Cottage Garden

By Karen Parr-Moody


GasLamp’s “Front Collaboration Booth,” which is always a treat in designer Jason Parker Counce’s deft hands, is a springtime reverie this month. In it, Counce has created what he calls a retro “Going Green” look, as seen in the photo at right.


Counce’s inspiration for the booth was a garden cottage. He envisioned a “flower bed” with accents of plants in vintage flowerpots, garden-themed art and various pops of “springtime.” It all relates to the warm weather, which seems to be quickly coming our way.


Slipped in among the various furnishings is a mix of metals, old and new, such as metal tables with matching garden chairs. As Counce says, “In this business we all have been going green long before it has become so hip!” And in this case, he means minding the environment by recycling and up-cycling, as many of the dealers do.


And while there are some truly shabby chic pieces, such as rusty metal baskets, blended with industrial pieces, Counce intentionally softened them with other pieces. One such piece is a Victorian hand-painted bedroom set, seen in the photo, left ($1,500; Booth B-206). These pieces have panels painted to look like walnut burl. This “graining” style was popular in the 19th century, and with this technique a variety of exotic woods could be simulated. Flowers are painted on top of the graining in these panels.  







Another floral piece is this gorgeous 1940s chaise that was re-upholstered in the early 1970s (photo, right; $595; S-104). The term “chaise longue” literally means, in French, “long chair.” This phrase was long ago misinterpreted in the U.S. and called “chaise lounge,” a term that has persisted so strongly that it is no longer considered incorrect here. One of the most famous examples of a "chaise longue" was the récamier, which has two raised ends, and was named after the French society hostess Madame Récamier, who was painted posing on such a couch in 1800 by Jacques-Louis David.








A beautiful garden item is found in this moss mannequin (photo, left, $195; Booth B-174). While not technically a topiary, it still has the look of a shrub carefully trimmed into an imaginative shape. Such ornamental gardening, in general, is actually recorded as deriving from ancient Rome. But it is likely that the cutting and shaping of trees and shrubs was absorbed from earlier Mediterranean and Asiatic cultures. 
Whatever the origins, topiaries, in any form, still hold major charm today.













The word toleware derives from the French name for painting on tin or metal objects, “tôle peinte.” The glamorous birdcage in the photo, right, is a statement piece with a garden theme, having floral motifs, leaves and vines trimming it ($185; Booth B-225). Such gilded works are often from Italy or France, and date anywhere from the early- to mid-twentieth century. 


Also in this picture are two tole daffodil wall hooks ($58; Booth B-225). Wouldn’t they be so nice in a baby’s nursery or a quaint kitchen?



A vintage wall pocket with a nature theme, such as the one in the photo, left, is a perfect way to do double duty with a garden theme ($49.95; Booth B-113). This tropical bird flanking a tree gets even more flowery when you tuck in some pretty blossoms.


There are many wonderful booths at GasLamp. But what is so special about the Front Collaboration Booth is that it pulls together themed elements from a variety of booths. So, in that sense, it is an idea lab for those seeking inspiration. And with this month’s garden cottage, it is full of earthly delights that will surely gain root this spring.

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