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From Home Furnishing Business

Work Progresses on Furniture Library Gardens

The "hardscape" for the new Pat Plaxico Gardens at the Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library in High Point is nearly complete.

Bed preparation, irrigation and planting will start immediately thereafter. By April market next spring, the gardens will be in full bloom and decorated with several pieces of sculpture and seating.
“This is a project that is intended to make the outside of the library as inspirational as the inside,” said Charlie Sutton, president of the Library’s board.

The gardens are a culmination of a two-year project to completely renovate the library. This is the latest in a series of major projects that included creating conference rooms for industry and academic use, remodeling the interior, adding an elevator, cataloging every book in accordance with the Library of Congress taxonomy, and awarding two $10,000 scholarships. Paved parking and ambient lighting will complete the project.

Spruce Builders is the primary construction company for these projects.

“With the help of the BBFL board and Freeman Kennett Architects, what was once a beautiful home has been transformed into a state of the art, modern place to research and learn about furniture and design,” said Ray and Steve Wheatley, the owners of Spruce Builders. “The garden plans are exciting not only for the library but for the community as well. It fits right into the new Ignite High Point theme. This project would be exciting even for a much larger city, and we are lucky to have it right here in High Point.”

Located on Main Street, the library was originally the home of Sandy and Bernice Bienenstock. Called the Grayson House, it was built in 1923 and purchased as the Library headquarters in 1968. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The design of the gardens is the work of landscape architect Sally Pagliai of Greensboro. It is a combination of classic and contemporary elements combining attractive plant and hardscape materials to create pleasing site lines, cozy outdoor rooms, gathering areas, and places for sculpture.

The Gardens are named for Pat Plaxico, a very active and nationally recognized interior designer renowned for the reuse of historic buildings.

“Knowing the Bienenstock’s personally and being a board member of the Furniture Library for 38 years, I was deeply honored to have the gardens bear my name," Plaxico said. "The house interior with its lovely Arts and Crafts details and fabulous book collection has always been very welcoming. Now the exterior grounds will follow suit.”

"Under the leadership of Charlie Sutton and the present Library Board of Directors, the appeal and usefulness of Bienenstock Library has been enhanced to serve the broader interior design, furniture manufacturing and home furnishings retailing communities," said Board President-Elect Russell Bienenstock. "The Pat Plaxico Garden project completes our facilities upgrade, preparing the Library for exciting academic and design outreach initiatives in 2014. I am hopeful that visitors to the upcoming High Point show will stop by the Library located on North Main Street in High Point for a few minutes inspiration and repose."

The funding of this project has come from private contributions.  The Library has received gifts from $20 to $10,000 for the support of the gardens. Furniture families and foundations, as well as friends of Pat and the Bienenstock family have been most generous. The Library still needs contributions, which are tax deductible, and can be given this year or in the first quarter.

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