Amy Aidinis Hirsch: My Ideal Outdoor Room

May 1, 2012

With spring underway and summer fast approaching, I can’t help but look forward to enjoying pleasant days outdoors. Each of us has a different idea about what makes the ideal outdoor space; for some, a tranquil retreat makes the perfect escape while others look forward to getting their hands dirty in the garden. For me, however, the ideal outdoor room is an extension of the interior, another destination for guests in my home, and the perfect place for summer gatherings!

Design by Amy Aidinis Hirsch. Photo by Neil Landino

To start, anyone furnishing an outdoor area in New England has to be mindful of the weather.  We get our fair share of rain and sun, not to mention those typical New England winters. Anything that spends the year outdoors must be able to withstand extreme elements while still looking fantastic. One product I cannot stop raving about is Perennials outdoor fabrics. These fabrics look amazing, are super resilient, and so easy to care for. They feature 100 percent solution-dyed acrylic fibers, making them highly UV resistant. You can literally just hose the fabric off while you water your flowers and not have to worry about fading, mildew or wear-and-tear. With a huge range of colors, patterns and textures, outside fabrics aren’t limited to typical solids or stripes, and you can stretch beyond patio cushions in bringing in fabrics. You can certainly go with funkier prints to infuse your styles with plenty of personality. Perennials also offers stunning custom rugs that are so beautiful, they look as if they belong indoors. The icing on the cake? These plush fabrics feel as great as they look. There’s no need to sacrifice comfort and beauty for durability. My perfect color palette definitely starts with a selection of these fabrics.

Fabrics from Perennials: 1) Bird Tracks in Nantucket; 2) Plushy in Linen; 3) Classico in Lagoon; 4) Vibes in Bone

For furniture, I really love teak for sturdiness and heft, as well as it’s simple good looks. The Poolside Collection from Sutherland Furniture is my personal preference. The seat cushions are made of flow-through foam so water moves through them instead of soaking them, which means they dry quickly after a summer rain.

Photo courtesy of Sutherland Furniture

I’d then choose to complement the teak furniture with wicker for a textured, layered look. Restoration Hardware‘s Biscayne Collection, particularly the chaise, would suit me just fine. Upholstered in Perennials fabric, the furniture becomes maintenance-free, weatherproof, comfortable and so lovely.

Photo courtesy of Restoration Hardware

Like I said, my ideal outdoor room would be a place to host gatherings. With groups in mind, I’d install a long trestle table. Along one side of the table, I’d place a bench. Besides adding something different, a bench is a great seating option for kids who tend to come and go many times throughout a meal or party. The header chairs would differ from the chairs along the other side of the table for added interest, and I’d definitely stick with fun, sturdy tableware that can stand-up to outside use.

My ideal outside space would absolutely include a fireplace. Nothing compares to the light and ambience of a fire on a New England night outdoors, when the setting sun usually brings cooler temperatures. Lighting a fire invites guests to linger over conversation and sets a more intimate mood for the gathering. Even without guests, you can enjoy the romance of the fireplace along with a great glass of wine or bond with your family over s’mores.

Design by Amy Aidinis Hirsch. Photo by Neil Landino.

There are a couple of other pieces I’d have to add to my perfect outdoor area. Dedon has these fantastic Nest Rests, which can hang from a tree branch or rest right on the ground. Everyone should have one of these to bring back their inner child!

Nest Rests. Photo courtesy of Dedon

Dedon also has the super cool City Camp Garden Swing by designer Annette Hinterwirth that would have to be part of my ultimate outside room.

Garden swing. Photo courtesy of Dedon.

I’d also add an African table fabricated of cast stone from Sutherland Furniture’s reproductions of the great John Dickinson’s work.

Photo courtesy of Sutherland Furniture

Because I’d be entertaining, the Peninsula Bar Cart by Terry Hunziker for David Sutherland is a must!

Photo courtesy of Sutherland Furniture

Finally, I’d round out my outdoor retreat with some incredible accessories. David Sutherland has a line of table and floor lamps designed to shed light on even the most remote areas of your yard. These battery-operated lamps can go anywhere and look great. And, of course, with shades covered in Perennials fabric, fading and wear aren’t going to diminish the looks of the lamps from one season to the next.

Photo courtesy of Sutherland Furniture

Imagine the effect of handsome furniture, a custom rug suited to the outdoors, a blazing fireplace, and table and floor lamps, all in an outside space. What you have is truly an extension of your home and a wonderful place to relax, enjoy company, or while away summer days and nights with your family.

Design by Amy Aidinis Hirsch. Photo by Neil Landino

Amy Aidinis Hirsch

Amy Aidinis Hirsch is an interior designer based in Greenwich, Connecticut. She writes the blog bSpoke. “Keeping an idea book of materials, references, photos and sources isn’t at all a new concept among designers,†she writes. “Taking that inspiration and sharing it with a wider audience was the logical next step and is how bSpoke came into existence.â€