Posted on Jun 14 2013

Outdoor Living

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“Fashion exists in the way we live, what is happening.”  ~ Coco Chanel 

Summer is upon us and it’s time to enjoy the sunny days and long nights. More importantly, it’s time to extend your house outside and enjoy an outdoor living room. Your outdoor space should be an extension of your home and every bit as beautiful as the interior. That means no plastic lawn chairs!


Urban Deck, Seattle WA - A great example of extending your indoor living space.

Urban Deck, Seattle WA – A great example of extending your indoor living space.

Urban Deck, Seattle WA

Urban Deck, Seattle WA

My sister Annette Dresser is a bit of an outdoor décor expert, and I’ve enlisted her to help to guide us towards the ideal space.

Q: What is your  First word of advice when creating an outdoor living space?

AD: Start with a color story and style that extends from your interior in both your materials and fabrics. I personally love neutrals with an accent color. You should focus on investing your resources outside, because that’s where you’ll be living over the next five months.

Q:  What are your greatest sources of inspiration ? 

AD: I travel a lot, and mostly to sunny spots. I am inspired by restaurants, hotels, lounges… anything that feels beautiful and relaxing. Nobu in Malibu inspired my newest outdoor dining ideas. They got rid of the classic outdoor dining tables, and replaced them with low, lounge style tables surrounded by couches and oversized chairs.

Nobu in Malibu

Nobu in Malibu, CA

Q: What are the key elements?  

AD: Furniture – it should be comfortable and create a lounge like feeling. Start with a couch or a love seat and don’t be afraid to go bigger than you would normally. A cocktail table should be the focal point for candles, appetizers, or your dinner selections.  Pillows can be changed seasonally to update your look at a very reasonable price.  And an outdoor rug is a great option to frame your space.

Q: What are your favorite dining styles? 

AD: I love lounge style dining.  It’s more intimate and relaxed. I replaced my traditional dining table with an oversized, low coffee table that I will be using instead. I got the inspiration from a great spot called Fleetwood’s in Maui.  It allows my guests to settle in and stay in one great spot all evening.

Outdoor living room, Bellevue, WA

Outdoor living room, Mercer Island, WA

 Q: Any last minute must haves ? 

AD: Lighting and candles are critical.  Just as you would add ambience inside, it’s a must outside.  I love big urns up high or on the ground to create a bit of drama. There is nothing better than natural light on a late summer evening.

Don’t forget a basket of warm throws ~ can add color and provide extra comfort for your guests.

Q: What are the best stores or websites to find great pieces for my outdoor space?

AD: Like fashion, I am a big believer in combining high and low. Go high on furniture, and you can go lower on pillows or candles.

My favorites are:

Teak Warehouse – furniture

Horchow Home – urns, trays, throws

World Market – seasonal pillows

Wisteria – side tables, urns, candles

Pottery Barn – seasonal additions based on your style and theme.


***All photos by Loretta Soffe***

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Loretta Soffe - Principal