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Cinde W. Ingram

Lines disappearing between indoor and outdoor furnishings

The level and sophistication of outdoor living areas have created "an amazing extension of the home," designer Raymond Waites said.

Waites discussed the growing trend toward seamless indoor-outdoor design, the changing mindset and the increasing sophistication of outdoor furnishings and accessories during a tour of the Laneventure showroom at the October market in High Point, N.C.

"It's hard to tell where indoors stops and outdoor begins," Waites said. "Outdoor is getting as elegant and sophisticated as indoor is. The line is blurring, architecturally even." Furnishing the courtyard, garden, and outdoor cooking areas are holding homeowners' attention.

"It's all about bringing beauty into your lives," Waites said.

Performance fabrics "bring style and trend to the outdoors" and improved finishes are tough enough for use outdoors. Waites has predicted, created and set design trends during his 30 years in the home furnishings business. He noted the development of his New America line, which offers urban chic looks, and the Vintage Garden line, which has an Old World feel of luxury and elegance. Both were shown with bold color accents.

"The fusion style is very important, it comes together if you work within a color," Waites said. Home furnishings colors follow apparel trends at a quicker pace these days. As a result, Waites expects citron green and a melon red shade with a yellow tone to be popular. "They've used it all over the fashion world," Waites said of the bright apple green shade. "I think the consumer's really ready for it now. Everything's going more retro and these colors are very much a part of that look."

The level of sophistication outdoor furnishings have reached is amazing, said Gary McCray, Laneventure vice president of marketing. WeatherMaster designs for outdoor fireplaces have been modified to fit intimate, cozy nooks while grill islands now are scaled to fit smaller outdoor refrigerators, he said. He also noted the wide acceptance of outdoor rugs and gazebos.

Raymond Waites

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