Life on the Outside: terraces to enjoy all year
A terrace is a home outside home, a place to lounge outside your lounge. And the better you furnish it, the more you’ll enjoy it.
Text by Vivion O’Kelly / Concept & Design of all terraces in this feature by UDesign
There was a time…
When terrace furniture meant half a dozen plastic chairs stuck under a plastic table, and tied together with a piece of rope when the wind blew hard.
Or when a terrace was occasionally used for barbeques, or sometimes as a place of solitude on a warm summer’s night (because nobody else was using it) or more often than not, as a useful place to hang out wet swimwear and towels. Or not used at all.
But those times are long gone. These days, a terrace is part and parcel of the house itself, both architecturally and socially. And terrace furniture is as stylish as you would expect to find inside the house.
With the floor-to-ceiling windows and glass patio doors of contemporary houses, the space on the outside is not very different from the space on the inside, and the view from one side is as good as the view from the other. The concept of the terrace as a separate entity has disappeared.
These days, one should spend as much effort and thought on decorating and furnishing a terrace as on the rest of the house. Not to do so would be a waste of some of the most valuable space to be lived in and enjoyed by the whole family.
The key word here is luxury, both in the quality of visual design and the materials used. As we can see from the pictures, these terraces – and terrace furniture – are as different from the more traditional plastic-chairs-and-table layout as a politician’s promise is from a pot of home truths.
Above: It’s the mirrors that give this terrace its contemporary Moroccan feel. The key to pulling off a themed look is to be subtle, with one or two key pieces, just enough to create the look without overdoing it.
Form, function and flair meet agreeably in this magnificently designed poolside terrace:
Who could fail to love life in a setting like this? This is an orchestra of colour, shape and light, especially light. The colours have been chosen to fit in perfectly with the natural surroundings, the shapes are simple geometry with enough variation to make them interesting, and the lights have been speckled about by an apparently carefree hand. But look again: these lights define the space, providing enough light to read a book by and with no single source of origin that would cause glare. The result is stunning.
Surround sound, surround light. The single feature of this covered terrace is the blue LED strip lighting overhead. It draws a line around the space as an artist might do with florescent paint, illuminating the entire terrace while allowing for spots in the ceiling to pick out specific areas without interference. Even candlelight can be seen here.
The subtlety of the lighting scheme is carried over to the terrace furniture and objets d’art: muted, luxurious and designed for comfortable conversation, idle reflection, serious thought… or a quiet gin and tonic.
Some terraces need grass, but the area is often too small and user-specific for walking on without it turning dusty or muddy. The answer is the vertical garden, which is not just natural but also beautiful to look at.
Above: Natural materials, woods and exterior fabrics give this terrace a natural, organic and comfortable feel. The wooden ceilings also add warmth to the overall look.
All the furniture and accessories that appear in the feature are available from the UDesign showroom in San Pedro (Marbella)
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