I love our house. From the living room and the bedrooms it has a beautiful view of Shelter Island’s Menantic Creek at its widest point. It’s really more like a lake than a creek. The house is perched on a little rise so it looks down over the water, our dock, and other houses with their docks and boats. The only problem is that there is no porch or patio where you can enjoy sitting and looking at the water. There’s not even a back door…you have to go out one of the two front doors and clear around to the backyard to take advantage of the waterfront part of the property. It’s awkward. And since it’s a rental, we’re not about to build a screened-in porch or punch out a door from the living room to the backyard. So what to do?
We decided to create an “outdoor living/dining room” on the generous lawn at the rear of the house using a combination of found objects and new pieces from area outdoor stores. So what if the barbeque grill is off the kitchen in the front? We’ll just have to walk the food on trays down the slate path that leads around the house to the back. Our outdoor room will be temporary and highly portable – kind of a pop-up shop of a room; anything we invest in we should be able to take with us when we move on.
The redwood lawn furniture set left behind by our landlord is in fairly good shape. It just needs a big can of redwood stain and a little sweat equity on my part. Finding replacement cushions for it, however, has proved to be a little more difficult (who knew those old redwood sets are not standard sizes?). After several false starts at the big box stores, I ended up at Kaufman Allied in Riverhead. I found a faux Tommy Bahama print in a green, red and tan combo that won’t show the dirt. Two chairs and one chaise later, I have a matching set, along with coordinating striped cushions for our old green wooden rockers. (All these cushions ate up the lion’s share of my budget…and since we can’t take the redwood with us, I’ll have to find a set that fits the cushions at a garage sale some day!)
We also inherited a round redwood picnic table with an umbrella hole, but – you guessed it – no umbrella, so I am on my way to Patio.com in Southampton for a perfect fit (it must be green). The property also came with one of those odd iron filigree settee and chair sets that are all over the East End. I can spray the pieces white and park them under a shade tree.
The dock still cries out for two colorful Adirondack chairs, and the men in my family are lobbying for one of those meshed-in gazebos for bug-free dining (I’m not wild about that idea, but I will keep an open mind). So while I am not quite finished with my furniture shopping for my outdoor room, I couldn’t resist the best part: accessorizing. (I am reminded of that line from Steel Magnolias, “The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize!”)
I bought some decorative trays, sophisticated-yet-plastic dinnerware, new placemats and matching napkins, and lots of citronella candles. I found everything at Hildreth’s Home Goods in East Hampton in a color scheme to match my revamped redwood.
We’re all set for our first barbeque. Hello summer!