The Great Outdoors

March 16, 2012
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Make your outside space even greater by creating a stylish living area that’s as welcoming as any room inside

By Lisa Girard

Whether it’s the post-9/11 trend toward nesting or the “staycation” movement of the late 2000s, Americans are investing more in their homes—particularly their outdoor spaces.

Dinner outside can be as elegant as it is indoors.

Homeowners across the Two Rivers are creating beautiful outdoor “rooms” that not only expand their living space, but also give them new ways to appreciate what nature has to offer. Depending on available space, an outdoor room can feature anything from comfortable sitting areas, to outdoor kitchens where the fanciest meals can be created, to private areas where homeowners can relax on a hammock, sunbathe or work in the garden.

“People are staying home more, and they’re finding ways to utilize their space, including moving to the outdoors,” says Donna Bain, who owns Bain’s Outdoor Living on East River Road in Rumson with her husband Tom.

The Bains noticed this developing trend in 2008 when people turned their attention toward home in the economic downturn. In 2011 they opened Bain’s Outdoor Living, which serves as a partner store to Walpole Woodworkers and offers a complete line of exterior structures, furniture and accessories for the home and garden.

Perfect for the outdoors: Create a beautiful space with furniture that’s both stylish and durable.

“Our approach is about finding fresh products inspired by nature to enhance your love of the outdoors,” says Bain. “There were always pieces like Adirondack chairs available, but now anything that can be done indoors can also be done outdoors, like reading, cooking, playing family games and entertaining.”

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Beyond just the basic barbeque grill and lawn chair, outdoor living has become increasingly elegant, if not stylish, over the past few years, with décor options ranging from cozy couches and throw pillows to chic lighting and rugs. And while Bain says they specialize in designing fences, pergolas, arbors and the like, they also work hand-in-hand with landscape architects and interior designers to help homeowners fully and creatively enhance their patios, pool areas, porches, gardens, and even beach cabanas.

A fire pit allows you to enjoy your outdoor space for a longer period of time.

When creating an outdoor space, Bain encourages her clients to stick to the basic elements of their own aesthetic style. “Most times, we encourage people to take the style they have in their home, which they obviously love, and extend it to the outdoors,” she says. “If you follow a trend, it becomes dated, but if you follow what you love, you’ll enjoy it for a long time.”

Investing in an outdoor space seems to make even more sense this year given the mild winter and the recent stretch of near record-breaking temperatures. Add a fire pit as the centerpiece or make the space a screened porch, and there’s potential for year-round use. Either way, it’s an additional place that the family can enjoy, and a bonus on a lovely spring, summer or fall day.


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