Diamonds might be forever, but sheesh, outdoor fabric isn’t — not even the high-end kind, like you get with gorgeous Janus et Cie furnishings. Debbie Singleton , who with husband Skip is behind the fabulously successful DC Living Real Estate (not to mention the force behind the DC Design House), learned this lesson the hard way.
Here’s what the Singletons’ Amalfi dining chair looks like in the catalogue:
Beautiful, right? Well, after four years, that white linen wasn’t white anymore. ”I just couldn’t clean it anymore,” Debbie says. Of course, gray is terribly au courant these days, but not when it’s the result of too many dirty butts, the annual onslaught of pollen, bird poop—you name it. “Frankly, I was a little burned” with all the constant upkeep that white demands, she says.
Now, here’s the reason Debbie’s so smart. She didn’t decide to recover her cushions in a more forgiving color—white is too fabulous against the deep, dark shiny brown ipe-wood deck and the perfectly manicured kelly-green lawn behind their house in the Palisades.
She thought, who does outdoor white without flight? Boats! That’s who. A few phone calls later, and she had ordered 105 yards of marine-grade vinyl for the 48 cushions that needed to be covered.
Even better: The Promo Marine White Vinyl in Chalk White by onlinefabricstore.net cost her $7.25 per yard, compared to a $41 per yard that Janus would have charged to replace the original fabric. Whoa. That makes me want to sit down… on these!
Here’s a closeup of the vinyl, expertly upholstered by Tim Meadows of Barry Decorating and Upholstery in Hyattsville (301.277.5151, because they don’t live online):
On the day I visited last week, we had just had another rain, but with this vinyl? Totally no problem.
Debbie tells me that it’s such a relief not to have to scrub the cushions anymore. Here, the rain washes right off, and if you get, say, ketchup or suntan lotion or anything else on it? Spray it down, and it’s instantly gone.
Also, because the water doesn’t penetrate it, you can sit right down without any worry, as we did here around this dramatic Janus coffee table:
And, ever the design aficionados, the Singletons love how the cushions outside seem to pick right up where their vintage Knoll seats leave off in the kitchen.
Skip and Debbie’s house is going to be on a Palisades home tour this fall, and they’ve already promised me that I can take pictures of more of their interiors ahead of the tour, so stay tuned! In the meantime, they’ve provided me with great inspiration that the best of summer is that which is (nearly) maintenance free. Cheers!