Petite Retreat Stylish Outdoor Furniture Perfectly Suited To Smaller Spaces
As the weather starts to warm up thinking about our outdoor spaces moves to the top of the list, finding the perfect piece of outdoor furniture for those smaller spaces have never been so easy with Petite Retreat. Last week I visited their Mosman store and asked Bev to tell us about what she offers.
Tell us about Petite Retreat Outdoor Living and how it came about?
Petite Retreat sells a range of stylish outdoor furniture and accessories perfectly suited to smaller spaces.
The idea formed during my own search for stylish but compact outdoor furniture. I had just moved into an apartment with beautiful harbour views and a little balcony – that I planned to turn into a relaxed, tranquil little oasis in the city. What I found really surprised me: most stores catered for the family home, selling big and, somewhat bulky, six piece settings or modular sofas that, weren’t sold as individual pieces. Much of what was on offer would overcrowd my space, or force me to use it for only one purpose. Coming from a Marketing background, I saw the opportunity, and the idea of Petite Retreat was born.
Petite Retreat Mosman Store
How does your business differ to other outdoor furniture business?
Petite Retreat is different to other outdoor furniture business in that it focuses purely on small spaces: balconies, patios and courtyards. All Petite Retreat’s items need to be:
- stylish (ideally connecting indoors and outdoors)
- compact enough to suit a small space
- high quality, and
- where possible, versatile
What are your top 3 tips for furnishing a small outdoor area?
With a small space it’s important to avoid bulk at all costs. So go for:
- Items with slimline silhouettes: thin table & chair legs; chairs that can slide fully under tables; sofas and benches with narrow, preferably no arms.
- Materials that ‘open up’ your space, think wicker that has an open weave rather than compact weave, slatted seats or fabric seating that allow light to penetrate and glass table tops.
- Go vertical with greenery: to create that lush feeling and still have room for outdoor furniture, install a vertical garden (Petite Retreat has some easy to install options) or hanging planters.
What is the best material to use for outdoor furniture?
Australian weather is very harsh, and it pays to go for quality. In my view, aluminium is the best: lightweight, low maintenance and doesn’t rust. Another good option is outdoor grade stainless steel which is 300 times more rust resistant than mild steel often used in garden settings. But it’s not 300 times the price! Hardwoods like teak, are also great in this climate.
Are your outdoor rugs really “outdoor rugs” will they last outdoors?
Yes – they really are rugs: no thin plasticky mat feel underfoot – they have a lovely thick weave and feel like cotton. And yes, they are really suited to outdoors. They are UV treated, and because they are made from polypropylene they dry quickly, and are super easy to keep clean. I have a great video on my website showing just how easy!
Favorite online design website you visit often?
Cushions in store
Favorite piece of outdoor furniture you have in store at the moment?
The Faro sofa – it is the perfect outdoor sofa for a small space. With no arms and slim legs, it has a lovely silhouette that won’t dominate a small space. The shape also makes it super easy to place into smaller spaces – it can be pushed into a corner without looking awkward. Its deep seat and soft cushions make it the perfect spot for weekend lounging. I only have one left, and will almost be sad to see it go.
What landscape designers or outdoor spaces designers are you admiring lately?
My favourite garden design company is Secret Gardens . I share their belief that “everyone needs a secret hideaway”.Their website showcases some of their work in the loveliest of places. When I see one of their trucks around Sydney I am always tempted to follow them to take a sneak peek at their latest secret garden. Peter Fudge is another favourite. He creates beautiful tranquil spaces.
On your website you run Balcony Styling Workshops can you tell us about them?
Urban outdoor spaces, be that balcony, backyard or courtyard, can be tricky to furnish and plant. Shade from other buildings; wind caused by elevation and, of course, limited space can make it difficult to create a thriving green oasis. Petite Retreat is collaborating with well-known Garden Designer and contributor to “North Shore Living” Judith Sleijpen, to provide apartment dwellers the opportunity to be complete a full balcony design in a 3 hour workshop. Armed with photographs and measurements of their space, participants are guided through furniture and accessory selection, plant and pot choices suitable for their space’s aspect and microclimate. There is personal attention throughout and the opportunity to order furniture and accessories at a reduced prices. Sign up at Petite Retreat’s website.