Outside In

The sunroom in Cathy Davin’s Upper St. Clair home has indoor and outdoor ease year-round.



Davin’s sunroom is upholstered in a mix of indoor fabrics and durable—but still stylish—outdoor fabrics.

Photo by Laura Petrilla

When Cathy Davin decorated her sunroom, she wanted a space that connected with the outdoors but still had the comfort and luxury of an interior room. As a designer, she tackled similar projects for clients and saw them take one of two approaches.

“Some people go very neutral,” she says, opting to decorate the room in very soft colors and letting the lush, green view through the windows take center stage. Others, she says, want to decorate in bold colors, like aqua or bright green, that will convey a sense of summer even during the coldest months.

It didn’t take much debate: Davin decided to use rich shades of green contrasted by summery whites. But the challenge in an outdoor space is preventing those bright colors from fading and keeping white fabrics looking fresh.

To solve those problems, Davin chose to use a mix of traditional upholstery fabrics and indoor/outdoor fabrics.

Several years ago, using indoor/outdoor fabric meant your furniture felt as though it were covered in tacky plastic. But the technology for creating synthetic fibers has changed immensely since then, Davin says; the new fabrics blend durability with the feel of luxury.

“All the good fabric houses,” she says, are now making luxurious upholstery and drapery fabric for outdoor use.
“It feels like something you’d put in any room of your house,” she says, and yet these fabrics are stain-resistant and don’t fade even after many seasons. Another plus: These fabrics “resist mold and mildew, and they can be hosed down and dried over an outdoor railing.”

Also, color and pattern choices have increased considerably. “A few years ago, they were just so plain-Jane,” Davin says, “and now, they’re just fabulous with beautiful textures.”

The plush sofa in her sunroom is paired with a storage ottoman and wicker tray. A large Asian-inspired ceramic lamp adds a dash of red and green to the room. And a wooden dining table and chairs bring an indoor feel to the outdoor-focused room.

Davin opted for a soft cream-colored cotton rug that was designed for indoor use. But since sunrooms get so much foot-traffic directly from the yard, she often advises clients to choose high-end indoor/outdoor rugs that can be easily cleaned. For other clients, she suggests buying relatively inexpensive sisal rugs that can be simply replaced. Some upholstery fabrics are even chlorine-resistant and can be tossed in a pool for a quick rinse, if necessary.

Thus far, Davin has resisted bringing any other technology into her sunroom, despite her love of high-tech fabrics. In a space that’s all about the outdoors, she’d rather look at nature instead of a television or computer. But she has clients who want “the gas fireplace, the wall TV and the whole home-entertainment system,” even outside.

The perfect sunroom, Davin says, will blend the style of your home’s interior with the natural beauty of your yard. And if you choose wisely, that perfect space can be surprisingly easy to maintain.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best of the 'Burgh 2017

Best of the 'Burgh 2017

Host an event in Pittsburgh’s urban sustainable homestead. Join a club for mushroom hunters. Tour a coal mine. Listen to some banjo music. We list our new favorite experiences, food, drink, personalities, stores, items and activities in the ’Burgh.
Daytripping: The ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’

Daytripping: The ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’

Fourteen years ago this month, the mighty Kinzua Viaduct met its match.
Restaurant Review: The Café Carnegie

Restaurant Review: The Café Carnegie

The restaurant, run by Dinette’s Sonja J. Finn, boosts the dining experience at the Carnegie museums in Oakland.
Thrive: Smooth Moves While Getting Lost in the Music

Thrive: Smooth Moves While Getting Lost in the Music

FASTER Pittsburghʼs Hip Hop Cardio promises to get your workout into a groove.
Curling in Pittsburgh: ‘It's Basically Golf and Chess on Ice’

Curling in Pittsburgh: ‘It's Basically Golf and Chess on Ice’

On the eve of its largest annual event, the Pittsburgh Curling Club has plans to increase Pittsburgh’s appreciation for its intricate sport.
Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Watch: Pittsburgh Penguins Video Tribute to Marc-André Fleury

Watch: Pittsburgh Penguins Video Tribute to Marc-André Fleury

With a tear in our eye, we bid the “Flower” Au Revoir.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Pusadee's Garden Will Close at End of Year (But Not Forever)

Pusadee's Garden Will Close at End of Year (But Not Forever)

Look for some big changes at the Upper Lawrenceville restaurant, which is expected to shutter for at least a year.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Read on for some under-the-radar ideas on how you and the kids can survive a rainy day this summer.

Comments


High-Wire Acts at Carnegie Science Center

High-Wire Acts at Carnegie Science Center

The North Shore landmark's new ropes course is a draw for adults and youths alike.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
History Can Wait Until Penguins Are Done Making It

History Can Wait Until Penguins Are Done Making It

The desire for more a year ago helped fuel the Penguins’ quest to repeat this season. Should their thirst for yet another Cup prove as unquenchable next season, there’s no limit to what they might yet achieve. Even a Three-peat.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Make the Cut with Jonathan Moran Woodworks

Make the Cut with Jonathan Moran Woodworks

The Strip District-based woodworker's cutting boards can be custom made with the wood of your choice.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Buckle Up ... Again, as Cars 3 Hits Theaters

Buckle Up ... Again, as Cars 3 Hits Theaters

Reviews of "Cars 3" and "47 Meters Down," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Enchanting Summery Trends to Illuminate Your Wedding Palette

Enchanting Summery Trends to Illuminate Your Wedding Palette

You’ll definitely want to pin these new summer wedding trends to your Pinterest board.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Blooming: Pittsburgh Botanic Garden Hosts Town & Country Tour

Blooming: Pittsburgh Botanic Garden Hosts Town & Country Tour

From a forest of Japanese maples to a rocky urban sanctuary, the annual tour covers 14 very different gardens across the East End.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Visit Thiel College for a Summer BBQ

Visit Thiel College for a Summer BBQ

On three days this summer, the college will host visit days for prospective students.

Comments

Edit Module