Rand Rosenthal Design Group
Rand Rosenthal’s landscape artistry makes it very clear as one approaches #23 Lenox Place that something very special is going on at this home. The entrance walk is reminiscent of a horn of plenty and a full-on celebration of the fall harvest and autumnal color. Rosenthal placed a series of large black cast-iron urns and pots at key points along the walk and then filled them with delightfully artful arrangements of produce. Most notable are the bi-colored French and Cinderella pumpkins, various types of gourds, and ornamental cabbage and kale. Urns also are overflowing with a most unusual Black Forest grass, a bright flowering plant called celosia, and the highly textured, lime-green foxtail fern. The latter looks particularly charming planted in the vintage 1940s California wine crates that now grace the balconies of the three long windows on the front of the home.
Another unusual and interesting component in Rosenthal’s landscape design is what he calls a ‘living sofa,’ which welcomes guests at the front door. “Part of my design work is to take vintage or contemporary furniture and ‘reupholster’ it with living plants, effectively making it living furniture,” he explains. “I keep the character of the original piece, but I spin it. The landing at the front entrance was the perfect place for a conversation piece that grabs your attention and adds a sense of excitement. It’s very showy and very weird.”
The furniture piece he designed for this year’s show house is a Victorian-style sofa that’s almost as old as #23 Lenox Place. “If I had to guess, I would say it is maybe 90 years old,” Rosenthal says. “The frame is rough-sawn oak and stuffed with pine straw and horsehair and upholstered with black fabric. I sprayed it with a product called Never Wet, which seals and waterproofs the cloth and wood. It will last three or four seasons” out of doors.
As for the plants themselves, Rosenthal says he has a definite preference for succulents like agave because of their ‘architectural’ features and because they “love heat and neglect,” which made them the perfect choice for St. Louis.
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