Niche Magazine: May 2012

Colour Matters:

“Summer Living”: From Aspiration to Inspiration

by Gaia Mueller

Having recently moved to Kelowna, my understanding of what “Summer Living” means has evolved drastically. In Calgary, “summer” is a daily four-hour occurrence in July and August, that sweet spot of the day between 10:00 and 2:00 when the sun is at its height. Outdoor dinner parties still require jackets and you see as many outdoor swimming pools in Calgary as you see cowboy hats here. “Summer Living” is an aspirational concept in Calgary.

The Okanagan is the place where these aspirations become reality. Here, we need to protect ourselves and our homes from its intensity as much as we need to enjoy its length. Outdoor Living here is as much about BBQs, swimming pools, and beaches as it is about U.V.-protection, outdoor furniture, and nature’s colours.

Sunscreen for your Deck: Arborcoat

With the snow gone from the deck and the sun exposing all, we face one of our biggest summer anxieties: deck decay. Most of us have the best intentions when it comes to maintaining our decks, but often we take short-cuts that can be harmful and expensive. The best way to both enjoy your deck and save money is to use high-quality coatings which preserve the look and quality of your deck in the long term. Benjamin Moore’s Arborcoat is a revolutionary new waterborne wood stain which minimizes maintenance and offers superior penetration and U.V. protection. It has been tested to outperform every alkyd stain on the market so it’s not only a savvy choice from a green perspective, but also from a performance perspective.

Don’t Leave Your Style at the Doorstep

A friend once told me “summer living” was when you moved all your furniture outside. A more cynical friend claimed it was a term invented by retailers to trick people into buying everything twice, from dining sets to tableware. I say let’s make that “trick” chique. Gone are the days when people drag mismatched yard-sale chairs onto a weathered deck and serve generic meat on paper plates. Outdoor furniture and entertaining are both stylish and sexy in the Okanagan, and your patio furniture is likely to be minimalist rather than kitsch, more durable and luxurious than ramshackle and rusty.

The advances in weather-resistant materials have made it unnecessary to compromise outside style, even to the extent that it is sometimes difficult to tell from looking at a piece whether it is meant for inside or outside. Sleek designs such as teardrop-shaped day beds, pod chairs, modular sitting, low tables and boldly patterned pillows and rugs are the trend today. The best designs in outdoor furniture, as in architecture in general, are both warm and modern.

What Colour is Your Outdoor Room?

For the sommelier, summer signals a transition from the comforting big bold reds of winter to light and aromatic whites. For the rest of us, it means liberation from the confines of our interior spaces. Whether we wish our deck to be a tranquil oasis or a source of inspiration and energy will determine our outdoor palette.

Trends for tranquil spaces: use the soft neutrals of the beach and the fiery oranges of the Okanagan sunset. Trends for inspirational spaces: seek bold colour catalysts like dreamy violets and invigorating greens. Colour both conveys and creates emotion: go online to or come into the store and let us help you create your outdoor mood.

Whatever your outdoor palette and however large and luxurious your deck, remember that the biggest trend is a responsible one: go green. Advances in paint, stain, and furniture manufacturing have given all of us the choice to buy sustainably. Seek zero and low VOC products to protect both yourself and your environment.

Niche Image

Fall 2011: New Age Walls: Glamorous, Green Paints and Paper

Winter 2011: 2012 Trends: green is the new black

Spring 2012: True Colours: Time for a Change