For my monthly column on Style Sheet by HGTV Canada, I took a look at stunning, modern style swimming pools designed by architects. I would in heaven to get a pool like that in my backyard. Maybe one day, when we move to sunny California.
I also discussed the latest trends in pool equipments. There are a lot more options than in the past. It’s best to get informed before selecting which system would be best for you. I invite you to check my post on Style Sheet.
It is fun to play outside. And you do have to restrict your choices to outdoor games and sports. I have a thing for the classic games since people of all generations can play them. I found on Sunset magazines, an online guide to make your own:
+ Backyard Booce
+ Backyard Scrabble board
If you wish to bring the feeling of the beach in your backyard, you will definitively want to read those two articles:
+ How to Build a Beach in your Backyard
+ DIY Outdoor Shower
To start the weekend, I share two pictures that illustrate well local nature. I saw this post by my Japanese friend Yurys. She photographed lotus in blooms at the Ueno Park in Tokyo. The view of that garden is absolutely stunning.
The yellow flowers from my garden seems pale compared to the lotus flowers but they represent our wildlife. These delicate looking perennial flowers are most resistant than they look. I put them on a planter last year. They bloomed again from my pot; I did not do anything to them last fall or this spring. The only thing was that the planter was always under the sun. As a bonus, the seeds fall from our balcony and we now have a row of yellow flowers next to the house. I could not tell you their name.
The Fermob catalogue sells a wonderful lifestyle. It is based on joie de vivre and accessibility with a modern version of classic pieces. The stylist does that but at the same time, they capture the garden furniture details. The brand cultivates a romantic view of the French lifestyle that is hard to resist.
You get a sense of well-being by looking at the pictures. It gives my ideas for planning a kids party or how to style my table for a weekend lunch by the lake. It is about taking time to relax with a good board game and enjoy a refreshing cocktails. So even if you do not need new outdoor furniture, you will get something out of flipping their online catalogue.
I like the perforated chairs. There is Bagatelle, a folding chair with a cute perforated back rest. If you prefer an armchair, consider Louvre which comes with a perforated seat and is stackable.
Several of their garden chairs and tables are either foldable or stackable. It comes handy if you wish to bring furniture at a picnic, for storage and to keep extra chairs or tables for when you host larger dinner parties.
The furniture made of steel, iron or aluminium is available in the 24 Fermob colors. All the colors are sublime but I have a thing for the verbena and aniseed green. New colors that work well together are fjork blue and paprika. Above, they mixed turquoise and orange.
Retailers across the U.S. and Alphaplantes in Montreal sell Fermob garden furniture.
+ Fermob USA
I spotted on Sweet Paul two fun and easy DIY projects that have summer writing all over them. The first crafty idea let’s you build your own affordable hot house. This is important to produce robust seedlings. Paul repurposed the small water bottles and reused gardening pots that you already have.
The tray with string handles can be made with any type of small wooden crates. Paul made his with an old apple crate. It is great to carry things in and out of the backyard. Or to transport your lunch from the cottage to the dock.
With the summer well installed – it’s over 27ºC this afternoon – we all think about weekends at the cottage. I spotted outdoor items at Indigo that could either add something new to the decor of your cottage or make a nice gift to your hosts.
I will equip our terrace with a couple of those wasp traps in jewel tones. I did not buy them right away since I was not sure on which color to get. Colored glassed wasp traps are preferable since they hide the dead bodies. The wasp traps are priced at 2 for $20 CAD, or $12.95 each.
Or you can bring classic lawn games to provide hours of fun. The Pesto Kit provides the pestle and mortar, a recipe book and basil seeds. All those are only available in stores. I really wish that Indigo would add their home and gift sections to their Web site.
I stopped at the Summer Living Hub of Living etc. while I was looking for outdoor entertaining ideas. You may recall form the July 2009 issue, this awesome cedar sculpted seat. It is awesome. Also take note on how they created a peaceful reading nook in a garden.
+ photo: Living etc
If you are willing to spend more to get a true feel of mid-century design that was popular in California, have a look at the vast collection of containers and planters reissued by Vessel USA. They manufactured from original designer specifications and drawings used by Architectural Pottery. The shapes are superb. The pieces will acquire patina with time.
+ La Gardo Tackett TH-series $245 – $1434 USD
+ La Gardo Tackett IN-1 $245 – $348
+ Vessel Architectural Pottery at Velocity
Another way to update the look of your backyard or your front porch is to get new planters. Since we often need many, I searched for affordable planters that make a statement without stealing the show to your plants.
+ Roost Recycled Glass Bubble Hanging Terrariums small $48 USD, large $64 at Velocity
+ Curved green glaze pots small $39.95 USD, large $49.95 at Crate & Barrel
I like the sophistication of the next collection. Tall vases can be used as decorative accents.
+ Flame Vases $69.95 – $89.85 at
+ Bronze Tapered Planters $89.95 – $99.95 at Crate & Barrel
For a touch of grey and greige, have a look at the new collection of plant pots at IKEA. They are suitable for indoor and outdoor use. The Mandel series is made of silicone treated red clay. They are small pots.
+ ÖSTLIG plant pot small $14.99 USD, large $29.95 at IKEA
+ Mandel Plant pots $1.99 – $14.99 USD at IKEA
The watertight, stainless steel fruit trough designed by Gus* Modern is perfect for entertaining. You can use it for plants, storage, or as an ice bucket for small, individual bottles.
+ Fruit Trough by Gus* Modern $99 USD at Design Public
The sunny summer weather of last weekend sent me on a quest for bright and fun outdoor furniture. I tried to look for the unexpected. My first stop was Living etc. After all, all their 2010 issues are a burst of colorful rooms.
I like the boldness and warmth when pink, orange and red meet.
No need to change your outdoor furniture to bring them to the current home fashion. It can be as simple as updating your cushions. Or you could add a colored metal side table or a bar cart to your outdoor space.
Everything does not have to match. A big lounge outdoor sofa can mix patterns as long as you restrict it to a uniform palette. With individual seats, you can group them to suit your needs. This design reminds me of Ligne Roset.
+ Outdoor fabrics by Jab Anstoetz £60.10 to £100.85 per m
+ Green or Raspberry Bamboo stool £69 by Plumo
+ Garçon Rolling Bar Cart $69.95 USD at CB2
+ Cayenne or Daffodil Cushions for the Alfresco Dining Collection $29.95 – $1,199.00 USD at Crate & Barrel
+ Atrium Chair Lounge in Aruba $899 USD at Crate & Barrel – no longer available
This feels truly like Hollywood, on a good way. Imagine how easy it should be to throw a party with such dramatic views as your backdrop. Yes, I am in awe with that Sunset Plaza house designed by Assembledge.
The pool area and the upstairs terrace were designed for someone who likes to host pool party. They are ideas to steal here if you are redesigning your backyard. I am particularly fond of the long benches. It is not hard to build something similar. You can always reduce the cost by opting for cheaper type of wood that you will paint.
I am sure that I saw the Sunset Plaza house used in a movie or a TV show. Do you recall which?
+ photos: Assembledge