Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Furniture for the roof garden

I've been mulling over the furniture for the roof garden for months but it's definitely time to commit and place some orders or we'll have nowhere to sit this summer and some of the vines that are already here will have nothing to climb.

There are basically three small "rooms" in the roof garden.  The first is the stone patio.  All along, I've wanted a narrow rectangular high top table to place as close as possible to the roof's railing and four counter height stools with backs - two placed side by side along the length of the table and one at each end of the table.  Originally, I had this in mind from Crate and Barrel, even though it's not designed for outdoor use (you'll notice my flagrant disregard of that concept throughout this post):
Well, when the patio was built, the green roofers made it smaller than we'd expected, which means more flowerbed along the railing, but less depth for a table - especially ones that you can't tuck the stools beneath.  The best alternative I've found so far has been this one, from ABC Carpet and Home:

Stools have been tricky.  I like the bentwood ones from CB (black? white? two of each?), but wouldn't risk them outside:

Something like this with a back miiiight be okay too - I like the way the slipcover cushions soften the look, and they are small enough not to take up too much space when stored indoors:

I think it might be simplest to get them custom made, but  it's looking like we should wait to buy a table and stools until next year, saving up until then.

The second garden "room" is to the right of the patio.  That's where I've always imagined having an outdoor daybed.   I love the idea of sleeping in a garden and of indoor furniture outside (in case you couldn't tell!)  I also like the idea of growing vines up the bedposts and into the bed's canopy: the sense that the garden is encroaching.  When I came across this photo in a recent issue of Architectural Digest, all I could think was "daybed thieves"...

...because prior to seeing it, I was thinking of something inspired by the canopy bed below, but sturdier, heavier, rust-proof and black:

Then I started to worry about the idea of a daybed.  First of all, my husband has insisted that a double bed would take too much space away from the garden and that we should just get a single.  But then he's troubled that we won't really both be able to sit on it together - or at least we'd be head to toe and it would be really tight.  Also, it's not exactly somewhere you can sit with a (platonic) friend.  Finally, we were attacked by the new Restoration Hardware phonebook-size catalogues last week.  I admired these in it:

A pair of them (with cushions) seems both functional and elegant.  I went by our local RH store yesterday to feel the cushion fabric swatches and placed an order, together with the cushions in their white "classic linen".  The delivery timeline is pretty nutty: not until mid-June, but I'm trying to tell myself that it will be mid-June in the blink of an eye (unfortunately).

Not wanting to give up on my idea of a canopy, I turned to the idea of a pergola.  I think the shape I'd originally had in mind needs to be modified to include a few more straight lines, in keeping with the fretwork on the backs of the chaise lounges.  So our ironworker is going to make us a small pergola inspired by the canopy on this bed:

I hope this chaise lounge plus pergola combination is the right way to go. 

I find that it can be really hard to make design decisions which seem unconventional/impractical but which are actually more functional for how you live your life.  I know that seems counter-intuitive because designers pride themselves on their unconventionality, but actually there are lots of assumptions about how certain spaces should be used.  In choosing the pair of chaises plus pergola option over the canopied daybed (perhaps double and/or with adjacent comfy chair), I hope I'm choosing the option that works better for our lifestyle, rather than just going along with how most people would think about the space.  The sense of feeling time pressure to decide also isn't helping.

The RBB's third garden room is to the left of the patio.  Originally I had thought of it as a plant-only space, but I know conventional garden design demands a place for someone to sit and enjoy the room.  Maybe a couple of arm chairs?  But I would also like to include a water feature in the garden and I wonder if there's some way to combine one with a place to perch.  If it we're for the weight concern, I'd do a tiny reflecting pool with an edge wide enough to sit on.  I want to give room number three some more thought and also let the garden reveal what it needs in time.

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