Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Indoor style is making the outdoors greater

There are few wallflowers among this year's most fashion-forward furnishings for "outdoor rooms."

The hottest look in alfresco seating is contemporary, and these pieces - often with sculptural profiles - are practically upstaging lush landscaping and fancy barbecues. They are edgy but not at the expense of comfort. They are bold but not overpowering. Understated yet sometimes daring, they complement many architectural styles.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, consumers annually spend more than $40 billion upgrading outdoor living accessories and garden amenities. A fully equipped outdoor room might include furniture, lighting, area rugs and accessories such as throws, weatherproof art, televisions and sound systems. Rounding out amenities: kitchen appliances, bars, fireplaces and pavilions.

Following an indoors trend toward less fussy, more streamlined looks, modern style is also blossoming outdoors. That translates into sleek, sexy lines, sweeping curves and sculptural shapes.

Outdoor design styles are also taking inspiration from the 1940s, '50s and '60s, as well as from Italian Riviera, Japanese and Hawaiian influences.

Contest seeks the smallest coolest apartment

NEW YORK -- Rob Radencic's apartment in Portland, Ore., would get an interior designer's seal of approval. With sleek stainless steel kitchen appliances, a modern black fireplace and a burgundy-canopied bed, it bears the hallmarks of an impeccably designed pad.

But as equally impressive as the apartment's furnishings is the fact that Radencic, a 34-year-old Web designer and freelance radio producer, managed to arrange them to stunning effect within just 488 square feet of rented space. With fishbowl-like floor-to-ceiling windows, "Rob's Apartmequarium," as he calls it, squeezes maximum style into minimal space. Read More

Vintage vogue: Mining a one-of-a-kind antique mall

John Sommers pops into the Pacific Galleries Antique Mall in Seattle's Sodo district on a weekly basis to hunt for midcentury modern finds.

Rourke Smith comes in less often to check out Victorian and folk pieces he may be able to resell.

Amanda Copeland just started shopping at Pacific Galleries with her mother to learn about silver antiques, and she also has her eye on a rug.

Its customers' tastes may be distinct, but with more than 200 designers and antiques dealers, Pacific Galleries accommodates just about every shopper's style.

In two years, Pacific Galleries Antique Mall has become one of the premiere destinations for antiques and vintage items in the Pacific Northwest.

The mall, which is an offshoot of the auction house (see story on page 8), has done so by offering a staggering variety and depth of antique and vintage styles in its expansive warehouse space. Read More:

Guide To Outdoor Furniture

The warmer days are here and the summer months are on their way. At this time of year the attention shifts to outdoor spaces. Here are ten of our favorite picks for living a fabulous life outside. Read More

Knoll, Inc. Reports Strong Start to 2006

Knoll, Inc.
(NYSE: KNL) today announced results for the first quarter ended March 31,
2006. Net sales were $218.1 million for the quarter, an increase of 21.8%
from first quarter 2005. Operating income was $21.9 million, an increase of
28.8% from the first quarter 2005, net income was $10.2 million, an
increase of 47.8% over the first quarter 2005, and adjusted earnings per
share was $0.20 compared to earnings per share of $0.13 in the prior year.
Quarter ending backlog was $174.1 million, an increase of 48.6% over first
quarter 2005. Read More: