Archive for the ‘Outdoor Living’ Category


Coveted: Shiraleah biodegradeable servewear

Shiraleah biodegradable dinnerware

The endlessly soggy, gray days we’ve been having here on the Wet Coast have me desperately craving sun and summer.

They won’t change the weather, but these cheerful, but eco-friendly plates, bowls, and ice cream “cones” from Shiraleah will brighten any day.

This is the time of year to stock up for outdoor eating, but the majority of tableware designed for outdoor use is plastic. These offer the sturdiness of plastic (they’re unbreakable, and dishwasher safe), but are made with biodegradable bamboo fiber. The fiber biodegrades in less than 10 years, and doesn’t leach. Yay!

Available from ShopInspiredLiving.com.

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Window box round-up

windowbox by sunface13 on flickr

Windowbox by Sunface13 on Flickr.

I remember the first time I saw window boxes worth coveting. I was 20 years old, backpacking through Europe. Although I wasn’t yet a gardener, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the perpetual, ageless villages with their cheery window boxes spilling over with geraniums. The window boxes were simple, but gorgeous, and I wanted to take them home.

Outside my window by James Jordan on Flickr

Outside my window by James Jordan on Flickr.

In my mind, the best window boxes will always be European, best suited to crumbling brick or stucco apartment buildings. But right now the closest I will ever get to gardening in a European window box is vicariously.

Although I’m not in the market, I was curious to see what was out there in the way of window boxes, so I pulled together a few internet finds to share.

diy windowbox

Sweet DIY succulent windowbox planter (made using an aluminum gutter) by Kalani Kordus on Flickr.

teak wood planter

Simple teak wood planter from Jayson Home and Garden ($64-$115)

zinc rectangular planter

Inexpensive zinc rectangular rail planter from Crate and Barrel ($13.95-$19.95).

terrazzo lite window box

Modern terrazzolite windowbox from Jayson Home and Garden ($78-$160)

galvanized metal planters

Galvanized metal planter box from Pottery Barn ($59).

coir-lined planter

Coir-lined traditional iron window box on Amazon.com ($165.96).

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Soji solar lighting

Soji-modern-lantern

There may be snow on the ground but just thinking about hanging a few of these Soji Modern solar lanterns from Allsop Home and Garden makes me want to plan a summer soiree. Like a Le Klint for the outdoors, these would look right at home on our back patio. And they’re solar. No cords!

Ikea has also come out with a number of solar lighting options. Solig looks cute. Must gather strength to go check out in person.

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Outdoor seating makeover
Andrea Bellamy |

Wanted: Equinox two-seater from Barlow Tyrie

Runway: Equinox two-seater from Barlow Tyrie

Reality: second-hand sofa with good bones.

I’ve been looking for seating for our back patio for what feels like forever. I had a very specific idea of the clean, modern look I wanted, but it was a classic case of champagne taste on a beer budget (the Equinox sofa, at top, retails for over $2000). So when I saw this old metal-framed sofa and matching lounge chair at a second-hand shop, I jumped.

Sofa, stripped down to its frame

I figured we could strip the pieces down to their metal frames, paint them, and refit the frames with cedar slats (the original cushions were wood-backed).

Sofa, with cedar slats.

Cheaper and quicker than powder coating, RustOleum matte pewter spray paint easily covered the frames – and looks great! Cedar slats, stained with Sikkens Cetol-1 in Natural, provided a stable base that can be left outside year round, and look half decent even without the cushions.

Finally, we had cushions made (out of Sunbrella Charcoal Tweed #6007), added some throw pillows, and voila!

The lack of furniture was my final stumbling block to acheiving patio greatness. Now that it’s complete, a great many gin and tonics will be consumed there (at least until the rains start).

Check back later this week to see before and after shots of the entire patio!

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Rephorm design
Andrea Bellamy |

dialounge_graphit_375.jpgBerlin-based Michael Hilgers is a busy fellow. An architect by training, he is also a skilled joiner who enjoys designing retail products. He had designed and independently produced the stackable polyethylene dialounge pair chair (above) and was touring it around at product fairs, where he discovered a dearth of outdoor design products – especially for small spaces like balconies and terraces.

Steckling_375.jpg With this revelation, rephorm was born, and with it, the “Steckling” planter (above), sold outside Germany as On-the-Edge.

Says Michael, “Our aim is to translate typologies which are known for the interior into products for the architecture bound outside space. These products should occupy existing structures in a friendly and symbiotic way without drilling and screws. They don’t need additional clamps or feet. The products just use the most simple way to connect themselves with architecture.”

Sling_Quadrat_375.jpgHence Sling, a lamp that easily affixes to an existing railing (above). You can shop for rephorm products here.

Michael also publishes a balcony blog, Gruenes Wohnzimmer, which translates as “green lounge room,” where he reports on balcony-related products and news.

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Plant lock

The most brilliant ideas are always the simplest, no? Take the PlantLock, for instance.It’s a bike rack and planter in one. No more unsightly bike racks, plus added space for urban greenery.

plantlock.jpg

Imagine if these were used in cities nationwide…

plantlock2.jpg

Via NotCot.

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Raw Studio hanging chairs
Andrea Bellamy |

  raw_studio_hanging_chairs.jpg

These hanging chairs by Nick Rawcliffe of Raw Studio, reminiscent of those 70s hanging wicker chairs (updated, of course, for the modern esthetic) are sleek and functional - they stack flat for easy storage. But are they comfortable?

Via MocoLoco.

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Serve it up

 Simrin-trays-nature.jpgSaw these botanical-print serving trays by Simrin, and knew Heavy Petal readers would adore them. You do, don’t you? No? What if I told you they are made by laminating hand-printed fabric between ridged vinyl sheets, so that each tray has a linen-like texture? And that they’re made in New York by a family-run company that’s been in business for over 40 years? And that they start at just $30.00?

See. I knew you’d love them. Buy them here.

Via PointClickHome.

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A better Adirondack
Andrea Bellamy |

coll_emmetoutdoorlounge.jpg

While I’ve never had an appropriate setting in which to place an Adirondack chair (lakefront cottage pending), I have always appreciated their comfort and practicality (built-in drink “tables”!).

Room & Board’s Emmet chair and ottoman is a pretty sweet take on the original. Sleek and sexy – and made from 100 percent post-industrial recycled plastic. Guess sometimes you can improve on the classics.

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Nobody and Co expanding furniture
Andrea Bellamy |

piccolo-table-bench-nobodyandco.jpg

With a backyard the size of a king-sized mattress, everything that goes into it must work extra hard. Plants are the easy part: just look fabulous and interesting for at least three seasons and I’ll let you live. Hard-working (and *attractive*) furniture, on the other hand, is tough to find. Benches that double as storage units, tables that easily transition from coffee table to dining table-height… if I can imagine it, why can’t they build it? (Actually, they do – it’s just that it’s either ugly or I can’t afford it.)

Now, the Piccolo Grande Table and Piccolo Grande Bench by Nobody and Co isn’t for sale until September, so I don’t know yet that I can’t afford it. Still, I can dream.

This is exactly what I need. At first sight it looks just like classic outdoor furniture in teak wood, but by sliding the structure, the staves separate and double in length, transforming a small table into a big one and a small bench into a big bench. Simple. Attractive. Genius.

Via Treehugger.

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