Progress continues on furniture library's new gardens

Oct. 21, 2013 @ 02:11 PM

The hardscape for the new Pat Plaxico Gardens is nearly complete at the Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library in downtown High Point.
Bed preparation, irrigation and planting will begin soon, and by the spring High Point Market the gardens should be in full bloom and decorated with several pieces of sculpture and cozy 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 the culmination of a two-year project to completely renovate the library. They are 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.
The addition of paved parking and ambient lighting will complete the project.
Located at 1009 N. Main St., 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 sight lines, cozy outdoor rooms, gathering areas and places for sculpture.
“The garden is an extension of the architecture of the library and its contents,” Pagliai said. “It is intended to be a place of refuge, and natural oasis for reflection, group gatherings, as well as an arboretum for diverse plants, thought-provoking art and sculpture.”
Pagliai said she was inspired by the Bienenstocks and by Plaxico.
“It is a place of homage, not only to the Bienenstocks for their vision and generosity, but to Pat for her ongoing design talents, endless hours of volunteer work, and inspiration she has instilled in so many of us.”
The gardens are named for Pat Plaxico, a very active and nationally recognized interior designer renowned for the reuse of historic buildings.
“Knowing the Bienenstocks 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.”
The project was funded through private contributions, according to library officials.