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  • Writer's pictureAshlyn Hernandez

Take it Outside

It's the middle of June, you're probably two rosés deep at a rooftop bar in the Lower East Side, and you can't help but notice how aesthetically pleasing (yep, I said that phrase) that cocoon-shaped wicker chair you're posted up on is. Haven't you noticed how greater life gets when you can finally break out of that hibernation zone and take your pretty little brightly dressed self outside of those walls? Well, everyone's all smiles now wherever I look.

In the last couple months of working at RH (ya girl's been absorbing some product knowledge and sales skills in the meantime, for those who didn't know), I've grown a deeper understanding and appreciation for outdoor furniture and environments. Chillin' indoors is cool (literally), but wouldn't you like to sit outside for a change? I mean, lately our summers in the Northeast are unpredictable... one day we have sunny clear skies and then BOOM! We're covered in a 3-inch blanket of pristine snow the next day. *Sigh.* Well, that was more of a March thing, but the point is to enjoy the great outdoors as much as you can.

To me, the ability to bring the indoors out is pretty fascinating and it's really quite simple. It's proven that a well-designed interior enhances the lives of those in it. It will help you feel all "zen" inside, comfort you, and, for a residential client, reflect your personality. In commercial and hospitality spaces, the interior will reflect the company and/or development and the vibe it's going for. You can do the same thing outside, and that's something that has been popping up more and more in recent times just like a Starbucks on every block of Manhattan. Rooftop lounges are in popular demand to be placed in apartment buildings and hotels, whether they are high-rises or not. Many of these even include a bar. Or that one villa in the Amalfi Coast with the infinity pool you are dying to spend your life savings on (a girl can dream, right?).

In addition to the traditional rattan pieces, we now have access to various great materials such as teak, aluminum, and all-weather wicker. We've stepped outside our comfort zone and developed new designs for outdoor furniture. New shapes, more curves, less curves, lower seating (OK, maybe not the best choice for a place that's densely populated by an older-age demographic, but they're quite lovely and sleek)... the list goes on. Oh, and those cool oversized dome-shaped lounge pieces? Gorg.

Now, of course furniture is the first piece of the puzzle, but what can really make or break that territory is the choice of accessories. Unify that seating arrangement with a high performance rug featuring a sweet pattern, and pull the colors on it with some decorative pillows. Make sure you're in a well-lit scene at night by swinging some string lights above and across. Not your thing? Maybe some floor lanterns or lamps by the corners. Like s'mores? Swap that coffee table out with a fire table... it can set the mood to get cozy, too. ;)

Here are some of my favorite outdoor layouts and furniture...

RH's Marbella collection in slate aluminum makes the scene look fresh, clean, and sleek.

Modular pieces are cool because at one moment you can have a full-blown conversation about your buddy there going for their fourth Aperol Spritz, and the next you huddle all the pieces up and take a siesta under that shade.

Lots of texture can't hurt if you're smart about it. This Moroccan-inspired patio is sure to give a sense of warmth and comfort. *Yawn*

Okay, I've stumbled upon this image numerous times already, and a living space THAT'S SUNKEN INTO A POOL never ceases to amaze me. Bonus points if it's an infinity pool and you're sitting close to the edge.

This lil' number right here is none other than the rooftop bar at the Public Hotel on Chrystie Street. The design aesthetic and belief that less is more is translated from the inside to the outside. Well done again, Ian Schrager. Well done again.

Another RH collectible, the Olema Chair is like a modern take on the Adirondack Chair. Its low-to-the-ground pitched seat and cantilevered arms help you relax on an incline. Fire pit not included. Neither are the [seat and back] cushions.

This March, I had the privilege to visit my father's country of Cuba for the first time. Exciting! I had the pleasure of visiting the Hotel Nacional in Havana's neighborhood of El Vedado for a mojito. The furniture is sure to do the job situating a group conversation, but the architecture is a huge plus here because the loggia above provides shade and the arches act like frames, giving the viewer different "pictures" as they look out into the yard. Very peacock-friendly! Oh yes, there are peacocks roaming around.

Although this is a rendering, I am already in love with this space. Still under construction, The Duchess, a brand new residential development right on River Road in North Bergen, NJ, is sure to turn heads each time someone drives by the preview banner. I think they did a phenomenal job tying those chairs and bean bags into the nature concept because they look like leaves. The pergola with the ivy leaves alone makes me want to live there.

Welp, it's beautiful out and I'm off from work today, so I should probably practice what I preach and take myself to a swanky rooftop. Y'all have a great weekend!


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