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 new, 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

Best Restaurants 2016

Best Restaurants 2016

Which 33 Pittsburgh-area establishments did our independent Restaurant Review Panel include among its top picks this year? Find them here.
Six Pittsburgh Chefs Who Are Outstanding in Their Field

Six Pittsburgh Chefs Who Are Outstanding in Their Field

In addition to awarding Best Restaurant honors this year, our Independent Restaurant Review Panel also voted to recognize six chefs for their contributions to Pittsburgh’s culinary community in 2015.
Citizen Artist: Vanessa German

Citizen Artist: Vanessa German

German blends a collage of community activism and soul-searching artistry.
PittGirl to Wooers: ‘Not Today Satan, Not Today’

PittGirl to Wooers: ‘Not Today Satan, Not Today’

It only takes one person, one jagoff, one childish, attention-seeking, discourteous jerk to send a woo through PNC Park.
Daytripping: Canonsburg is a City of Antiques

Daytripping: Canonsburg is a City of Antiques

Nearby Canonsburg is a rare find for antiques collectors.
U.S. Open at Oakmont: Will The Town Finally Be a Player?

U.S. Open at Oakmont: Will The Town Finally Be a Player?

The U.S. Open is returning to Oakmont — and unlike previous tournaments, this one could make the community a vital part of the action.
Edit Module

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


5 Reasons PyroFest Will Light Up Your Memorial Day Weekend

5 Reasons PyroFest Will Light Up Your Memorial Day Weekend

PyroFest will also include live music, food, a Kids Zone 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
Richard DeShantz Plans Two New Restaurants at Salt of the Earth Building

Richard DeShantz Plans Two New Restaurants at Salt of the Earth Building

DeShantz owns three other Pittsburgh restaurants and is about to open a fourth.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Best 6 Places to Get a Cup of Tea in Pittsburgh

The Best 6 Places to Get a Cup of Tea in Pittsburgh

The quiet rise of Pittsburgh's tea scene gives us a few favorite gems.

Comments


Highmark Stadium Pub Wants Your Attention

Highmark Stadium Pub Wants Your Attention

The in-house tavern at the Riverhounds' home stadium is now welcoming guests during weekdays. But is it worth a dedicated stop?

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Crosby’s Long-Awaited Signature has Pens Pondering The Possibilities

Crosby’s Long-Awaited Signature has Pens Pondering The Possibilities

For Sidney Crosby and for the Penguins, happy days are here again. But the emotion of the moment won’t mean much if Crosby and the Penguins aren’t able to build upon it as the series progresses.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Flip the Switch: Industrial-Style Lighting Made in Pittsburgh

Flip the Switch: Industrial-Style Lighting Made in Pittsburgh

An electrician by trade, designer Thomas Verscharen creates custom lighting out of repurposed pieces.

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.
The Angry Birds Movie Is Just a Total Mess

The Angry Birds Movie Is Just a Total Mess

Plus reviews of "The Nice Guys" and "Neighbors 2," as well as local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Get with the (Wedding) Program

Get with the (Wedding) Program

Have you ever considered making programs for your wedding guests? If not, think again and get creative.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
A Tiny House that's Big on Energy Savings

A Tiny House that's Big on Energy Savings

Spread out across the city for these upcoming events, including a “Tiny House” exhibit at the Carnegie Science Center displayed by the FIY Network.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Duquesne University to Host Small Business Networking Event

Duquesne University to Host Small Business Networking Event

The event will connect hundreds of small business managers and owners and provide useful information to help them take their enterprises to the next level.

Comments