It’s hard to beat nature when it comes to beauty, but some designers are doing a pretty good job at complementing it through home decor and furnishings that accessorize outdoor living and entertaining.
The Sun caught up with two designers whose products encourage us to spend more time in our backyards, on our porches and patios.
Sandy Chilewich launched her innovative textiles company, Chilewich, in 2000, believing the woven vinyl material traditionally used for outdoor furniture upholstery was being under utilized. Seventeen years on, Sandy and her architect husband, and business partner, Joe Chilewich, have successfully grown their company to produce placemats, table runners, flooring, wall coverings and more, for hotels, restaurants and private residences.
This success, says Sandy, can be attributed to the hard-wearing vinyl material itself, combined with the way they use it — they design their own yarn, and 90 per cent of what they make is woven — designing and manufacturing their products in Georgia and Alabama.
“We make everything from scratch,” she says. “From inspiration through process, we make everything ourselves. We weave everything in one mill and then finish everything in our facility. We have our own factory, and even though we make 40,000 placemats a week in this factory, it’s done by a very small design team, and it’s really built from scratch, testing the limits of what a textile can do, creating an unexpected perspective of both weaving and colour. It’s very personal.”
The material they use is perfectly suited for outdoors because of its durability, Sandy says.
“We make something that’s very beautiful, but it’s very hard working, especially the heavier woven stuff,” Sandy says. “You could really try and kill it and it won’t die. The only thing you’d ever have any problem with is if you smother the whole thing in ketchup and let it sit for three days.” The Home Front: Home furnishings to match the beautiful outdoors | Vancouver Sun