Details from and artful home design

Get ideas from a creative couple who turned their home into a design lab

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Surrounded by small Mexican pebbles, a young sago palm rises from a square, 30-inch-deep stainless steel planter column, one of two flanking the rear stairway. Each planter is built into a square base made of plywood covered with pieces of mitered medium density overlay (MDO) 1-by-8s and metal strips, and each contains a copper drain in its base.


"We like to create places of contemplation, so we built this table as an interior oasis," Madden says. The 42- by 84-inch table is constructed like the garden one, but with a limestone top. The centerpiece is a 10- by 49-inch overflowing and recirculating trough, perfect for floating blossoms. Two uplights mounted under the trough cast a dancing pattern on the ceiling at night. During the day, sunlight reflects off the burbling surface. The long table seats 10 under a candle-filled chandelier. The base bolts to the floor for stability.


"We found these 5-foot-long terra- cotta drainpipes at a local recycling yard for $5 apiece," says Madden, who turned them into fence posts. The pipes were put on end and centered around pieces of rebar rising from a concrete footing that follows the property line. Concrete was poured into the pipes to stabilize and strengthen them. The fence is built in sections to stair-step down the slope. Center panels are redwood 2-by-4s framing grids of 1-by-2s suspended from dowels set in the drainpipe posts.


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