The New Outdoor Room

This summer, think of your backyard as the next decorating frontier. Use designer-quality furniture, rugs, lighting and charming decorative accents for stunning results. Here, we present some great new products to create your own wonderful outdoor room for summer 2013.


Tips to Make Your Backyard Look Better than Ever 

It’s that glorious time of year when nature bursts forth and St. Louisans head outdoors for pursuit of pleasure. After you’ve cleaned out the flower beds, clipped, trimmed and mulched your way to beauty, consider implementing one or more of these tips to make your backyard a standout this summer:

Stain your fence a stylish color. How many more decaying wooden privacy fences must we endure before someone comes up with a new idea besides white vinyl? Why not stain those wood fences a fashionable color? Our current favorite: Cabot’s Slate, which hovers somewhere between navy and black, and was found everywhere in the outdoor section of Maison & Objet, the biannual home furnishings show in Paris. If your unfinished wood fence has been in place for a while, clean it thoroughly with a pressure washer before applying the stain.

Think Williamsburg. While you’re fixing up the fence, why not cap the posts with a wood plinth and colonial ball finial? They’re both available in the lumber section at Lowe’s and Home Depot. So easy and so decorative!

Plant an all-white garden. While a multicolored garden is a beautiful sight to behold, many backyards benefit from the focus and definition that comes from a single color theme. Those in the know swear by an all-white garden. White flowers seem to glow at night, look especially refreshing when summer is at its zenith, and are a fabulous foil for a slate-gray fence. Our favorite easy-to-grow plants with white blooms: impatiens, viburnum, Knock Out® roses, and oak leaf hydrangea.

Show a sense of humor. We love classic Four Seasons statuary and other stately accents, but also appreciate a little humor now and then, especially where it’s least expected. What about some black sheep grazing about your lawn, a crowing concrete rooster, or a big metal bug sculpture crawling up a tree? Sometimes, it’s the element of surprise that creates winning backyard decor.

Create ambience with light. In addition to electric or gas lanterns, try white incandescent Christmas lights during the summer months. String them on a small ornamental tree, wrap them around the railing of a deck, or place them inside a lantern for a warm, festive glow.



How to Make Old Flatware Meaningful

If you’re a crafter, jewelry-maker and other artsy type whose mantra is “do it yourself,” or if you simply like to collect vintage flatware salvaged from local thrift stores, you may be interested in the new hand-stamping trend. It’s a simple and inexpensive way to turn old knives, forks and spoons into personalized gifts and place settings by adding initials or a special phrase. All you need is some plain, old silverware, a hammer, permanent marker, 000 steel wool, a bench block and steel alphabet stamps (the latter two items available at Set the bench block on sturdy surface, hold the stamp firmly, hit the end with the hammer to create an impression, and continue until you've spelled the desired word or phrase. Use the non-toxic marker to completely color over stamped words. Polish the silverware with steel wool and wash with soap and water before use. Voila! You have created your very own personalized flatware!


St. Louis Favorite Kelly Wearstler Authors New Design Book

If there’s one thing we know about St. Louis designers, it’s that they love Kelly Wearstler. Time and time again, when asked who their favorite interior designer is, Wearstler’s name is at the top of the list. Wearstler is celebrated for her striking personal style as well as for her luxurious, risk-taking interiors that mix old Hollywood with a distinctive modern sensibility. We’re happy to report that she has published a new book, Kelly Wearstler: Rhapsody. The designer’s fourth design tome, Rhapsody offers a look into her glamorous world, profiling the creative process as well as her latest interior design projects. The book follows Wearstler behind the scenes, whether she’s creating sculpture at her metal foundry or shopping at auction houses, to reveal the inspirations that fuel her imagination and her original design work.


Frank Lloyd Wright House Benefit

The Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park will celebrate what would have been the architect’s 146th birthday with a benefit party on Sunday, June 2, from 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. at the future National Building Arts Center, located just five minutes from downtown St. Louis in Sauget, Ill. The theme of the party, Remarkable Reminders: Architectural Fragments, is the perfect fit for the event site, which houses the largest collection of architectural artifacts in the country.

In addition to savoring elegant party fare and enjoying spirited early jazz and swing music performed by Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers, guests will be able to view the restoration in progress of the former Sterling Steel Casting Foundry, the home of the future National Building Arts Center. The St. Louis Building Arts Foundation is restoring the 13-building facility for use as a museum and research facility. On display during the event is the vast array of architectural artifacts that Director Larry Giles has salvaged for more than 40 years. The collections include more than 300,000 beautiful building fragments – ornamental brick, terracotta, metalwork, stone, hardware and more – salvaged from St. Louis landmarks and from buildings around the country.

The Remarkable Reminders benefit will raise funds for projects and programs of The Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park, the nonprofit organization that maintains the house located at 120 N. Ballas Road in Kirkwood. To reserve a spot at the celebration, call 822-8359 or visit


Phillips Furniture Debuts Collection by Angelo Surmelis

A new furniture line by designer Angelo Surmelis (you may know him from HGTV’s Rate My Space and 24 Hour Design) is now in store at Phillips Furniture in Kirkwood. Called angelo:HOME, the collection is perfect for younger buyers with transitional tastes who are shopping on a budget. Pieces in the angelo:HOME collection include upholstered chairs, ottomans, sofas, rugs, beds, bedding, mirrors and lighting and are designed to look as though they came from multiple sources, yet all work together. Among the highlights is the Beekman Fold-Away Bar. “I love to entertain,” Surmelis says. “Nothing is better than hanging out with people you love, great food and drinks, and a night that has no end. My new bar was designed with that in mind. It’s stylish and compact, yet practical and with enough details to make it almost as interesting as you and your guests.”


Gather ‘Round the New Community Wine Table at Cielo

St. Louisans in search of unique food and wine experiences will love the new alternatives at Cielo, the restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel downtown. “In addition to the classic way of dining in the restaurant, we offer different versions of a chef’s table in the back of house," says Michael Pechlof, food and beverage manager. "Guests can sit in the kitchen and experience the back of house ‘live.’ We also offer a fireplace dinner, which is an elegant, semi-private dining option by the fireplace with a beautiful view of the Arch. And last but not least is the Gaja Wine Room, which is used for private dinner parties, as well as for wine tastings, cocktail and cooking classes, and small receptions.”

The centerpiece of the Gaja Wine Room is the bespoke Community Table, a rough-hewn work of art by St. Louis designer Kevin King. The table is made from rafters which were salvaged from the Old Missionary Baptist Church located on Vandeventer Avenue. Wine racks are crafted from the salvaged window frames of the 150-old-church, which was destroyed by a New Year’s tornado on Dec. 31, 2010. “It took 12 employees to carry the 1,000-pound-table up to the restaurant," Pechlof explains. "A carpenter worked over a full week to polish and finish the table. It’s a masterpiece with a unique character. We loved the combination of being an international hotel merging with the local community and a piece of St. Louis history in our contemporary facilities."


K. Hall Designs Opens Pop-Up Store in Plaza Frontenac

K. Hall Designs has opened a new pop-up shop in Plaza Frontenac, where it’s selling a proprietary line of bath, body and home fragrances. The artisanal products are designed and produced in small batches at the company’s facility on Manchester Road in Brentwood. Kelly Hall-Barr, who owns the business with her husband, John Barr, says the store also will carry an assortment of hard-to-find accessories, housewares and women’s clothing.

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