Before & After: An Editor's Terrace Upgrade
With the help of some of her favorite vendors, Style Editor Sarah Storms revamps her diminutive Brooklyn outdoor space into a cozily eclectic retreat
There are a few phrases in New York real estate that precipitate the reaction “where do I sign?” “Walk-in closet,” “parquet floors,” “central air”—these are the keywords that apartment dreams are made of. So when my fiancé and I were looking to move from our studio in Manhattan into a more spacious Brooklyn one-bedroom, it only took two little words to seal the deal: “outdoor space.” A small terrace off the bedroom promised a life where morning coffee, a post-work glass of wine, and weekend dinners with friends might all happen al fresco. There was just one problem: the furniture left behind by the previous tenants was an eyesore, and didn’t begin to take advantage of the small, but workable, square footage.
When I decided to revamp the space, the first—very unsexy—priority was storage. If we were going to entertain friends, grill dinners, and make it all comfortable and inviting, we needed a place to stash the goods required to do so that didn’t take up precious indoor closet space. So while I imagined that the brick-backed alcove that was acting as makeshift bike storage might be the perfect spot for a love seat, I conceded the area to a catchall deck box (albeit a handsome teak one sourced on Wayfair.com). It was only when I caught sight of the intricate, Chinese-inspired Festival outdoor fabric collection from Beacon Hill that a new idea struck me.
Working with the upholstery whizzes at Bettertex Interiors, I conceived a cushion and matching pillows that would fit atop the box, turning the utilitarian storage solution into a cozy seating area. With that done, the next task to tackle was the biggest: the dining area. I wanted it to feel equally as impactful and color-drenched as the print-happy love seat and accommodate at least eight guests (because, as I gleefully learned, "outdoor space" is also code for "neighborhood clubhouse"). I'd always been in love with the Parisian
bistro-esque woven bench by Serena & Lily, and in concert with the Chinese-style fabric I'd already chosen, realized that a new theme had taken shape: an eclectic, "around the world" aesthetic that made use of shapes and designs inspired by various locales. Rustic urns from Terrain brought to mind the gardens of a French chateau, while a cylindrical side table from CB2 recalls the midcentury designs of American Milo Baughman. Windsor-style dining chairs from Crate & Barrel harken back to English classicism, and a tropical-print pillow from Janet Kain adds a hit of Polynesian breeziness. The result? A Brooklyn terrace with more than a bit