Bringing indoors outside the home

Posted Saturday, Jul. 20, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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When the sun beckons, it’s nice to reply by lying in the shade, accompanied by a drink and a snack and a bit of entertainment. The most comfortable way to take in the sun is to view it from under the roof of a well-appointed room, and that is exactly what today’s outside rooms offer — the same amenities as the great indoors.

That’s what Fort Worth interior designer Joe Minton crafted for Period Homes builder Kevin McGinnis’ Riverhills spec house, designed by Dallas architect Larry Boerder. The outdoor living space is as luxurious as any you would find inside.

“It is a large room with a wood-burning fireplace, so we made a furniture arrangement around the fireplace, with a nice-size table to seat six to eight people for dining,” says Minton.

He found an iron wingback chair at Ellouise Abbott in Dallas, and an antique French convent daybed that he transformed into a sofa by having back supports welded to the frame. He covered the seating in an indoor/outdoor mildew- and weather-proof Duralee fabric in a subtle gray stripe. The small side table with a limestone top and dining furniture are from his Minton-Corley line of furnishings. The chandelier is one he designed, as well, and he has used it in a number of his projects.

The sheer portieres (curtains that hang across a doorway) add extra calendar days to the use of the room, as they can be drawn to keep out the chill when the weather finally begins to cool. (You might remember the last time you heard the word “portieres” was when Scarlett O’Hara repurposed her mother’s green velvet curtains into an over-the-top frock in Gone With the Wind as Mammy shrieked, “Not out of Miss Ellen’s portieres! Not while I got a breath in my body.”)

Minton’s outdoor room has great staying power. “Everything that is out there can stay outside. It might not withstand a tornado, but nothing is fragile,” says Minton. The only liability is squirrels. They seem to like to destroy upholstered cushions. Minton has found a suitable repellent: pepper spray. He spritzes each cushion a few times to keep the squirrels at bay.

This completely turned-out room has found a lot of admirers. McGinnis put photographs of the room on, a remodeling website, and it received an award from the site for most page views, indicating the appeal of a fully furnished and accessorized outdoor space.

More minimal

The contemporary design of Genelyn Conti’s house demanded a more minimalist decor, especially for the outdoor spaces. The Conti family, a fan of contemporary architecture, has lived in two modernist homes by Fort Worth architect Ken Schaumburg, the first in Arlington and this one in the Stonehenge area of southwest Fort Worth.

To furnish her large outdoor room, Conti searched the Internet and found furniture from a resource in California. She added a flat-screen television over the bar and a sculpture from Cantoni over the fireplace, and she was done.

In a space so spare, the people become the colorful accessories.

Gaile Robinson, 817-390-7113 Twitter: @GaileRobinson

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