Friday, August 1, 2014

How to Pick the Perfect Potting Bench

You don't need a green thumb to keep houseplants alive. And, while there are nice to have, you don't need lightmoisture, and ph meters to maintain a home full of green. What you do need is to accept that houseplants are like pets and small children. They need regular care and attention, and there's no way to get around it if you want your plants to live for more than a few weeks. (I'm not going to lie: I still want the light, moisture, and ph meters.)

You can say the same about potting benches. You can use the floor, your kitchen counters, or even your dining room table. You don't need a potting table, but if you're serious about keeping plants alive, a good table will make your gardening life infinitely easier and more enjoyable. 

Why You Should Consider A Potting Bench 

You should repot fast growing plants like the golden pothos (Scindapsus aures) every year. The fiddle leaf fig—aka the blogger tree—is another fast growing plant you should repot yearly until it reaches a size you're happy with or the next pot size up is too big for your space, whichever comes first. Slower growing plants can go two to three years without a new pot, but the point is that repotting is unavoidable. Most of that repotting should happen during the slow growing season, usually winter and early spring, but year-round care isn't unheard of, especially if you live in a warmer climate.

A designated area for your repotting saves your back from stooping over low work surfaces (like a dining room table), is more sanitary than using your kitchen counters, and can double as an outdoor bar if you're limited on space.
What To Consider When Shopping For Potting Benches 

When shopping for potting benches, consider the type of gardener you are and keep that in mind when you decide on height, material, and surface. 


The most common height for potting benches is 36 inches, the same as kitchen counters. However. potting benches do come in various heights. The goal is to avoid stooping and strain on your back, particularly since you'll be working with heavy pots and containers of soil. If 36 inches is too short, look for benches with an adjustable height mechanism. Or buy something with heavy-duty casters, like the Home Styles Bali Hai Wood Potting Bench. The casters add an additional 5 inches in height and make the bench easy to move in and out of the shade.

Potting benches are typically outdoor pieces of furniture. They get wet and dirty. They see the heat of summer and the cold of winter. This seems obvious, but if you are someone who doesn't like the look of weathered wood—teak turns a pretty silvery grey—you're better off with a powder coated metal or galvanized steel potting bench. Both of these materials conveniently allow you to hose them clean and air dry in the sun. A word of caution: powder coated material will need a coat of poly every year or so to prevent rust.


Ideally, you can buy a potting bench with as large a table surface possible; just like in a kitchen, you can never have enough counter space. If space isn't an issue, there are plenty of large benches available. If your need for space is infrequent, consider a bench with an extending tabletop. If you really want to spread out, skip the potting bench idea and buy a garage workbench.

The potting benches linked to in this post and featured along the side rail to the right only scratch the surface of what's available today. There are benches that fold flat for storagebenches with storage cubbies, andindoor/outdoor benches. If you want it, it's probably available and waiting for you to break it in this spring, assuming the end of winter is somewhere in sight!

This is a repost from Wayfair

SARAH BARNARD is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), is certified by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), and is recognized by the International Institute for Bau-Biologie & Ecology as a Building Biology Practitioner (BBP) and by the United States Green Building Council as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP). She has served on the Santa Monica Conservancy’s board of directors and specializes in green interior design and historic preservation.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


From Baroque imperial palaces to midcentury-modernist villas to magical gardens, top talents responded with an array of singular spots. Global in scope and wide-ranging in style, these must-see buildings, rooms, and landscapes are sure to fuel your creative dreams

Rose Tarlow
Interior Designer
"Go to the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque in Provence in June, when the lavender is out and the monks are chanting in the garden."

Thomas O’Brien, Aero Studios
Interior Designer
"Time pauses quietly while I’m looking at the bedroom from Venice’s Sagredo Palace that is installed at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Even though the interior is seductively elaborate, it has such a peaceful spirit."
Pictured here is a field of lavender at the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque in Provence, France.

Madeline Stuart
Interior Designer
"At Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California, the remarkable architect Julia Morgan worked with her peripatetic client William Randolph Hearst to incorporate myriad decorative elements—ceilings, fireplaces—found abroad. A brilliantly successful collaboration."

Thomas a. Kligerman, Ike Kligerman Barkley
"At least once a year I visit the Stanford White–designed dining room at Kingscote, a Gothic Revival mansion in Newport, Rhode Island. It has an incredibly rich mix of marble, cork, mahogany, tile, oak, and Tiffany glass."

Pictured here is an interior of Hearst Castle.

Allan Greenberg

"The Villa Tugendhat in Brno, Czech Republic, is not only the apogee of Mies van der Rohe’s work in Europe but also his most important residential design, with sublime materials and uniquely articulated separations between the interiors and the garden."

Veere Grenney
Interior Designer
"Commissioned by Catherine the Great and conceived by architect Antonio Rinaldi, the 18th-century Chinese Palace at Oranienbaum, near St. Petersburg, Russia, is one of the world’s great decorating wonders. The salon’s glass-beaded walls are breathtaking—unlike anything I’ve ever seen."
Pictured here is the glass-beaded salon.

Emily Summers
Interior Designer
"We take anyone who visits us in Colorado Springs on a tour of the U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel, built by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in 1963. It was inspired by flight, a theme that is evident in the winglike spires and the pews that resemble propellers.

John Berson, Sawyer | Berson
"The lobby at Manhattan’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza is pure and uncompromising Art Deco."

Gil Schafer
"Mount Vernon, George Washington’s Virginia home, manages to be both supremely elegant and surprisingly low-key. The grand façade has an almost wonky feel, with little regard to symmetry."

Toshiko Mori
"Kyoto’s Katsura Imperial Villa is an example of architecture that is totally integrated with its landscape. The sequence of spaces exposes you to the weather and seasons, exciting the senses and enhancing every moment."

David Mann, MR Architecture + DECOR
"At the 1937 Grace Miller house in Palm Springs you can see that Richard Neutra and his client did not rely upon the tried-and-true but instead cleverly rethought how to live in a better, smarter way."

Pictured here is the Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto.

David Piscuskas, 1100 Architect
"The Baroque chapel of Rome’s Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza cathedral sets a richly ambiguous tone—at once dynamic and serene. I consider it a clarion to the power of design."

William T. Georgis
"I love the Villa Kérylos on France’s Côte d’Azur. The nostalgia for an imagined past is poignant and palpable throughout the neoclassical house, which was constructed in the early 20th century. Its beauty is sublime."

Brian J. McCarthy
Interior Designer
"The Doge’s Palace in Venice defies imagination. I’ve spent entire afternoons just absorbing the energy of the place, reveling in the light that streams through the windows. It’s even more magical in the evening, when the crowds thin and the city descends into quiet."

Juan Pablo Molyneux
Interior Designer
"Built in the 1700s by architect Karl Blank for Count Pyotr Sheremetev, the Kuskovo estate on the outskirts of Moscow is one of the most noble and majestic neoclassical buildings."

Mariette Himes Gomez
Interior Designer
"Upon entering the Turbine Hall at London’s Tate Modern, I can’t help but be wonderfully overwhelmed by its vast scale and think of the structure’s former life as a power station."

Martyn Lawrence Bullard
Interior Designer
"With its moat, turrets, and extraordinary obelisks, the Château de Tanlay, in Burgundy, is a French fairy tale come true."

Richard Keith Langham
Interior Designer
"The unassuming exterior of the Nossa Senhora do Pilar church in Ouro Preto, Brazil, belies the gilded explosion that is its Baroque interior. Every surface gleams."

John Barman
Interior Designer
"Although the Galleria Doria Pamphilj in Rome functions as a museum, it’s also a private residence, home to the same family since the 18th century. As a result, the palace is full of remarkable objects that have always inhabited the space."

Pictured here is the interior of Nossa Senhora do Pilar church in Ouro Preto, Brazil.

Juan Montoya
Interior Designer
"Designed in the early 1900s, Gunnar Asplund and Sigurd Lewerentz’s Woodland Cemetery in Stockholm is a true source of inspiration, its gardens leading to a series of amazing buildings with their own particular vernacular. You feel transported."

Rafael de Cárdenas
"At Adolf Loos’s American Bar in Vienna, the reflections of the geometric coffered ceiling in the walls’ mirrored panels envelop you with a sense of endlessness, while a grid of amber-color glass suggests eternal daybreak."

Bunny Williams
Interior Designer
"Thomas Jefferson’s great lawn and rotunda at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville convey an incredible elegance and style without being big and overwhelming. It’s exactly the sense of scale I want to create in everything I do."

Robert Couturier
"The library at the Château de Groussay, near Versailles, is glorious because it is beyond all rules, at once comfortable and grand. It has been copied many times but never with the original’s artful beauty."

Ron Radziner, Marmol Radziner
"The 1922 house that R. M. Schindler designed for himself in West Hollywood was one of the most radical buildings in the world when it was built. I’m especially inspired by the raw quality of the materials—redwood and tilt-up concrete slabs."

Mica Ertegun, MAC II
Interior Designer
"I am impressed but not always touched by architecture, yet I find the intricate coloring and design of the tile walls and ceilings of Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace unforgettable."

William Sofield
Interior Designer
"The great power and beauty of the Tiffany Room at New York’s Park Avenue Armory is born from a collision between the values of the Aesthetic Movement and the brutality of the Industrial Revolution. Common materials are reinvented with such artistry and imagination that the room becomes a celebration of all things exotic and tactile."

Pictured here is a ceiling in Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace.

Richard Landry Architect
"I vividly remember visiting Le Corbusier’s Notre Dame du Haut chapel in Ronchamp, France, just after graduating from architecture school. I kept sketching its sculptural façade while attempting to understand how such a small building could both dominate its site and feel so integrated."

Oscar Shamamian, Ferguson & Shamamian
"The North Cornwall Meeting House, near my home in Connecticut, is profoundly soulful. While it’s rich in early-19th-century architectural detail, it still has a restrained interior that leaves you completely at peace."

Pictured here is Le Corbusier’s Notre Dame du Haut chapel in Ronchamp, France.

This article is reposted from Architectural Digest

SARAH BARNARD is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), is certified by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), and is recognized by the International Institute for Bau-Biologie & Ecology as a Building Biology Practitioner (BBP) and by the United States Green Building Council as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP). She has served on the Santa Monica Conservancy’s board of directors and specializes in green interior design and historic preservation.