Outdoor Living and Furnishings You’ll Love Inside or Out!

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Hi Guys,

 

*Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

 

I have some very good news that I just realized. The summer of 2020 is the “longest” possible summer. That’s because the beginning of summer on June 21 and ending on September 21 is false.

No, summer begins with Memorial Day weekend and ends on Labor Day, the first Monday in September. And, this year, Memorial Day is the earliest day in May it can be, and Labor Day is the latest day it can be. Hence, the summer of 2020 is over 15 weeks long! But, I’m fine if you want to begin summer now and end it on the 21st of September.

 

Folks in the south, please stop your eye-rolling and snickering.

 

It’s so unbecoming. Us Yankees know full-well, that summer for you, begins on December 22nd and ends on December 21. haha

But, whether your summer is 366 days this year, or 108+/- days, there’s one thing I can pretty safely predict. And, that’s that we’re going to be spending more time outside than ever before.

Of course, we all know why.

The virus.

 

By the way, if you have not seen this documentary, (below), I highly recommend it.

 

I have the attention span of a fly. However, I was riveted the entire time. That’s just how good this documentary about the flu of 1918 is.

 

 

And, the antidote. Well, at least for me.

 

That is watching darling 19-yr-old Maria Khoreva (ballerina with the Mariinsky Theatre) discuss what’s inside her dance bag. In addition, to being one of the top ballerinas in the world, her English is perfect.

 

 

Okay, just a little extra for you, if you’re interested. If not, I have plenty of eye-candy coming your way.

 

However, yes, because of the virus, I am thinking that we’ll be spending more time outside.

One) because we’re going bonkers being cooped up.

two) it’s somewhat safer being outside (provided you’re still heading proper six feet social distancing and/or wearing your mask, if not able to do so.)

Of course, with this thing, anything can change from moment to moment. The fact remains that millions have caught the virus, even AFTER stringent measures were put into place. We don’t need to belabor the reasons for that. But, some of it, I’m surmising, are folks not heeding the requirements.

In any case, I haven’t done an outdoor furnishings post in a while.

 

Of course, there’s no better opportunity than Memorial Day Weekend; which, just happens to be one of the most prolific weekends for fabulous sales in all industries.

 

Serena & Lily - outdoor living - Sundial_Sofa_Cliffside

For example. Serena & Lily.

 

Anyone who’s read my blog for a while knows just how much I love this company. And, have for the last 15 years! But, raise your hand if you know anyone who actually lives like this gorgeous outdoor living room suggests. If you do, then I’m demanding an invitation. Well, at least, when it’s safe to do so. ;]

 

However, the furnishings above blow my mind.

 

The truth is, most of our outdoor spaces are after-thoughts, at best. I know that because I’ve been in a lot of homes.

 

my temporary sideyard - outdoor living

This is more like it. Right? Just so you know, what you’re seeing is my little yard where I’m staying in Northampton, MA. I haven’t touched anything out here. And, there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s your standard Home Depot outdoor furniture. But, of course, you don’t need me to see the likes of the same old.

 

My son, Cale, and I have gone for a lovely walk, three days in a row, and I’ve been snapping pics along the way.

 

Northampton is such a lovely town. It’s full of charming homes, bike trails, and the Hungry Ghost.

 

Hungry Ghost Bread Northampton, MA - outdoor living - best bread ever

Oh my. You haven’t had bread until you’ve had THIS bread. I’m just not kidding. Lucky me. I’m only four blocks away. I understand that the folks across the street now only get their bread delivered.

That’s because they can no longer fit through their door. haha

 

Northampton apartment balcony

This is another shot I took on our walk. Granted, these apartment dwellers don’t have much space.

And yes, the lilacs are in full bloom, here in Northampton.

 

Northampton, MA lilacs - May 2020 - bee flying - photo - LBernYesterday, I got this shot, complete with buzzing bee! These lilacs stopped me in my tracks because of their deep shade of purple. I heard the bee buzzing around. And, for once, an insect cooperated.

 

outdoor living Northampton, MA - outdoor wicker chairsHere is one more outdoor living shot in Northampton on a street with lots of HUGE old trees like this one. And, a pair of indoor/outdoor wicker chairs.

World Market sells these for about $100 for a pair. Of course, they’re out of stock right now. You can find them in the new outdoor furnishings widget. Hopefully, they’ll be getting more in soon.

The outdoor furnishings widget is part of the HOT SALES pages. Please check out the Hot Sales, because this is a fabulous weekend to get stuff super cheap.

 

Okay, enough cheesy jokes on the best bread ever and super cheap chairs you can’t have right now. It’s time to go back to our fantasy, outdoor living and furnishings world.

 

Serena & Lily Riviera chairsThis is how Serena & Lily does seating with a big tree. We know this is fantasy because nobody is going to be having any gatherings like this. That is unless they’ve all been quarantined together. That could work.

Otherwise, they’ll need to remove at least half of those chairs.  As you probably know, I adore the Riviera Collection of chairs and stools. You can see the Riviera armchair and stools in this kitchen I had a hand in.

 

olivia-indoor-outdoor-star-pendant-Pottery Barn porch - outdoor livingI’m including this image from Pottery Barn because I think that most of us would find this porch quite approachable. And, also, I’ve always loved PB’s Star pendant indoor/outdoor light.  Plus, it’s on sale for only $139! That can’t be beaten. I’ve seen Moravian star pendants that are 20 times that amount. No exaggeration!

The only thing is it’s only 13″ wide. That’s on the small side. So, it would be terrific for a smaller front door area. Or, you could do two or three down a longer overhanging porch.

 

I know that many of you would like me to do a post about outdoor lighting. Keep thinking positive thoughts. :]

 

Gray Malin home - porch outdoor living

This stunning home belongs to Gray Malin.

 

Gray Malin - benches - planters front porchAbove you can see the benches from Serena & Lily better. Those benches were discontinued fairly recently.

 

Gray Malin front porch - benches - Serena & Lily -discontinued - outdoor living

Here’s a side view. As you can see, this porch is quite shallow

 

Serena & Lily_Chalk_Hill_Pacifica_Sundial

Above is a closed-in Porch or patio with another bench, from Serena & Lily, that could work. Of course, it all is. Love that. And the dining table too. Also, their collection of indoor/outdoor rugs is sublime.

There’s a wonderful and inexpensive Chinese Chippendale style bench here. That could also work beautifully on a porch.

 

Serena & Lily Sundial Outdoor Side Chair - Performance Navy Surf Stripe

Serena & Lily Sundial Outdoor Side Chair in Performance Navy Surf Stripe. You can find the equally beautiful Sun Dial armchair, here. I would definitely use these chairs inside, too. Why not?

 

saldano-9-piece-square-dining-table-with-monza-stacking-

I included this chair because I think it’s awfully good looking. And, it’s a stacking chair. So, one idea is when it’s not summer (for some of us), and you need extra seating, you can go and grab your outdoor chairs. Of course, these would work in a more casual dining situation. I wouldn’t put them with Mahogany Chippendale style chairs. haha

 

Out_LR_Capistrano- outdoor living - Serena & Lily

I know that a lot of you hate the thought of nice furniture, even with sunbrella-type fabric outside. And, I don’t disagree with you. It depends where you are. If you’re in a more arid part of the country where it doesn’t rain in the summer, then it’s probably fine. That is unless it gets super dusty.

However, a covered porch or patio, or a screened-in porch offers more protection from the elements. Serena & Lily also has a wonderful collection of outdoor pillow covers.

As I’ve mentioned before, on this post about sophisticated twin bedroom decorating ideas, Serena and Lily is a terrific source for decorating inspiration. And, not just the furnishings, but the architecture of the homes they choose is absolutely wonderful, IMO.

 

Hint: Sometimes you’ll find the best images if you look up the accessories, like pillows and throws, or lighting.

 

Outdoor Sundial collection - Serena & Lily

Another wonderful outdoor living room by Serena & Lily.

 

outdoor-dining-set mccann design group

McCann Design Group

How fabulous is this tropical outdoor living area with the most delicious pool, ever!

 

McCann Design Group outdoor living

I think my blood pressure just dropped 10 points. haha

So, I guess I’m wrong. People DO live like this. Actually, what am I saying? It was almost a year ago when I went on that sublime garden tour in Greenwich, CT.

However, I’ve saved my favorite find of the day, for last.

I found an Instagram feed by a woman in Denmark who is definitely living the fantasy. But, not only that, she’s stepped it up a few notches with the most exquisite gardens and styling.

Frankly, I wanted to help myself to every shot on her stunning Instagram account. I think I need to update this post about some of my favorite Instagram pages.

 

Laurel? Who is she already?

 

Oh, sorry. Yes.

Of course, I’m going to tell you, but for now, only that her name is Gina. I want you to see the photos I’ve selected, first. (and no fair peeking ahead) ;]

I’ll take you in gently before I hit you between the eyes with the most incredible outdoor living spaces and gardens. The house ain’t too shabby either.

 

@gncgarden on instagram - gorgeous - garden - outdoor living patio

I love this charming outdoor living area!

 

@gncgarden on instagram - gorgeous - garden - outdoor living - diningYou’ll notice that Gina loves to move things around.

Okay, get ready

 

@gncgarden on instagram - gorgeous - garden - outdoor living - hydrangeas for dayssick

This is so beautiful, it hurts.

 

@gncgarden on instagram - gorgeous - garden - outdoor living - plants - patio

I love those baskets. I think it’s so interesting that much of her garden is in containers. That might give some of you who can’t have a flower bed some inspiration.

 

@gncgarden on instagram - gorgeous - garden - outdoor living - adirondack chairs - wisteriaI’m presuming that Gina is a landscape architect? And yet, her profile has no link or information.

 

@gncgarden on instagram - gorgeous - garden - outdoor living - table - chair hydrangeasReally?

 

@gncgarden on instagram - gorgeous fall garden - outdoor living

And, here is the garden in the fall. I imagine that it’s gorgeous year-round.

Okay, now I’ll tell you. Gina’s insta handle is @gncgarden. And, she has 164,000 followers, so I bet that some of you are already following her. Every photo is fabulous, so please go check out her fantastic feed.

 

Antique white Adirondack Collection World Market - super cheapI found a similar Adirondak chair and stool like Gina has at World Market. These pieces are also sold separately and come in four other finishes.

I hope you enjoyed these homes, outdoor furnishings, and gardens. And, I hope your Memorial Day is full of love and peace.

 

* This is from the first sentence in the post.

 

Every year, I say “Happy Memorial Day Weekend,” And, unfortunately, at least one person feels it necessary to remind me that it is not a HAPPY day.

First of all, I never said it was. I said, Happy Memorial Day WEEKEND.

Second, what should I say instead?

Hey Guys,

Hope you’re having a miserable Memorial Day Weekend!

Is that better?

Third, my best is to wake up from not having slept the night before to find someone shaming me for expressing a loving sentiment.

 

However, I feel that the best way to honor those that gave their lives for our freedom is to BE happy.

 

Isn’t that why they were fighting in the first place? I mean, when my time comes, I hope y’all have a big party.

And, please make a BIG chocolate cake with extra frosting.

Of course, I realize that some of you may have lost loved ones. I’m sorry for your loss and understand that it might be difficult to feel happy at this time.

xo,

 

 

Please go here to check out many more of my favorite outdoor furnishings and find out what the red metal box is for.

And, please check out the newly updated HOT SALES.

 

5th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2018 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Barbara - May 28, 2020 - 10:00 AM

    Just now getting to read this post. Oh my – how absolutely beautiful 😍. Thank you for sharing! I will be following Gina for sure! Everyone loves a beautiful outdoor space but they do require constant cleaning and maintenance. But there’s something so satisfying about outdoor living and dining. Thx for the great post.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara Moore - May 27, 2020 - 8:00 AM

    I said ‘really’ just before I read you saying it. lol! beautiful pictures of a lovely garden. but one that requires full time care 24/7 for it to look that way. rich people. *sigh*ReplyCancel

  • Karen M Healey - May 27, 2020 - 12:36 AM

    I love your posts, and I love the honest photo of what you back yard looks like too!ReplyCancel

  • Mary E - May 26, 2020 - 8:52 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    Beautiful pictures! We don’t bother putting out furniture on our patio. Our patio faces a busy street & we’re directly behind a Starbucks drive-through. So it’s not calm & serene or private. Maybe in my next life.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - May 26, 2020 - 2:05 PM

    Same – I live in Phoenix, AZ and outdoor furniture that will hold up to the sun and not fade/rot within a couple months is really difficult to come by.ReplyCancel

  • Russell Sheets - May 25, 2020 - 7:35 PM

    Any suggestions on the best material to make custom cushions for outdoor furniture? We live in Palm Springs, CA and have a hard time finding outdoor furnishing that can handle the 120° summer heat.ReplyCancel

  • Jane - May 25, 2020 - 4:01 PM

    Wow! I loved this entire post! Serena and Lily have such inspiring ideas, so thank you for sharing these. And, as a gardener, I adored the Danish gardener. Her space is inspiring! Happy Memorial Day!!!ReplyCancel

  • Shari Gross - May 25, 2020 - 1:24 PM

    These a beautiful pictures. I bought gorgeous pillows from Front Gate one summer only to have the squirrels chew holes in them to get the stuffing to line their nests!! Now I buy cute pillows from Etsy. Thank you for all your hard work!!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa D. - May 25, 2020 - 12:49 PM

    Such beautiful and inspiring pictures. I don’t think I could live somewhere that didn’t have beautiful trees, flora and fauna. Those old growth trees are to die for and remind me of the old oaks in Northern CA. Sadly, some of them have had to be removed due to the fire risk. Thanks for the peek into these beautiful gardens and outdoor spaces, and happy Memorial Day, Laurel.ReplyCancel

  • Pamela Dunn - May 25, 2020 - 10:34 AM

    Beautiful Post! Thank you and Happy Memorial Day weekend to you as well. Glad you are enjoying your visit!
    I love my garden and the little secret paths I have made, but sitting outside here in NJ this time of year is difficult. Everything is falling out of the trees and bugs and bees are as everywhere. Those lovely white pillows would look good for about 5 minuntes! Ha! It is lovely to look at them nonetheless!
    Best Regards,
    PamReplyCancel

  • Dorothy Lee - May 24, 2020 - 6:27 PM

    I love your posts and the pictures you showed of all these gorgeous outdoor spaces. My question is do any of these people have birds in their yards? As soon as I put my cushions out on the deck, birds manage to leave their business right where I would sit. I never see bird do in any of these photos. What’s their secret?ReplyCancel

  • Terry - May 24, 2020 - 12:49 PM

    Love, love this post, especially the Danish garden. The designer is so clever in coordinating her black and white house with black and white gardens.

    Re Memorial Day, I’m from a military family and we were taught to say, ‘Don’t forget to Honor the Day. Or Remember the day,’ like ‘Remember the Alamo.’ Otherwise it’s like saying Happy Funeral Day. Or Happy D-Day. etc. And we wouldn’t say that, right? So maybe an alternative could be, ‘Have a great weekend and don’t forget to Honor the Day.’

    Laurel, you are such an inspiration and I look forward to each of your posts. The main thing I’ve learned from you is to have courage in decorating (and don’t make dumb decisions ;o)ReplyCancel

  • Parnassus - May 24, 2020 - 11:08 AM

    Well, Laurel, you just ruined my summer with these beautiful photos. I will be baking and steaming here, while others will be enjoying the refreshing summer idylls you are featuring today. This post makes me remember our wooden yard swing, the kind with facing seats. We set it under our apple tree, and got a lot of enjoyment out of it in the long, Ohio summer days.
    –JimReplyCancel

  • Diana - May 24, 2020 - 10:55 AM

    I ‘m so inspired by all these photos. Laurel, each one is just so wonderful. I kept looking for the money tree as I wanted to rake it up come fall. Just kidding. Just so lovely.
    Speaking of Memorial Day, when I was 5 years old, planes would fly over our small town cemetery on Memorial Day and drop bouquets of flowers for all the soldiers who sacrificed for our country. People would pick up the bouquests and put on the soldiers’ graves. I wanted and insisted I needed a bouquet for my uncle’s grave, however, mother said no as he didn’t serve in the military. Needless to say, I didn’t like the word, “no” and besides HE WAS MY UNCLE and that was special.
    Yes, we grieve for our lost ones, but we should be happy, we live in a country which is free.
    Laurel, you are a very special person.
    Grab that man and marry him, you are a rare diamond.ReplyCancel

  • Marsha Stopa - May 24, 2020 - 10:07 AM

    Wonderful images! Thank you. I’m growing more fond of boxwood, particularly because deer won’t eat it. 😀But I have to admit I get very frustrated with all the white outdoor cushions. Mountains and forests are dusty places, along with the nearby gravel roads. Then there’s the problem of the strong winds that whip through on a fairly regular basis. Now I’m understanding why people buy the heavy Adirondack chairs and use stumps for side tables!! But no, I won’t use cushions with moose on them! 🤣ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - May 24, 2020 - 12:20 PM

      Plus that time in the spring when the trees shed all of that green stuff from their leaves. It definitely stains. And, of course, bird poop.ReplyCancel

  • Janet - May 24, 2020 - 8:52 AM

    Just watched the documentary…gripping and heartbreaking.ReplyCancel

  • Jaine Donelan - May 24, 2020 - 7:42 AM

    Laurel
    You crack me up! Have a Happy Memorial Day as well! I love love love your blog!ReplyCancel

  • carol - May 24, 2020 - 7:42 AM

    I’m drooli g on my eybo r .ReplyCancel

  • Ivis - May 24, 2020 - 7:29 AM

    Thanks, Laurel, for this dreamy post! I don’t live in an apartment with a balcony, but have you thought about a post on balconies? I know it’s a tiny (for most people) space, but you love a challenge, right?ReplyCancel

  • Nanci - May 24, 2020 - 6:44 AM

    While I may not have an outdoor space like Gina, mine is awfully nice and like an outdoor room. I feel so blessed to have it and my two screened porches. Thanks for the eye candy. Hey where is the documentary link or name???ReplyCancel

  • Janet - May 24, 2020 - 3:44 AM

    Hi Laurel! Do you have the link for the documentary? I didn’t see it in the article. (Love these beautiful, uplifting photos!!)ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - May 24, 2020 - 6:42 AM

      Oh, sorry about that. The videos are back. I don’t know how that happened.ReplyCancel

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