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Inside Out, Outside In

April 4, 2011

High Point, NC - Indoors or outdoors - that is the question. The distinction was blurred long ago but has now virtually disappeared. What started with a couple of lounge chairs, an x-base redwood picnic table and benches or a round one with an umbrella stand, developed in recent years into the "outdoor room," complete with kitchen appliances, wine bars and fireplaces.
Now comes Barbara Barry's Bowmont outdoor collection at McGuire. Some 60 pieces designed for dining and comfortable lounging are crafted from powder coated aluminum in Driftwood, Bronze and Seashell White finishes. The Driftwood is a weather worn gray closely related to the crushed granite found on so many garden paths.
The furniture pieces are just as easily at home indoors as outdoors were it not for the drainable foam and Dacron cushions, 18 Sunbrella fabrics to choose from along with 13 more from Kravet or COM.
This is a very sleek, pared down contemporary collection with a light silhouette when compared to the heavier rattan and teak, materials more typical for the outdoor category.
Statement pieces directly related to the garden are a ceramic birdbath and Nautilus table, both handcrafted by artisans in the Pacific Northwest.
In contrast stands Bill Sofield's indoor collection, his first for McGuire, with a decidedly more rustic sensibility than Barbara Barry's. This designer delights in textures and takes full advantage of them. Cocoon-like chairs are wrapped in Danish cord continuously hand-woven into an interlocked in a rush weave wrapped around each steel and walnut frame. He utilizes rattan and rawhide Thick strips of rattan are wrapped around the softly curved rattan sides, creating an impression of both solidity and lightness.
Case pieces make unique use of coconut shell used on cabinet doors created by hand. Leather is also used.
If the new sophistication of outdoor/indoor makes it hard to choose one over the other for one or the other - put them on wheels and use them interchangeably. Today, everything that's weather-proof can be used either way.