Done well, eclectic furniture collections create texture and warmth. And intrigue. To Jack Ovadia, there’s beauty in being bold. “Never be afraid to try,” the New York-based designer said. “The harder you try, the better the results.”
And so Ovadia balanced glistening metallic pieces with expressive textural works in designing the poolside seating area at the 2015 Hampton Designer Showhouse.
Mixing two collections, he set a foundation in hard metals. Then he softened the scene with texture, using woven wicker seating, sphere-shaped and shaggy pillows, and dimensional table accents.
Within that framework, balance perpetuated. Glamorous gold accent pieces offset clean, white leather seating. Matte finishes juxtaposed with shiny ones. Pillows ranged from sharp geometric patterns to soft floral prints, from fluffy feathers to Pollock-esque paint splatters.
Working exclusively with our contemporary Porta Forma line, Ovadia placed artful accents everywhere. Dramatic, angular Pascal Tables made a riveting statement poolside.
“They’re the piece that people say, ‘Wow, what is that?’ ” Ovadia said of the Pascal Tables. “That’s what I love about the space. We used really unique pieces that we don’t think you’re going to be able to see anywhere else.”
Artful elements aside, the goal was warmth – figurative and literal. Seated round the hammered copper firepit, as the sun sets poolside, there’s plenty to admire. “When people use this space,” Ovadia said, “I want them to feel like they never have to leave.”
“That’s what I love about the space. We used really unique pieces that we don’t think you’re going to be able to see anywhere else.”
Here’s a trade secret. One of the easiest and most dramatic ways to transform a room is by adding a showstopping rug.
Faster than a coat of paint, an area rug instantly adds color and texture … and easily can be switched with the seasons. Speaking of, we love the idea of changing the palette and ambience of a room in the fall and spring: from warm and welcoming to cool and crisp … and it’s easily accomplished with just a new rug and pillows.
Today’s rugs do more than pay homage to ages-old Persian designs. They’re becoming fashion statements in their own right. Emboldened by their couture counterparts, weavers are remastering the classic rugs – enlivening them with splashes of adventurous color or creating new patterns that exude transitional sophistication.
New hues and designs make these rugs feel fresh and contemporary. And, in an antidote to our flat-screen world, their sculptural pile brings a sense of texture and real-world warmth. In fact, these days weavers are creating high and low relief patterns that are handwoven into the design, rather than cut in after the fact. Making them highly livable … with artful, organic texture that begs you to walk all over them.
So as cooler weather sets in, it’s time to fill your rooms with personality and pizzazz by adding a fashion-statement rug.
If you need help with measuring, read our Decorating with Rugs: Softness and Style Underfoot article.
Tip: no matter what type of rug you use, place a rug pad underneath to help keep it in place and extend its life.
When designing bar stools, Eric Homan believes in love at first sight. People know immediately if a chair appeals to them.
Yet as Frontgate’s senior director of product development & design, Eric focuses on the lifestyle value as much as the look. Where does the bar stool meet the back of your leg? How does the thickness of the seat’s foam relate to the board underneath? How much weight can be put on the chair’s stretchers?
“A lot of time is spent on the details, because they set us apart,” he said. “The design choices are intentional and deliberate, because this is an investment for the customers and you want to be proud of it.”
Frontgate prides itself on the craftsmanship and quality of every bar stool, made to specifications superior to industry standards. Each boasts its own artistry – be it handcarved details in refined chairs like Provencal Grapes, designer fabric-and-leather combinations in our new custom bar stool series, or evocative textures like the seat caning and leather hand-binding on the tropical Wailea.
For each bar stool, the average time from concept to finished product is a year, Eric said. He and his fellow designers begin with a direction suggested by merchants – a coastal bar stool, for instance. Then the designers discuss what geographical areas or elements inspire them, and consider the colors, patterns and textures that are trending. Sketches begin. Refinement comes in terms of the chair’s proportions and materials.
Computer-assisted design printouts and 3D modeling programs advance the project progress to the sampling stage; it takes about four months to produce a high-quality sample. Two or three rounds of revisions, each requiring the careful production of new samples, perfect the design.
Frontgate also revisits existing products to meet the brand’s ever-increasing standards. For instance, we found a way to improve the materials and increase the amount of detailed carvings in the Provencal Grapes and Rooster stools – all without raising the cost.
Spend time with Eric, and you’ll get an education on mortise-and-tenon joints, ball bearings and wood substrates. The only key lesson: Those details matter.
“Ultimately,” he said, “the finished product is going to have to exceed our customers’ expectations.”
We’ll miss it. The earthy scent of freshly mown grass. Open windows. A breeze that breathes through the curtains. The clink-clink of ice tumbling into glasses and frosty beads of sweat promising cool comfort. We will miss summer soon enough.
So let’s celebrate its last balmy nights with the fête it deserves: an Indian summer dinner party with candles, romance and plenty of red, white and rosé. Tell your guests all they need to bring is good conversation.
It’s a misconception that an elegant gathering takes days of planning and lots of fuss. Outline a simple but special menu like grilled pepper jack and avocado quesadillas to start. Then serve suave skewers of shrimp and prosciutto and a festive Moroccan carrot salad with spicy lemon dressing.
Now set the stage. Pick a spot for the table where you and your guests will be comfortable sitting for hours. Gather a loose bouquet of freshly cut roses and make it a focal point. Bring out the china and glassware, linen runner or posh placemats. It’s wonderful how the tenor of the moment shifts into the realm of the uncommon with small touches like these.
Involve your welcome guests. Before the sun slips low on the horizon, invite them to carry something to the table. One brings the napkins, another a stack of salad plates, yet another the wine.
And have them light the candles. Quantity is key here. Scatter votives haphazardly around the table. Dot the landscape with lanterns. Place hurricane-topped pillars on the porches, patios and poolside like stationary fireflies. Your guests will find the task of lighting all of them a playful, celebratory scavenger hunt. Passersby will notice the happy illumination and yearn to be invited—some enchanted evening must be happening there.
Yes, it is an occasion that comes around once a year: Indian summer. Our chance to give the season we love so much a proper send-off.
Tackle every outdoor fête with grace using inspiration from our Pinterest board.
Courtesy of Food & Wine
1/4 cup harissa
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
4 lbs carrots, julienned on a mandolin or coarsely shredded in a food processor (about 12 cups)
2 cups raisins
4 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves
1lb feta, crumbled
In a large bowl, whisk the harissa with the lemon juice. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Add the carrots, raisins, parsley and feta to the dressing and toss well. Serve lightly chilled or at room temperature.
The carrot salad can be made without the feta and parsley and refrigerated for up to 6 hours; add the feta and parsley just before serving. The lemon dressing can be refrigerated overnight.
Harissa is a chile paste used in Tunisia and Morocco. It is available in jars and tubes from specialty food shops.