“It’s all about high style and low maintenance,”

So I am searching along looking for info on outdoor living rooms and I run across this story in InsideBayArea.com that is about this very subject. This is a early paragraph:

We want to hang out in our backyards, and those molded plastic chairs aren’t going to cut it anymore. We want comfort — big, comfy cushions. We want style — furniture that wouldn’t look amiss indoors. And we aren’t alone.

Comfort; not just any comfort, but-big comfy cushion comfort. Plus . . . it better be stylish. I got no problem with that.

The outdoor living room with everything that is inside-is now going outside, everything. I got no problem with that.

Beds, TV’s and the old stand-by Hammocks . . . uh, Hammocks . . . now there’s a problem:

. . . Taking a snooze in a hammock might be indulgent, but it’s not lap-of-luxury indulgent. Unless, of course, that nap is in Henry Hall Design’s four-person Cocoon hammock, with its stylish four-sided wood frame, padded hammock and $19,500 price tag.

A $20,000 dollar hammock, that better be one hell of a hammock.

[One hell of a Hammock]

This hammock can be had at Henry Hall designs. The company has some other cutting edge material also on the website. I really do like the Pure Club Chair they show on the site;

[It looks pretty comfortable, I’ll take one.]

Anyway, no matter how you cut it $20.000 grand is a lot of money, I would hope for that kind of dough the hammock would play music, and bring me a drink or two, or three. As we say though . . . everything is relative.Back to the article, there is a mention that some folks are stying closer to home and entertaining more. It struck me as kind of funny to read that because in the paragraph above they were talking about a $20,000 hammock . . . sorry, price of gas doesn’t matter.

Something else struck me as odd in the story:

“People are willing to make that investment because it’s no longer white, flimsy plastic stuff. It’s permanent furniture that is going to last for five to 10 years if we take care of it.”

Permanent . . . gonna last 5 or 10 years . . . so 5 or 10 years is now the new permanent? Wow . . . I must be getting old. If that’s the mindset I’m disappointed.

When working with clients in this range there was a line here worth stealing/using/remembering when thinking about how furniture is now used outdoors:

For the most part, this furniture wouldn’t look that out of place if it were simply moved indoors.

Outside-In, Inside-Out . . if it works one way is it suitable enough to work the other. This is now the mindset. Plus “
“It’s all about high style and low maintenance,”

An alert for you gardeners out there . . . plants are mentioned nowhere in the story.

  • Home Infatuation was mentioned in the story, here’s a direct link to their site. While there check out this page and get back to me with what you think.
  • I somehow managed to stumble onto the Design page for NOTCOT.com some interesting stuff to look at this click will send you to the design page-where they are taking a cutting edge look at all things design. Right now on the front page they are posting about some shot-up polo’s.
  • Finally . . while thinking about hammocks I decide to Google image of hammocks, I found this, and being a red-blooded American male, I thought to myself . . . now that’s a hammock!

[Courtesy of starstore.com]

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.


  1. Personally, I would want that hammock (clarification: the former, not the latter one) to make a really (really) good martini before I’d lay down that kind of cash. But that’s just me.
    But it is interesting, your observation that plants aren’t mentioned anywhere…when I think of an ‘outdoor room’, my vision, as a gardener, is one defined primarily by the plants that define the space.

    Martini, I can accept that.
    The definition is quickly changing on the outdoor room. As I write that I realize that there will always be at least two definitions which will be defined by demographics . . . which is not all that unusual for how folks look at “their” out of doors space(s).

  2. Henry Hall ( one of my most favorite shopping destinations for discerning clients ) is a FURNITURE store not a gardening center.
    The only plant they have is the Bromeliad that sits in a bronze pot at the entrance to their shop.

    Investing in furniture is a big deal to all, no matter what economic level you live within.
    Wealthy people are no less value conscience than middle class and demand long lasting quality.
    But you must keep in mind, outdoor furniture takes a beating and even the most well crafted peices can expect a life span of about 10 ,15 to 20 years IF it is maintained well.
    That means wood has to be sanded down and re oiled and sealed, and metal furniture, depending on its original finish has to be re -powder coated or painted to keep it from rusting or corroding.
    The synthetic pvc woven uv treated faux wickers that are so very popular ( and expensive ) haven’t been around long enough to wear the test time, but they do appear to out perform their natural wicker cousins ( so far ).

  3. If I had 20 grand, I’d fly you to Tennessee to help me with my jungle of a buncha perennial beds. They’re a treasure, but much too much for me to handle (planted over 16 years by my predecessor in this rectory), and I need to really simplify or somehow get a handle on them. Anyway, I think I’ll head to K-Mart and take a look at the $39.95 hammocks!

  4. As the leading expert in hammock design, with several patented designs to my name, I will say that $2,000 is too much for the “hammock/stand” in question. It’s swoopy, the price tag will lure folks who have money to burn. What they won’t get is comfort. There is a reason you don’t see anyone lounging in that “hammock.” It’s made to appear as though several people could lounge comfortably in there – that simply isn’t the case. From a design standpoint – it IS pretty. From a functional VALUE based standpoint, it’s an overpriced gadget that won’t perform to anyone’s expectation of luxury and comfort. Nice try though.

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