Have you noticed how food tastes a little better when you are outside? You feel the sun warm your back, a light breeze travel through your hair, and you can watch the world continue about its business while you linger over a crisp pinot grigio.
But we wouldn’t be Southwest Floridians if we just threw down a picnic blanket and a cooler of sandwiches on the closest patch of grass. Not after having redefined eating outdoors into a lifestyle and motivating manufacturers to produce beautiful, yet functional, merchandise.
When selecting the latest outdoor dining products, we looked to Tina M. Margrander, interior designer, and Aniko Brittingham, project leader at Vince Muller Interior Design in Bonita Springs, for tips. They have just completed the latest outdoor living showroom on the third floor of the International Design Center. The space reflects the new trend in interior design that prefers uncomplicated and fluid silhouettes, and strategically uses color to create interest.
“We have had the heavy Mediterranean look for so long; everyone is looking for something different now,” Brittingham says. “The new look of cleaner lines and fresher colors is starting to become popular.”
Here we offer the designers’ suggestions—and a few of our own—for updating your outdoor space.
Table Your Desire
While some people are trending toward square tables for a casual, yet intimate feel, we could not ignore the sophistication of this rectangular dining table, from the CANASTA collection by MaxAlto at B&B Italia Outdoor, $7,200 table and $1,875 chair at the International Design Center in Estero.
Looks a Little Shady
The Cabrio Pavillion can be customized to your specifications with nine fabric colors to choose from, and optional curtains can be constructed from one of six different materials. Contact Jardin de Ville at the International Design Center in Estero for sizing and pricing options. Dining pieces pictured are from the Mayfair Collection, also available at Jardin de Ville.
Buds for Life
Skip the unwieldy flower arrangement and try a few evenly spaced petite vases for a cohesive, uncluttered tabletop look that won’t interrupt your conversation. The fun Hopper Dot vase is available at Kate Spade at Waterside Shops for $75 each.
Step up to the Plate
Square plates may be the new round, but the new white is, thankfully, still white. “The square plates are more of an Asian flair,” Brittingham says. “And it fits into a contemporary feel.” Java Dish Collection, starting at $16 per piece, is carried by Z Gallerie at Mercato in Naples.
According to Margrander and Brittingham, the Nito Hurricane accessorizes the most important element in entertaining: lighting. “Whether your style is traditional, contemporary or anything in between, hurricane candle holders can work in so many ways,” says Margrander. Priced at $59 and available at Williams-Sonoma at Waterside Shops in Naples.
Kim Seybert’s tabletop linens were so breathtakingly unique that it was difficult to choose just one to feature. “An inexpensive way to change out the whole look of a dining room table is just by changing the linens,” Brittingham says. We ended up falling for Coral Crush, $20–$450, offered by Gattle’s on Third Street, Naples.
Bright daylight reveals deep aubergine hues hiding in the dark. Florence pitcher from the Black Glass Drinkware Collection by Juliska; $195 at Gattle’s in Naples.