Aug 19, 2011

Favorites for August

As we enter the last month of summer - although many places are warm through September - I begin to think about warming up my outdoor spaces in preparation for fall.  These items keep the spirit of summer alive and introduce decor and function for fall.

1) Lighting: Lanterns are fabulous for almost every style interior. Whether you use these candelabra style lanterns or opt for an electrified version, they invite you outdoors and make your stay cozy. Pottery Barn has these and other styles to suit your needs. Put a set of string lights with rattan, glass or metal globes on a timer and thread through your trees or hang on the fence.  Enjoy entertaining under their soft and warm light.

2) Storage: To extend the life of your outdoor space, add some weather resistant storage and keep your barbecuing supplies (and even dinnerware) within easy reach. Even in the Northeast, my clients use their outdoor grills through October and having a place to keep tongs, potholders and even an extra platter is ideal.  This iron etagere is great for a covered patio, porch, or even a tree-lined yard. This one comes in black and white iron from Ballard Designs. An iron shelf also does the trick, and if you can find one, a garden cart is handy and attractive indoors as well.

3) Fire pit: A great way to keep warm on cooler summer evenings, and for roasting marshmallows in the fall, are portable fire pits. There are many styles and sizes available at all price points. We like copper since it patinas nicely and can be used for many years.  For about $100 you can find one at a local big box store.You can burn wood, coal or use propane and many come with lids to ensure that your fire is safely out.

4) Throws and pillows.  Place a cotton or acrylic throw over your outdoor chairs so it's within reach on a chilly night.  You can tuck one into a wicker basket too.  Use it when you stretch out for an afternoon nap on the chaise, and even as a blanket for the lawn. Acrylic is easy to care for, doesn't mind a bit of humidity, and the colors should stay true for a while even if it gets a little sun. Check out the throws at A Touch of Tradition. When winter arrives, bring it indoors to your sofa or favorite reading spot.

5) Add a roof and walls and floor.  What? you ask.  This is a do -it-yourself project.  For existing patios with a trellis or other structure, add 'walls' with inexpensive panel curtains.  Sheers will keep the light in and the feeling is wonderful, especially with a light breeze fluttering the fabric. Heavier linen and cotton panels can be found at most big box stores and Ikea has a great collection of cotton blends for about $30 a pair. For a roof, set up a ready-made shade sail (they tie to trees, the house and other structures), or purchase an easy to set up and affordable canopy. For those with a budget, purchase a ready to assemble aluminum trellis structure that attaches to your home. It's an upgrade to your yard and will be enjoyed for years to come. Add an outdoor rug (polypropylene) and voila, you have an extended space that feels as warm as it looks. Come see the outdoor collection of rugs and panels at our San Diego shop (soon to be on-line).  A Touch of Tradition, Home & Garden Shoppe