Park and Oak Room Reveal

Renee DiSanto and Christina Samatas, principle designers and co-owners of Chicago area Park & Oak Design, were tasked with transforming an austere porch into an inviting outdoor space the homeowner could enjoy with her four daughters. Located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, the brick colonial home featured interesting architectural elements like white columns and impressive arched windows. Christina shared that they, “found those details to be inspiring,” and used them to enhance the final design. Armed with the blessing of their open-minded client who, “truly trusted the vision,” the designers began to plan a warm and welcoming outdoor oasis.

Before: Simple black furniture mimicked the architectural elements of the porch, but left guests feeling cold and closed-off from the natural beauty of the backyard.


Seating was the first order of business. Park & Oak needed to replace the existing black metal furniture with something more comfortable. The selection process was surprisingly simple. Renee and Christina were pleased to discover that they both adored the Summer Classics Peninsula Collection. The open weave resin wicker and sandalwood base felt perfect for adding much-needed warmth to the patio.

With the furniture upgrade underway, the design team selected functional extras including a pair of sculptural gold side tables. Patterned pillows, a striped area rug, and curated accessories completed the design. Renee and Christina recommend working in three layers when designing an outdoor space—foundation, function, and accessories. The results are clear—their plan delivers on style.

Park & Oak’s Plan for an Outdoor Oasis:

1. Begin with a foundation of quality outdoor furniture. Renee and Christina suggest timeless furniture styles in materials like teak or wicker. Clean lines and durable fabrication will stand the test of time.

2. Add functional elements. Coffee tables, side tables, and storage solutions are all necessary elements in a livable space. Styles typically used indoors can make an elegant statement in an outdoor setting, just make sure to select strong pieces in stone, wood or metal.

3. Sprinkle with accessories. Add scented candles, woven baskets, throw blankets, soft cushions, and fresh greenery to infuse the space with character. These elements can be updated seasonally to freshen the room.

After: Open weave wicker, layered textiles, and carefully chosen accessories invite comfort and warmth into this light-filled space.

The designers are so confident in Summer Classics’ quality, they have each selected a number of pieces to enjoy in their own homes. Renee chose the Haley Chairs, Club Teak Sectional, and Ocean Lounger for family-friendly relaxation, while Christina opted for Sedona Swivel Gliders to comfortably entertain her extended family.

While Park & Oak aim to create all-seasons spaces, the Chicago climate will inevitably dip into chilly territory. Renee explains that they, “encourage clients to bring out blankets and throws,” to extend the life of outdoor areas with warm accessories. In the wintertime, holiday decorations also bring seasonal flair to the outdoors. The designers prefer to decorate with organic elements—wreaths, pine garland, and other seasonal greens brighten the home and smell fantastic. Interesting antiques also add character; Renee displays a festive antique sled in her home. The most important rule of decorating with seasonal accents, she shares, “is staying true to your personal style.”

Photography by Renee DiSanto, courtesy of Park & Oak Design.