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Taste Test:

May 8, 2011

Lush Crush

Bill Hudgins of Lush Life weighs in on his high / low picks for hotels, sips, rides, objects for the garden and more.

<p>Lavender coral and other decorative objects at Lush Life</p>

Lavender coral and other decorative objects at Lush Life

  • Photos by Colby Blount

Bill Hudgins’ Buckhead boutique, Lush Life, is a treasure trove of refined and exotic wares from art and nature. There’s a curiosity cabinet collection of goods crammed into this diminutive cottage on East Andrews Drive. And every object in this Buckhead boutique, selected by Hudgins’ gimlet eye, is arranged in the most artful still lifes.

Lush Life Owner Bill Hudgins Lush Life Owner Bill Hudgins

Lush LIfe Home & Garden proprietor Bill Hudgins clearly has a penchant for certain objects, materials and naturalia. For instance, there are always piles of gorgeous sea shells on display, malachite obelisks, multiple Asian-sourced buddhas, milled French soaps and perfumes from Antica Farmacista (the gourmet vanilla, bourbon and Mandarin scent is heady). We're crazy  for the rare but naturally-occurring lavender-colored corals from the coast of Catalina, which are mounted on Lucite bases like sculpture. Ditto the chunky rock crystal votives, sculptural glass from Simon Pearce,  Moser crystal, and covetable Diptyque candles--the latter perfect for hostess gifts. Be sure to slip out the back of the shop, where a large-scale greenhouse and nursery proffer everything from cacti to shaped topiary and potted orchids. As expected, given the shops moniker, expert landscape and floral design services are on offer.

Lastly, style-philes will enjoy perusing one of the most select coffee-table book collections in town, covering the style gamut from Versace and contemporary architecture to stylish shopping in Tokyo. Indeed, the globetrotting Hudgins, recently back from Italy and Russia, scours the entire globe for inspiration and wares for his lush lair, with Japan holding a special place in his nomadic heart. Who better to inaugurate our recurring “Taste Test” column than the cosmopolitan Hudgins, whose aesthetic, whether high or low, always embodies the lush and the luxe life.  

Lush Life Home & Garden, 146 East Andrews Drive, Buckhead, 404.841.9661 or www.lushlifehomeandgarden.com

 

 

Hudgins’ High/Low Must-Haves:

OBJECT FOR THE TABLE:

High: 

Baccarat stemware

Low: 

Dozens of votive candles. They’re magic.

SIP: 

High: 

A great burgundy….red or white.

Low:

Sake. I've become much more interested in this beverage.  I used to like hot sake but after trying better and better chilled ones, I've developed an appreciation for the really good stuff! It has so many subtleties and similarities to wine.

FLOWER:

High: 

Peonies—because the fragrance, texture and colors are so luscious. 

Low: 

Tulips. I love the way they move with the light.

 

HOTEL: 

High: 

Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janiero. Great service and what a pool!

Low: 

La Concha in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It’s not quite the Copa but it has a great scene and vibe.

RESTAURANT: 

High: 

Alain Ducasse  at the Plaza Athenée  Paris. Each course is more amazing than the last.  

Low: 

The Pearl Oyster Bar in New York City. It’s a tiny gem.

SHOP: 

High: 

Lush Life Home & Garden of course! 

Low: 

Archiva Books in New York City. They cover all of my favorite categories in depth: architecture, interior design and gardening.

FAVORITE MODE OF TRANSPORT: 

High: 

Mercedes G500

Low: 

MiniCooper convertible

DECORATIVE ACCESSORY:   

High: 

Almost anything carved from rock crystal--bowls, obelisks, candlesticks.             

Low: 

Books. They're great for some added tablescape color and can be used as risers for other accessories.

OBJECT FOR THE GARDEN: 

High: 

Japanese maples. They are my all-time favorite trees.

Low: 

A water feature. Even a simple bowl filled with aquatic plants adds a calming element to a garden or terrace. 

SWEET:  

High: 

Hot Chocolate at Angelina in Paris. It is the richest, most decadent liquid desert I can recall.                         

Low: 

Tres leches cake at Tierra Restaurant in Atlanta. You can't dine there and not share one.

FASHION: 

High: 

I love Etro shirts for their exciting patterns and colors.                     

Low: 

Levi’s jeans. I've had more trendy denims but for value these can't be beat for durability and cost.

TRAVEL DESTINATION:

High: 

Japan for its interesting juxtaposition of hectic and calm energy. It also has the most fabulous gardens, the freshest seafood and friendliest people.

Low: 

Charleston, South Carolina. I love the restaurants and their modern take on Southern, coastal cuisine. It hasn't lost its sense of place.

MUSEUM:   

High: 

The Louvre. It's the ultimate in so many ways. It's also in my favorite

city, Paris, and the scale of the museum and its collections are unbelievable.

Low: 

It isn’t really a museum but the Doris Duke estate “Shangri La,” in Honolulu, is fabulous. 

DESIGN: 

High: Anything by interior designer Pierre Yves Rochon. He infuses French-style luxury and comfort into such fabulous hotels and homes.

Low: Anything that nature produces. 

 

MUSIC: 

High: 

Anything by Sondheim

Low: 

I still love the Buddha Bar compilations of lounge and chill-out music.

 

CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT: 

My two beagles Midge and Pierre

 

LUXURY:

High: 

My garden. It is almost three acres filled to overflowing with my collections of over 300 cultivars of Japanese maples, dozens of varieties of boxwood, hosta, ardisia, and other Asian plants.  It has evolved from its early Western feel to a much more modern Japanese style. It’s a form of madness. I'm a collector-maniac!!!

Low: 

Bonsai. There’s a whole garden in a single pot.