Ins and Outs

Outdoor living fabrics find a home inside too

Savvy buyers and designers are more excited than ever about the possibilities technological innovation in fabrics brings to products and design. A new crop of fabrics are so advanced, the possibilities extend far beyond outdoor cushions.

Even industry insiders can have a tough time distinguishing “outdoor” fabric from interior upholstery. Now it’s time to teach consumers what that can mean for them. For buyers, the education starts at AmericasMart, where a number of top vendors sell product in which the outdoor fabric is a big attraction.

lloydflanders

Lloyd Flanders Industries

Characteristics That Matter Lou Rosebrock, senior vice president Sales and Marketing at Lloyd Flanders, suggests buyers should lean heavily toward the most established brands, which includes Sunbrella, Al Fresco and Outdura. “These brands have been produced to offer outdoor customers all the important characteristics, such as durability, light fastness and resistance to mold and mildew,” he says.

Not every fabric marketed as outdoor-safe actually has those characteristics. Susan Ray of Summer Classics says UV protection is particularly crucial. All of its outdoor upholstery is UV-treated Sunbrella fabric. “Sunlight can be so damaging,” says Ray. “But with UV-resistant fabrics, you can put a navy sofa under a window and it doesn’t fade.”

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Castelle

Steve Lowsky, president and CEO of Pride Family Brands, Inc., says there are other performance features buyers should ask about. “Outdoor furniture buyers need to look for durability, stain resistance, abrasion resistance and colorfast qualities,” says Lowsky, whose company produces Castelle outdoor furniture. “Buyers and designers also should take into consideration the depth of original designs and original textures and weaves available to meet the needs of their clientele.”

Learn the Lingo
Gather as much technical information as possible, because much of it can be used to sell customers on a piece or collection of outdoor furniture and accessories. Lowsky suggests asking vendors about the construction of the fabrics, including what type of fiber used. It could be  acrylic, polyester, olefin or polypropylene. He also recommends asking about colorfast hours or abrasion rubs, two characteristics that speak to durability.

summer-classics

Summer Classics

“Knowledge of the differing types of performance fabrics will allow the buyer to design the total furnishing piece or set to meet the requirements of the client’s outdoor space or use plan,” says Lowsky.

Even the terminology, says Rosebrock, can be a useful selling tool. “Many manufacturers that have created fabrics for outdoor use are now marketing their products as ‘performance’ fabrics,” he says. “Any consumer who selects this type of fabric for a high-use area can expect a durable, easily cleaned product.” In fact, homeowners with small children and those with pets are a growing market for furniture with outdoor or “performance” fabrics.

“Outdoor or performance fabrics are perfect for inside,” says Rosebrock. “The durability and cleanability can greatly extend the life of indoor upholstery. And outdoor fabric manufacturers now offer patterns, textures and color palettes in many sophisticated choices.”

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Lloyd Flanders Industries

“The tremendous growth in designs, colors, hand or woven styles allow for exterior fabrics to coordinate with interior décor as easily as interior focused textiles,” Lowsky adds.

Bottom line: outdoor fabrics are so soft and fashion-forward now that guests won’t have a clue it could withstand sun and rain. As long as you’ve properly educated your customers on the performance and durability, that can be your little secret.


For more information: Castelle – castelleluxury.com; Lloyd Flanders – lloydflanders.com; and Summer Classicssummerclassics.com

Images courtesy of Pride Family Brands, Lloyd Flanders and Summer Classics.

Outside the Lines

The modern American backyard is better than ever

Intro section image A-2Between staycations and everyday hustle and bustle, people are savoring the time they get to spend at home. The idea of entertaining friends and enjoying family time extends from bigger kitchens to home theaters to outdoor rooms.

A broader array of products and materials that are more durable – and more stylish – in a wide range of price points, makes it possible for anyone to extend living space into the backyard and do more than just sit in a lawn chair or nap in a hammock.

Outdoor kitchens rival inside counterparts with built-in grills and side burners, refrigerators and large stone countertops. Dining areas can be casual or sophisticated, depending the style of the home and the homeowners. Start with some basic questions to help guide the best options to create the ideal outdoor living space.

  1. How will the space be used? Dining, playing, relaxing or something else. Determining your top priority drives the initial emphasis, especially if the project is done in phases.
  2. How much sun? This dictates the need for umbrellas, gazebos, sunshades, etc. Should they be portable or permanent structures?
  3. Do you have adequate power resources? All the weather proof lamps are fabulous, but you still need power. Same for most water features. But, there are always lots of solar powered options too.
  4. Do you need weatherproof or weather resistant? Learn how fabrics are constructed so you have realistic expectations. The same goes for other products. Withstanding 10 hours of sun and 100 degree temps or eight months of freezing ice and snow will do a number on almost any outdoor product.
  5. A family with small children will obviously have different priorities than empty nesters reviving a love of gardening. Finding the right furniture and accessories to suit their needs will bring smiles year around when they find they’d prefer spending their leisure time at home, in their own backyard.

tab section image A-2 A fire pit provides a comfortable place to dry off after a summer swim or stay warm and roast a few marshmallows in the fall.

 

intro section image B-2 A round dining set with a built-in Lazy Susan and a neutral umbrella provides an elegant, stylish outdoor eating area.

 

 

tab section image C-2Everyone can’t have a backyard pool, but anyone can create a cozy seating area with comfortable chairs.

 
Find all the outdoor living products you need for any season in The Gardens, Building 2, Floors 9 & 10, during Markets and weekdays between Markets. There’s always a helpful staff member ready to help you find the perfect pieces for your casual living project.

 

 

Photo credits: Kipp Burgoyne Photography

Interior Design: Michelle Troxell, Grace Thomas Designs

gracethomasdesigns.com

Editorial credit: Casual Living

When Eclectic Meets Functional… in the Gardens

atutotable-r

The hallmark of atuto (http://www.atuto.com) for more than 20 years, the company’s unique perspective on home and garden decor extends beyond products and marketing. Deeply rooted in the Honduran community, atuto employs native artisans and craftsmen to create artistic furniture and decor to fit almost any style and budget.

The Calla Lily Collection is but one of the many welded iron seating groups offered this season. As with many of the products in the company’s line, the atutochair-rchairs and side tables work both indoors and out to complement myriad styles.

With a minimum order of $100 for new buyers, atuto’s hand-crafted pieces are on display in Living. Outdoor/Indoor. The Gardens., showroom 10-C-110.

Please call the Living. Outdoor/Indoor. The Gardens help line at 404-220-2030 or see any showroom manager on Floor 9 or 10 of Building 2 WestWing for more information.

September Inspired Gardens Buyers

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Napa Home & Garden

Buyers came from as far as Ontario, Cananda; California; Kansas and Missouri to take advantage of early-buy programs and to stock up on holiday essentials during the Atlanta Fall Gift & Home Furnishings Market in September.

Lotus International

Lotus International

Although Saturday and Sunday were the busiest days on the Living. Indoor/Outdoor. The Gardens. floors, many buyers returned Monday to take another look around and finalize orders. Despite gloomy weather outside, buyers were upbeat and happy to be at Market.

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Magnet Works

QMTbuyer

If you missed the opportunity to come to Atlanta for Market, the Living. Indoor/Outdoor. The Gardens floors (9 and 10) in Building 2 WestWing are open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Many showroom specials are still in effect through the end of the month. Showroom managers are available throughout the floors with a complete list of the specials, and they are ready to help with your shopping. Please call the Living. Indoor/Outdoor. The Gardens Helpline at 404-220-2030 for more information.

Deals & Discounts in Building 2 WestWing

The Atlanta Fall Gift & Home Furnishings Market is here, and the Living. Outdoor/Indoor.® The Gardens.® showrooms on Floors 9 and 10 of Building 2 WestWing have a variety of showroom specials and discounts. Showroom managers located at each desk are ready to assist in your search for best sellers or the latest trends in outdoor and casual living products.

The following list is only a sample of the many offers available to buyers. Stop by the nearest information desk for your complete list detailing the specials from all showrooms.

Good Directions 9-C-91

  • 10 percent off when you spend $750-$1499
  • 15 percent off when you spend $1500-1999
  • 20 percent off when you spend $2000 or more
  • Spend $2,000 on Rain Chains & get a Free Fountain & Free Shipping
  • Buy 15 Garden Weathervanes & get a Free Display & Free Shipping
  • Buy a set of (3) Fire Domes (fire dome and pit of each size) receive a small Starry Night FREE!
  • Offers cannot be combined

 

Jaye’s Creations 9-C-108

  • Free freight on all orders over $350 for either line from now until Sept 15, 2009. Please write Free Freight on the order.

Three Birds Casual 9-B-52

  • Select pieces on sale (see signs in showroom)
  • Free shipping on orders $3,000 and more

Atuto, 10-C-88

  • Minimum order: $100
  • Freight Special: Flat $25 freight fee for any size order

Oxford Garden 10-C-90

Contract buyers: (hotel, restaurant, resort, club, designer, architect)

  • Additional 5 percent discount
  • No minimum
  • Order period: September 1st – 30th, 2009
  • Shipment Period: September 2009
  • Volume Discounts still apply: $2,000+, 5 percent and $5,000+, 10 percent

OR

For Dealers:

  • Early buy incentives and volume discount incentive. See flyer in the showroom.

Unique Arts 10-A-29

  • 10 percent off on all items during the show
  • $20.00 gas money for buyer who orders more than $400.00
  • Free shipping for orders above $1,250.00

This is just a small sample – there are lots more sales and special offers so don’t forget to pick up a complete list at any Showroom Manager’s desk on the floors and get busy shopping!

New Products in Casual Furniture Showrooms

telescopewicker

Telescope Casual Furniture

If you haven’t been to Living. Outdoor/Indoor.® The Gardens.® on Floors 9 and 10 in Building 2 WestWing recently, now is a great time to see new products and beat the crowds before the September Market coming Sept. 12-14.

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Telescope Casual Furniture

For 2010, Summer Classics Furniture and Telescope Casual Furniture introduced several new lines and pieces to supplement  already extensive outdoor furniture collections. Samples of the new pieces are in each of the showrooms on Floor 10 of Building 2 WestWing, and still more are on their way.

New products for Summer Classics range from outdoor rugs to new dining and resort-style lounge groups, while Telescope expanded its marine-grade polymer seating and outdoor wicker options.

summer-classics2

“I love the new outdoor rugs in Summer Classics,” says showroom manager Sandra Terry. “They have the appearance of indoor rugs but the durability of  outdoor rugs – which is something buyers frequently want for their customers.”

Floors are open Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. for buyers.