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House and Garden British crop

The strong lines and structural materials dominate this

image of the sitting room at Maison Leo in the south of  France…

House and Garden British Oct '09 4

When my children were young, pouring my energy into the garden gave me an

outlet for my creativity, and a way to work alongside them, teaching them lessons

about patience, hard work and reward…

House and Garden British Oct '09 5

I read copious amounts of gardening literature… learned the difference between

geraniums and pelargoniums, the best lavender to grow for fragrance and cutting,

and how deep to plant herbaceous peonies in a Northern California garden.

Though originating in China and endemic to the snowdrift winters of the upper Midwest,

rumor had it that peonies would set buds in milder climes if planted ever so slightly

closer to the surface to take maximum advantage of any chill that might settle over them.

And lastly, all books belabored the ubiquitous garden terms: softscape and hardscape.

HG archives

These photos all show the hardscape of interior design…

the hard lines of pathways and vertical interest…

The permanent elements around which drapery and upholstery,

and various small accessories can drift in and out from year

to year…

Les Pavillions

And century to century…

The Pavillon de Musique de Madame

Avenue de Paris, on the outskirts of Versailles…

Part of the Le Grande et Petit Montreuil estate

Les Pavillions 2

Les Pavillons

French Pavilions of the Eighteenth Century

Jerome Zerbe & Cyril Connolly

Recommended by designer Timothy Corrigan via Diane at The Style Saloniste

and checked out from UC Berkeley’s vast library system for me by my daughter Austin…

Previous check out date: Dec. 1999…I have this beauty for month, oh joy….

Feau boiserie HG 6

In Paris the Féau & Cie warehouse is full of preserved and reproduced

boiserie….elements of historical hardscape…

French Doors Eloquence

For those of us who have less palatial environs, architectural salvage

can be functional or “installation art”….

I can imagine these gorgeous mirrored villa doors throwing

the reflection of a candelabra lit dining table about the room…

Diane Dorrans Saeks book

And sometimes a very simple hardscape,

the beauty of an almost bare wall…

can make our treasures stand out even more…


Sources: House and Garden (British) Oct. ’09, HG archives,

San Francisco Interiors Diane Dorrans Saeks