September 23, 2023


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During the pandemic, having a plot of outdoor space at home was a godsend — a place to enjoy a chardonnay and a snack unmasked. And the drive to create intentional lounge-worthy spaces outdoors continues.

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“I don’t know if there’s a correlation with COVID, but people are putting more focus on their outdoor spaces,” says Parris McKenna, the designer of Parris McKenna Interior Design Studio. “I’ve found a shift in the importance of outdoor furniture. People are setting up an actual zone to entertain.”

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In fact, McKenna, who works primarily in Muskoka and Toronto, has fielded an uptick of requests for terrace features that extend the season.

“In a lot of my renovations, people are installing built-in heaters in the soffits in the porches or back decks, so you could sit out in early spring or fall,” McKenna says. “Or we’re putting in standing gas lanterns you would typically find in bars or restaurants.”

Light-coloured cushions and wood tones

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In terms of the palette, “the sense of charm and durability of wood is popular,” McKenna says. “I’m seeing a lot of teak.”

The rustic brown is paired with neutral cushions such as white, sand or oatmeal-toned. “That California outdoor style of wood and light-toned cushions is trending,” says McKenna who often turns to CB2, Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn for her designs. “I like the bulkiness of their furniture.” The pieces have a strong presence on a patio.

For tight quarters, McKenna suggests forgoing a formal dining table. “I always lean towards a lounge. If you want to eat outside, you can make it work with a lounge but not vice-versa.” After all, there is an inherent casualness to being outside. “If you’re limited on space, you can eat on your lap.”

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Relay sofa
This modular Relay sofa by Burrow is easy to customize for various sizes of outdoor spaces. Photo by Burrow photograph

Richard  Bockner, the owner and principal at ARD Outdoor and partner of the Vondom flagship shop in Canada, has seen a pull to the lighter side, too.

From 2000 to 2020, we were seeing a lot of grey, charcoal and black,” Bockner says. “Everything in design and outdoor furniture was trending in darker colours from fabrics to frames,” he says. “Post-pandemic we’re seeing a movement towards lighter colours such as beige, light grey and white.”

His point is well-illustrated by the shop’s Gatsby line. Designed by Spanish architect Ramón Esteve, luxurious white cushions sit atop a resin base, which has an intricate fluting detail — a trend indoors, too, in glass and wood on everything from kitchen islands to cabinetry doors. Gatsby also comes with coordinating planters and lamps.

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Modular magic and a flexible design for small spaces

Flexibility is also trending on the terrace. Burrow, makers of crisp, compact modular sofas and chairs — can be reconfigured on a whim.

“Modular seating is great for outdoors because it allows you to rearrange your outdoor setting as often as you’d like,” says Stephen Kuhl, co-founder and CEO of Burrow, referring to the brand’s Relay collection, which sports a slick powder-coated steel frame. “And modular pieces are easier to store indoors in the winter.”

All-in-one gazebo
Home Depot’s all-in-one gazebo includes privacy shades, loveseats and tables. Photo by Home Depot photograph

Kuhl notes, “while neutral tones like grey are always popular for outdoor collections, we’ve seen off-white really pick up in recent years.”

To keep the pieces pristine if it rains or a squirrel stops by to couch surf, Burrow’s fabrics are weather-resistant. “The use of ultra-durable materials makes white fabrics in an outdoor collection possible,” Kuhl says. “Our Salt colourway has performed very well.”

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Home Depot also makes a no-fuss design to kick off patio life in smaller spaces. “The Tuscan Hills Gazebo is an all-in-one solution for backyard relaxing or entertaining,” says Natalia David, trend and design manager for Home Depot Canada.

The set includes a corner gazebo with two adjustable privacy shades, a right-arm loveseat, a left-arm love seat, a side table, a coffee table and a C-table to support a laptop for work-from-home situations.

Terrazzo and concrete going strong

 Terrazzo, the speckled composite material that’s been jazzing up floors, accessories and backsplashes in the past few years, is also popular on the patio. The tables on Home Depot’s Tuscan Hills Gazebo feature a terrazzo-inspired finish.

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Parris McKenna, meanwhile, says, “A lot of the accent furniture like coffee tables or side tables are big chunky terrazzo tables or concrete-style tables. There’s a focus on natural-looking materials.”

Gatsby sofa
Vondom’s Gatsby sofa is sophisticated in on-trend white. Photo by Vondom photograph

Katelyn Rempel, who runs an eponymous design firm in Toronto, and works in Los Angeles for HGTV’s Property Brothers, also favours terrazzo on the terrace.

“Indoor trends usually migrate outdoors,” she says. “Travertine, concrete and terrazzo are perfect outside,” says Rempel. “As is natural stone.” Think organic, misshapen tables that have a handmade quality.

Metals and colour

Rempel’s personal favourites, though, are colourful metals like pieces from the HAY collection she recently used on a patio project. “I love that you can see through the Palissade chair to provide an airy feeling,” she says of the slatted design. There’s also a lounge-chair version, a bench and a table. “And I love the deep oxblood red or green.” Ikea’s red or grey “Brusen” bench is another metal option.

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Palissade chair
Hay’s Palissade chair in powder-coated steel provides an airy shot of colour. Photo by Hay photograph

Elana Safronsky, principal of Emme Design, also gives props to HAY’s Palissade line.

“This colourful collection perfectly straddles old and new, with a timeless and minimal slatted design.” If you’ve been in Paris, you might have noticed the iconic green steel chairs in their parks; they’re cult classics, Safronsky says.

“Imitations can be found in plastic, but these beauties are forged in powder-coated steel, making them extremely durable as well as a no-brainer style choice for traditional, transitional and modern gardens and exteriors. How could one argue when the original design was commissioned by the Paris parks department?”

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A New York Interior Designer Shares 3 Hot and 2 Dated Home Trends

  • NYC interior designer Bennett Leifer outlined what's in and what's out right now.
  • Textured walls, hand-painted wallpaper, and bold headboards create subtle luxury that people want.
  • But the all-white look and overdressed windows have fallen out of favor.

People across New York City, the Hamptons, the Hudson Valley, and Connecticut  seeking whimsical yet sophisticated interiors call on Bennett Leifer.

Leifer, who founded his New York City-based interior design firm nearly a decade ago, has his finger on the pulse of the design whims and wants of his clients, and those waning in popularity. 

He spoke with Insider about what his clients are seeking in their homes now, and the tired trends they're ready to leave behind.

In: Handmade and unexpected touches

Two rooms with hand-painted wallpaper designed by Leifer.

Handmade details are in. Just look at these two rooms with hand-painted wallpaper designed by Leifer.

Bennett Leifer Interiors (left), Josh McHugh

The minimalist white box aesthetic that was so popular five years ago has given way to an appreciation for textures and techniques that embrace an Old World style of craftsmanship. 

"I think people are wanting their spaces to feel rich and unique to them," Leifer said. "They don't necessarily want to add a bold print to the wall, they don't necessarily want to paint a wild color. But they do want to have this subtle luxury — we're calling it personal richness."

He's used hand-painted wallpaper that features imagery personal to his clients and handmade Italian tiles laid in a pattern to reflect the roof of an adjacent New York City building that can be seen through a window. 

Lower-lift projects include adding Venetian plaster to walls rather than the standard paint job and adding velvet trim around the baseboard and door of a room to add in that "personal richness."

In: Statement-making headboards

Two rooms with statement-making headboards designed by Leifer.

Leifer has created bespoke, oversized headboards for two clients recently.

Bjorn Wallander

Leifer's clients are more interested in big, bold headboards than ever before. 

He sees it as a response to the rise in catalog and online shopping and the pandemic's effect on the supply chain. 

"There was this whole wave towards getting the look for less, but then I think people started seeing a lot of the same thing," he said, adding that supply-chain issues inflated the "emotional frustration" of decorating a home.

"That's where I personally think a lot of the interest in making these unique, personal moments came about," he said.

Leifer has crafted an oversized arched headboard that mirrored a shape featured in the room's wallpaper. The oversized headboard is an opportunity to be playful. 

"You can bring levity into the design in a way that isn't like turning it into a kid's room," he said.

In: Functional pieces

A woman sits in an ergonomic chair in a home office.

Functional pieces, like ergonomic chairs, are winning out over just design-minded pieces.

Getty Images

In this era of the Instagram-perfect home, it's tempting to eschew functional furniture for something that's more aesthetically pleasing. 

But Leifer said his clients are becoming more practical than that. Case in point: The ergonomic chair, which isn't really known for its good looks. 

"I'm seeing more demand for things being what they should be and more conscious decisions in terms of health choices," he said. "For example, we're doing a study and we're buying the prettiest ergonomic chairs we can find, because it's important to have good back support. Whereas in the past, it may have been a club chair style on a swivel caster base."

Herman Miller's Aeron chair is the gold standard for ergonomic chairs, and is about as streamlined-looking as they come. They start around $1,200. Branch Furniture's less costly options start around $330. 

Out: All-white everything

A kitchen with white paint, white cabinets, and white countertops.

Defaulting to white is out. Instead, Leifer said it's become a more intentional choice to use white.

John Keeble/Getty Images

Leifer said his clients aren't using white as a fallback anymore, but rather an intentional decision. It boils down to people, after spending a few years at home, really wanting to have a personalized space that speaks to their own aesthetic.

"If you're using it, it's an intentional decision," he said. While clients are still interested in white kitchen cabinetry and white bathrooms, for instance, it's because "they want it to feel crisp," and not just because it's an old standby.

Out: Overdone curtains

A fancy living room with whispy hanging curtains.

Overdone window treatments are out, Leifer said.

jimkruger/Getty Images

Be gone tassels and reams of drapes: Simplicity and intention are the name of the game when it comes to dressing up windows now. 

"It has to finish a space to a certain degree," Leifer said, but clients aren't falling back on the old rulebook. 

Instead they're curious to experiment with new touches, like the project where Leifer's using bronze casings around windows. It's not dressing windows for the sake of dressing them — it's all about intention.

Inside RHONJ star Margaret Josephs’ $2.2M renovated New Jersey mansion featuring hot pink office & full outdoor kitchen

GO INSIDE Real Housewives of New Jersey star Margaret Josephs' $2.2M renovated New Jersey mansion featuring a hot pink office and a full outdoor kitchen.

Margaret even included a ballroom and a library inside of her new home as she has shown off some wildly unexpected interior decorations.

RHONJ star Margaret Josephs $2.2M New Jersey mansion has been going under renovations


RHONJ star Margaret Josephs $2.2M New Jersey mansion has been going under renovationsCredit: Google Maps
Margaret took fans behind the scenes of her bright hot pink office space


Margaret took fans behind the scenes of her bright hot pink office spaceCredit: Bravo

Margaret, 55, bought the house for $2.2M with her husband Joe Benigno, 66.

According to Bravo, they bought the 115-year-old house as a renovation "project," but had no idea the amount of work they were walking into.

The massive mansion sits on a 2.8 acre lot of land in the New Jersey woods.

Margaret and Joe took out a little over a $1 million dollar loan to secure the property before beginning renovations.

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The RHONJ star renovated the backyard of her home to create an entire outdoor kitchen space.

One a grey tile patio which extends out into the woods, Margaret had a massive stainless steel grill and stove installed.

She included a kitchen island, a dining table, and a lounge area with a lime green couch and giant hand chairs.

Margaret's impressive outdoor kitchen includes lots of counter space and a grill


Margaret's impressive outdoor kitchen includes lots of counter space and a grillCredit: Jason Pinyan
The star's 'ballroom' includes a grand piano and a pool table


The star's 'ballroom' includes a grand piano and a pool tableCredit: Jason Pinyan
Her kitchen was completely renovated as the star removed a three-story chimney from her home


Her kitchen was completely renovated as the star removed a three-story chimney from her homeCredit: Jason Pinyan


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Margaret took Bravo cameras behind the scenes in her brightly patterned hot pink office.

The entire office wall was covered in a hot pink tropical print wall paper, which Margaret claimed kept her energized for the day.

Along with her desk equipped with lots of notebooks and planners, items in her office included a mock-tail bar cart and a Peloton.

Margaret was especially enthusiastic about her custom Barbie decor wreath.

It hung on a wall in her office and was made out of tinsel, sparkles, blond Barbie dolls and Christmas orbs.

The wreath included strings of pearls and custom beaded letters that spelled out words and names such as "queen," "Joe" and "Marg."

She said the wreath was a "real piece of art."

Margaret concluded her tour as she said her entire office space reminded her of "vintage Hollywood."

Margaret themed her kitchen space with neutral colors while the rest of the home boasts bold interior design colors


Margaret themed her kitchen space with neutral colors while the rest of the home boasts bold interior design colorsCredit: Jason Pinyan
The star's home office included a Peloton and a mock-tail bar cart


The star's home office included a Peloton and a mock-tail bar cartCredit: Bravo
Margaret was most proud of a custom Barbie doll wreath which hung on her wall


Margaret was most proud of a custom Barbie doll wreath which hung on her wallCredit: Bravo


Margaret also renovated her kitchen, which was originally built in 1956 and included a chimney and a built-in meat slicer.

The Housewife entirely removed the three-floor chimney from her home and gave the space a massive facelift.

She added a tile floor with a massive white and gold marble kitchen island.

The mansion also includes a ballroom with a full bar, a grand piano, a pool table, and a fireplace.

Margaret is also planning to renovate her library, which she is keeping fans all up to date with on her website.


The Real Housewives star opened up to Bravo about the intense renovation process.

Margaret told Bravo: "This is a restoration as opposed to a renovation. Updating a 115-year-old house isn't like building a new house.

"I had a feeling it was gonna take a while. I mean, not this long."

She elaborated: "A renovation like this is not for the faint of heart."

As for working with Joe, Margaret had nothing but great things to say.

She gushed: "Joe and I are a great team. He really gives me carte blanche on the design, so we never disagree on the design aspect.

"He just hates it when I put time constraints on everything."

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Although the Bravo couple are "thrilled" to tackle the rest of the home, renovating the bedroom and bathroom.

Margaret concluded: "I'm definitely gonna die in this house. It's my forever home."

The star told Bravo the renovation process is taking much longer than she expeected


The star told Bravo the renovation process is taking much longer than she expeectedCredit: Jason Pinyan
Although Margaret says she is 'thrilled' to tackle the library, bedroom, and bathroom next


Although Margaret says she is 'thrilled' to tackle the library, bedroom, and bathroom nextCredit: Getty

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Dallas authentic estate marketplace nevertheless very hot: Purchasers and sellers contend

Real estate agent Todd Tramonte stated the buyer refused the provide but explained his jaw remained on the floor.

DALLAS, Texas — A story by the Dallas Company Journal about the absence of housing stock in the Dallas spot on WFAA's website has been trending the past day. So it got me texting a couple realtors in town to see if the market place is as outrageous as it sounds. 

The report mirrored new findings from Compass serious estate brokerage that uncovered a reduce of 53.3% regionally in January of the Dallas housing inventory in comparison to the same time past calendar year. 

There have been 1,649 households on the current market in Dallas County at the conclusion of January compared to 3,533 in January 2021.

Sellers in the Dallas space are getting the value they are requesting. Houses offered in January for 100.1% of their checklist value, in contrast with 97.4% of the asking rate in January 2021.  

According to the report, Funds is also king, with 27% of all home sales in January 2022 all-funds, as opposed to 23% in December 2021 and 19% in January 2021 — also demonstrating the continued fascination from unique buyers 2nd-property purchasers.

Compass also mentioned that in the Dallas area, some households for sale are having up to 50 gives on ordinary. 

Associated: Housing inventory in Dallas location sinks from terrible to worse, homes receiving ‘upwards of 50 offers’ 

Realtor Courtney Michalek verified that, expressing she'd submitted at least 7 gives in the previous week, all around inquiring selling price and has not heard a peep. 

Michalek performs for Legendary Serious Estate. 

"It is unquestionably wild," Michalek claimed. "I have to attain out again and once again just to get an acknowledgment of an give which is $50,000 over the inquiring price."

"Income is unquestionably king suitable now, and not anyone has that sort of liquidity. It is getting to be the new norm, and it truly is important to get started conserving now." 

Michalek added that all of the gives she's manufactured through the last week were $25,000 to $50,000 above the inquiring price tag. 

"If you will not act on a little something, truthfully, in just the day that it was outlined or up to two to a few times, you don't even have a likelihood," Michalek stated. 

Realtor Todd Tramonte produced a splash on WFAA when he disclosed very last yr that he was featuring cruise excursions to sellers to get them to select his clients' delivers. 

Associated: How competitive is D-FW's genuine estate market? Some realtors sweetening house features with paid cruises for sellers

Now, he states things have altered. 

"I continue to do that," Tramonte mentioned. "In the early days, while, it was in hopes that it would get us the house. Now, it really is actually in hopes of just finding a connect with again." 

"It truly is fully and completely nuts." 

Tramonte underscored the Compass report and stated that the housing inventory isn't significantly improved exterior Dallas County. 

"You can find no inventory wherever. Suitable now in Frisco, there is a person property beneath $400K for sale," Tramonte said. 

Tramonte then supplied a tale that blew my intellect. He claimed he aided anyone provide their home and acquired a buyer beneath deal. 

In the course of that time, he mentioned a further customer arrived in and made available the buyer underneath agreement as significantly as $50,000 to stroll absent from the residence and deal. 

"They reported they would give them $50K to go away so they could get the home. The buyer turned down the supply, and you will find some complexity as to if another person can legally or ethically do that, but that's a authentic transpired." 

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