We aren’t far off from al fresco dinner season. After living in Manhattan for nearly five years, this is probably one of the most treasured charms of suburban living. In fact, the photo above is from one of our summer trips to the Hamptons (we made it out there every summer we lived in NYC), and all we could talk about on those strips was how much we loved living outside. We’d eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner outside, and would bemoan the absence of that option the minute we’d return to our apartment. So when we first moved into our new home, we could hardly tear ourselves from the (covered) patio for the first two weeks straight. It almost felt unethical not to. I distinctly remember retiring to the wicker settee out there together after the children were in bed those first ten or twelve nights after we’d moved in, eating Jeni’s ice cream out of condensating tubs, watching the fireflies, talking unhurriedly into the night, processing the enormity of what we’d just done to our lives. Something about the blanket of thick, black summer night just beyond the pool of light around us made me feel deeply secure in our decisions. When my brother and his children visited last summer, we spent a square half of their trip sitting on our back patio — eating meals, lingering over coffee, shucking crabs, sipping cocktails late into the evening, watching thunderstorms roll by. It was nothing short of magic.
Anyhow, I’m ready for those moments, and feeling the itch to add to our existing set-up. On one end of our covered patio, we have this teak dining table from Serena and Lily and these Ballard dining chairs with cheerful yellow and white striped cushions. On the other end, we have a white wicker set (couch, chairs, ottoman, coffee table, side table — all look very similar to this set from S&L) that we inherited, but we hated the floral cushions and replaced with these. They aren’t a 100% perfect fit but you can hardly notice, and I didn’t have it in me to figure out how to find custom-made indoor/outdoor pillows. I am frankly astounded by the quality of those cushions. They look brand-new (we have them in navy) and have shown absolutely no signs of mildew/wear/stain/etc. Meanwhile, our much more expensive dining chair cushions in Sunbrella fabric have some mildewing already. So annoying! I wanted to mention that teak is incredible for weather like ours — humid, wet, hot as hell, and then cold in the summer. Our dining table has held up wonderfully. I know the material is known for its durability, but my experience has corroborated the reputation. I found this reasonably-priced teak outdoor couch that I had to spotlight. Such a good value and bound to last. I also think it’s about 1/3 of the price of a lot of the other similar outdoor sofas I’ve seen.
I would love to add a piece of outdoor furniture that serves as a sideboard when we’re dining / hosting, and/or possibly a storage chest for the area beneath our patio, where our kids tend to run through the sprinkler / play outdoor sports / use chalk / etc. I came across a few really chic options —
THIS WOULD BE CHIC FOR A POOL AREA
LOVE THAT THIS DOUBLES AS CHIC SEATING — YOU COULD PULL IT UP ON ONE SIDE OF A DINING TABLE
THIS ONE IS NICE BECAUSE IT COMES IN TWO SIZES
For outdoor dining, I have been eyeing one of these rattan-wrapped pitchers and matching tumblers for awhile. They just makes me want to mix up a big batch of lemonade…or sangria. But what I really need is some more acrylic drinkware. I used these reusable/dish-washer safe heavy duty “roadie” cups all summer long when watching the kids bike/scoot/play out front or when sitting in the backyard, but feel like I could use something a bit more substantial/elegant when hosting guests. I love the look of these striped ones from Frontgate, Juliska’s acrylic set, and, I mean, you can’t really beat the price on this 12-piece hobnail style set from Amazon. I’m probably going to go the Frontgate route. I also just ordered this inexpensive set of bamboo-style cutlery for outdoor dining.
Oh I could go on and on but instead, I’ll just share my current mood board, complete with chic easy-breezy-I’m-in-a-Nancy-Meyers-film hostess outfit!
01. TEAK COUCH // 02. CORDED OUTDOOR PILLOWS // 03. BAMBOO CUTLERY // 04. STRIPED LINEN MAXI DRESS // 05. BAKER’S RACK // 06. GUCCI SANDALS // 07. MATILDA GOAD PLANTERS // 08. AMANDA LINDROTH CHAIR // 09. STORAGE BENCH // 10. WAGON // 11. STRIPED RUG // 12. LOUNGE CHAIR // 13. OUTDOOR FURNITURE COVERS // 14. LANTERN // 15. CABANA STRIPED TOWELS // 16. BEADED MELAMINE DINNER PLATES // 17. MELAMINE BOTANICAL PLATES // 18. SEAGRASS WRAPPED PITCHER // 19. SEAGRASS WRAPPED TUMBLERS // 20. STORAGE BIN
P.S. A favorite spring/summer couscous salad recipe.
P.P.S. Imprints of a new (suburban) lifestyle — musings on the move from Manhattan to suburbia.
P.P.P.S. The fireflies are nothing short of magic in the height of summer here.
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4 thoughts on “Outdoor Patio Living.”
I love the snap of precious little toddler mini!
I want to be a person who eats outside…but we just don’t do it that often. My husband is not thrilled to share his meal with insects, and it seems like the flies come out of nowhere as soon as we bring the food out! And by August, we get those horrible bees (the kind that frequent apple orchards). Last August, I hosted a few little friends for a bd lunch for my 5yo, and the poor kids were freaking out at all the bugs! I had to pivot and move the cupcake portion into the house on a picnic blanket. Do any magpies have advice for keeping the bugs at bay? We’ve got mosquitoes covered, but how does one get rid of flies? And bees?
Also…did you come across any chic, colorful patio umbrellas is your search? I need to replace ours this year.
Hi Stephanie! Oh I get it. The mosquitoes are AWFUL here and we do ALL the things (except for pesticide) and they still bother us. I will say we have two ceiling fans on our covered patio and they REALLY help keep flying bugs away (plus make the experience much more pleasant temperature-wise). My father in law will often set up an outdoor fan when we’re eating outside at their home for that reason. You might try that — they hate the wind! Will keep my ears out for other ideas / maybe some Magpies have better thoughts.
For umbrellas, the S&L ones with scalloped edges are so chic!!
But will also take a look and see what I can find!
A fan sounds like a good idea! I’m just now remembering I saw some tiny tabletop fans last summer and regrettably did not buy. Something like this:
Yes!! I think they’ll make a huge difference!