For us it is that time of year again, when the whole show moves outside. For the next few summer months this is where we will socialise, eat and drink. Creating a pretty, welcoming outdoor space is just as important as making a beautiful area inside the house, and I tend to treat the terrace as just another room, an extension of our interior space.
A simple but effective way to create continuity is to keep the colour schemes somewhat similar. Bring colours you love indoors outside and use shades that coordinate well with your plants. You don’t have to have everything matching. Different surfaces add interest and texture.
Wood and stone go hand in hand.
Vintage metal dining chairs complement almost any table.
I find the simplicity of evergreens create a rather calming effect compared with the riot of colour in the rest of the garden.
Outdoor furniture is an investment, and nowadays it can be every bit as comfortable as a sitting room sofa.
Eating outside is, in my opinion, one of life’s great pleasures and dressing the table is an
easy way to make any occasion special.
Whilst we don’t use glass around the pool area, I still far prefer it to plastic. A dear friend gave us a lovely set of Reidel stemless glasses. They are definitely a good solution for outdoors, being far harder to knock over and therefore minimising the risk of breakages.
Think also of lighting as dusk falls. One tip I picked up from a magazine (and I cannot for love nor money remember where I saw it) was to find old glass vases or jars. Melt the bottom of a candle and stick it in place. Then half fill the jar with water and add a few small flowers;
a pretty vase during the day and as the light fades the loveliest of hurricane lamps.
I dream of finding the time to while away a few hours with a cup of coffee and a good book outside our potting shed/summer kitchen.
Another trick I find rather useful is having a second small table that we can move around; depending on the time of day, the temperature and whether we want dappled sun or full shade. Making it easy to have a setting for every occasion!
And if there are children or grandchildren around, think of ways to amuse them. Our ping pong table is in near constant use during the holidays, it’s just another area where people tend to congregate! A nearby table is handy for a glass and games tend to get very boisterous and extremely competitive. It’s amazing how many people suddenly find they cannot resist picking up a bat, even if they haven’t played for decades!
What I strive for most of all is somewhere everybody feels at home and a place that no one wants to leave. A space where we can make the absolute most of summer.
If you feel the urge to add a few French vintage pieces to your outdoor spaces or indeed anywhere else, I might be able to help you.
We have been incredibly busy searching out special finds for our shop and as it is midsummer’s day we thought we would give you a small gift. I am adding lots of new items to the shop today and tomorrow. They are not listed or available yet, but they will be by Saturday morning (I will send you a reminder don’t worry!) and for the entire weekend, anyone who buys anything will receive a set of five French hazel herb marking sticks from our garden here in the Charente Maritime. Our summer gift to you.