Back in 2000 while I was finishing up film school, I fell in love with a teensy weensy Woody Allen film called “Small Time Crooks.” Its plot was equal parts silly and brilliant: A crooked couple decides to rob a bank by renting the commercial space next door and passing it off as a cookie shop while actually finding a way to break through their property by digging underneath it and up into the bank. Soon after opening, their cookies become a huge hit, they become millionaires, and the bank robbery is no longer relevant. What the heck does this have to do with outdoor decorating and design? Not a damn thing. But I will tell you what it does have to do with: my very first stab with outdoor design.
For seven years, I worked on a popular makeover series as the home and garden producer and as the on-air interior designer, emphasis on the word INTERIOR. So when my supervising producer decided out of nowhere that it would be extra fun for me to design a yard, I was both freaking the @#%& out on the inside and smiling politely on the outside. Why? When it comes to interiors, I’ve got the parameters of four walls and a ceiling to design within. Next, I draw inspiration from somewhere, create a proper space plan, put together a color scheme and overall vibe, then execute it all. Well, outside there is, like, no ceiling nor is there an actual stopping or beginning point for colors; there’s this giant blue sky with white puffy clouds which kinda dominates everything, and when I say everything, I mean THE ENTIRE WORLD.
Trying to make sense of it all, I applied most of the principles of designing interiors to the outdoor space: I put up a pergola, used the same colors as the home’s exteriors for the pergola and deck, then played with scale, texture, and shape while making function and durability most important. And the result? The project was published in three different shelter magazines, becoming not only my first stab at exterior design, but also the project that put me on the map – establishing myself as a respected designer. My point – and I do have one – is that sometimes you literally have to venture OUTSIDE your comfort zone to find something you’re good at. As it turns out, I’m pretty darn good at making the outdoors feel as cozy and intimate as the indoors. Who knew?
That being said, let’s kick off the outdoor season first by checking out how I turned my own carport into a daring and dashing dining space on Decor Demon. Then, come back to hayneedle.com throughout the outdoor season to check in on my mission to put the ACE in outdoor space, one yard at a time. Not only will you [hopefully] walk away with some ideas for your own place, but you can literally GET everything right here on the site. Now, I’ll go grab a shovel and start digging, you can go bake the cookies.
On Decor Demon, my design team and I turned my bland carport into a colortastic, happy place for summer cocktails and soirees. This outdoor season, my team and I will be trying our hand at new outdoor design ideas for you right here on hayneedle.com. So grab your sunglasses and least annoying friends, and I’ll see you back here soon.