Outdoor Living 2012

Create a beautiful alfresco environment that can enhance whatever strikes your mood.


This Alaqua home’s lanai sets the stage for a cool, calm and collected space that’s perfect for outdoor entertaining and relaxing.

Who says neutrals must be shades of beige?On this lovely Alaqua home’s lanai, palest celadon serves as the palette base for a serene living, dining and entertaining area. The soft green is an ideal neutral for the Century furnishings’ deep-cushioned upholstery, as well as for the glazed tiles that form the backsplash for the summer kitchen. A closer look at the tiles reveals a subtle reference to the splashing waters of the pool in the tiles’ Grecian wave-pattern motif.

Seating, lounging and dining areas are clearly defined in this cool, calm and collected space. A contrasting rug anchors the main conversation area, while visual unity is achieved with the use of light-as-air green throughout.



Patios With Pizazz

On some lanais, it’s the architectural details, not the furnishings, that take center stage.


Designed by Jose J. Cabrera of CL Studio in Orlando, the gracious outdoor area boasts clearly delineated yet free-flowing spaces where family members and guests can lounge, mingle and graze. The classic Italian ceramic tabletop was found by the home-owners, a prominent Orlando eye surgeon and his wife, in the tiny hilltop town of San Gimignano, Italy, outside of Florence. Its intricate pattern helped to dictate the lanai’s range of hues. The tabletop’s rich umber, cobalt, celadon and terracotta shades can be found throughout the setting, including on the metal-framed furniture’s cushions and accent pillows, wall tiles and ceramic pots. Many of the pots, planters and vessels were purchased at Via Garden on Orange Avenue in Orlando.

The beauty of using a shade such as celadon as the space’s anchor color is that it plays off the sparkling blues of the pool and variegated greens of the potted plants that crop up here and there in the expansive area. And just as green leaves naturally frame and enhance blooms of every hue, the green of the lanai’s upholstery perfectly complements the pops of color in the pottery and pillows, no matter what their shade. Today, the accent pillows reflect the red-hot Tangerine Tango color trend (see “Tangerine Theme,” page 58) in an outdoor-friendly, animal-print velvet, but a completely different color could be introduced tomorrow with equally strong results.

The lanai isn’t so large that the atmosphere is sterile and unfriendly; instead, intimate areas carved into the space create a sense of commonality and camaraderie. A simple rotation of a chair or two around the dining table instantly brings diners into conversation with those on the sofa or in lounge groupings, linking all of the lanai’s activities. It’s a compelling argument for smaller spaces and thoughtfully planned furniture placement over expansive areas with unconnected groupings.

Sometimes it takes a little rule-breaking and eschewing of the predictable to achieve a successful outdoor design. Green and welcoming edges out beige and impersonal every time.



The WOW Factor

Architect Phil Kean ratchets up a pool’s impact with a single dramatic feature.

It’s the sort of thing that makes you stop and stare: a poolside table that’s suddenly transformed with the press of a button into a free-flowing waterfall. Water flows beneath the table’s smooth glass surface and cascades into the pool, introducing movement and ambient sound into an otherwise static space.

Constructed of a stainless steel frame cantilevered into a concrete wall, the table appears to float in midair. The waterfall is sandwiched between a pair of glass sheets, so both the top and bottom surfaces of the table remain dry as water pours from one end of the table into the pool. At night, the area is bathed in colorful LED lights.

Kean, the principal owner of Phil Kean Designs, an architecture, construction and interiors firm in Winter Park, spied a similar feature in an Australian landscape magazine and decided to re-create it for his own Winter Park home’s pool. Kean says he couldn’t give a cost for a “waterfall table” because each has to be custom made. Since the pool area is surrounded by a high wall, Kean wanted to create what he calls a “wow” element to make up for the lack of a view: “If you have a view, then you wouldn’t want to detract from the view, but if not a lot is going on, a ‘wow’ feature can create a little drama,” he says.

With a kinetic water display like this, who needs a view?




Fiery elements enhance the ambience of outdoor water features.


When you put water and flames together in a pool setting, instead of one dousing the other as would happen naturally, the two elements actually intensify each other. The reflective quality of water amplifies fire’s movement and energy, creating a play of shadow and light that enlivens the alfresco scene.

First came the fire pit trend for outdoor living, and then someone had the bright idea to actually incorporate fiery elements as pool features. Now flaming accents set near or even in water (above and right, respectively) are adding lively flair to our aquatic retreats. Other popular features include fire troughs and vessels, as well as torches and columns topped with fire. Waterfalls and other moving water features, either adjacent to or on either side of a fire element, are also top options, underscoring the contrast between flickering fire’s heat and the cool, quenching quality of water.

Such fire elements are typically powered by propane or natural gas delivered through pipes concealed by faux rock, stucco or concrete. They can be turned on with the flip of a switch or the push of a remote button. Custom homebuilder and remodeler Victor Farina, president of Farina and Sons in Orlando, says that such features can add between $1,500 and $4,000 to the cost of a pool.

“All the designers are trying to find a way to get that flame out there; it’s a nice added feature to have,” says Farina. “It’s all part of the ambience outside.”



What's 'IN' Outside

Goodbye, vanilla. This year’s outdoor living trends celebrate color, shape and texture.  Nothing boring here.

For summer 2012, it’s time to take some risks with your patio area. Just one dramatic investment piece can take your outdoor living space from snoozeville to exciting, so get your bold on and make a statement. Here are some ideas to liven up your lanai, porch or deck.

Color your world: Energizing, fun colors add zing to the great outdoors, says Janet Medlock, manager of Fireplace & Verandah in Orlando. “Color is just huge. Every shade of turquoise, oranges, lime greens; beautiful things,” she says. And the presence of all colors in one—white—is a popular counterpoint to all of those vibrant hues. Copa Cabana sectional, $6,300 at Euro Living (eurolivingfurniture.com), Orlando


Gimme shelter: Seating with built-in canopies, umbrellas with built-in lighting or heating elements, and other shadow casters are not only current, but also eminently practical in the Sunshine State. Tuuci umbrellas and shades start at $895 at Apenberry’s (apenberrys.com), College Park

Shades of gray: If bold and bright isn’t your thing, gray from lightest ash to charcoal is a trendy option. “It’s very modern and very popular for outdoors,” says Issa Jaber, owner of Euro Living in Orlando. “Gray works well for the contemporary aesthetic.” Mykonos collection (left), $690-$2,310 at Ted Maines Interiors (tedmainesinteriors.com), Winter Park.

Shape up: Sleek, sexy and curved: Wouldn’t we all like to fit that description while beside the pool? Well, at least there are furniture pieces that fit the bill. Shapely, sensuous silhouettes are very au courant, says Eric Apen, owner of Apenberry’s in College Park: “It’s the biggest trend we’ve seen. People see the look at upscale hotel pools and want to bring it home.” The Swim chaise lounge by Brown Jordan starts at $1,685 at Apenberry’s, College Park.
Details, details: Boring surfaces fall flat in 2012. Textured, patterned and complex tabletops, faux leathers and stones, and other touchable, tactile finishes distinguish this year’s dining and side tables. Tamarack Side Table with Cocoa Beach LeeStone top from O.W. Lee, $799 at Fireplace & Verandah (fireplaceandverandah.com), Orlando.
Quick-change artistry: One of today’s popular (and affordable) ways to change the look of your outdoor space is to start with a neutral base and add pillows. Switch them out whenever the mood strikes. Pillows, $59 each, and Laguna sofa, $3,100; both at Euro Living, Orlando
Lighten up: Outdoor lighting has come, well, light years in terms of looks. Sleek pendants, cool and cordless solar pieces, and lamps that would look right at home indoors are among today’s stylish choices. Great JJ outdoor floor lamp (right), $7,155, Liquid Light Drop (center), $414, and Pod Lens Pendants (far right), $171 each; all at olighting.com



Tangerine Theme

The 2012 Color of the Year launches a fresh-squeezed variety of citrus-hued outdoor décor.

Each year, style prognosticators, Parisian runway mavens and home décor designers all wait breathlessly for Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, to announce the annual Color of the Year. Will it be a cautiously optimistic shade, like last year’s pretty-in-pink Honeysuckle, or serene and restrained, like the Turquoise of 2010? For 2012, Eiseman went brash and bold with Tangerine Tango, a vivid hue that has brought out a crush of bright orange shades in exterior home furnishings and décor. Here are some examples:

Arabian Nights
The translucent beading of the Marrakech hanging lamp by Four Hands gives off a warm, citrusy glow when illuminated. $250; Lightstyle of Orlando (lightstyleoforlando.com), Burlap Home (burlaphome.com), Orlando
Have a Seat
With its simple silhouette, the Flamingo stool can do double duty as a seat or as a small side table. $18.95; Crate & Barrel, The Mall at Millenia, and crateandbarrel.com 
Suspended Animation
The Podasan hanging chair’s two-toned woven frame embraces an inviting orange interior. $399.95 at Pier 1 Imports, pier1.com
All Washed Up  
Add a splash of tangerine to your outdoor bar area with an Incandescence glass vessel sink. $429-$455; go to decolav.com for a list of Orlando-area suppliers
Raise a Glass
A graduate of UCF’s fine arts program, artist Jennifer Lachtara creates ceramic tabletop pieces, including this pair of “Sunny Disposition” white wine chalices. $47 each; lacharts.etsy.com
All Set
Geo-patterned placemat-and-napkin sets combine cool cream and warm sunset orange. $27.80-$39.80 at
Z Gallerie (zgallerie.com), Millenia Crossing, Orlando



Recipe for a Perfect Outdoor Kitchen

Here are the ingredients for a complete alfresco cooking area.

  1. If your budget is tight, allocate the greatest percentage to the grill. Go to a retailer that specializes in a wide selection of top names—Aggressive Appliances in Orlando (800-321-6903; aggressiveappliances.com), for example.
  2. Refrigeration is a key component, and if your space and budget allow, consider a dual-temperature wine refrigerator or an icemaker, as well.
  3. Stainless steel doors and drawers conceal storage areas and provide access to electrical, fuel and plumbing elements.
  4. Allow for as much prep space as possible. You’ll save time, steps and hassle if you can prepare food right next to the cooking area.
  5. Be sure to include task lighting, especially for the grill, so you can clearly see the level of doneness as you cook.
  6. Side burners are a practical add-on for full outdoor meal prep. They’re also handy for keeping some items warm while you’re serving others.
  7. A water source is another must, and having a spigot nearby just isn’t adequate. Include a small stainless steel bar sink for food prep and cleanup.
  8. This structure by Outdoor Kitchen Creations in Ocoee is made of poured-in-place concrete—a big plus when building a kitchen outdoors, especially if it’s near a chlorinated pool, which gives off corrosive fumes.



Pool Party

Cool playthings and accessories for in and around the pool.

Chips ’n Dip
Pro-Chip Island Golf provides you with the ultimate water hazard. Float the target green in your pool and chip to it from the deck. The handy carry bag holds the green, 12 balls in four different colors, a chipping pad and an 18th-hole flag. $50.95; swimways.com
Have a Ball
They look like simple white or clear orbs—until you drop them in the pool and turn them on with a remote. Then, these floating, battery-powered LED spheres from Patio Living Concepts transform into an ever-changing kaleidoscope of colors: red, blue, green and every shade in between. $215 for a set of three at Pinch A Penny stores
Bug Out
Keep pesky skeeters from invading your outdoor space with the decorative Terminix ALLCLEAR Mosquito Mister Lantern. The natural lemongrass formula repels 95 percent of biting bugs in a 300-square-foot area. $79.99 at True Value and Ace Hardware stores
Get the pool party started with the battery-powered Tiki Bubble Machine. Simply fill it with bubble mixture, and it’ll blow bubbles out of its mouth for hours. $34.99 at Party City, partycity.com
All aboard the U.S.S. Chill Floating Beverage Cooler. It’ll keep as many as 12 12-ounce bottles or 10 12-ounce cans on ice and on hand as you relax in the pool or spa. Works just as well on dry land, too. $119.50; frontgate.com
Green & Glam
Made of recycled plastic and using solar power to create a luminous glow, SOULUXE planters are environmentally chic. Don’t have a green thumb? Use one instead as a freestanding light sculpture or beverage cooler. $150-$420; kuldesigns.com


Categories: Features