Summer Classics, Birmingham
Allen Westbrook, designer and outdoor specialist at Summer Classics, said the house’s loggia “spoke to me. It’s the one space I really wanted to do.”
ShowHouse officials ask decorators to bid on several rooms, he said.
“But I didn’t bid on any others,” Westbrook said. “I really wanted that one.”
The loggia, which stretches across the back of the house, looks out on the rear garden and a lake.
Designing an outdoor space can be a challenge, since the furniture, accessories and materials used have to stand up to all kinds of weather.
“We want people to realize they can create this look themselves, in their own spaces,” Westbrook said.
Many Summer Classics customers say they use their outdoor spaces more than their indoor ones, he said.
While Westbrook brought in lots of furniture and accessories from Summer Classics, one piece he’s using belongs to the homeowners. It’s a heavy granite-topped table large enough to accommodate a crowd of casual diners.
“We didn’t want to move the table, and I thought, I can make that look spectacular,” he said.
Around the table, he added eight Royan chairs. On the table are oversized lanterns, which give depth and height, he said, and large ceramic plates with blue and gold tones.
The space also includes a seating area with a sofa and chairs from Summer Classics’ Maltese line.
“Royan and Maltese are two of my favorite lines in our new collection,” Westbrook said.
Sofa and chair cushions are covered in gray and earth-toned Sunbrella, a fabric hardy enough for outdoor use—but still stylish, he said.
“You can submerge Sunbrella in bleach, and it won’t hurt it,” he said.
An outdoor acrylic painting of sailboats on the seating area wall has been treated with a sealing procedure, making it safe for outdoor display, Westbrook said.
On the floor is a large rug from Stanton Carpet.
“We have tons of mesh-backed rugs for outdoors,” Westbrook said. “They can get wet. You can pick different bandings. This one is chocolate brown.”
Topping the rug is a smaller one in cowhide.
“It shows my Bohemian side and warms up the space and gives it some artistic flair,” Westbrook said.
Periwinkle accents—glass bottles on the coffee table, ribbons on the curtains and bands on a pair of oars propped in the corner—catch the eye with pops of blue.
Summer Classics is also providing woven benches for the entrance to the house and a dining table and chairs for volunteer ticket takers.
“People can sit on the benches while they wait for the shuttle,” Westbrook said. “We went for functionality. We didn’t want to put too much out front. It would draw attention away from the beauty of the home.”
Westbrook said Summer Classics is a longtime ShowHouse participant. He’s been involved in the event since he joined Summer Classics four years ago, he said.
“It’s a great cause. I’m all about supporting the arts and creative efforts. Having involvement in the community is important,” Westbrook said.