Spontaneous road trips in June, the bright bounty of July farmer’s markets, and languid August evenings by the lake — so many of life’s best moments happen during the summertime. With warm weather right around the corner, our interest in outdoor spaces is heating up. We wanted to know: how do design professionals prepare for the Summer outdoor living? Keen to discover their hottest tips, we asked the talented team at Mississippi’s SummerHouse, founded by visionary designer Lisa Palmer in 2003, to divulge their top design secrets for the season of sunshine.
As temperatures rise, outdoor spaces become the centerpiece of summertime socialization. Designer Elish Moon is preparing for dining al fresco this summer. “I love entertaining and it is so easy to make the most of your surroundings when you can use an outdoor space!” she exclaims. According to Moon, outdoor dining is “a breeze” with the simple combination of a Summer Classics dining table, dining chairs, and colorful cloth napkins which capture the season’s vibrancy. Madeleine Ertle agrees: “My top three warm weather essentials are a gorgeous, sturdy outdoor dining table and chairs for outdoor entertainment, citronella candles for the pesky mosquitoes and warm, soft monogrammed towels.” Sounds like sweet summertime paradise.
Lisa Palmer, SummerHouse founder and principal designer, favors traditional southern styles: “Anything in the Classic Wicker Collection screams summer to me! I see a family sitting on a large wrap-around porch with hanging ferns and big pots filled with colorful annuals.” Favoring a more transitional look for outdoor spaces, Madeleine Ertle prefers the contrast and ‘x’ detail of the White Label Malta Collection. She muses, “The deep cushion just looks dreamy in a bright white fabric against the green of the outdoors.”
SummerHouse Shortlist: Summer ‘18 Trends to Watch
1. High-tech Textiles have never been more accessible. Sunbrella fabrics are unmatched in quality and style.
2. It’s never too early for smores. Crank up the heat with an innovative fire feature.
3. Make it matte. Materials like rattan and wicker have received a modern makeover with this no-gloss finish.
4. Preppy and polished, striped fabrics feel of-the-moment. Stick with a classic color combination like black and white or taupe and cream.
5. For a look that’s multifaceted, seek out furniture styles that incorporate mixed materials.
When it comes to outdoor trends, Palmer prefers spaces that are “classic and clean with a modern twist” but does anticipate high-tech textiles playing a role in 2018 design. She explains, “With technology we are seeing outdoor fabrics as beautiful and soft as their indoor counterparts, so soft seating such as sectionals, large chaises and daybeds are now an essential part of outdoor design.” She also believes high-impact fire features might make an appearance: “I am seeing outdoor fire pits and even sleek concrete dining tables incorporating fire in them for drama.”
Designer Lindsey Townsend sees mixed-material outdoor furniture, like the canvas mesh and sculpted teak Coast Collection, making waves in 2018 design. “The mesh is so functional and the teak is just classic for poolside,” she explains. Jenni Hilbun also believes in the art of the mix. Preferring to ground her designs with timeless “investment” pieces, she then adds fresh, seasonal pillows and accents. Hilbun shares, “outdoor accessories (like an oversized glazed frog I have in mind) add a pop of color and whimsy!”
Dream A Little Daydream:
Since summer is the season of daydreams, we asked the SummerHouse designers to share their most imaginative projects… staged with Summer Classics, of course. From English gardens to California villas, we would love to see these dreamy projects come to life!
Elish Moon: “I’d love to do an outdoor area that is very English. Rambling grounds and unexpected gardens with meandering pea gravel paths. I think the Newport Collection would be a great fit because of it’s fresh take on a traditional design!”
Madeleine Ertle: “I love the look of an outdoor cabana alongside a pool. I would do flowing white sheers hanging from the ceiling of the cabana and underneath would do two of my favorite Malta Collection teak lawn chairs and the White Label Bali teak sofa and the Audrey coffee table with the charcoal base and travertine top.”
Jenni Hilbun: “My true daydream project is an old fashioned rose garden with winding paths leading to a Provance dining table and chairs (ancient earth finish). There will be lights strung overhead and natural stone underfoot. Summer meals will happen here and guests will linger long into the evening visiting and listening to the quiet night envelope the countryside. Ahhh!”
Lisa Palmer: “Since I live in the deep south, my dream project would be in California where it hardly rains and has no humidity! I would use modern Woodlawn teak pieces mixed in with upholstered pieces in the Venti Collection. I would use all white fabrics and throw in white stone top tables like the Audrey with a charcoal base for a little modern/earthy addition. Big pots of Oleander and colorful zinnias and of course a fabulous acrylic bar cart!”