nature study

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Home Tour with DeNai of Petunia Pickle Bottom


Posted by Ali | View all posts by Ali

Petunia Pickle BottomPetunia Pickle Bottom co-founders DeNai and Braden share an incredible tour of their home and design style. Keep an eye out for the school map of the United States, the oversized Chinese ceremonial mask and the mushroom collection. Without question, I could live here and feel well traveled, educated and at peace. Beautiful job, guys! If you want to learn more about PPB, check out our designer interview. Enjoy!

Maybe it’s the fact that in my professional life vibrant color and pattern are my signature style at Petunia Pickle Bottom that make my personal life at home a monochromatic world.  My rule of thumb when putting together a room usually begins with one object.  I am a fan of flea markets or something with a little history.  So when I begin to style a room, it is usually a unique found object that sparks my imagination.

Our home was built in the 1920’s and still has a considerable amount of the original details.  Our family room is where we like to hang out by the fireplace, read books to the kids on our comfy couches, take a nap or set up train tracks to circumnavigate the room.  When I first saw this room, I was struck by the 8’ window and high exposed beam ceiling. It was light and bright so I chose colors that would naturally illuminate.

Petunia Pickle Bottom

The focal point I designed around was the natural wood Roost buck head flanked by archival school charts (lobster and bird) that stem from my father’s days as a college biology professor. My recent obsession with mushrooms covers the fireplace mantle.

Petunia Pickle Bottom
Friends joke our kids will have nightmares from the oversized Chinese ceremonial mask that hangs in our dining room. Found at an antique store in historic downtown Ventura, she’s become part of the family. We think it was used in the movies or carried in a Chinese parade.

Petunia Pickle Bottom

The red lips of the mask were the perfect color to pair the walls, a vintage red wood telephone booth door filled with glass, and our custom table crafted by my husband.

My 3-year-old son Sutton’s room was recently converted to a “big boy” bedroom.  Years ago I found a stunning oversized school map of the United States (chalk printed so you can write on it) that I knew would be perfect for a child’s bedroom. We held onto over the years and it served as the perfect centerpiece for the “Traveler’s odyssey” theme for my son’s room.

Petunia Pickle Bottom

Complete with a flying ship, globes, suitcase, guitar, army blanket, old books, and Read the rest of this entry »


Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Now That’s Stylin’!


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky

I swiped this screen shot from somewhere awhile back and stupidly thought I’d remember where I found it. Of course I did not – if this is from your site please let me know so that I can credit and link over to you. I think it’s a vintage Eames photo and I thought I might have swiped it from flickr member (and grandson of Charles and Ray) eamesd. This then led me over to his flickr page where I was sucked in for over an hour but never found the shot. The point is, I just love the way this photo is styled. While the photo is about a modern chair, it’s sitting in a room with a, dare I say, Shabby Chic kind of floor, surrounded by an asterisk of interesting objects that form straight lines radiating out from the chair. It’s a perfect combination of old and new, and shows how neutrals can accentuate a rich variety of textures. If the photo is vintage, that typewriter is probably high tech, but it still works in the shot today.


Monday, November 24th, 2008

A Little More Thom Filicia Eye Candy


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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I showed you Thom Filicia’s bathroom with the white toilet and the black lid last week. There were a few more shots on his website I had not seen before and I want to share them with you.

I do not think my work area could ever look this clean and organized, but perhaps if it was decorated like this, it would inspire me to keep it neat:

Finally, this seemingly randomly arranged area is a wonderful composition and has touches of the nature study aesthetic I love so much. Filicia keeps things clean and modern, but also adds a warmth through texture and items found in nature:

For more of our favorite art arrangements, click here and here.


Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

A Green Remodel: Making a Cottage Modern


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky



Hello, Cottage Living, are you reading?  When I missed my flight on Sunday I really lucked out. My friends Sophie and Kent offered me shelter in the 1940’s cottage they have been lovingly modernizing for many months. Circa 200 years ago, their neighbors would have been Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, as it is located between Monticello and Ash Lawn. It is truly one of the most beautiful spots around Charlottesville. It sits between the flood plain of Houchens Creek and beautiful woods, and when you look in out from the back, you can spy neighboring cows. Sophie and Kent are two of my pals from grad school. Kent has his Masters in Urban Planning and both of them have Masters in Landscape Architecture. Kent also has lots of experience in construction with a focus on green building, and Sophie is a kick-ass fiddler and gardener.

I wish I had some interior before pictures to show you, but unfortunately, they no longer exist. The space shown below used to be four dark, cramped rooms: A kitchen, a dining room, a bedroom and a bathroom.  S & K ripped the whole thing open and installed all new windows, which are all Low E, argon-filled sashes. The ceilings, once low and dark, were ripped out, and now they are 10′ high. The beams were restored from the original structure. The space is so peaceful and sunny that I felt like I was in one of the charming chapels that dot the landscape in the country around Charlottesville.

A very small addition that accommodates a new bathroom was added to the house’s original 840 square feet (it’s on the right side of the exterior “AFTER” photo). The floors are reclaimed heart pine, and all of the poplar siding and trim came from the Appalachian Sustainable Development mills in southwest Virginia, all of it harvested from certified-sustainable wood lots in the southern Appalachians.

I love that they used an antique dresser for storage in the bathroom:

Formerly an unused attic, Sophie and Kent opened up to the roofline and created an upstairs loft. Yours truly was not feeling confident about scaling the ladder after two margaritas, but I could see from below that it  added a lot of usable space to the house:

Here are a few more sweet nuggets:

There is a real nature study aesthetic all around the house:

While all of the walls are crisp and white, S & K’s careful editing of antiques, oriental rugs, artwork and objects add so much warmth to the modern space.

Curious about that lamp? The lovely and talented Christina Michas made the gorgeous shade for them as a wedding gift:

The house is still a work in progress, but I kind of dig these little traces of it:

To read more about the project, check out Strata Projects Design.


Monday, March 10th, 2008

Are You Neglecting Your Own Home? I Had Been!


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky


Hi All!

After outing my myself and my messy dining room/kitchen nook last week, I was totally motivated to dive into a project. I’ve been working on my friends’ loft for so long that it has sucked up all my weekend D.I.Y. energy for six months. Now it’s time for my own house.

I have this funky sun porch. It was formerly a screened-in porch but now it is winterized. I always fantasized that it would be my studio, but so far the only one who’s made anything in there is my cat, as the litter box has been the main feature of the room for a long time, or as they say all too often on HGTV, it was the “focal point.” The room is long and very narrow, so it’s a bit awkward, and I haven’t known what to do with it. Here’s the start:


Inspired by the “nature study” look I’ve been admiring lately, as well as Victoria’s advice for art arrangement, I got to work all day Saturday. With a little help from a friend, I finally had a sconce bought months ago at Ballard’s Backroom installed where the wires had been hanging out of the wall for two years. I painted an old green bench from my grandparents’ garden black, and rearranged a few pieces that had been haphazardly thrown in there because they had nowhere else to go. I finally hung some of my thrift store art, charcoals I did in Venice that had something to do with “Campo Circulation,” whatever the heck that means, and some photographs of friends on my second-favorite bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge.


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