The age of the binary is over. We live in a free, fluid time when societal norms and boundaries are constantly being challenged, broken down and reimagined. No, this isn’t a think piece about RuPaul, Gen Z’s zeal for gender non-conformity or the inanity of Jordan Peterson (the world is awash already).
This is about the blissfully blurred lines of the “transterior“ – a space that combines the comforts and cushiness of indoor living with the open-air, under-the-stars beauties of al fresco entertaining. After this year’s seemingly endless winter, it might be hard to imagine. But warm days will come again (soon, let’s hope).
Inventions in architecture have already brought us half way to indoor-outdoor joy. Modern buildings with wall-to-wall windows are expert at framing expansive views and flooding rooms with light. But going the other way – bringing the indoors out – has traditionally been tricky. It has something to do with the incompatibility of fine upholstery fabrics and pool-soaked bathing suits, errant outdoor animals and dirt, everywhere.
That is, until now. New, extra-durable seats, UV-resistant lamp shades and rain-repellent bar carts make it possible to assemble an indoor-quality living area on any patio or terrace – plush seating and all.
And this season’s bold, high-contrast patterns, in blacks and whites with select pops of colour, elevate the look. They not only create nice garden-side arrangements, but pieces that shine when pulled back into the family room or den at the end of the season.
Here are nine options to start your summer patio shopping.
An isometric grid – one that looks like a pattern of pop-out, 3-D boxes on an otherwise flat surface – would look sharp in any modern living room (the teak legs help, too). But the hand-laid graphic tiles are cast concrete, creating an outdoor-friendly piece that can withstand any weather. $657, through westelm.com.
German designer Sebastian Herkner designed his Mbrace lounger to act like a giant, alpine hug. The intricately patterned, woven seat is a nod to traditional northern European thatching (in other words, long-lived and reliable). The enveloping, glove-like shape is relaxing to lounge in, with or without the puffy, all-weather pillow. From $3,384, through studiobhome.com.
Pool-side Pimm’s Cups are all the better when you don’t have to go inside to make them. The Escale (which means stopover, such as a stop to refuel) bar cart has a built-in ice bucket and removable trays for maximal, martini-shaking convenience. The piece looks delicate, but it’s woven from all-weather resin that can withstand stormy conditions. $899, through cb2.com.
The easiest way to quickly and effortlessly update a patio (or any space, really), is to add a few accent pillows. Sunbrella’s black and white cushions have a high-contrast, contemporary look. The proprietary fabric is easy-to-clean after any garden-side mishaps. From $97.50, through elte.com.
To arrange a convincing indoor-worthy living room in an outdoor area, a rug is essential: Its soft-underfoot feeling covers hard al fresco surfaces, such as pebbles or wood decks. U.S. textile makers Dash and Albert are outdoor rug experts; this diamond-patterned one is woven from recycled, UV-resistant polyester and is plush on the paws. From $87, though hauserstores.com.
For coastal Canadians, sea air is one of the beauties of being by the beach. Unfortunately, the otherwise lovely combination of sun and saltwater can fade colours and corrode materials. The criss-crossing cage of the Jardin de Ville’s Macao lamp is woven from a synthetic rattan that is both UV-resistant and indifferent to ocean air. From $199, through jardindeville.com.
The Nodi chair, designed by top Canadian design studio Yabu Pushelberg and manufactured by luxury Belgian brand Tribù, looks slinky but is deceptively strong. It’s made from Canax, a durable blend of PVC and natural hemp, strung between a thin but tough frame of powder-coated stainless steel. $1,790, through avenue-road.com.
The Mojo sofa was specifically engineered to withstand the extremities of Scandinavian weather, which would be familiar to many Canadians – cold, hot, humid, damp, dry and everything in between. The piece’s chic look means it can easily be used as an indoor sofa set, but the cushions have a fast-drying foam core in case it gets left out in the rain. $4,550, through mjolk.ca.
On a recent trip to India, Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola was inspired by the luxuries of India’s Mughal Empire and the idea of lounging fountain-side on a soft pile of mats and pillows. To update the idea, she rendered subtle colours and patterns in all-weather yarns and dry-fast foams. From $310, through kioskdesign.ca.
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