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.

Sign Up for the 412 e-Newsletter

 

Our daily e-newsletter is curated by the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine and is designed to give you the very best Pittsburgh has to offer -- delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign me up!
* Email
 First Name
 Last Name
  * = Required Field
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in October

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in October

This month's best bets in The 'Burgh.
The 10 Brands That Built Pittsburgh

The 10 Brands That Built Pittsburgh

From glass and aluminum to ketchup and candy, Pittsburgh has made its mark, thanks in large part to the instantly recognizable brands that remain etched not merely on its buildings — but on its DNA. We look at 10 of those brands and explore how they helped to establish and define the Steel City.
Wheels Up? What's Next for PIT

Wheels Up? What's Next for PIT

Under a new CEO, Pittsburgh International Airport heads into its 25th year while attempting to woo flyers and flights and leave its empty, post-hub days behind.
Pittsburgh's Connection to an Out-of-This-World View of Space

Pittsburgh's Connection to an Out-of-This-World View of Space

Three men at NASA serve pivotal roles in maintaining the Hubble Space Telescope, which has been taking high-resolution photos of deep space for more than 25 years. And they're all from Pittsburgh.
Dish Review: Bar Marco's Turnaround

Dish Review: Bar Marco's Turnaround

The Strip District eatery overcomes tumult and once again is one of Pittsburgh’s finest restaurants.
Talk of The Tahn: Weird Things We Do that Make Pittsburgh Wonderful

Talk of The Tahn: Weird Things We Do that Make Pittsburgh Wonderful

The things that are best about us? They’re not things. They’re ways.
Edit Module

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Strip District's Savoy Seeks to Refresh and Renew

Strip District's Savoy Seeks to Refresh and Renew

The restaurant debuts a new lounge and has plans for refocused menu and more.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

Kennywood Park opens soon and new this season is the return of the famed whale at the entrance of Noah’s Ark. In the name of science, PittGirl paid an early visit to test the squishiness quotient of the whale's all-important tongue.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
e2 to Close in Highland Park

e2 to Close in Highland Park

Chef/owner Kate Romane will move on to a new project.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
6 Best Restaurants for College Students in Pittsburgh

6 Best Restaurants for College Students in Pittsburgh

Easy access from universities, wallet-friendly prices and really good food make these our favorite choices for the university set.

Comments


Halloween Hotlist: 10 Events That Prove Scaring is Caring

Halloween Hotlist: 10 Events That Prove Scaring is Caring

Pittsburgh is a wicked destination for spooky shenanigans. Here’s a sampling of what’s to come.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pirates’ Ship Sunk But Salvageable

Pirates’ Ship Sunk But Salvageable

Of all that conspired to derail the Pirates after three consecutive trips to the playoffs, the unanticipated implosions of Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano proved, in retrospect, to be more of a deal-breaker than anything else.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Green Chic: The Boxcar Planter Set

Green Chic: The Boxcar Planter Set

The geometric set is available through the hip Ace Hotel shop.

Comments


Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Surprise: Deepwater Horizon is Quite Good

Surprise: Deepwater Horizon is Quite Good

Reviews of "Deepwater Horizon" and "Queen of Katwe," along with local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
A Laid-Back Love: Kelly McHolme and Bob Stasa

A Laid-Back Love: Kelly McHolme and Bob Stasa

This Pittsburgh couple wanted their guests to be just as content as they were at their wedding.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Make Your Design Work for You: Mecox Opens In Pittsburgh

Make Your Design Work for You: Mecox Opens In Pittsburgh

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Mecox will be opening its eighth location, but its first in Pittsburgh, in Shadyside.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education

Thiel College to Break Ground on New Science Facility

The project will cost $4.5 million and will connect two previously existing structures.

Comments