Summer is finally upon us and it is time to do as much outdoor living as we can! If you're like me, and live where the winters are cold and long, you relish the warmer teperatures and extra daylight. With all the time spent outside it is a great idea to concentrate on making your outdoor living spaces an extension of your home. For the cabin or camp owner there are several rustic oudoor furniture styles to complement your home. Whether you're looking to spruce up a deck, porch, patio, garden or dock, there is something for everyone and every pocket book.
I am going to talk about two types of rustic outdoor furniture today, Cedar and Hickory. These two totally different styles have so much to offer and will have you enjoying your outdoor living space for years to come. When I'm working with a customer to pick outdoor furniture I find that everyone is pretty much looking for the same thing, strength and durability, comfort and minimal maintenance. For these reasons Rustic cedar log furniture and Old Hickory's Outdoor collection are the popular picks.
Rustic Cedar Log Furniture
Rustic Cedar Log Furniture is a practical choice for outdoors because it is naturally beautiful and durable. Cedar furniture is resistant to decay, insect, and weather damage. It does not shrink or warp like many other woods commonly to. And, unlike pressure treated wood furniture, it does not contain any chemical preservatives that may be harmful to your family's health.
We carry cedar outdoor furniture made from Northern White Cedar, which has a creamy white color. When left untreated, over time, cedar weathers gracefully to a silvery grey. If you would prefer it not to weather grey, cedar furniture can be stained or painted to match any decor.
Of course all rustic cedar log furniture is subject to the natural process of checking as the woood seasons. Checking occurs as wood releases moisture across or through the annual growth rings and it does not afffect the structural performance or intergrity of the wood.
Not only is rustic outdoor cedar furniture beautiful and durable, it has environmental benefits too. The northern white cedar used in our furniture is harvested from sustainable and managed forests in Canada, and is biodegradable, recyclable, and renewable. It is an eco-friendly choice you can feel good about!
Old Hickory's Great Outdoors Collection
If you're looking for outdoor furniture that's rustic but still elegant you'll love Old Hickory's Great Outdoors Collection. Many of you may be familiar with the Old Hickory furniture company, they've been making rustic hickory furniture since 1899 and have earned a reputation for excellence. Their classic, timeless furnishings have decorated the finest homes and resorts, and will never go out of style. People have been using Old Hickory furniture outside for ages. The strong and sturdy hickory saplings have been proven to stand the test of time. However, recently, Old Hickory has begun using a specially formulated finish on their outdoor furniture, to withstand the outdoor elements. The finish, coupled with waterproof wood glue, and stainless steel fasteners ensure solid performance year after year. Weather proof outdoor fabric and DuraCane, a synthetic caning material, are used on chairs and benches.
As with cedar furniture, Old Hickory outdoor furniture will eventually weather silver-grey if left exposed to the elements. If you wish to prolong the original good looks of your rustic hickory outdoor furniture I recommend covering it when you are not using it, and storing it in a dry space during the harsh winter months. With proper care and maintenance Old Hickory products should last for generations.
As far as maintenance goes, outdoor hickory furniture does not require a lot of care. However, there are a few things you can do to keep your hickory furniture in good condition. The following can be done when you are getting your furniture out for the warm weather months. 1) Wash with a mild solution of laundry detergent or dish washing soap in warm water, using a bristle brush (Do not use steel wool or wire brushes). Gently stroke in the direction of the bark grain, then rinse thoroughly and allow to dry. 2) Lightly sand any areas that appear where the finish may have been breached with 180 grit sandpaper. 3) Remove dust from all surfaces and spray with Old Hickory DuraFinish II, sealing all surfaces for another season of use. Follow the directions on the DuraFinish II spray can.
COLOR & YOUR CABIN
As anyone who has a cabin knows, it can be challenging to pick the right color for your walls. I find that trying to complement the wood tones is what’s most difficult. Our cabin, like many, has a few sheet rock walls. These walls became the focus of my attention during an attempt to redecorate. I have always been partial to using white as a tool to open up a space and make it feel brighter. However, white is a big contrast to wood trim and can leave things feeling stark. I also love neutral colors because they feel like a blank canvas. If you use a white or neutral color on your walls you can have fun bringing color in with accents and furnishings. It also allows you to change the look of a room seasonally, and keeps your options open. I followed this rule diligently in our cabin, but eventually I began to crave color. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and do something dramatic and unexpected.
I started my experiment in the kitchen, where I have one wall that is not log. My pick: deep forest green, Gallery Green to be exact. I like greens and reds in a cabin because they have that authentic and timeless adirondack feel. It looked great and had just the effect I was hoping for. Having contrast between the wall color and trim really brightened the wood, and the bold color anchored the kitchen. When choosing paint for your cabin I recommend going with what you love. But if you aren’t confident in your ability to choose, it can help to take cues from your cabin’s natural surroundings. Many colors found in nature will complement the warm look of natural wood. Below are a few tips that I find helpful when picking a paint color.
Tips For Choosing Paint Colors:
1) Consider Light: Color is made up of light and is therefore affected by light. Light changes throughout the day, it can be cool, warm and artificial. I recommend hanging a large swatch of the color in the room you are painting, and leaving it for a few days so you can see how it looks at different times of day.
2) Consider Wood Tone: Most cabins contain a lot of wood. Logs, barnboard and reclaimed woods are all different colors, which will affect your paint choice. Some colors will enhance the wood tones, while others will have less of a contrast. For example: Warmer colors feel more casual and generally don’t enhance wood tones, while cooler colors enhance wood tones.
3) Consider Your Natural Surroundings: Play off the colors that occur in nature around your cabin.
4) Consider Your Existing Furniture: Color is affected by existing color. If you’re not starting from scratch or even if you are you’ll want to pick a paint color that complements your furniture and décor items. Taking cues from fabrics and existing colors in the room will help pull everything together.
5) Consider Personal Taste: What colors do you like? What colors are you drawn to? Pay attention to your surroundings and how you feel about existing colors in the home/room if you are not starting from scratch.
6)Consider Your Goal: Do you want to create a calm, relaxing room? Do you want to highlight a particular feature? Or create a feeling of space? Maybe you just want something different.
Things To Know About Color:
1) Dark colors can make a room feel cozy or cramped.
2) Light colors will make a room feel spacious.
3) Rooms with Southern exposure look good in cool colors, rooms with Northern exposure call for warmer tones.
4) Rooms that are bright look good in soft, light hues.
5) Strong colors make a room seem smaller, Cool colors make a room feel larger.
6) Dark, warm colors will make a room seem more furnished.
7) Paint small spaces that lack lots of natural light in a deep, rich color instead of white – white will only make it look gloomier.
8) Warmer colors are more stimulating and will pull the room together visually.
9) When choosing a paint color view the swatch against a wall, not flat on a table.
When painting my kitchen one thing I had to consider was the open floor plan. A popular layout today, the open floor plan has many benefits but is a little tricky to paint. In my case I have one other wall that is not log and is within view of the kitchen. I opted to keep it simple and paint that wall a creamy cottage white so it wouldn’t compete with the green in the kitchen. As a general rule if you are working in a home with an open floor plan, you can use various shades of the same color or several different colors. The key is to maintain continuity. When choosing different colors select ones with a muted (brown or gray) undertone to unite them. Then use brighter colors as accents throughout the room.
The floor plan came into play again when we decide to redo the bathroom. The bathroom is located off the kitchen so both have to flow together. I have become increasingly fond of blue and brown as a color combination and was convinced that I wanted blue walls in the bathroom. I chose a beautiful smoke blue, which meant the green in the kitchen, had to go. I went with a neutral light tan this time. In our case it makes the kitchen feel more spacious and the whole cabin feel brighter. Now I just need to freshen up the décor to pull it all together!
Paint is one of the most inexpensive ways to change a room. After experimenting with paint color in our cabin I found that when used in the right spot, paint makes a huge impact. By working with the wood tones in our cabin I was able to create just the mood I wanted. And while it can be scary going with a bold hue, it can also be rewarding to put your personal stamp on your home and create a space that you love spending time in. If you’re nervous, try starting with one room and take it from there. But remember: You should have an overall plan so the colors work from room to room if you decide to keep going. Good luck and happy painting!