Welcome to Second Nature, a Q+A series with Jute founder, Ali Davin, that explores all things healthy living, with a fond emphasis on that thing she does best—interior design.
There’s a nip in the air, and it’s time to trade your rosé for a glass of red, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend the next six months indoors. Thanks to heat lamps and outdoor fireplaces (and down jackets), we can extend our time outside well into autumn.
While it’s never too early to start shopping for outdoor furniture, it’s never too late either. Here are our favorite resources for outdoor living.
We like more unique furniture with a boutique feel. Hollywood at Home took their indoor bestsellers and made them in teak and outdoor textiles. As a result, it has so much more character than regular outdoor furniture. Janus et Cie is a good resource because they have an in-stock program, so you don’t have to wait months for certain pieces. You can get really great, not mass-made furniture here. They also carry Tribù, which is a European line that we love. Lief is an antique dealer that has their own outdoor teak furniture line that’s made in L.A.—think very unique midcentury modern classics; we also love James Perse for teak. B&B Italia is really good all around, and for whimsical pieces to mix in with the rest of your furniture, Fermob, Rose Tarlow, and Nicky Kehoe all have really fun things.
Many of the above resources carry them but for something more custom, Santa Barbara Umbrella Company offers lots of options with scalloped edges and fun stripes—think Palm Beach. You can customize Shade Sails as well. A lot of clients love a motorized shade that you can attach to your house and retract when you don’t need it.
Generally there’s a lot of PVC involved, which we try to avoid, but we love Peter Fasano’s Everywhere Linen, which you can use indoors and out. He has really unique prints done by hand. Peter Dunham makes incredibly gorgeous printed outdoor textiles with a super-soft hand. Sunbrella is very durable and stands up to a ton of wear. We use this inside too, especially if people are coming in wet from the beach. I love outdoor rugs that don’t look like outdoor rugs, and Marc Philips just launched a line that’s exactly that. They’re almost exactly like their indoor styles.
Instead of a rug, you can use tile or pavers to define a space. Exquisite Surfaces has a ton of great stone for outdoors, particularly their Moroccan pavers and reclaimed terracotta tile. Tabarka Studio also has outdoor finishes in their gorgeous hand-painted terracotta. Popham has great designs in poured concrete. And for pools, we’ve been using Fireclay Tile a lot lately—it’s a good alternative to stone.
Limestone is the number-one material that we use for countertops, followed by granite, soapstone, marble, and poured concrete. Lava stone is great for counters, and you can also use it for outdoor bars and tables too. For cabinet pulls, Sun Valley Bronze develops a nice patina outside, and we do a lot of outdoor showers using their fixtures too.
I don’t suggest using your nicest tabletop stuff outside, but you don’t have to get melamine either. March has a ton of affordable earthenware and everyday glassware that, yes, you can use outside. I buy their Oaxacan glasses over and over again, and the Billy Cotton line is really well designed and priced. You can try Roman and Williams Guild—I love their tabletop, dinnerware, and glasses, and they also have a line of table linens that works outside. Healdsburg Shed has earthenware and pretty glasses that are simple and great for outdoors.
Lighting can really set the tone and anchor your space. Santa Barbara Lighting Company is my favorite source for classic Mediterranean or Californian-style lights like pendants and outdoor sconces, and they do indoor lighting too. Remains Lighting has more of a classic look with antique inspiration. Urban Electric Co. is another favorite; they’re based in Charleston and have a quirky collection of outdoor lights in a lot of great finishes. I also like to use Davey Lighting for traditional outdoor mast lights, which are a fun alternative to flood lights. They’re so affordable they’re great for multiple spaces, and you can find them at DWR too.
Planters, benches, fountains, and statues are a great way to make your outdoor space feel more personal. Inner Gardens has an amazing range of antique and reproduction objects, and Lucca Antiques is an unexpected place for outdoor accessories like old vessels and stone objects. For planters, March makes them in all sizes and materials for herbs up to trees, and Flora Grubb is a good source for basic planters that we mix in with the fancier ones. Galerie Half, Obsolete, and Galerie Provenance are all in L.A. and fun places to find truly unique decorative objects for outside.
Use furnishing, lighting, and décor to create separate living spaces outside.