Vail Design at Altitude column: Fresh design for summer, from the inside out
July 3, 2016
We're thrilled to be able to say that it's time to move our lives outside — cocktails on the patio, brunch al fresco, dinner under the stars. We love our summers here in the Rocky Mountains. Creating an awesome outdoor setting isn't very hard, but let us share a few design ideas to make your outside as elegant and inviting as your inside.
Try bringing your indoor furniture outdoors. It's amazing how different the indoor ottoman or comfy armchair feels on your patio. It's slightly decadent in a cozy way. Add in a few colorful, soft throws on the back of the chairs to extend dinner into a late-night revelry.
A well-stocked bar helps with the revelry. We suggest a bar cart that is ready to go. Keep it inside if you don't have a covered area, wheel it out, and voila, the party's started. Go beyond the red solo cup: Keep unbreakable wine glasses stocked on the cart. (We love GoVino rubbery glasses.) Create a summer signature cocktail — strawberry mojito or light and bubbly Prosecco.
After happy hour, invite your friends for dinner. Setting the table sets the atmosphere. We are absolutely loving the "Farm to Table" setup — long rectangular tables set with mix-and-match cloth napkins, fresh-cut flowers, wooden chairs and twinkling lights strung up overhead. Dot the path to your patio with solar lights; it adds an ethereal feel while guiding your guests along. Add flowers: annuals, perennials, fresh-cut flowers, hanging plants. Make it lush, full of color and summer in a vase.
With so much happening every day, sometimes the first chance to unwind is at sunset. Build a bonfire (space permitting), or fire up your outdoor fireplace, start a fire in the chiminea. Bring out the marshmallows and get the kids roasting the s'mores for you. To add a rustic touch, use wood stumps for seating.
The sun here is scorching. Shaded areas are key for a fun party and to make the most of outdoor summer space. There are so many options, but it depends on your home, your taste and budget. A retractable awning is incredible, providing shade when you need it and being put back as the sun goes down. Umbrellas in bright bursts of red or blue give your outdoor space an upscale feeling and welcome relief from the sun's rays.
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Keep it whimsical. The outdoor space is just as much for kids as adults. We love hammocks strung up between trees for a catnap. Set up a yurt or teepee for the kids to play in (or for an impromptu art studio). Add a side table and rug, and before you know it, you're glamping.
Last but not least, we're seeing more and more TVs set up outside. It's a far cry from your dark sports bar. Put it over the outdoor kitchen, sit back and enjoy — you're at home in the Rockies.
Yvonne Jacobs is the president of Slifer Designs. She spends as much time outside as is possible and loves finding new design elements for the indoors or outdoors.