Shopping for patio furniture takes on a fresh fervor this spring as a newly vaccinated citizenry prepares to fling our doors open to friends and family. Releasing a collective sigh of relief, Nashvillians yearn to create cozy gathering spots for backyard entertaining.
Did you catch the scent of evergreen trees? The cause might be this Victorian wicker chair. It sends one’s imagination to the haute summer homes of the Adirondack Mountains, where evergreens encircle cold blue lakes and wooden Chris-Craft boats dock in front of “great camps” that are, in effect, historic mansions made of rough-hewn timber. This antique wicker rocker looks like it spent its early life on the screened porch of just such a “camp” ($928; B-162). (With its Victorian-style curly-cues and curvaceous frame, one can imagine its presence blessed by that of a corseted grand dame.) While it presents no maker’s mark, this wicker rocking chair was likely produced by the Heywood Brothers or Wakefield Company around the turn of the 19th to 20th centuries. How charming would it be as vintage porch décor?
Inspired by the elaborate gardens of neoclassical French châteaus, this two-piece topiary urn from Aidan Gray’s French Wire collection is the last word on shabby chic ($359; Booth B-389). How stunning it would look filled with upright plants that don’t screen its handmade beauty. Artisans crafted this urn by hand bending the wires and welding every individual joint, then powder coating it for durability. Pair this urn with other shabby chic furniture and a cottage garden filled with lavender foxglove, and you’ve created a backyard oasis.
This antique iron chair boasts the craftsmanship of an era when quality ironwork was the norm for decorative gardens ($198; Booth B-162). Coated in sage green paint, this chair features shepherd, ram, sheep, and lyre motifs in a Grecian pastoral scene, while a four-leaf-clover motif pierces the seat. This unusual piece possesses exquisite details and the patina of age; can’t you imagine it as one of a set of mismatched iron patio table chairs from the same era? What a fun look that would be.
Sprinkle your patio with insta-glam by placing this Hollywood Regency-style table smack in the center ($44; Booth B-2021). Made of black wrought iron, the table features leaf-topped “tendrils” that crawl up the base and an octagon top made of glass. This table will infuse some stylish patio with its bold beauty.
Built with sustainably harvested Rosita walnut hardwood, this Apante barstool from Masaya & Co. usually retails for $750 but is on sale for $180 each. Handcrafted in Nicaragua, this comfortable bar stool is designed with midcentury modern lines. (Side note: Masaya & Co. endorses end-to-end sustainability in crafting its responsibly harvested wood furniture.)
While modern ingenuity has delivered such niceties as patio heaters to America’s backyards, the past still maintains an edge among tastemakers who know that vintage patio furniture and décor bring a certain elegance to outdoor entertaining that can’t be replicated with modern styles.
All product photos by David Wariner. Header photo by Hutomo Abrianto for Unsplash.