Sitting outside and enjoying the weather is rejuvenating. It’s a great time to trade urban grays for sunny days, to watch the new growth of plants and animal life, to be amazed at all the new little lives learning how to use their wings and take flight. My head fills with pulling together outdoor spaces and making them more inviting, adding touches that refresh. And how do I enhance my outdoor living space? I start with the perfect outdoor furniture.
Here are 4 design tips for the perfect outdoor furniture:
Tip 1: Quality pays off
Select outdoor furniture that’s made with quality. Most of the manufacturers we sell have some craftsmen and trade secrets that you’ll want to take note of. Quality also matters because we’re filling our landfills daily with quick items that only last for a season. There are important steps in the manufacturing process to make outdoor living pieces that stand the test of time.
Tip 2: A lasting finish
Metal frames should be pre-finished with a nanoceramic ceramic pre-wash to increase paint adhesion. Each casting is hand polished to provide a smooth, finished surface for painting. After a multi-step cleaning process, the furniture receives a baked-on powder paint coat, much thicker and harder than conventional wet paint, followed by a hand applied antique finish.
Tip 3: Durability in design
When you design your outdoor living space, look for cast aluminum with a superior grade molten aluminum hand-poured into molds made from exceptionally detailed woodcarvings; wrought aluminum features with heavy tubing, strengthened at stress points with interior wall supports and galvanized steel inserts, triple polished 360-degree welds and high-solids polyester, powder-coated finish.
Tip 4: Materials matter
Maximize your outdoor living space by choosing pieces that last. Stainless steel can offer both strength and corrosion-resistance for a long life if it has a high-grade content of chromium and nickel. Stainless steel with 360-degree welds that are hand polished offer maximum durability and a finished look.
The right fabrics boost outdoor performance when made with the finest materials and technology for longevity outdoors. Choose UV-resistant resin, vinyl and polyethylene wicker that is memory tested to 50,000 compressions and is hand-woven over the frames—natural teak that’s plantation-harvested with frames with mortise and tenon construction.
When designing your outdoor space remember less is often better, and that quality over quantity lends a simpler look and feel. And don’t forget the accessories to add pops of character. The industry has stepped it up with outdoor rugs, trays and succulents that weather anything the weather has to offer—in every season.
Cover Photo by Arcwind
Textiles. That word is being used more than ever. I know people in the interior design world who have graduated from places like the School of the Art Institute in Chicago — in Textile! I didn't even know that was a major.
When I thought about what I would write in this post, my mind raced; I knew I wanted to share all of the increased textile knowledge that has just soared over the past years. Because no matter the client or project, fabric always comes up. When discussing textiles with clients, they’re amazed at the knowledge that flows — I can’t help it because textiles are game changers.
Here are five things I love about textiles, and why you should too!
1. Textiles are super easy to add to your home. First, and foremost, let’s establish that adding texture to your home, in the form of textiles, is super easy, and they’re so welcoming. Textiles include: rugs, pillows, linens, and drapes. I hope I didn’t lose you at drapes! There are so many wonderful, updated fabrics that really frame your windows, and the view you see through your windows. No matter the textile — they bring a home to life! They also wick moisture, add comfort, absorb sound acoustically, and keep colors vibrant.
Photo Credit: Studio G
2. Textiles perform. Durability is such a hot topic today. So, when dealing with upholstery fabric, be aware that there is a durability test— a rub count. The manufacture uses a machine to apply a standard amount of pressure and rubs it across the face of the fabric. If the fabric says 3,000 double rubs, that means it will first show wear at that count. The rub count is listed on all the fabrics in my studio, so it’s fun to see a client searching for the number to narrow their choices. Both natural and synthetic fabrics can also be rubbed in a way that provides superior durability.
In the past, most of my clients never would have dreamed of using a nice fabric with kids and sippy cups around. But even a mother of four, with three of those being boys, can now find fabrics that withstand the wear and tear. And, the right textiles on a pillow can handle people who drool while napping on a pillow; I know, we hope it won’t happen, but you can plan on it! Rugs will be walked on and unplanned spills are guaranteed, and I won’t even get started on our furry friends that keep homeowners on their game. Still, I have recommended outdoor rugs for indoors many times, because of their durability and the fact that they really no longer look like the outdoor rugs of yesterday.
3. Textile technology protects. Technology that was previously only available to the trade, and used strictly for commercial, is now available residentially. And that’s only the beginning of how technology has been applied to textiles. There are so many options to be used indoors and outdoors--UV and fade-resistant, mildew-resistant, and even bleach cleanable fabrics. Fabrics are engineered to combine the highest level of design and performance. Other textile technologies are Crypton, where most liquids just roll off, and microbial resistance to control fabric odor and is easy to clean. Nanotex is another fancy name that resists spills and still maintains the natural hand of the fabric as well as being eco-friendly in all its technology. And, finally, did you know there are upholstery and drape flammability tests?
Photo Credit: LebaTex
4. Textiles enhance. When designing a piece of furniture, we always include Frame – Finish – and Fabric. Just trying to land the frame style can be difficult with a custom seating piece such as a chair or sofa, then we have to select the wood finish. Each of our manufacturers has well over 25 or more finish samples. Next, we get to the textiles where we have more specifics such as cotton, polyester, leather, or a blend. Then you have solids and patterns. Creating luxurious vibes can be illuminated through modern-feel textures.
My favorite for the past few years has been Ombre -- a fabric made by laying in wefts of yarn that are closely colored hues, and that after weaving created a shaded effect. It is purely described as a color fade. When I held an alpaca hombre pillow at market I was in heaven! Botanicals are sophisticated and they are rich in colors, or very tone on tone. Plaids are making a comeback and they are popping up everywhere. Solids are classic and the updated weaves add texture.
5. Textiles have sustainability. Sustainability has led to greater awareness on organics and textiles that are friendly to our environment. I was interviewed about the interior design world’s lean towards going green. Eco Cradle to Cradle Green Organic is the buzz.
So with all of this info about textiles in interior design, you are now ready to go into nerd mode! But all of this textile knowledge isn’t just for the cool factor of knowing it, it’s to help you select the best for your space!!
Information on LEED, consult the U.S. Green Building Council at www.usgbc.org
ACT & ACT Guidelines: www.contracttextiles.org
Crypton Green: www.cryptonfabric.com/eco-friendly-fabric
Cover Photo by Jaipur Living
‘Tis the Season!
As an adult I often ponder - WHY so much in so little time?! Doesn’t it seem like we have to pull ALL things together in just one month?! Every. Year. How come it is all in one month!?!!
I do love the transparency and raw emotions in conversations during this time, though, that I would honestly take it 365 days a year, but there is just SO much to do! As a Designer, my favorite conversations are about decorating the tree. It is truly a very complicated floral arrangement to say the least, and it is approached differently by everyone. It’s the focal point in any space, so it needs to be a showstopper! (no pressure!)
In addition to the tree, there’s the gift buying that must take place for every single person that has been a part of your life for at least a decade...The endless lists that your children have conjured up overnight from ALL the influences hitting them at once...the meals...the relatives... the travel... the parking!!....
B R E A T H E.
Take in the hygge of this magical season. – Sorry, new word hitting you!
- a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).
Think steaming mugs of cocoa by a fire...egg nog...candles...evergreen scents…cozy socks…bundling up in a warm throw …
Sounds WONDERFUL, doesn’t it?!
With all the To-Do’s, it’s hard to remember to take it all in. To savor and enjoy the warmth & comfort this season has to offer. “Celebrate each moment and enjoy the journey,” were the words I whispered under my breath as my 4th born (and only girl) was in her teenage years. I remembered that we would not pass this way again, and I needed to capture the little things that I treasured so dearly. (I say this now, in another season that seems to be flying like film off a movie reel!!)
So HOW to we take in the "hygge," and those cherished moments, and savor the Season? Look for easy ways to check things off your list. (MAKE a list!) Start there! Get the ball rolling! Aim to accomplish a few things each day, but also remember YOU in the process and recharge with some hygge & self care each night!
Service is a big part of my DNA-- I continually strive to be there for many, but I also look for those that can be there for me. I rely on other experts to do THEIR thing. At TheHiveExperience.com, for example, we’ve already done the heavy lifting to source, and plan, and curate unique items for you to GIVE or to snap together your space before everyone comes through the doors to celebrate! By relying on experts to do THEIR thing, you’ll free up a few extra moments to savor, pamper, or whatever else--to do YOUR thing, and practice that Holiday Hygge!
Cheers and Merry Christmas!