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The good weather’s here, and ideas for decorating your home are blossoming too - but now’s the time to shift the focus outdoors. After all, the perfect summer is one spent mostly outside. And, strange though it seems, an interior designer can do exteriors too: in fact it’s a skill that’s increasingly in demand.
Outdoor space is even more precious for those who don’t have much time to spend at home: it’s a refuge and an escape. Hence the need for specific design skills, which can interpret the client’s lifestyle and create spaces that are beautiful to live in and easy to maintain.
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Tips & Hints from LOVEThESIGN, inspired by Andrea
Indeed, who says summer’s only for the beach or the lake? A town house too can be the ideal spot to enjoy the sunshine that lasts well into the evening at this time of year. And I know all about it: I’ve planned and supervised plenty of outdoor refurbishments in urban settings, all of them different and always bespoke projects, because every home - like every family - is unique.
My work has brought me into contact with many people who, like me, have chosen their homes because of the outdoor space they offer. Taking care of your plants, inviting friends for dinner, seeing your four-legged friend running free, practising yoga under the sky: these are priceless moments, and they require an appropriate setting. Investing in bespoke fittings and made-to-measure furniture doesn’t only mean improving the quality of your leisure time: a professionally-designed outdoor space increases the overall value of your home and improves its positioning on the property market.
On the subject of outdoor living, I’m biased, but for a good reason. I live on the fifth floor of a 1920s apartment block - but before that I lived on the second floor. So what happened?
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Tips & Hints from LOVEThESIGN, inspired by Andrea
I’d been looking for a home with a large terrace for some time, so that I could have an open-air living space, but the only apartment for sale at the time was on the second floor. Having viewed eight different apartments, I decided the area was worthwhile regardless: I started the work. which lasted a year, and six months after I moved in…the top floor of the block came up for sale! It was an opportunity I couldn’t miss.
Having a space like this in the city is a privilege that should be taken full advantage of. To start with, a table and some chairs for open-air dining are all you need - and obviously a sun bed and a coffee table for relaxation. But the secret is to consider the terrace as an extension of the house, rather than a separate entity; and the same care should be taken in its planning. High quality flooring and surfaces, wall decorations, clever lighting and fine fabrics make the difference between any old balcony and the perfect outdoor space.
To demonstrate just how close the indoor-outdoor relationship is, I decided to do something different for this year’s Fuorisalone. PRE-FABulous was an ambitious project: I decided to revolutionise the concept of the prefabricated house to show that with enough care and preparation, it can become the perfect contemporary residence.
The project occupies a surface area of more than 200 square metres, more than half of which is garden, resulting in a genuinely refined villa. In this space immersed in greenery, there’s no distinction between indoors and outdoors; instead, there’s integration. Thanks to large windows and specially made furniture and lighting, the shift from interior to exterior is not abrupt and discontinuous, but flows naturally, as do the finishes, for which I chose wonderful materials such as solid wood and marble, while the paint on the walls is made from natural substances like oil and clay.
Without forgetting the fact that indoor and outdoor have different needs, it all works together to benefit the entire house. I decided to use solid wood and X-Lam cross-laminated timber panels containing a special fibreglass insulation material and, on the outer surfaces, a particular ventilated layer in wood fibre, to maintain constant levels of humidity and temperature inside and give considerable energy savings. Naturally, I didn’t neglect the matter of security: I designed a system of reinforced doors and alarms to ensure the well-deserved tranquility of whoever may live in a space like this.
A neglected terrace not only looks ugly, it’s also unpleasant to live in. As you prepare your outdoor space for enjoyable gatherings and long summer days, it’s vital to balance style and comfort in order to create a place that’s inviting and always impeccable.
Wickerwork chairs or wooden benches: great choices that can become perfect with a couple of carefully-placed cushions. Now’s the time to choose fun prints and play with colours: it’s the season for clashing patterns!
Outdoor accessories require the same amount of attention as those in the living room. Rearranging the layout of your living room to reflect the atmosphere on the terrace is a masterful touch: a sofa facing armchairs and coffee table create the ideal spot for relaxation.
This summer the look is Cali Style. A string of lights over the table, strategically-placed maxi lanterns and candles: little details that’ll make your outdoor space even more inviting.
I only need to imagine them gently swaying in the breeze and I feel more relaxed. For a classy look: choose the lightest of fabrics and pale colours.
A detail that’s poetic and super chic at one and the same time. Hanging from a branch if it’s outside, or inside but facing a large window, the classic swing with braided ropes immediately brings back that childhood sensation of freedom.
See you next month in these pages. If you want to be sure not to miss my next project, enter your email address in this form. See you soon!
Inspired by Andrea’s fantastic work, here are the LOVEThESIGN team’s suggestion based on Mission Outdoor.
Paris Mon Amour
Michele De Lucchi & Giancarlo Fassina
Thomas Kaiser - Christian Wassermann