Better Living Expert: Summer Style Forecast
Sunny colours, with a chance of pattern
CANADIAN SUMMERS are gone as swiftly as cake at a kid’s party, so it’s important to make the most of an outdoor area, whether it’s a big backyard or a narrow balcony.
FURNITURE—RAIN OR SHINE
A generous table is an obvious way to ground a larger space. Big box stores will have attractive models in metal, synthetic rattan, and wood in every hue. Black-and-white finishes on both wood and metal are also emerging: the uncomplicated aluminum frame and tempered-glass top on EQ3’s Cape outdoor table is a timeless example.
Good-looking, weather-resistant chairs in similar materials are equally available. Arguably the most handsome (and inarguably among the more expensive) right now is the Nodi chair—made with twisted synthetic rope—from the line Yabu Pushelberg did for Belgian design house Tribù, available on Avenue Road.
More realistic, perhaps, is acaciawood seating with woven backs from Rona’s San Paulo collection—in dining, folding and stool options. HomeSense was one of a handful of retailers that included a hanging Egg chair in summer trend vignettes; several, like theirs, were executed in elegant black-resin wicker.
Conversational seating is well suited for drinks, nibbles, and chatting. For that, fans of swivel chairs (who isn’t?) will especially like Lowe’s pretty Ellisview set.
FIRE FEATURES HOTTER THAN EVER
It’s easy to find chimenea and stand-alone units in every style, and now even tables with built-in, gas-fed boxes. Handsome wood and glass lanterns in sculptural shapes, such as those West Elm is showing, are an economical alternative, and have the advantage of being portable. Similarly, hanging lights shaped like flamingos, stars, fruit, or tiny paper lanterns, are a low investment nod to summer.
If space is tight, save some with a five-piece set from Rona’s Shanghai collection, in which wicker chairs tuck neatly under the table when not in use. Urban Barn’s Acapulco-inspired Fresno set has a small, round table and two dramatic high-backed chairs, making it suitable as a table for two, or an occasional outdoor work station.
Low-maintenance gardens remain popular (see summer, short, above). They’re easy to create, given the vast availability of inexpensive planters and pots, such as Lowe’s sunny hammered gold planters and Ikea’s ceramic pots with creamy bands atop either pink or black bases.
Outdoor rugs have become increasingly sophisticated, both in their design and weather-resistance, as have pillows. West Elm has an exceptionally pretty line made in partnership with super-cool, Los Angeles-based creative art agency, Zoe Bios.
FEAST ON COLOUR
The table is a natural place to introduce colour and patterns, especially as there is so much choice in unbreakable dinnerware, textiles, and accessories, as well as an abundant crop of bold hues and graphic designs.
Real Canadian Superstore and President’s Choice home collection includes, for example, cool patterns and hot colours on everything from ceramic stools to towels and patio umbrellas.
For linens, consider Turkish blankets from Stray and Wander. These organic cotton, hand-loomed blankets with straightforward and subtle stripes are light-weight, ultra-absorbent, and available in several colours. The combination of beauty and practicality means they make a fine tablecloth that can, with a quick shake, serve nicely for a nap under a tree. Which, summer being so short, you’ll want to catch while you can.