Formerly home to our famous vinyl sofas, our newly-opened open air diner looks like it was planned. And, it was … just not for this spot …
A few months back, I’d designed and had poured a new concrete pad, the intention being to create a dining area out-back. When it was finished, I searched for and bought metal tables — shop workbenches, really — and set the whole thing up with chairs and accessories. I stepped back; it looked, and felt, strange. The concrete, in combination with the metal furniture, felt cold … and, because of the pad’s newness and the fact that it was not yet incorporated into the garden with surrounding plants, the whole thing felt exposed … not the open air feeling I was going for. I paused, looked, thought, decided: I’d scrap the dining space idea and re-think. The new plan? The pad would become a lounge area, colorfully backed by the re-worked wooden divider that formerly separated my office from the main house (read post here) and kit it out for chilling. Decision made, I had to see if my newer diner idea would work. We moved all the dining furniture to the wooden deck just off the kitchen, and instantly the wood of the deck, the fence and railing, warmed up the metal tables and chairs. Plus, the gray of the weathered and painted wood worked with the mostly-gray furniture pieces to create a nice neutral backdrop for accessorizing. The basics down, and feeling good, it was time for dress up and to add plants …
I’d bought this very old painted metal workbench from John Mihovetz in Pomona (his info here), attracted by its roughly distressed legs; it’s the perfect height and size for a buffet spread. To boost its functionality, I centered a yolk-yellow metal tool chest underneath for storage. Nice pop of color and it can hold (and hide) spare party ware.
At the deck’s back end, a series of concrete planters held cactus that never quite lived up their potential as screening for our trash area … so, out they came. I replaced them with some too-big-for-their-planters euphorbias from elsewhere in the garden. A sculptural living screen that cost nothing and looks great … perfect!
At the other end of the deck, diverse succulents in varied neutral gray containers demonstrate the importance of inviting an interesting mix of guests to the party … Details: The bench in the foreground began life as the chrome bottom-half of a ’60s-era credenza … we had a cushion made to top it and I painted the chrome a warmer gray-brown. The kicky succulent print cushion cover on the old metal stool came from Skinny LaMinx‘s Etsy shop (info here), all the way from Australia.
The new dining area is simple, neutral, functional and party-ready. It’s also multi-purpose: I can see myself using it for art projects, too … As a bonus, the industrial worktables are indestructible and can easily stand up to Riverside’s weather extremes.
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I love it when an idea works out … even more so when it works out as a result of being flexible and willing to shift gears!