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Wednesday
May192010

10 steps: outdoor rooms

Whether your outdoor space is small or large, take the comforts of indoor spaces out into fresh air—which can be much more relaxed and casual, perfect for long lazy summer days that lie ahead.

Plan a weekend to “move in” much like you would rearrange or redecorate a living room or dining room.

 1. Do some research. Tear photos out of magazines and catalogs for inspiration. But act quick, planting season is fast approaching and outdoor items may have limited availability.

2. Measure the space so you know what will fit and where. Create a floor plan if necessary. Take care of the big stuff first—lounge or dining furniture, umbrellas for shade, lighting—everything else will follow.

3. For daytime lighting, a mainsail umbrella casts a large shadow for UV protection but still allows sunlight to flood the setting.

4. Define spaces and add color with a pegboard reversible outdoor rug.

5. Think about accent tables—coffee, side and console. All are useful for cocktails, appetizers and serving. They also complete an indoor look.

6. As artful as nature is, sometimes it can use embellishments. A 3-D sculpture adds another layer of texture and interest. A vertical garden can also add greenery to small spaces that lack ground cover.

7. Adding accessories is the personal touch that speaks to your personality. For evening entertaining, lots of pillows and candlelight set an inviting mood. We love the natural beauty of the outdoors but smart candle technology is ideal since they won’t blow out in strong winds—and clean up’s a breeze.

8. When choosing dining furniture, take into consideration how much space you have for a dining area and how many guests can fit comfortably. Do you prefer a round or rectangular table for long, casual conversations? As for chairs, comfort is key since you could be lingering for hours. And do they stack or disassemble for storage?

9. Dinnerware can be either melamine if you’re concerned about potential breakage, or porcelain from the kitchen to contrast with a weathered wood tabletop.

10. Gift guests with seasonal blossoms at each placesetting in joyce bud vases. Their wider base adds stability and reduces the risk of tipping.

Wednesday
May192010

watch: colored lighting cords

Bold colors were strong accents in the all-neutral room settings throughout Milan—but they were pleasantly surprising as lighting cords too.

Whether bright red or a rich blue, they stood out and enhanced beautifully proportioned lighting designs.

We love this idea and incorporated it into the utility pendant and discus floor lamps from this Spring’s assortment—just wait until daylight savings and our new lighting this Fall!

Tuesday
May182010

10 essentials: chris

1. Renee Fleming is the most amazing lyric soprano. Her voice drives me wild!

2. Der Rosenkavalier is my favorite opera. An early twentieth century work by Richard Strauss set in 18th century Vienna. I get goose bumps every time I listen.<

3. A dirty martini—add some blue cheese stuffed olives and it’s a meal!

4. I like shiny surfaces like polished chrome. It always looks sleek and sophisticated.

5. Absolutely Fabulous—the best TV series ever.

6. Gawker.com is a hilarious blog that covers the advertising, media, and pop culture world.

7. Madonna manages to push peoples buttons whether you’re a fan or not. I’ve seen her many times on stage and her performances rival athletic feats.

8. Colonial Williamsburg is not too far from where I grew up in Virginia and I still get a kick out of the people in period costumes serving you hot cider on a fall day.

9. Lacquer finishes are always modern and sexy.

10. Timo and Sebastian are my two kitties that are dogs trapped in cat bodies.

Thanks to chris, store designer midtown atlanta, for this submission.

Tuesday
May182010

watch: letters

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog—what we learned in typing class seems to be genetic now as children play with qwerty keyboards in pre-school.

There’s something about typography that we easily identifty with. Perhaps it’s the strong design sensibility of Milan, we wonder how many fonts were designed by its inspirations.

140 characters never said as much as they do today. In our hi-tech world they’re replacing cursive and becoming our universal signature—be they decorative, colorful, playful or a vertical garden!

Monday
May172010

watch: lace

It’s sometimes hard to imagine a modern life for an icon of the Victorian age—croquet anyone? But in Milan, where new is inspired by old everyday, lace has an exciting new life.

At the da Vinci museum, its complex construction technique and tools helped us appreciate its intricate and delicate beauty.

Inside and outside the fair grounds, it inspired laser cuttings in metal using modern technology—and printing on just about anything. Where else but Zona Tortona would you see outdoor wallpaper? At CB2, check out Chilewich’s crochet runner and placemats for a lacy accent to sleek modern lines.