Tag Archives: garden furniture

Very pleasing dimples

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I write this with my arse delightfully parked upon a splenderous thing. My very own garden sofa. It is a joy. My daughter and I sit together and read on it. I have had a little wine tete-a-tete aboard it and even a crafty afternoon kip.
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I love that it sits so perfectly alongside my Ikea chairs and side tables, all items resplendant in plastic with drainage holes for rain, and crucially nustles alongside my outdoor fireplace. It also has very pleasing dimples, that cleverly echo a Chesterfield sofa.
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Although garden furniture offerings remain, for the most part, pathetically staid and boring, a few retailers are upping their game. I guess it’s a natural result of us poncy middle classes wanking lyrically about turing the garden into an outdoor living EXPERIENCE. Whatever the reason I welcome it.
As with squishy indoor sofas the price points of the outdoor version can vary dramatically. I managed to negotiate a big discount on mine becuase I bought it in January at a trade sale and, as a sample, had to wait until it finished it’s globetrot around Europe. Joyfully it, and some welcome sunshine, arrived last week.

Habitat are selling some very cute outdoor sofas, and are offering 30% off outdoor furniture at the moment.Minaji comes in black and orange, £275. www.habitat.co.uk
Black 2 seater garden bench, £275.00
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For curves try Kartell Bubble Club Sofa, £613.00, www.connectionsathome.co.uk
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John lewis, Resol Bob sofa, £600, www.johnlewis.com
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Plastic Fantastic, POA, www.jspr.eu
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The very first outdoor sofa that I fell in love with is this concrete Chesterfield by Steve Jones. It is an exact replica of the original squishy leather version, down to creases in the cushions and a 50p coin partly stuffed down the back. Magical. I did get as far as asking how much one was years ago and I recall it was around £1500. Needless to say it remains on my wishlist. For up-to-date pricing contact the guys at http://grayconcrete.co.uk
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Outdoor fireplace

My outdoor fireplace

My outdoor fireplace

The beauty of a real log fire, the smell and light, draws in the best of guests and induces the best conversations. An outdoor fireplace is simply a thing of beauty, mainly because it creates good times.

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Popular in the US and parts of the word with more inclement weather, there is no reason not to embrace this lifestyle in the UK. It encourages everyone to stay-out and stay-up longer. I love that a Friday playdate can end up being a wine poured forging of friendship.

For parties it is fantastic. Insulated by alcohol friends can hole up and exchange banter until the embers die. Someone will always start to guitar a bit of Kasabian. If you’re lucky someone will end up being a professionally trained opera singer turned amateur folk singer. That was a good night.

Increasingly people are embracing the idea of having some outdoor space as an actual outdoor living space. I encouraged my parents to adopt this concept but unfortunately their SW3 postcode resulted in an architect suggesting a £15,000 overhaul.

North London bollocks to that. My own outdoor fireplace was made using a great Louis style outdoor mantlepiece, itself constructed from a mix of cement and plaster that will withstand outdoor conditions. I then bought a cheap fire basket from Argos, and you’re basically in business. I tend to use smokeless logs so as not to annoy my neighbours. At some future point I would like to construct a chimney to take the smoke up and out at roof level of the house.

I painted the mantelpiece and the brick background in Mole’s Breath, from Farrow & Ball. It makes the space more elegant and more like a room. At the same time the colour is sympathetic to its natural surroundings. It’s actually such a success I plan to paint all my fences in the same colour next summer. www.farrowandball.com

Decorate it as you would a real mantlepiece. I bought an outdoor clock from Heals, www.heals.co.uk.

Melamine plates of historical figures from the National Gallery, www.nationalgalleryshop.co.uk,

Outdoor light sconces from Rockett St George, www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk.

I like to add a vase of flowers in the summer and this Christmas there will definitely be some holly and ivy action out there. The rhino head, sprayed with an outdoor proofing varnish, from Abigail Ahern completes the look. www.abigailahern.com The chairs and side tables are from Ikea. www.ikea.com. I love their simple and clever design. There is even a little hole in the base for water to drain out.hampfireplace2

My next idea is to import a clay Indian tandoor for making authentic Nann bread, install a pizza oven and a Green Egg. To support this I may have to open as an outdoor restaurant in the summer!

Above and below are some photos of other gorgeous outdoor fireplaces for inspiration.

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