Weather-Proof Al Fresco Rooms

Here in Nova Scotia our summers are short. Our evenings are cool, the mornings are foggy and there are those days when it rains and rains. I know, I know; that’s a dreary picture! But, when that sun comes out, the clouds part and the fog lifts, we appreciate it all the more and dash outside to soak up as much of that glorious sunshine that our brief, but lovely summer will allow. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a comfortable, perfectly pulled-together open air room right outside your door? That’s exactly what many of my clients are asking for this time of year.

When decorating outside, we Atlantic Canadian’s have to pay special attention to Mother Nature. No matter how good we are at pulling a space together we are fighting a losing battle if we are working against the elements. So, care must be taken when choosing the layout and materials for al fresco rooms.

When choosing furniture, look for pieces that are weather resistant, or better yet, weather proof. A good resin wicker can look as good as the real thing and last for years if covered for the cooler months. They are available in an array of colours. They can be sleek and modern or curvy and traditional. Teak has been a perennial favourite for outdoor furniture for years, and eucalyptus is popping up as a hardy, more economical choice. These are available for purchase at big box stores now, as well as boutiques. Powder coated metal furniture can last indefinitely if you choose the right metal. Steel will often only last a season or two. The seams and any little dent in the paint will rust quickly in our salty, humid air. Powder coated aluminum, conversely will not rust and will look like new for years to come.

Choosing fabrics for cushions and accent pillows is a straightforward task, now that outdoor fabrics have become mainstream. Most major fabric houses have textiles specially aimed for outdoor usage. There are also numerous ready-made options easily found at home stores now. It seems people really are trying to take advantage of their own backyards and patios these days!

A rug can be a welcome addition to that sunny (or shady) spot. It will anchor the space and add another layer of interest. Seagrass is a smart option because of its moisture resilience, and there are abundant choices of colourful, man-made alternatives that will withstand the fading from the sun or mouldering from the rain.

Accessories complete a room. Of course, some of the most beautiful and obvious additions for an open-air respite can be foliage. Leafy or flowery; plants will hold up all season long with minimal care. There are abundant accent pieces from sculptures to trays now available in stone, melamine, polycarbonate or enameled finishes that will stand the test of a Nova Scotian summer.

After you pull together that outdoor room all that’s left to do is to pour that glass of iced tea (or wine) and hit the deck!

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Kimberley Eddy & Susan Mills

Kimberley Eddy, owner of Evolve, is an Accredited Interior Decorator and holds the designations of IDDP (International Design and Decorating Professional) and ISRP (International Staging and Redesign Professional) from the QC Design School. In addition, she holds two degrees from Saint Mary's University; B.A. and B. Ed. Kimberley sits on the Board of Directors with the Nova Scotia Interior Decorators' Association and believes that professional development plays an integral part in this continually changing and evolving profession.

Susan Mills is among Halifax's prominent interior decorators and is the owner of the regions successful and versatile full service decorating companies that features new construction, interior updates and visual solutions to transform your space. Visit Susan's website www.millsdecor.com to learn about her and see examples of her work.


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