Redefining Your Outdoor Space

With summer just a few short weeks away, I look at my tired outdoor furniture, urns and garden items in the hopes of freshening up my outdoor spaces. Having just returned from the Brimfield Antique show in western Massachusetts, I happily lugged home a few antique urns and unique garden ornaments. It was worth the tremendous effort because the large cement antique gargoyle now holds court in my small flower garden, offering up something solid within the twisting vines and blooms. It will add character to my perennial garden and keep it looking fresh during the days or weeks the flowers are in between bloom. As I assess the options for lounging under the pergola and next to the pool, I am happy that my reliable teak furniture has withstood the test of time, and it is impressive how well it has fared after many dull winters. However, some of the wicker side tables and other pieces have begun to look a bit frayed over the years, and I quickly assess it is time to add a little something special to highlight the green grass. After recently attending a variety of home shows, I feel inspired to add something special to my outdoor spaces and under my pergola. This weekend’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) at New York’s Jacob Javits Center promises to offer up a plethora of new designs. While looking over the host of many exhibitors, it is impressive to note there are several Long Island craftsman and furniture makers exhibiting, including local furniture designer Nico Yektai from Sag Harbor. Yektai offers up contemporary furniture with clean lines, and his pieces have sculptural appeal. He has exhibited his furniture in a variety of local showrooms, but of course it will be exciting to see what he will launch at this year’s ICFF.

The ICFF runs four days beginning this Friday, May 19 through Tuesday May 22. Tuesday may be a good day to pop into the city and head over to the Javits Center at 11th Avenue and 34th Street because the show is open to the general public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Each year the ICFF draws over 500 exhibitors from all over the globe. It’s one of the country’s premier showcases for contemporary design with up-to-the-minute offerings as well as a packed schedule of events. In addition to outdoor furniture there are furniture, seating, carpet and flooring, lighting, materials, wall coverings, accessories, textiles, and kitchen and bath wares all exhibited.

One outdoor company I have been keeping an eye on recently is Belgian company Royal Botania. They produce state-of-the-art furniture made with a combination of teak, wood, glass and fabric. Many of their styles work well with both traditional and contemporary spaces. They offer myriad of options for outdoor lighting as well, including a variety of standing lamps resembling indoor styles, which allows you to extend your interior design aesthetic outside like never before. Many of the new outdoor collections from Royal Botania look like indoor furniture.

Whether you hit local antique shows for a one-of-a-kind piece or shop the variety of home shows around the area, or even a combination of the two, it may be time to start looking at your outdoor space with a fresh perspective. Making a few small changes may have you visualizing balmy summer nights while entertaining guests under the pergola in style.

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