Photos by Tim Furlong Jr.
Remember when patios and decks were furnished with a table and chairs and an umbrella? Not anymore. Now indoor essentials like kitchens, televisions and comfy furniture are elevating outdoor spaces into open air rooms that further enhanced by special effect extras like fire tables and water features.
There’s a trick to taking the comforts of indoors outside and striking that perfect balance between comfort and clutter. So, I chatted with Karista Hannah, owner and interior designer of Set the Stage (www.setthestage.com) who decorated this beautiful outdoor space in Poplar Woods initially for Homearama and then, for a client. Her insights can help you get more pleasure out of the living areas beyond the walls of the place you call home.
Some great outdoor rooms were simply built for success. “I collaborated with Caliber Homes where we found a plan online and tweaked it,” says Hannah. “The homeowners purchased the house early in the process, but the overall size and design of the outdoor area had already been decided. They loved it as it had an outdoor kitchen, fireplace, along with some other amenities. They splurged for outdoor space heaters that are mounted on the ceiling. We selected all of the paint, lighting, and décor, so it really reflects their style. They chose all of the appliances for the outdoor kitchen as well. It is one of the most impressive and largest outdoor spaces that I have tackled. Visitors during the Homearama tours loved it.”
I usually suggest that clients splurge on the staple pieces; Like your sofa, sectional, accent chairs and end tables.
Living Room-Worthy Furniture
People are creating outdoor “rooms” in an effort to expand their indoor living spaces. It’s not only an attractive addition; it’s also a smart way for homeowners to extend their square footage. With that being said, it’s easy to blow the budget on a few big-ticket items. Spending strategically will help your money go farther. “I usually suggest that clients splurge on the staple pieces, like your sofa, sectional, accent chairs and end tables,” says Hannah. “If you buy good quality then you could have it last for many years.” This outdoor space is completely covered, so it is enjoyable no matter what the weather brings. A modern pendant chandelier illuminates the long table surrounded by accent chairs that invites dining al fresco. Sconces reside on the painted brick wall showcasing the outdoor kitchen.
Where do you begin when choosing your outdoor color scheme? Karista suggests staying neutral. “We normally try and start with neutral furnishings and then we add color with pillows and rugs along with accessories,” she says. “I do tend to lean away from bright colors for the main cushions. As with anything, they may fade or perhaps, the homeowner gets tired of the color. It’s much less expensive to change out a pillow or rug that you grow bored with than all the cushions of a sofa.”
Whether located on a porch or outside on a patio, a fire feature is a natural draw for people to gather along with creating defined spaces. “Outdoor fire pits have become very popular,” says Hannah. “Along with outdoor fireplaces, many people want the cozy, casual, lounge space along with an area for eating as well.” The owners chose a built in fireplace that features a flat screen television above the rustic mantel that is the ideal spot to relax and unwind. <