Lazy loung­ing with at­ti­tude

Af­ter sea­sons of same old, same old, out­door fur­ni­ture styling is fi­nally perk­ing up, says Kya de­longchamps

Irish Examiner - Property & Interiors - - Interiors - Save room on a beam by win­ter and a hefty shel­tered limb by sum­mer for Oliver Bonas’ brand new real rat­tan swing chair, €313, oliv­er­

I’m moved watch­ing fam­i­lies, gath­ered like hys­teric ants, bump­ing dol­men-sized, three-piece suites to the top of the peo­ple car­rier. To add to the irony of it all, we are now in­volved in the out­door/in­door fash­ions, po­ten­tially a space and money saver.

That said, there are some pieces that will never make a cor­ner of the kitchen diner. Con­sider the whole home foot­print in­side and out be­fore buy­ing some­thing un­re­servedly out­doorsy. No­body wants a steel tube, polyester, lime-green co­ca­ca­bana lounger in the house.

The ba­sics of scal­ing your sea­sonal fur­ni­ture to the space you have doesn’t change, es­pe­cially when it’s sim­ply never go­ing in­side. Crowd­ing out a tiny gar­den with a full suite of colonial wo­ven fur­nish­ings, skirted to the ground and com­plete with three-seater cush­ions says — well, cramped.

If you don’t have a shed on call, this also in­tro­duces a stor­age is­sue by Septem­ber. If your gar­den is re­ally a turn­ing space out­side a French door, or you are con­fined to a bal­cony, a great bench us­ing a wall as a back is best. Add ded­i­cated cush­ions, joined by fold­ing chairs hung up while out of use and it will still af­ford as many as six din­ers — more if you’re re­ally good friends.

Keep in mind that some gar­den pieces are rated for oc­ca­sional rather than heavy use, sit on it and judge any give, joints and fix­ings.

De­sign­ers con­tinue to amaze with out­door bench de­signs in con­tem­po­rary and classic styles that ap­peal strongly for rooms in­doors — ideal for pulling off boots by the back door or do­ing dou­ble duty over the win­ter in the con­ser­va­tory.

Just buy­ing one thing? Then kick up the qual­ity. In­spired by Ja­panese art and de­signed by Lionel Doyle, the Manutti San is an el­e­gant bench in Iroko and pow­der coated stain­less steel that will move in­side as the days darken. Sit down — €1,903.28. (Seen right.)

Else­where, choose hard­wood, slats, and coated met­als to slough off the weather. Ar­gos has a re­ally pretty all-in-one two-seater and table, the New­bury duo-bench — clean, crisp, a great buy for un­der €130. Cen­tre this on some beau­ti­ful con­tain­er­plantin­gan­de­ven­bower some roses over-head. Pick up cush­ions for €22.09 and a good cover — job done.

Look out for tex­tiles, throws, and seats pads wher­ever you go. Mead­ows & Byrne al­ways stocks fresh clas­sics to stash over the win­ter. Plas­tic stor­age boxes? Con­den­sa­tion cook­ers for nat­u­ral fabrics long-term. Find room in­doors.

The hang­over from the in­dus­trial trend (not yet given its P45) is the re-emer­gence from the war years of lightly framed metal fur­ni­ture. Along with the ex­pected alu­minium fold­ing bistros (grab a Saba 4-seater in black and orange - side table €18, rec­tan­gu­lar table, €57, fold­ing chair €18, B&Q), there are plas­tic wrapped wire num­bers in­spired by classic south of French and South Amer­i­can mod­ernist chic.

M&S shines with a group of just three pieces ideal for a tiny space or drinks cor­ner. The Loft Lois cof- fee table (€129) matched to sofa (€199) in pow­der blue, and fan-like chairs (€79) are straight from 1950s Aca­pulco.

Carry wine, nap­kins, and more in ver­sa­tile heavy bas­kets with han­dles (weaves are re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated this sum­mer). My choice is the gor­geous Stripes bas­kets at Bo­con­cept, well priced for this Dan­ish brand at €79 a piece.

Mov­ing to a slightly larger gar­den with the good foot­ing of a pa­tio or deck, a din­ing set might be joined by a cou­ple of ded­i­cated fold­ing loungers, that again can be col­lapsed down and eas­ily stored on garage hooks with para­sols.

The slinky Punta lounger not only receives your gor­geous sun­burnt body, but rock with a pool­side Hock­ney/ Hol­ly­wood vibe at €33, in a gor­geous eu­ca­lyp­tus at B&Q. It’s still worth think­ing of where it’s all go­ing to go, how­ever.

Where you rise to the third of an acre or more, fur­ni­ture can take to the trees in hang­ing pods, ham­mocks, and in­de­pen­dently staged re­lax­ing ar­chi­pel­a­gos, phys­i­cally sep­a­rated from the house. A hang­ing pod in a weather-de­feat­ing resin weave is not only a sculp­tural eye-catcher but a great spot for sulk­ing af­ter a June row. Good ex­am­ples start around €250 with frame or ready to sus­pend, the­o­r­

With a good ver­ti­cal thrust they look groovy in sun­rooms or even large fam­ily rooms too, so shift the pots and dog bas­ket about later in the year. Save room on a beam by win­ter and a hefty shel­tered limb by sum­mer for Oliver Bonas’ brand new real rat­tan swing chair, €313, oliv­er­

Din­ing sets in weaves largely fol­low the con­tem­po­rary Ital­ian, or the Ed­war­dian weave. Legs are emerg­ing from the re­cent, downto-the-ground Lloyd Loom styles of chair, sup­ported in tough oily trop­i­cal woods that can cer­tainly stand a full wet sum­mer.

Debenhams stock some of the pret­ti­est of the rat­tan pre­tenders, the Palmira, with its light airy pale grey fin­ish. It fea­tures a sturdy rust-proof metal frame, round kicked out legs on show, tem­pered glass top to the tables and fab­ric cush­ions.

The more shell-like chair styling is classy, and start at €1,008 for round table and four lovely chairs that can work well in­doors (there’s 37% off the en­tire range on­line).

The seven-seater L-shaped gar­den sofa with two stools and a lovely retro table comes in at €1,386. De­spite ap­pear­ances, these sets can put up with even heavy rain and frost.

If you love your por­ta­ble, stack­able plas­tic clas­sics, slide some of these beauties out un­der the sun. Kartell has some great choices, in­clud­ing its Dr No, and Dr Yes shell chairs which start in groups of four in one colour, for about €71 (try Caseys Fur­ni­ture or buy on­line).

Fi­nally, en­sure the foot­ing in your gar­den is up to the weight of the pieces. Gravel can pitch metal frames, and clay-based soils will swal­low and po­ten­tially de­grade sup­ports and feet. Add a few pavers sim­ply bed­ded into sand — an af­ter­noon’s work.

Round tables are space savers, and matched be­neath, ver­sa­tile too. Pont fur­ni­ture; Arc group,

Wo­ven on a tra­di­tional l out­door rug by Brita in a hon­ey­comb Large €350, scan­di­na­vian­design­cen­tre.

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