At the intersection of vintage and modern, indoor and outdoor, stands Gardenhouse, a home furnishing line by Cheryl Maeder. As the name implies, Gardenhouse consists of items that bring traditionally indoor design outside and vice versa. We interviewed owner and designer Cheryl (also a fine art photographer) about her vintage turned modern pieces, the inspiration behind them, and how Gardenhouse came to be.
What led you to start Gardenhouse?
I am originally from New Jersey and was living in Switzerland for about eight years in my early 20’s. I would travel throughout Europe going to antique stores and flea markets finding unique vintage pieces. It was my New Jersey roots in combination with the European aesthetics that helped to create my style.
Living in Switzerland I witnessed the beauty and sensuousness of architecture and furnishings that were allowed to age. I learned to appreciate the art and design all around me in Europe. This played a strong part in creating my designs and photography. I also immersed myself into the world of photography and began photographing for major European magazines.
I moved back to San Francisco and met and fell in love with my husband, Gary, an artist, metal sculptor and constant source of inspiration. I opened a successful advertising and fine art photography studio and worked with some of the country’s finest art directors. On weekends, as a way to relax, we would search flea markets, antique stores and meet dealers who had a shared passion for vintage furnishings. Giving the existing treasures my own signature style, I filled our home, studio and our friends’ homes with fabulous finds.
Seven years ago, my husband Gary and I packed bags and our dog and moved cross-country from San Francisco to West Palm Beach, Florida, where I created Gardenhouse. I wanted to combine my love for photography by showcasing it along with my love for “vintage gone modern” furnishings.
In January of this past year, I created GardenWalls, nature inspired wallcoverings to further marry our indoor and outdoor gardenhouse furnishings. I wanted to create wall art that would accent a room with a fresh, modern approach to indoor/outdoor living.
How did you decide on the name Gardenhouse for your shop?
Gardenhouse has taken on a life of its own from its inception from those last years’ living in Mill Valley, California, when I came up with the idea and actually the name. I remember one day I was planting in my garden trying to come up with a name for the home furnishings line. I was thinking of all different names for months on end and then all of a sudden there in the garden it hit me… so simple: Gardenhouse. That name, so simply contains the vision for garden lifestyle living. Bringing the vibrant fabrics and colors usually reserved for indoor elements and furnishings outside to our decks, garden patios and lawns where we entertain family and friends. As well as, bringing the outdoors into our indoor living spaces for a more holistic approach to living.
1. Two Lavender & Green Houndstooth Wing Chairs, $2,500; 2. Vintage Metal Lamp, $275; 3. Black & White Slipper Chair, $990; 4. Hi-Gloss Black Aluminum Settee, $1,800; 5. Black & White Daisy Lamp, $680; 6. Hi-Gloss Black Drop Leaf Table and Cow Print Chairs, $1,500
You include a lot of bright colors in your pieces. What draws you to this look?
I love finding a piece of vintage that has strong character and bones. I love taking the soul of the piece and treating it like a work of art. Each item speaks to me differently. I come up with new ideas as I go along. Each piece of furniture requires its own particular fabric, color and paint finish. I like combining raw finishes with elegant fabrics and vice versa. I love the unpredictable, the unexpected. I love taking something that might seem ordinary and creating it into something extraordinary. I love adding accents of color into my pieces, however, Gardenhouse evolves as I do and nothing remains constant. My designs are always evolving.
Just going outdoors into nature, that is where I get my inspiration, the color and the light have much effect on my designs and my photography. I lived 15 years in the San Francisco area and moved to Palm Beach seven years ago. I fell in love with the tropics. The colors of the ocean change constantly and I am always aware of the play of light on the waters.
Are all of the items vintage pieces that you’ve refurbished?
Most of the items at Gardenhouse are vintage pieces that I have taken and created into a modern design. However, there are pieces that I find that are just perfect as they are. The beauty is also in the soul and age of the piece and there are times to just simply let that be enough.
Are your pieces for both indoor and outdoor use?
Most of my pieces are meant for both indoors and outdoors. I specify that always on the product. However, there are some pieces that are meant for an enclosed patio area and not to be weathered outside in the elements.
How would you describe Gardenhouse’s typical customer?
I would say my customer is not a particular age group. I think my customer definitely thinks and feels young no matter what age. My customer is trendy but also beyond trend, my customer has a strong individual taste, very sophisticated and likes to have fun. My customer takes pride in their home, wants to have a cozy warm feel but also likes to add an element of surprise.