Casual Living, Outdoor Style
Unique Holiday Décor For the Home – Inside and Out.
By Jackie Perrone
Outside, inside, all around the town: holiday decorating calls for a splurge of color, greenery, art and whimsy. No one is better equipped to handle that for you than the staff at Casual Living, located at 6006 Two Notch Road in Columbia. The Casual Living experience starts with some intentional questions.
“Our questions prevent your mistakes,” Dottie Reynolds says. An experienced interior and exterior designer, she has been at the helm of Casual Living since 1986, along with partner John Chamberlain. They know the ropes – and the garlands, and the wreaths, and the runners, etc. “When our customers ask for advice and suggestions, we first ask about their ideas and lifestyle. That’s how we find out exactly what’s right for them. So many choices, the right decision just a handshake away – we all want the same thing, decoration that fits the occasion and enhances the scene. We ask and ask until we pin it down, so we can all go away happy.”
Mary Beth Hearn and Andrew Mahoney work alongside Dottie and John to explore the possibilities for each design. All of them handle complete interior and exterior design; at Casual Living, it’s easy to put the emphasis on outdoor living. Porch, patio, deck or terrace – the 21st century has brought weather-resistant furniture and accessories into our lives so that round-the-calendar outdoor living is now more accessible than ever before.
Believing that the outside is as important as the inside, the staff at Casual Living places special emphasis on the need to include the outdoor areas of one’s home when planning holiday decorations.
Today’s specialized fabrics can withstand weather, and comfortable chairs and sofas can make the patio comfy all year round. “Sunbrella” is a fabric which has come into its own, offering not just water-resistance but actual waterproofing; no pampering required here. The color is woven into Sunbrella; it doesn’t fade like fabrics with surface dyeing. Think past the ubiquitous canvas finish; this fabric may offer a velvet or boucle texture. Other options include bigger umbrellas, sometimes cantilevered, sturdy furniture made of teak or wicker, sectionals with curves or right angles, and then there’s the perennially popular fire pit. Remember the masonry-built gigantic cookout stations of the past? Today’s fire pits come in a variety of designs and uses, with steady flame and adequate cover, easy to handle and fit into smaller spaces.
Casual Living carries brands of outdoor furniture known for style, comfort and durability, including Lloyd Flanders, Tropitone, Couristan, Tucci and others – quality products which will stand the test of Father Time and Mother Nature.
While the porch may be an obvious choice for holiday decorations, don’t let the smaller outdoor areas go unadorned. A bench, swing, baker’s rack, dining table, or outdoor kitchen present opportunities to create a holiday vignette. Holiday parties often find guests lingering outside; keep the party spirit going with greenery, candles, and holiday lights.
Casual Living launched its seasonal array of holiday decorations on November 3 this year, displaying full-size trees and ornaments of all sizes and colors. Garlands and swags and ribbons and bows have been hand crafted for doors, stairs, and tables through the holidays. Since 2005, this shop has hosted an Ornament Exchange: bring in the ones you’re tired of, and trade them for a change of décor. “Anything with candles or strings of lights will go a long way to making your home festive during this special time of year,” according to Dottie.
A variety of accessories are offered alongside larger items at Casual Living, including thermal tumblers, sturdy serving pieces, candleholders and lighting fixtures, and of course, a huge assortment of cushions and rugs and table linens.
A trip to Casual Living is an adventure in imagination, but if you need a short-cut, the crew is at the other end of your phone. You can order a wreath, tabletop design, bows, or other items and pick them up in the store. Or even better: just turn your home over to the Christmas elves at Casual Living and they’ll put it all together for you, inside and out.
After all, they’ve been excelling at this for more than three decades. It’s a tour de force to create something special while you focus on enjoying your holidays.
(P.S. On December 26, everything Christmas goes on sale at 50% off. Get ready now for the 2020 holiday season.)