 by Simon Verity as one of the focal points of the English garden. The different elements of the sculpture are meant to represent earth, air, fire and water. I'm not sure about all of that but I love the classical beauty of it!
I loved this central urn on a pedastal. Why do elements like this make a garden so much more appealing to me? Ahhh yes - they add architectural interest!!
The garden was so varied that the urn looked completely different from each angle.
I visited on what turned out to be the most perfect Fall afternoon and experienced the most beautiful light. I think the photo above reflects that.
I can't remember what this plant was, but it looked a bit like an olive tree, really beautiful! All of the plants are of course labeled but I was so happy snapping pictures (all with my phone) that I sadly don't remember what anything is!
The other side of the walled garden overlooks a lake with 2 pavilions at either end.One pavilion is open as a seating area. This would be a great place for a picnic!The other is closed, I assume for garden tool storage. Again, there was that perfect blue.
Outside of the walled garden was this allee of trees with gravel path. I always feel that gravel paths are the most gardeny, forget asphalt or even bricks!
All of the plants were really stunning and you could tell it was thoughtfully planned so something was in bloom every season of the year.
In the center of one lake was 'Evening Island' with a carillon bell. Loved hearing this when it went off!
The Japanese garden was also on a seperate island, but it was much prettier from across the lake.
Behind the walled garden was a beautiful waterfall garden that fed into the lake seen above.
Can my own secret garden have a waterfall too, please?
And what would any collection of gardens be without a rose garden.
I felt the roses were contrasted beautifully by the hardness of "Composition in stainless steel #1" by Gidon Graetz, 1985.
This garden proved that roses can be in bloom during nearly every season of the year.
I would highly recommend a visit to the Chicago Botanic gardens, especially on a beautiful day!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Jayson Home & Garden

I spent the past weekend in Chicago, one of my favorite cities, and enjoyed some beautiful fall weather. One of my stops was to Jayson Home & Garden, a legendary store that I've always wanted to visit.
The building was rather non descript from the outside I felt, but I loved the planter boxes which are apparently a Chicago law to help greenify the city. Is that a word, greenify?
The inside was surprisingly light and airy and set up in such a way as to make you feel the next great treasure was just around the corner. I loved this leather chair with the carpet covered seat and the drum sidetable. The mixture of new and vintage items kept the store feeling a bit like a flea market, but right on point with whats hot right now. I also loved this Chesterfield sofa with beautiful remnant pillow.
Of course, I'm mostly showing the vintage finds, as the other furniture is somewhat expected from a stylish store of the sort and can be seen on their website. I felt these paintings above were especially haunting.
And I bet someone will give this beautiful Victorian aesthetic gilt bamboo stool a good home, I just wish it had been me! I'm sure a lot of people would keep that original cushion as is, but I would cover it with a blue velvet I think.Probably my favorite item was this outdoor aluminum 'bamboo' table and chairs. I think it could just as easily be used indoors; the chairs are surprisingly lightweight and comfortable!
My favorite candles from Cire Trudon were also offered here. They were smart to cover them with glass cloches as the candles are so incredibly strong you don't even need to light them. I haven't lit the one on my coffee table in weeks but my apartment still smells wonderful (Proletaire is my favorite scent)!
Fittingly, this bust of Marie Antoinette watched over the candles.
One could spend hours browsing the store, all of the most interesting coffee table books were enticingly set next to every comfy sofa and coffee table! They really don't want you to leave!
Near the door, you can also buy fresh cut flowers. I normally am not a fan of brick walls in interiors, but it does make for a striking backdrop here.
The lower level (yes, there is more!) had many sale items, but was no less interesting than the main level. Whoever is in charge of their floor arragements is a very clever merchandiser!
If you ever find yourself in Chicago, I really recommend a visit to Jayson Home & Garden as it did not disappoint (This is not a paid advertisement, but if they wanted to send a candle my way I wouldn't turn it down! haha)
UPDATE: thanks for the candle!! Jayson is incredibly sweet!
Jayson is located at 1885 N. Clybourn Ave in Chicago.