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The Outside World

From expert advice to unique spaces to the best new products, we have compiled a range of inspiration to make your move outdoors more stylish.

Donna Mondi

POOL RULES
“Sometimes people completely deviate their outdoor style from the interiors, so all of a sudden it’s really colorful,” says designer Donna Mondi. Exterior spaces “should be an extension of the mood you are creating inside,” she says. And for this gut renovation of a Hinsdale home by architect John Eifler, she followed her own advice. With interiors that are a modern fusion of Frank Lloyd Wright and Art Nouveau influences, the pool house and terrace continue the theme, which was based on not having any white. The darker tones, for example a teak slat wall in the pool house that continues up to a gabled ceiling and charcoal furnishings from Bradley Terrace, Henry Hall and Gloster, create a cozy atmosphere and highlight the lush plantings done by Premier Landscape. Mondi’s clients were looking for a space to entertain that would also appeal to their teenage children, so there are defined zones—a casual lounge area with a fire pit, formal dining area and sunny breakfast terrace—that suit a variety of occasions. “It’s cool because they have all of these moments that can be enjoyed in different ways,” says Mondi. Donna Mondi Interior Design, 1517 W. Carroll Ave., 312.291.8431 

Donna Mondi

ASK THE EXPERT

How do you create an outdoor oasis on an expansive and barren urban rooftop?

“I have the most success with my outdoor projects when I create separate spaces within an expansive layout. This can be achieved with different groupings of furniture and landscaping for interesting vignettes. Whether it be flowers, trees or a container garden, greenery brings the space to life! Let the planters define the spaces, and play with height and texture as much as color. Think vertical and have varying height in your plants within the same pot. I like to come up with a floral concept first and strictly stick to it (black petunias, white diamond frost and sweet potato vine is a favorite combo of mine). Adding an irrigation system is typically quite painless and leaves more time for you to enjoy the outdoors.”

Brianne Bishop, designer and founder, Brianne Bishop Design, 2556 W. Grand Ave., 312.243.4930

Donna Mondi

WHITE-HOT
Following up on the highly acclaimed outdoor collection launched last year, Moray, Holly Hunt has introduced brand-new designs and colorways for 2018, along with new fabrics inspired by the Pacific Coast. This year’s additions feature the Omura bar cart and Meduse bench, and new finishes such as white metal, white cast concrete and a new woven and metal finish called Pearl. The new pieces were added to “round out the Moray collection and are both versatile pieces that can work in a variety of projects,” says Curt Kendall, director of marketing at HOLLY HUNT`. Following the form of its namesake pieces, each is distinguished by its base, where subtle tapering seems to suspend the bottom shelf and seat. Prices upon request, 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, Ste. 1428, 312.661.1900  

Donna Mondi

GREEN PIECE
The new outdoor collection by Rodolfo Dordoni for Minotti is designed as a continuation of the brand’s indoor offerings to maintain the same level of luxury between indoors and out. The Colette armchair in particular combines innovative materials and unique colorways, making it a standout accent piece. As with all Minotti products, the latest technology in UV coating and weather-resistant finishes has been incorporated into the design so that it withstands the elements. The metal structure of the Colette is welded in more than 300 places and the seat is wrapped in a polypropylene fiber cord. Available in two different heights and four different colors, it elevates any indoor or outdoor space. From $7,761, Minotti Chicago, 223 W. Erie St., 312.573.2788  

Donna Mondi

SNAKE CHARMER
Started in a small saddle workshop in Switzerland, de Sede has been known for its craftsmanship and quality leather furniture since the early 1960s. Inspired by a mythical Alpine creature, the Tatzelwurm, the DS-600 is a modular sofa that took the design world by storm in 1972, even earning a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s longest sofa. This year, de Sede has updated the snake-like classic and now offers it in an outdoor version. Just like its indoor counterpart, the upholstered sections are zipped together into free-flowing arrangements that can be semicircular or linear, more conventional configurations, depending on your needs. The outdoor upholstery options, Cirrus and Cumulus, are water-, stain-, UV- and mold-resistant, and are available in a well-edited selection of timeless neutrals and on-trend pastels. From $8,700 for four sections, Mobili Möbel, 220 W. Erie St., 312.337.3444

Donna Mondi

ROOM TO GROW
This new-build home in Wrigleyville came with two rooftops—one is a walkout from the kitchen and family room, and the other is on top of the garage. To make the most of each space, the young couple enlisted Urban Rooftops to give them year-round use for the whole family. The walkout rooftop took its cue from the interiors for a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor casual dining and was designed to provide visual interest, even during the winter. The garage rooftop was designed more as an outdoor living room with a sofa, fire pit and island. Both spaces have a fully functioning kitchen with refrigeration and ice makers, making the multilevel space ideal for entertaining a crowd. Carefully placed lighting can create an ideal spot for kids to do homework while parents grill, or dim to a mellow evening ambiance. For the space to really feel enjoyable, “it was very important that both rooftops were surrounded with plant material,” says Michael Maschmeyer, Urban Rooftops owner and project lead. A mix of freestanding and built-in planters done primarily in greenery, with small hits of color in potted flowers, achieves the “softening and privacy” that Maschmeyer’s clients were looking to achieve. 3120 N. Sheffield Ave., 773.993.1307  

Donna Mondi

NATURAL SELECTION
French designers Antoine Fritsch and Vivien Durisotti are, in their own words, “constantly searching for harmony between people and our environment,” and are known for artful, innovative designs that are highly functional. Staying true to form is their latest piece for Roche Bobois, the Mucidule table. Available in a cocktail, occasional or end-table format, it has a translucent top that resembles the shape of a jellyfish and is made of thermo-formed Altuglas with an etched pattern that evokes the veining in a delicate leaf. The base swerves up like a stem, providing a sturdy foundation made of steel with an epoxy lacquer. Easy to pair with any style, it adds an arty accent to any space. Pricing upon request, Roche Bobois, 222 W. Hubbard St., 312.955.0275

Donna Mondi

FINE DINING
Italian outdoor furniture company Varaschin, known for manufacturing quality products for the contract market, has been at the forefront of innovating new materials and weaves since 1969. Its new outdoor collection sets a bar for style as well, with designs by the likes of Monica Armani and Lo Scalzo Moscheri. The Tibidabo armchair by Calvi Brambilla, paired with the duo’s Kolonaki table previously designed for the brand, features a synthetic light gray weave around an hourglass-shaped frame, resulting in a comfortable chair with a sturdy base that adds a sculptural element to any outdoor space. Pricing upon request, Moderne Living, 230 W. Huron St., 312.380.0058  

Donna Mondi

BRIGHT EYES
For his sculptural lighting collaboration with Dedon, award-winning designer Stephen Burks brings a whimsical element to the outdoors, combining handwoven bodies with Italian-milled marble bases and optional acrylic eyes to create an eccentric collection dubbed The Others. Alone, each personality-packed lamp makes a strong visual statement. But when stacked in totemlike formations, playful characters emerge. “I imagined a colorful community of dreamers, full of personality, gazing back at the rest of the world with ambition, sophistication and pride,” says Burks. “They appeared to me almost like ambassadors or guides into our imagination.” From $900, 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, Ste. 1450

 

Donna Mondi

SOCIAL FABRIC
Entertain without fear with Pindler’s recently released Sunbelievable collection, a line of vibrantly colored indoor-outdoor textiles. Woven from solution-dyed acrylic and polyester, the soft-to-the-touch fabric is fade-proof and easy to clean, so it’s impervious to those occasional spills. (Sangria and margaritas, anyone?) It’s also hard to beat Pindler’s track record: The company’s textile experts have spent more than 70 years perfecting the art of fabric design and development. $88-$152 per yard, 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, Ste. 618