You want a great outdoor living room, just like the one indoors. Same rules apply, except now, instead of using the term ‘living room’, let’s call it your outdoor living space. You need to make a plan . . . mostly for continuity, but also for your sanity.
Here goes a plan—Create a focus, like the center of attraction, and it can’t be your dog. A fireplace works much better. Next, decide how you want to move around and how you’ll get humans into the outdoor room. Create a traffic pattern with walkways, shrubs, trees. Depending on where you are coming from, the shape of the walkway can be part of the whole design. Not only is it a people mover, but also a work of art. If you have room to make the path about three feet wide, then you have plenty of solid space to walk when moving furniture. A path can just be stepping stones, or pavers, or even slate.
Now you have a focus, the fireplace, to create your seating area, Seating can come from a variety of places. It all depends on your budget. For soft comfort, be sure that the outdoor seating cushions are as comfy as your indoor furniture. There are fabrics today that can handle a downpour and spring back once they are dry. Outdoor rugs are comfortable for those bare feet. Be sure you lay one down to define the sitting area. Ask for fabrics that do not fade. The label has to say that it won’t fade. You can also get movable furniture like chairs, benches and stools. Remember the kids, they like the small chairs and tables to color, have a snack and entertain their friends. Try all the furniture out to make sure you are comfortable before you buy.
Consider a full-size fireplace, if not, then a fire pit would provide a wonderful substitute. Food and fire have brought people together forever. Just check your local building codes to verify fire-safety and placement rules regarding outdoor fireplaces and fire pits before you invest in one.
Watch this video about United House Wrecking in Stamford, CT and their patio furniture.
Published on Apr 16, 2013
Phil at United House Wrecking in Stamford, CT, talks about our extensive patio furniture collection as well as our outdoor decor. The statues, fountains, planters and more have been staples of UHW for almost 60 years.
Stools are great to slip in an extra seat at the table for unexpected guests. Remember those outdoor outlets to keep your toys in tip-top running shape, and give you the ability to stay connected. Use solar wherever possible. Everything is wireless today for your speakers to resound for your listening and dancing pleasure. In case you are wondering . . . sure, you can dance on outdoor pavers, just pick your feet up a little more and maybe pivot a little less.
Lighting from Klaff’s Lighting, Norwalk, CT
Lighting adds drama, while uplights accent the branches of the trees, garden lighting enhance the shrubbery, and lights your walkways, steps and surrounding garden outline. String lights across the patio, those overhead lights are functional. Remember to research the many lighting options available today. If they make an all-weather outdoor television, anything is possible. For your lighting, Klaffs Lighting in Norwalk, CT is a great place to get a great lighting plan for your outdoor living space. Ask about LED lighting!
Sit yourself down my dear, in your favorite chair, do not fret, do not sweat, for all you cherish is beneath your seat.
Kitchen Chair 16x16x32"
The crème de la crème is from the 1988 Harry N. Abrams, Inc “397 Chairs” collection. The “Kitchen Chair” by artist Sylvia Netzer. The chair is made of steel tubes, silicon and found objects.
The almighty chair we all take for granted is not always what we expect. For the last two weeks we have discussed the talented, think-out-of-the-box, architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. His architecture reached new heights (oops, an unintended pun) of creativity and function. He designed the interior to reflect the exterior in design, use of materials and function. His seating was accommodating, but uncomfortable with its too deep seats and too stiff backs.
Dining Chair Robie House
All seating must have some pitch to the backs to allow for butt space. But not too much then you will see dangling feet. It is important when getting seating to test your best not only for pretty, but also for fitting your purpose.
Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect of Horizontality, designed this dining chair for the FLW Robie House in Hyde Park, Chicago. See what I mean by back pitch in the drawings below.
The Boynton Dining Chairs now being manufactured by Copeland were designed for the E. E. Boynton House in Rochester, New York. Mr. Boynton wanted comfortable seating for his guests, so Wright designed a chair back with a compound curve in it that would support a person’s shoulders and give lumbar support for the lower back. Lacking the technology to actually create the compound curved panel, the design was relegated to Wright’s archives for the last 100 years.
Let’s take a last long look at a really comfortable chair. The good old Club Chair.
With James permission here he is in his fav chair…James Kaston, of Remains Lighting, NYC with his cat, Pinky, in his antiques-filled apartment in Stuyvesant Town. Besides his Pinky, the cat who has gone on to pinky heaven, James loves his Napoleon III chair. Can you see enough to get the idea of comfort for your weary soul, pardon, I mean seat?
Have you experienced seating that you can’t wait to get out of and run away as fast as you can? Like, how many of you sit and relax at White Castle, like our stockbroker friend who couldn’t fit?
Until next week…more U-know…wrapped around another story.
If you are reading this, you are probably curious about Frank Lloyd Wright Interiors.
FLW was not a singer songwriter, he was not a shoemaker, he was not slothful, and he was not an interior designer. FLW was a creative genius in architectural methodology and an engineer. He knew he was an architect and engineer, but he also thought he was a designer of interiors and furniture maker. Fallingwater is a prime example of Wright’s
concept of organic architecture, “promoting harmony between man and nature through a design integrated with its site buildings, furnishings and surroundings as part of a unified, interrelated composition.”
His large sitting room at Fallingwater could have had several “conversation groupings.” There is ample bench-like seating that is designed for lots of people sitting side-by-side.FLW lined up the seating all around the perimeter of the room. Unless you are sitting with your sweetheart and holding hands, it is difficult to sit right next to someone and hold a conversation. The best seating is to group conversation areas so folks are sitting across from one another.
When last I visited his magnificent Fallingwater I found it curious there was no seating at the fireplace. The fireplace is a perfect conversation area, but the rock ledge he designed and installed is in the way.
Lined up sitting
The windows are behind the seating. It would be difficult to enjoy the view. A view or fireplace are natural focal points to group seating. Neither the view nor the fireplace was considered.
Fallingwater is the ultimate realization of his vision of man living in harmony with nature. Walls of glass enhance the site-and-house connection. But what about the functional connection for those using the space? He argued with his client about design and money. Instead of an agreed budget of $50,000 max, the cost escalated to $155,000.
Styles, shapes, space. What did folks do to fit into a space, fit into a chair, fit on a throne. Our daily lives are so crowded with news, stories, headlines, we have become aware of the space around us. How do we find enough space? What is enough space? Did you know that space is calculated based on job type and position?
Did you read in Yahoo News on Monday September 12, 2011, White Castle is being sued by a stocky stock broker for not being able to fit his 290lb frame into the chain’s stationary booths? According to the customer, White Castle is in violation of the American with Disabilities Act. “I just want to sit down like a normal person,” he says. He compares himself to a pregnant woman and the handicapped.
Look at England’s Henri VIII, a really big guy. He would never fit into a White Castle booth. You can be sure his throne and furniture, of the 16th century Tudor period, was massive. Oak was the wood of the day, hard wood, hard to carve, hard to shape, but strong enough to accommodate a big person like Henri VIII.
Good space is premium. How much do we need to live and work and play? At work you may have a cubicle or a private office. At home you may enjoy a cozy, small, warm room with human scale ceilings (8′) or a large room with cathedral ceilings (13′ or higher). But the seating has to give the comfort you seek in your place of refuge.
Space in a chair, how big should it be? Chairs in the home, chairs in the office, chairs in your favorite restaurant. A place like White Castle, MacDonald’s and Burger King are people movers. They want you to eat and leave. Make the diners too comfortable, folks hang to visit with friends. Go where you pay a pretty price for a meal they better give you good seating. Then maybe, just maybe, you’ll stay for dessert.
So folks, have a seat. Try them out before you bring them to your home or office. How do you decide? Each have a purpose. With chair types and styles. Even Thoreau, in 1845, in his small cabin on the banks of Walden Pond, where he built a 10′ by 15′ house furnished with a bed, a table, a small desk and lamp, and three chairs — He wrote about his chairs, “one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.” Today we have special chairs for every activity from watching games on television to working at the computer.
Office chairs need to be what is called “ergonomic.” It has to be adjustable, adjustable height, adjustable arms, adjustable pitch. A chair that gives you all those choices will cost a little more, but it is worth the price. Be sure the fabric is cleanable and durable. Leather is always great, but costly. Today, some imitation leathers are close to the real thing, just ask the seller if it is durable. Be sure to buy from a reliable source. Fabrics gather dust, especially black, but there are great fabrics that look good and are practical. Ask the seller to advise you. The image above is a “Herman Miller” hard mesh type, a material that does well. You don’t need comfort in the office, you need body support.
At home you need comfort. Your feet need to touch the floor, the seat should be sized to fit your body, the back should have the pitch that allows your feet to touch the floor. A standard chair has a seat height of 17-18 inches.
This chair is called a Fauteuil, French traditional (country) classic upholstered open armchair. It has allthree attributes, roomy seat, good pitch, and for most, your feet should touch the floor.
This is the “Barcelona Chair.” A contemporary classic design by Mies van der Rohe, designed in 1929. For most, because the seat is deep, your feet will not touch the floor. It is a beautiful design, found in most corporate offices to impress.
The image to the right is a 1925 Marcel Breuer contemporary classic. The “Cesca” chair is well-designed, functional, comfortable and practical. Do you recognize this popular chair? Have you owned one?
Remember the “Mitt chair” made by Stendig? You tell me, can we really tell White Castle to build bigger booths? Do you have chairs you love, do they give you comfort, do they give you the space you need to function, do they support your body?