Francine Gardner, owner of New York's Intérieurs, shows our writer Katie Mendelson how a few inspired finds can turn a city rooftop into an urban oasis.
Four years ago, musician Nate Mendel bought a house in the Los Angeles hills surrounded by a scrappy lawn and a few big trees. It sat wide open to the street, and an energy-guzzling swimming pool swallowed much of its half-acre lot. But the 5,000-square-foot house itself was a gem, a low-slung ranch built in 1953 and untouched since. Mendel, bass player for the often-touring post-grunge band the Foo Fighters, felt certain it could be transformed into a welcoming home base. While its restorative mountain and valley views were already in place, the garden needed major help.
You could fill glasses with ice and pour lemonade, punch, or iced tea and hand one to each of your guests. Or you could point them to your very own on-tap container. Jayson Home’s Beach House Dispenser features a 9½-inch-diameter glass dome able to hold seven liters (about two gallons) of your favorite summertime beverage. The glass nestles into a sturdy rattan base that takes its place on a porch or sunroom just as well as it does in the garden or dining room. ($250; Jayson Home)
In the few decades it took outdoor grills to go from something that held a bag of charcoal and a plate of hamburgers to machines commodious and powerful enough to roast a fatted calf, homeowners have set up alfresco kitchens, weatherproofed dining areas, and generally moved their entertaining outside. Manufacturers have responded with regular unveilings of new outdoor appliances: refrigerators, ovens, and even kitchen sinks. But nothing stirs as much excitement as the annual debut of new grills.
“Elixir of fruit juice, crushed root, and golden honey date back to the dawn of time and far beyond the written word,” noted Charles H. Baker Jr., author of the esteemed 1939 volume The Gentleman's Companion. And indeed, it can be argued that virtually all cocktails stem from ingredients pulled in some manner from the earth, be it the julep (whose name, according to the above title, comes from the “Persian gulab, or Arab julab, meaning rose water”) or the fresh strawberry juice-infused La Fraise d'Amour.
-Even the blackest of thumbs can keep a plant alive with this ingenious design: a terracotta planter that self-waters! [Gardenista]