The more I speak to retailers and consumers about patio furniture and what they're looking for, the more this theme of indoor-outdoor decorating pops up. It seems that everyone wants to decorate their outdoor spaces with an "indoor" feel.
Depending how much space you have (sprawling home versus urban condo), many people will rely on their outdoor space as an extra room for the warm months ahead. This could be one of the reasons we're paying more attention to outdoor decorating.
This Roxö table from Ikea provides seating for up to four people, and is small enough for a condo balcony. Pair it with a few of the bright orange or turquoise Roxö stools for a pop of colour. You can even stack them under the table to save space when you're not using them.
For a lounge-worthy chair, check out these new Brommö chairs, a cool $60 each.
If you have the luxury of space, set aside a place for a dining area with comfortable chairs. In the summer months, it can double as a second dinning room. Andrew Richard Designs has several outdoor options with an indoor feel. These Producer chairs are made from teak and stainless steel and fold away easily come winter. Plus, they're comfortable enough to use as casual seating.
West Elm has come out with a very attractive outdoor collection called Jardine. One of my favourite pieces is the daybed. I love the light wood with the crisp white cushions. This daybed would be a great jumping off point for any outdoor space.
Don't forget about storage! This trunk has plenty of room for throw cushions and outdoor serveware, and can double as a coffee table or bench.
Last but not least, consider an overhead cover-up if you don't already have shelter off your balcony or house. The Home Depot has a wonderful selection of umbrellas and pergolas. Suzanne Dimma showed this one at a recent appearance on Steven and Chris.
See more outdoor spaces with indoor elements in our photo gallery.
1. Roxö table, Ikea
2. Roxö stools, Ikea
3. Brommö chairs, Ikea
4. Producer chairs, Andrew Richard Designs
5. Jardine daybed, West Elm
6. Jardine trunk bench, West Elm
7. Hampton Bay 9-1/2' pergola, The Home Depot
You may remember Vancouver company Gallant & Jones was featured in the July 2010 issue of House & Home (Style Files, p. 30). Their beautiful handcrafted chairs are still available, as are their stools, trays, totes, blankets and... tents! Yes, tents! Now carrying a quirky line of tents from FieldCandy, Gallant & Jones' outdoor products are sure to put a smile on your face.
Outfit your deck with something other than moulded plastic chairs. Gallant & Jones' folding deck chair frames are crafted using North American white oak and covered with the prettiest assortment of fabrics.
The FieldCandy tents are too much fun! There are six trompe-l'oeil options to choose from. I can't describe how happy that watermelon tent makes me, even though I have no interest in camping!
Gallant & Jones also has a beautiful blog. Check it out for more inspiration.
When I think gardening, I think smelly fertilizer, digging through worms and a streak of dirt running the length of one's forehead. You've got it, I am no gardener.
This idea will of course have to change once I have a flower patch of my own, hopefully sooner rather than later. So I've been making a list of fun planting things to make the experience less traumatic.
Leave it to Anthropologie to have a pretty wheelbarrow. Sticking my hands in the mud would be no chore at all with this little cart.
Textured planters in earthy tones are a must — West Elm has a colourful selection.
Some more good-looking motivation to pick up a spade. This one is from Indigo.
Garden markers are becoming quite popular in the garden industry, I hear. Gone are the days when people rummaged through their plot to find a tomato. These nifty ones, from Williams-Sonoma, made of steel and chalkboard paint are bound to survive the elements.
Plastic bucket, please make way for this stunning floral watering can from Anthropologie.
To start small, I've decided to unearth the green thumb I know I must have somewhere and plot an indoor herb garden. Check back soon to see how I made out.
See our Gardening & Outdoor Living section for more ideas.
1. Sawati Wheelbarrow, Anthropologie
2. Patterned Pots, West Elm
3. Floral Trowel with Wood Handle, Indigo
4. Galvanized Steel Garden Marker, Williams-Sonoma
5. Climbing Roses Watering Can, Anthropologie
The weather is finally starting to warm up and I'm starting to think about the flowers for my condo balcony.
Every year I clean up my traditional urn planters — similar to these from The Home Depot — and place one on either side of the balcony door. I usually choose petunias for each planter — they're easy to care for and when cared for well, blossom into plush multiples. The combination of purple and white petunias in the same urn is my favourite combination.
In addition to the urns, I plant rosemary, basil, tiny tomatoes, and my all-time favourite, hen and chicken plants.
A lot of condo buildings don't allow window boxes, but I'm lucky enough to live in a building that allows them. I love this traditional touch in an urban space.
What are you planting this spring?
See our Gardening & Outdoor Living section for more ideas.
Sometimes you need a little levity in the world of design. Let's explore some innovative domestic solutions for your canine BFF.
South Korean designer Seungji Mun's line of animal-friendly furniture lets you work your terrier into the decor.
Owners can interact with their pets through the opening under the armrest without relinquishing prime sofa space, or encouraging the dog to jump up on the furniture.
Dog crates are drab downers, but these versions come in different finishes and woods to match not only your palette...
... but your pooch.
The scaffolding structure of this Tokyo project by Sou Fujimoto Architects also serves as inspiration for a doghouse.
Which doubles as storage. This design was Sou Fujimoto's entry in the Architecture for Dogs exhibition. Free blueprints for the resulting works by architects from around the globe are available to download from the website.
Another entry from Architecture for Dogs, this modern riff on Snoopy's house from Dutch architects MVRDV is meant for real-life beagles. This playful design rocks gently as the dog enters and exits so it acts as both shelter and an interactive toy.
More of a "dog object" than home, Haruka Misawa's conceptual paper cone suspended from the ceiling is designed for only the coolest of canines.
I've always liked the idea of an indoor hammock. When a boy I went to university with hung one in his room, I immediately developed a crush on him. This was a guy worth hanging out with, I thought. Why should the pleasure of gently rocking back and forth in one, a foot dangling over the edge, be limited to the summer months? Especially in Canada, where summer seems so short?
Recently, an email popped up in my inbox promoting a new indoor hanging kit from Eagles Nest Outfitters that lets you suspend a hammock from an interior wall or post. Apparently, I'm not alone in dreaming of year-round hang time. The kit uses steel anchor bolt hangers, lag screws and nylon cords, and installation requires only a little handyman know-how with a drill and wrench. Best of all, it supports up to 400 lb., so two people can safely crawl into the hammock together... say, you and that guy you have a crush on.
For more outdoor tricks used indoors, browse our photo gallery of Indoor-Outdoor Spaces.
Outdoor furniture options seem to keep getting better and better. Here are some new lounge pieces that have caught my eye, as well as some older favourites.
The Jardine double lounger from West Elm is made of tropical wood, is weather-resistant and has a great shape. It's the perfect place to stretch out with a drink and a magazine. Given there's enough space for two people, I suppose you could share it with a friend, too.
Fermob's Ultra-Sofa. This is a bit of a statement piece for sure — you'd have to be pretty confident about splurging on it! But I really love it. A few people could sit on it or you could lie down and lounge (they call it a sofa but I think it's equal parts chaise lounge!). The weather-proof fabric is wrapped around a thick foam lining, so it would be super comfy.
Restoration Hardware's Ibiza chaise is a modern take on the beanbag, and it looks so inviting! There are some great colours and fabrics (linen, twill, canvas) that you can choose from. I would own this in a heartbeat, I just wish it was in my price range!
Gloster's Solana lounger is another classic — albeit a more contemporary one. The teak frame will weather nicely over time and turn a lovely grey.
I could imagine a few of Hauser's Southampton chaise lounges lined up alongside a pool. And this all-weather wicker design will never go out of style.
I couldn't resist including this chaise lounge. Sika Design's Josephine outdoor rattan sunbed (available through Fresh Home & Garden) is so unique looking — it reminds me of those lovely Parisian café chairs. It's almost a shame to put a cushion on it, but I think you'd probably want to from a comfort standpoint.
For more great finds, see our Gardening & Outdoor Living section.
1. Jardine Double Lounger, West Elm
2. Ultra-Sofa, Fermob
3. Ibiza Chaise, Restoration Hardware
4. Solana Lounger, Gloster
5. Southampton Chaise Lounge, Hauser
6. Josephine Outdoor Rattan Sunbed, Sika Design
Glittering, swinging shift dresses, rhythmic, big band jazz, and glamorous, smoky supper clubs — what's not to love about the 1920s? I've waxed on about the era before, and regularly daydream about travelling back in time à la Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris.
Next month Baz Luhrmann is bringing the Roaring '20s to life in The Great Gatsby — who else was crushed when they postponed the Christmas release? Known for his theatrical productions, Gatsby will undoubtedly treat viewers to a visual feast complete with killer soundtrack.
I love the story, but I'm even more excited to see the Art Deco wardrobe and set design: elegant flapper girls, mirrored surfaces, geometric prints and sleek gold accents. In anticipation of its release, I've rounded up a few home decor pieces that will infuse any space with Gatsby glamour.
The mirrored front and delicate trellis woodwork on this sideboard evokes the elegance of the era.
A duvet with a sophisticated colour palette and stylized geometric print is reminiscent of the best Art Deco textiles.
Give a nod to the drama of Old Hollywood with this graceful velvet settee.
Four panels of smoked tinted glass and antique brass edging give this side table an elegant, geometric look.
Serve bubbly in hand-cut crystal coupes to evoke a bygone era. The large open rim was designed specifically to serve champagne, allowing the bubbles to sprinkle your face with each sip.
Metallic accents were ubiquitous in the '20s and this frosted diamond pillow adds just the right amount to a sofa.
No Gatsby-esque room would be complete without a sparkling tiered chandelier.
An etched gold photo frame with geometric bone inlay strikes a glamorous note.
The Great Gatsby hits theatres May 10th. Watch the trailer here! Can't get enough Gatsby? Pick up the May issue of Vogue, featuring a gorgeous editorial with the film's star, Carey Mulligan, and listen to a preview of the soundtrack here.
Although the temperatures don't feel spring-like in Ontario yet, it is indeed spring out there and now is the perfect time to be thinking about how you will be decorating your outdoor spaces.
The Home Depot invited us editors to their spring preview recently, and they had a lot of fun new products to show off.
One of their tips is to decorate your outdoor space like you would your indoor space. Their coordinating colours, patterns and materials make this easy.
This lounge set has a metal base for outdoor longevity. The red cushions coordinate with the red-and-white outdoor rug, and the throw cushions add a stylish hit. The coffee table has sections that lift up for easy nibbling if you're entertaining.
This second lounge set — the Hampton Bay 3 piece set — is made from a neutral weave and the coffee table is made from recycled plastic. Combine different outdoor pieces like they did here so your patio doesn't look too matchy-matchy.
For condo dwellers with small balconies, these bistro sets are perfect. This 3-piece set comes in six different colours and would be a fun addition to any outdoor space.
Lastly, don't forget about your spring and summer flowers. The Home Depot has tons of fresh offerings to add some colour to your balcony or backyard.
Browse our Outdoor Rooms photo gallery for more inspiration.
1-3. Holly Meighen
I recently had the chance to hop down to New York City for a biz/pleasure trip. Here are some highlights.
First up, a few favourites from the Architectural Digest Home & Design Show. Above are magnetic wood tiles by Moonish. Yes, they can be rearranged easily. Yes, you can install them, uninstall them and take them with you elsewhere and reinstall. No, you probably can't put them in the shower but yes, they resist mold. And yes, they are amazing.
Please meet Rachel and Nicholas of Calico Wallpaper. They make that incredible marbleized wall mural you see behind them. What can I say — two cool creatives bringing jaw-dropping beauty into the world. Bless you Rachel and Nicholas. Imagine this paper in a candlelit dining room or on your bedroom ceiling. Please, incroyable!
Fumed oak and distressed brass, both in silky smooth finishes make the Driscoll bar cart by Desiron my top furniture pick of the show. Wish I had one handy to serve my Mad Men Season 6 première cocktails.
And speaking of lookers, this is without a doubt the prettiest cooking appliance I have ever seen in my life. It is by Ilve, and is white enamel with polished brass accents. It's Italian — they know a thing or two about beauty.
Sticking to stereotypes for a moment, if the Italians were all about beauty then here are the Germans teaching us there is beauty in orderliness. A little shout out here to the folks at Miele for their top-notch refrigerator styling — a symphony of perfectly arranged greens. I'm not going to lie, there is a teensy part of me that thinks maybe I could eat this way so my fridge could look this good inside. I'm sure the appliances themselves are wonderful, too.
The La Cornue booth featured a kitchen by SieMatic, which was perfectly lovely in its own right. But then there was that tile. Yes, wooden backsplash tile. Not porcelain that looks like wood. Real wood. It's the Enigma Collection by Jamie Beckwith. And yes, you can use it as flooring, too. Mark my words, this is going to become a thing.
Here are a few other examples of this luscious product.
In one corner of the building was a showcase of several dazzling tabletop designs all done up for the DIFFA Dining by Design charity event supporting people living with AIDS. My favourite of the lot was the Architectural Digest table (surprise, surprise). Psychedelic bright poppies set against a black and white stripe tabletop. Happy and sophisticated.
After the AD Show, a jaunt across town had me face to face with what I hope will be the future of refrigeration. These fully integrated units by GE Monogram consist of components (refrigeration, freezers, beverage cooling, glass-front, panelled drawers) that can be configured to suit your needs. I've never quite understood the conspicuously-huge-fridge-as-status-symbol thing. This disappearing act design is much more my speed. So superb in both form and function.
And lastly, I was lucky enough to dine with a small group inside this cupola on the roof of the NoMad hotel! It was a treat from beginning to end thanks to gracious hosts, superb service and delectable fare. If you ever dine at the NoMad, be sure to have the butter-dipped fleur de sel radishes and the roasted chicken with fois gras, black truffle and brioche. Trust.
The radishes were truly ravishing so I popped them in the Google machine and was overjoyed to find the good people at Bon Appetit have revealed the not-so-secret recipe. You really should try them.
Read more about New York style in Sarah Hartill's blog post.