Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Deadline Decorating

Am I the only person who decorates her home's interiors first and deals with the outdoor part later? For the past three weeks, I've sequestered myself inside in order to meet a few deadlines, and the entire time I kept looking out the window at my poor, neglected balcony. Wouldn't my grotto chairs look a lot nicer with a chic outdoor fabric? (They came with Naugahyde. Who the heck puts cheap vinyl on elegant grotto chairs??) How about a tablecloth for my bistro table? And trellis- that would be awfully nice.

It's really crazy that I live in Atlanta and don't have a balcony dressed to the nines. After all, it never gets too cold here, so one can entertain outdoors about nine months out of the year. I'm turning over a new leaf, though. What I realized is that the promise of a party is what forces you to get your house- and balcony- whipped into shape. Like I said a few weeks ago, I'm having a party for my sister in August (I will continue to mention this because once something is in print, you can't go back on it.) I've also mentioned it to many of her friends as a kind of save the date thing, although to me it's a "You better get your act together and finish what you've started... or else."

I've pulled lots of photos as inspiration for my sadly neglected balcony. Can I get it together in two months? Well, do I have any choice?

I've been taken with this balcony since I first saw the photo over ten years ago. The wrought iron furniture, the sculpture, those oversized hurricanes... perfection. I think I have my work cut out for me.

"Supper on a Romantic Terrace". First, can I call my high-rise balcony a terrace? It sounds much nicer. Anyway, truth be told, I wouldn't add those butterflies to my tablesetting because I just don't go to that much trouble in my decorating. However, I would add white lights to my boxwoods (that I have yet to buy), and if I had plain patio chairs I would consider painting them in faux-marbre.

I'd nix the wooden fence- for some reason, it looks a little Trader Vic's to me. But I do love those chairs and the black and white tablecloth with pink napkins. Perhaps I've found the color scheme for my party?

Obviously, this ballroom is far grander than my outdoor space, but isn't all of that treillage just beautiful?? Elsie de Wolfe designed this space for Bessie Marbury.

Awnings are always right for a balcony, and I do like those graphic stripes.

Two months and counting...the pressure is on.

Image at top: Technically, the old Garden Lounge at Hampshire House wasn't outdoors, but Dorothy Draper's handiwork could certainly work on a patio or balcony.

(Image 1: In the Pink: Dorothy Draper--America's Most Fabulous Decorator. Images 2 & 3: Tiffany Table Settings. Image 4: HOUSE AND GARDEN'S NEW COMPLETE GUIDE TO INTERIOR DECORATION: FIFTH EDITION. Image 5:Manhattan Style. Image 6:House & Garden's Complete Guide to Interior Decoration


  1. Welcome back to the blogosphere-you've been missed!

  2. Thanks! It's good to be back.

  3. Welcome back!

    I have a 12x12 back "garden" and am trying to perk it up a little this year.

  4. Oh you will get it together. You have some great inspiration going for you.August is far enough away that you have lots of time to plan,plan,plan,
    Good luck! I look forward to seeing the results of all your hard work!

  5. I too spend more time thinking about the interior than exterior. As a result, my deck of my living room has one dead arrangement of lilacs and a dying plant! In my defense, we're waiting for the decks to be painted, but, am not convinced that thing would be better either way!

  6. Deadlines help. I, too, neglect outside for in. I'm having a party in, yikes!, a week. I am a little bit praying for rain. I love the black and white - those chairs are terrific. Speaking of, we need a peek at those grotto chairs!

    Glad you're back.

  7. You are so right - there is nothing like a party to light a fire under your deadline!

    It happens all the time with clients when we are starting a project. We are given that line "oh and we're hosting a party for 100 people" haha

  8. You are inspiring me to get to work on my back yard patio--maybe find something similar to Trina Turk's super cabanas. Once again, glad that you have returned.

  9. I think all of us suffer from uncared for patios, porches and backyards right now! I keep looking at my planting beds that surprisingly have some flowers leftover from last season, but it is by far more neglected than flourishing right now! Good luck!

  10. A party is in order! I think that might get me going also. Great idea.

    In all the pictures and reading I have done I keep going back to fabric. Fabric in an outdoor space is so luxurious. I want to put loads of it all around my pergola but where to find something that isn't $40+ a yard?! What are some out-of-the box fabric alternatives?

  11. Hi Jennifer-

    Welcome back!

    It's great to read your posts once more.

    Love the Trina Turk cabanas as well as your terrace ideas posted.

    Looking forward to many more elegant and insightful posts. Cheers!

  12. Jennifer -- I'm so excited that you have a city balcony. I think that's absolutely perfect for you. I can just see all the Tiffany Table Settings things you could do!

  13. AmyAnne- If you Google "outdoor fabric", you'll find that there are lots of websites that sell discounted Sunbrella and prints as well. You'd be surprised at how inexpensive some of these fabrics are- and a lot of them aren't bad looking in person either.

  14. You're back ( in rare form I might say!) Love anything with a Duquette reference. Thanks for making me happy!

  15. I love these chic looks for the outdoors! Pillows by Lauren Designs would look great with many of the themes posted above, check them out: http://www.chdmag.com/daily-finds/2009/05/26/pillow-talk-ida-laurén-designs

  16. IT is true that there is nothing like a deadline to get you to your goal! When you came over to my place I worked for days to put all of the final touches on.
    In a way it is really worth it- as then when it is all over you are done and you have something to feel really proud over. Have a wonderful party for Laura!