From Wicker Nightmare to Colorful Outdoor Space
Worn wicker chairs and a depressing weathered design are things of the past once designer Deborah Bettcher works her colorful magic in this once-rundown sun room.
Describe the homeowner's wish list.
They wanted a welcoming seating area to sit a spell and enjoy the landscape beyond.
What was the biggest issue the design addressed?
The largest issue was combating the dreary look. The client had become used to the dilapidated wicker furniture and weathered wood interior and was unfamiliar with the range of choices available in outdoor furnishings. The adjacent dining room is quite elegant, and this space needed to coordinate with that look.
Describe an obstacle in the space.
One obstacle was the exposure to the elements. I selected furniture, lighting, an area rug, upholstery and drapery fabrics that were designed for outdoor use. The chairs were sprayed with marine-grade coating.
How did the end result match your original vision?
Since the homeowner is a talented artist and potter, I desperately wanted to find a dramatic sculpture to accent the corner. I pictured something contemporary and reflective — probably glazed ceramic or glass. I also hoped it would be the work of a local artist, because the homeowner is an avid supporter of the local art center. However, all that I came across was too traditional or weather sensitive. Finally, I found this life-sized antique Italian terracotta lady. While carrying her in, however, we dropped her, and she broke into seven ugly pieces on the driveway. I was devastated. The owner’s potter friends offered me their epoxy, and I repaired her and applied a veil of wash to soften the flaws. It turned out that her imperfections made her even more charming!
What lessons did you learn from this project?
I learned to readjust my goal to 85 percent. Imperfection actually adds more character and interest to a space.
What are the hidden gems that make a big difference?
The drapery tie backs for the corner panels were fashioned from strips of birch bark. The deeply-rooted club chairs were selected so that there was an open pattern that would allow in a view through them to the park-like setting beyond. The Benjamin Moore “Salsa” paint color matches the barn door in the distance. This introduction of color had a remarkable transformative effect that took this space from drab to fab!