Bok Tower & Gardens

by Regina Garay

It’s a great day! Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Regina Garay,’s Decorative Painting and Surface Design Expert, and our newest Contributor. I’m thrilled with the creative posts Regina has planned for you, and about what we’ll all learn from this true artisan. Read more about Regina at her blog Fauxology.

Hello, Everyone!  First of all, I’d like to say how much of a pleasure it is going to be to write for you—and I do look forward to any questions or comments you may have.  Today we’re going to tour one of our beautiful local attractions and talk a little about exterior patinas and finishes.


It’s an art research trip, viewing scenic architecture and landscape; I’ll later use some of what I see in my decorative painting work.

I live in the Orlando, FL area and close to the amazing theme parks we’re so famous for.  But today, I thought I’d take the road less travelled and visit another local site, the beautiful Bok Tower and Gardens



Edward W. Bok made the gift of the tower and gardens to the American people in gratitude for the gift of opportunity given to him — and today they are a national historic landmark. 

Born in the Netherlands, Mr. Bok emigrated to the United States at the age of six and became a Pulitzer-prize winning author in addition to founding and editing the Ladies’ Home Journal

He was a leader in the Arts & Crafts movement (whose influence is clearly seen in the Tower’s decoration) and championed architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright

The 205-foot Tower has a daily carillon bell concert and features an ornately carved brass door, a zodiac sun dial and a beautiful marble stone facade. 


The meandering gardens feature more than 1,000 different varieties of plants, trees and flowers. 

TG9Mr. Bok adopted his grandmother’s motto as his own: “Make the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it.” Gorgeous, no? 


Also on the property is the Pinewood Estate.  It is a Mediterranean-style home built for industrialist C. Austin Buck and occupies eight acres. 

The 20-room mansion was acquired by Bok Gardens and can be toured daily.  It features thick walls, wrought iron details, carved woodwork, imported tiles and beautiful gardens of its own. 

Pinewood 9

Our studio is called upon frequently to transform exteriors and I thought to start off with that oft-overlooked area.  Anytime we see gorgeous examples of true aging, we whip out our cameras to take reference shots. (You’ve never seen anyone get as excited about rust as I do, trust.) 

For instance, it helps to see how rain “stains” a surface and the direction the stain can take (under a window or eave, particularly).

Pinewood 4

Or, how moss can grow on an exterior pot or the true-to-life colorations that a weathered surface displays.

Pinewood 13

We notice these things because when called upon to age an exterior area a few hundred years within a few days, we need to be as accurate as possible.

Pinewood 6Pinewood 1

We do use glazes and usually the earth pigments: ochres, siennas, greens, black, white, slate and the umbers. 

Pinewood 5

[Of course, we also top coat our techniques — there is an amusing irony for us in preserving and protecting the perfect aged finish from the sun and the elements for years to come.] 

Pinewood 7

See if you can spot the beautiful patinas that a much-loved home near you, can take over the years.

Pinewood 12

I hope you’ve enjoyed the inaugural post.  I look forward to posting more about decorative painting and the surfaces that can be transformed.  Have a wonderful Holiday season — see you next year!!!


Decorative Painter Regina GarayWhat public spaces inspire your creativity?


Regina Garay is an accomplished artisan with creativity and energy to spare. A specialist at all manner of decorative painting techniques, she shares with us tips, how-to’s and trends in surface design, as well as inspiration from the design of public spaces.

Owner and Creative Director for Orlando, Florida’s Garay Artisans, Regina also pens the popular Fauxology blog.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

4 Comments for “Bok Tower & Gardens”

[…] Bok Tower & Gardens, a national historic site here in Central Florida.  To read the full post, click here — it features some of the gorgeous landscaping and good reference shots.  You can also read […]

A very inspirational place! I’m sure one can spend hours there. Interesting to learn about Mr.Bok, as well. Thank you for taking the time to share this. I bet you enjoyed a nice picnic lunch in the process! 🙂

This is a real jewel in Central Florida. If you have not visited, please take a morning or afternoon to do so. It is a little piece of heavenly beauty/serenity in an place you would not expect. Thanks for the piece, Regina!

[…] found our Book of the Month during my Bok Tower & Gardens excursion.  My family and I stopped in the gift shop before we started and I spied Old Florida by Steve […]

Leave a Comment

Tags: , , , ,

Subscribe to Email News

Keep up with the latest Challenges news, and creative design & decorating inspiration when you Subscribe to Homeworkshop's Design Junkies Journal.

Automatically Receive Content
Follow HomeWorkshop on Twitter Follow HomeWorkshop on Pinterest Follow HomeWorkshop RSS feed
Let's Go Shopping
Make your own thrifted shabby chic pieces in a weekend

Put our button on your site!
Copy the code below:

Fab Web Sites