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Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Bringing Modern Style To Your Outdoor Space

Becky

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I know some of you poor readers were recently blanketed with even more snow, but it is time to start planning for spring and summer and perking up your outdoor spaces. Since so many of you prefer modern and contemporary styles, here are some easy ways to bring a more modern aesthetic to your outdoor rooms.

Box it in. Square and rectangular planters and benches area an easy way to add clean lines to your patio or porch. Mixing in plants clipped plants with those in their natural forms helps emphasize them as well.

Shop modern outdoor accessories

Add bright bold modern furniture. You can mix more contemporary pieces with traditional outdoor spaces, like farmhouses or log cabin porches. These rockers are a modern take on the traditional Adirondack chair.

Go vertical. Is space tight? Look into planting a vertical garden. While this one is a beautiful professional job that looks like art, it’s easy to add hanging containers like the ones from Wallter. You can even plant edibles in hanging containers.

Light things up with a jolt of neon. Think about what will make your outdoor space an inviting space at night.

via tablet

Give the birds a mod little house.

Add squares. Simple pavers are an inexpensive and easy way to add a modern touch to a path, and help organize the space.

via Clark and Zook Architects, Atlanta

Add a groovy retro fireplace. What I love about Modfire is that it’s portable and much less expensive than hiring a mason. It adds a bold pop of color and will keep you toasty when you want to hang outside on cool nights.

Do you have any plans to modern up your outdoor rooms this spring? Please share them with us in the Comments section. We’d love to see pictures too! We’ll also be adding some of our favorites via Instagram as we come across them on spring house and garden tours.

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Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

5 Ideas To Perk Up Your Outdoor Space

Becky

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It’s the perfect time of year to perk up your patio, deck, balcony or other outdoor space. Whether it needs a good sweep from all that pollen, you’re sprucing up your furniture with a new coat of paint or hitting the nursery for some new plants, here are a few photos to inspire you with your patio plans. Also, we’d LOVE to see your patio; please shoot us a link to a picture of it in the Comments section if you would like to share off your hard patio work!

By Clark and Zook Architects in Atlanta

Create a not so hard hardscape: It’s amazing what a few well-placed stepping stones and gravel can do. I just love this simple patio from Clark and Zook Architects. Border plantings are enhanced by potted plants. This is a great strategy when you want a little rosemary, mint or basil near the kitchen so you can run out and pick it while you’re cooking especially if you don’t have the space or time for a full kitchen garden.

via flickr member Karol Franks, by designer Corianne Bright

Reuse something unconventional: Usually when we think of plumbing fixtures out in the yard, we think cars up on blocks and old refrigerators can’t be far away, but that is simply not the case with this cast iron claw foot tub full of beautiful plants. I especially love the way they cascade over the sides.  Another favorite planter choice of mine is a big galvanized paint bucket or trough you can pick up for a song at home improvement stores.

via skona hem

Repetition and simplicity makes it modern: If you are starting with a blank slate on your deck or patio, think about doing something very simple. Evenly spaced planters with the same simple shrub or small tree will lend your outdoor space a modern look.

by Vuong Interior Design

Treat your outdoor space like a living room: With the availability of outdoor fabrics and rugs (I have one made from recycled plastic straws myself), there’s no excuse not to get super-comfy in your outdoor space. This Barcelona roofdeck is more inviting than most living rooms thanks to soft fabrics and well-placed accessories.

by Supon Phornirunlit

Light up your outdoor space for nighttime use: My pal Supon Phornirunlit (the brains behind Naked Decor) came up with this gorgeous reflecting pool for his D.C. deck after seeing one like it in a hotel lobby in Thailand.  He added inexpensive chairs, candles set right in the water, elephants with parasols and globe lights to turn up the drama at night. Whether you place hurricanes, floating candles or simple holiday lights around, getting the mood right with your lighting will make your outdoor space inviting for evening gatherings and getting your Zen on.

If you’re ready to do some shopping, check out all the great outdoor products our curators have selected.

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Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Designer Interview: Oxford Garden

Becky

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March has come in like a lion but it’s time to start  thinking about outdoor spaces. Go to the garage or shed and dust off that garden furniture, figure out what you need to repair or replace, then check out the fantastic selection from Oxford Garden to fill in the gaps. The Louisville, Kentucky based company offers up styles from traditional classics to contemporary, inspired by a range of precedents from English cottage garden to Scandinavian modern.
Today we’re sitting down with the President of Oxford Garden, Randy Meek, to learn more about the brand and what they have available.

Where did the name Oxford Garden come from?
Oxford Garden began as Oxford Garden Designs and the name developed from the romantic, centuries-old English gardens that nearly always included a finely crafted sitting bench.

How did Oxford Garden come about? What are your goals for the brand?
Oxford Garden began in 1997 as the interest in outdoor living had huge growth in America and the availability of quality outdoor furniture was in short supply.  After establishing itself with high-quality wood benches during its first few years, Oxford Garden methodically expanded furniture collections, offering a wide range of items, styles and materials.
Our products are designed and produced to provide a well-styled unique visual appearance, while maintaining quality materials and workmanship.  Of equal importance is our goal to deliver these quality products at moderate prices.
How would you describe the Oxford Garden style and how does this help freshen up outdoor spaces? What inspired your current collection?
The Oxford Garden style is a refinement of comfort, shapes, simplicity and practicality.  We aim to produce outdoor furniture that is comfortable, applies practical use of materials through simplicity of design and delivers a captivating appearance.
For example, in one of our current collections, Siena Deep Seating, we use straight and simple shapes with just slight emphasis on key areas of the furniture; the subtle lines of the arms and angled legs add interest to an otherwise simple design, creating a striking and graceful piece.
Did you see a hole in the outdoor furniture market? If so, how are you filling it?
We believe we fill the narrow space where good design and practical pricing meet.
Where should homeowners begin when furnishing a patio, deck, balcony or garden?
The key question for homeowners is “What atmosphere do you want to create?” Think of space outside as outdoor rooms and work from there.
For example, some homeowners want a relaxing environment that brings their indoor living room to the outdoors. In this scenario, we would recommend a warm, comfortable conversation set such as our Siena Deep Seating group:
Others may love to entertain and desire a large dining group where they can enjoy parties and family dinners outside and need a versatile dining set such as the Travira or Hampton:
Thanks to Randy for taking the time to introduce us to Oxford Garden today!
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Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Designer Interview: Damian Velasquez of Half 13

Becky

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Today we’re sitting down with Damian Velasquez of Half 13 to learn more about his vibrant and sculptural line of outdoor furniture.


How did you wind up designing furniture?

I started my path of design and fabrication at 11 – I used to hang out with my father while he made silver jewelry. The time we spent together at the bench was when I started learning about the joinery of metals. I continued to make jewelry throughout high school and college, but it wasn’t until I returned from backpacking through Europe in 1989 that memories of Italian furniture design would unknowingly shape my future forever.

I embarked on a journey of self education from that moment on – I taught myself to weld, to work with wood, acrylic, glass and concrete. I continue to build on that base of knowledge 23 years later.

Half13 O Table

What is your studio like? How do your surroundings influence your designs?

My studio is 7500 square feet of machinery and tools. All aspects of fabrication including CNC plasma cutting, woodworking and powder-coating is done in-house.

I haven’t ever been able to attribute a direct influence from my surroundings to my work. I started back in the day when “Southwestern Style” was at its peak. Modern furniture was not very strong in New Mexico back then. I think what does influence me is the fact that I do live in a unique part of the country and that fosters my desire to be unique in my endeavors as well as my designs.

Where did the name Half 13 come from?

Half 13 is the term for the size of the diamond and guage of the expanded metal that is used in the construction of my outdoor furniture line.

Are there any furniture precedents or designers who inspire your work?

The Half 13 line came about from my love of the chair “How High the Moon” by Shiro Kuramata. Because I was not formally educated in furniture design I never really had any exposure to the history of designers before me to latch onto. I have always loved Shiro’s chair and never though of it as an influence until one day I decided to try my hand at using expanded metal as a medium for furniture. I soon appreciated the challenge posed by this material and the difficulty manipulating it. After much persistence, the current line was born, and adheres to my core values of function blended with aesthetics.

Did you see a hole in the outdoor furniture market? If so, how are you filling it?

I actually envisioned the Half 13 line as a way into sculpture, but soon realized after much feedback from clients that there was a lot lacking in the outdoor furniture market. I quickly addressed the issues posed such as comfort, durability and ease of maintenance; that is why these pieces are now fabricated from stainless steel.

Thank you so much to Damian for letting us get to know him better today.

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