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vertical garden how-to

On the cover of our summer catalog, we created a vertical garden using maze wall hangings. This is a great way to add greenery to small outdoor spaces, or as living wall art for outdoor entertaining areas.

Succulents work well for this type of gardening because they need very little water and have slow, shallow roots which help to extend their life in the wall. They also come in an extensive array of colors and textures.

Other tropicals and ferns can also work well if they require comparable care—air plants* can be interspersed too—together the mix will enhance the overall texture.

1. Maze wall hanging(s) and mounting hardware appropriate for the wall.

2. Check local gardening centers for potted succulents, air plants and sheet moss. Tip: remember to take into consideration the location’s exposure to sunlight when choosing plants.

3. Succulent or cactus mix soil, gardening scissors, and plastic coated floral wire—which must be plastic coated so it doesn’t rust. Most home supply stores stock charcoal fiberglass screen material.

1. Cut a round piece of the fiberglass screen. For a small succulent as shown, 10” across should be adequate. *Air plants can be included as desired and do not require soil or moss so skip to step 5 for these varieties.

2. Place a small amount of the sheet moss in the center of the screen and spread a thin layer of the succulent/cactus mix soil on top.

3. Take the succulent out of its pot, remove loose potting soil and save it for other gardening projects, and place it so the roots are in the center of the screen.

4. Wrap the roots and moss with the fiberglass screen to make a nice bundle up to the neck of the succulent and secure the bundle by tying it with the floral wire.

5. Place plants in their desired positions and secure with additional floral wire.

During warmer months, water thoroughly then let the soil go dry before re-watering. Succulents store water in their stems and leaves and can tolerate periods of dryness without harm.

During cooler months, water less frequently and less deeply. When a sunny day is expected, water in the morning so any excess will evaporate in the sunlight.

Thanks to curtis, catalog art director, for this submission.


artist profile: parvez taj

What are your sources of inspiration?
Human expression.

Form or function?

What is your signature?
Stan Smith tennis shoes with the green back.

What is your personal decorating style?
Reclaimed rustic infused with modern.

Do you have a favorite possession?
My computer is the most important.

What one item do you wish you owned?
A house.

What’s your favorite room in your home?
I have the most fun in my bedroom—but I can’t say I have a favorite room.

Do you have one low budget decorating tip?
Use nails and string to make interesting patterns on a wall or ceiling. I once covered a 1000 sq ft popcorn ceiling for $100.—and it looked cool.

Where was your favorite place to live?
I lived in Goa, India with a big group of friends for over 6 months. We lived in an old Portuguese mansion on the beach and watched the sun set everyday.

Favorite artist? Designer?
I define an artist as someone who’s expressing their sense of self—regardless of the medium. So belief in the individuals’ human spirit is the only common tread between my favorites.

My favorite artist is always changing but right now it’s Lil Wayne. I think his music is exceptional and I believe in him.

What’s the best career advice you ever received?
Richard Branson’s biography is full of great advice.


happy st.pat's!

For over 40 years, it’s been a tradition to dye the Chicago River green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. On this day we’re all Irish.



If you’re going green at home, see Colori Chicago for the best selling shades of low VOC green paints. From left to right, C2 LoVo’s primavera, saguaro, and russian olive. Also, Mythic’s apple annie and dragon’s eye by David Bromstad.


visit chicago: for alexander calder

abstract mobile at

A mobile is best described as a hanging sculpture of fluid motion.

Whether starting with a single wire—or balanced on a stand with a pointed tip, a stabile—thin arms with attachments are carefully positioned one off the other so they balance both physically and visually.

As their inventor in 1931, Alexander Calder is synonymous with mobiles. While sculptures that moved via machinery or motors may have inspired the name, Marcel Duchamp suggested it to Calder for his kinetic, or mobile art pieces.

Thru March 21st at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, is Alexander Calder in Focus. Don’t miss the opportunity to view this annual exhibition of his mobiles, stabiles, drawings and paintings.

Also, detour into the loop to see Calder’s Flamingo sculpture at the Federal Plaza, shown below.


10 essentials: april

1. The outdoors. Nothing else can compare to sitting on a mountaintop vista or kayaking down a winding river or sunning yourself seaside. The beauty of nature inspires everything around us.

2. Traveling. The farther you go, the more your perspective changes.

3. Red velvet cake—a serious addiction.

4. 60’s Italian cinema, the best hairstyles ever.

5. Museo del Prado has paintings that will make you swoon.

6. The sublime shapes and textures of Verner Panton’s designs never go out of style.

7. Vintage modern architecture like Neutra, Koenig. They built homes that incorporated their surroundings to allow the outside view to have as much impact as the inside view.

photo: lastnightontelevision, flickr.com8. My iPod. Whether I’m in the mood for Ladytron or Verdi’s requiem, it never disappoints.

9. The selma flute. What a gorgeous way to drink champagne!

10. Our loyal companions greeting us at the door when we return home everyday. What else can make you smile like a wildly wagging tail?