Use vibrant fabrics and color-saturated accents to make your outdoor living areas smashing
We love the idea of taking traditionally interior furnishings like drapery panels and mirrors to the outdoors to create a roomlike atmosphere, using every square inch of a residence for comfortable, stylish living. In these smashing exteriors, showhouse designers have mixed quality outdoor furniture with fun flea-market finds, using palettes both brilliant and nuanced as their backdrops. What unites these spaces in which to relax, reflect, and entertain is a timeless air of confidence freshened by a breeze of modernity.
Designers Annemarie and Rosemarie diSalvo, along with Keith Mazzei, solved the challenge of a deep but narrow porch by clearly delineating the seating areas while maintaining a cozy feeling. Vibrant fabrics by Trina Turk for Schumacher read as elegant and fun. Lending a South Beach feeling are shells and bamboo elements. Outdoor furniture by McGuire is both sleek and transitional.
Produced by Estelle Bond Guralnick and Eileen A. Deymier
Annemarie and Rosemarie diSalvo with Keith Mazzei on the porch they desisgned for the Hampton Designer Showhouse.
The orange canvas awning and bamboo elements lend privacy and a party vibe.
A fun, summery detail.
For the Old York Museum Showhouse, Georgie McGowan evoked old Maine nostalgia by using a Penobscot Bay swing modeled after gliders of the 1920s and '30s, when "people would load up their cars or take their trunks on the train and stay the whole summer," she says.
Designer Georgie McGowan
The table setting enhances the cool, fresh mood on this veranda, which, designer Georgie McGowan says, "is on the back side of the house overlooking a very spacious backyard and lawn, with a view of the Atlantic Ocean in the middle distance."
The Adirondack chair, made by a local craftsman, has fewer slats than most, and the back, which is one solid board with a cut down the center, makes it especially comfortable.
Situated outside an artist's studio, the porch that Elsa Soyars designed or the Hampton Designer Showhouse is a mix of textures and colors--a coffee table of woven recycled aluminum and teak; a handsome, washable plastic rug; and linen pillows.
The brick wall adds color, texture, and almost an indoor family room feel to the porch.
Designer Elsa Soyars
Bright prints give pillows a carefree retro look.
"I was inspired by its Jeffersonian proportions and classical elegance," designer Andrew Law says of this grand porch, which he designed for the D.C. Design House. Its size led him to create two sitting areas, and drapery panels enhance an indoor-outdoor flow. A weathered driftwood finish gives wicker pieces a gracefully aged look. The porch lanterns are from Niermann Weeks.
Designer Andrew Law.
A challenge of this space, Andrew says, was to create an outdoor environment as luxurious as the interior. "Through the use of exterior fabrics, vinyl rugs designed to mimic sisal, and cast iron and stone pieces, we were able to create an outdoor living and dining terrace that felt as if it were an extension of the home's gracious interior."
"The 18th-century carved stone eagle quickly became a focal point, and he seemed perfectly perched to both welcome guests and survey the garden below," Andrew says.
Christina Murphy settled on grays and ivories as the palette for this small, private spot at the Hampton Designer Showhouse because they remind her of the soft driftwood found on Long Island beaches. The large wicker chair with circular legs gives the space character.
Bright gold enlivens the quiet color scheme.
"I loved that this space was enclosed by walls on two sides so that you feel somewhat protected from the elements but still outdoors," Christina says. "It's a small space that could easily be overlooked or ignored, but with a bit of furniture, it's a lovely space to read and relax in that's especially fitting for smaller groups."
Nancy Pearson wanted something unexpected, so instead of lanterns, she opted for new but classic Visual Comfort fixtures to echo the lattice windows in her design for the Hampton Designer Showhouse. She contrasted the formality of topiary with the informality of accents in island colors. The coffee table's top is taken from a cross-section of a tropical tree.
Designer Nancy Pearson
An antique tea cart serves as a minibar.
"I went with white upholstery and furniture for a fresh look that was versatile, and for accents in bright garden colors--pinks, purples, and oranges--to pick up the colors of delphiniums, poppies, zinnias, and other colorful annuals in the garden," Nancy says.