{ Author Archive - Andrew Bockner, Author at Style at Home blog }

how to: keep your cool in the shade

As fun as soaking up the sun can be in the summer, it’s less than ideal for an entertainer, their guests, or their food to roast in the heat. Whether you’re entertaining or unwinding with a book in the backyard, it’s always a good idea to have a place where you can escape the elements – rain or shine!

A sheltered nook creates the perfect retreat to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family. There are numerous ways to create a chilled outdoor oasis. So don’t sweat it… we’ve got three tips to keep you cool:

shade umbrella how to: keep your cool in the shade
1 Umbrellas
Both classic and timeless, umbrellas are a great option to create shade during the summer. Instead of being confined to putting your umbrella in the middle of your table or lounge area, explore the use of cantilever umbrellas. Using two square 10’ x 10’ umbrellas, side by side, looks very chic and maximizes your shade area, while making a strong presence.

shade pavilion how to: keep your cool in the shade
2 Pavilion
Pavilions are a great option for creating shade if you have the space.  Ideal for defining an outdoor area, pavilions create an intimate environment for outdoor entertaining or provide protection from the sun for your family to play under. Combined with a comfortable sectional and low table, a pavilion creates a perfect backyard retreat.

shade awning how to: keep your cool in the shade
3 Awning
An awning is a great space saving alternative to traditional shade products. When you don’t have a lot of room, an awning gives you the freedom to have shade and shelter when you please, at the twist of a handle.

Designer and entertaining expert Andrew Bockner is the owner of Andrew Richard Designs, a Canadian luxury furniture brand celebrated for its materials and designs. Andrew Bockner creates custom, unique experiences to enhance both the space and lifestyle of his customers.

cottage country tips

cottage2 cottage country tips
We live for the summer at Andrew Richard Designs and couldn’t be more excited that it’s finally time to head up North. Whether you’re lounging lakeside in Ontario or Quebec, alongside the Rockies in BC, or seaside out east, these cottage furnishing tips will set you up for a summer of relaxation and ease.

1 Shade products
Shade is essential on the dock to provide some relief from the hot summer sun. Shade producing products near the water always need substantial support to ensure they don’t fly away in a strong gust of wind! When choosing shade products for the dock, make sure that they are adequately supported to avoid flight issues; an umbrella base of 150 pounds or more is recommended.

2 Sunroom set-up
Treat the Muskoka room like an outdoor space. Most of these screened-in porches are not heated and are exposed to extremely cold winters and constant sun rays in the summer. Using outdoor-friendly pieces and fabrics in this space is highly recommended to maximize the longevity of your furnishings. Outdoor furnishings can better take the harsh changes in weather and constant variations in sunlight, with minimal deterioration and fading.

cottage3 cottage country tips
3 Comfortable furnishings
Cottage country is a place to unwind and relax with family and friends. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the great outdoors with more room to spread out. It’s nice to have large communal outdoor pieces where family and friends can relax together while enjoying a summer day or night. Outdoor beds, double chaises and large sectionals can really add a great place to socialize outdoors on the deck or dock. Mixing in some natural wood or teak furnishings and accessories will adapt your outdoor entertaining space to the natural environment at the cottage.

Enjoy your time lakeside this summer! Put your legs up and enjoy the sunshine.

Designer and entertaining expert Andrew Bockner is the owner of Andrew Richard Designs, a Canadian luxury furniture brand celebrated for its materials and designs. Andrew Bockner creates custom, unique experiences to enhance both the space and lifestyle of his customers.

how to: throw a themed party

theme party1 how to: throw a themed party
While I have a passion for space and furniture design, once a year in June, I get my ultimate event planning fix! This year, we decided to host a themed party called Secreto de Verano, meaning Summer Secret. Our concept was ‘A Night in Buenos Aires’, where we focused on creating a lively atmosphere that was both beautiful and romantic. We wanted to generate an experience full of rich culture for our guests by offering the best caterers, music, and entertainment.

Our wonderful caterers started up their ovens and supplied all of our guests with delicious and authentic appetizers, ranging from warm Argentinian ravioli and mango salad to nitro dulce de leche ice cream from Origin Restaurant. We also had vivacious dancers and performers from Axe Capoeira and a crowd inspiring DJ from Bellosound spinning all night.

Throwing a themed party is a fun and playful way to way to celebrate, be it with 10 friends or a thousand.  Here are some tips to help you create the perfect event, whatever size your party.

Stay focused on your goal and follow these simple steps:

1 Have inspiration
If you are hosting a themed party, keep it simple and stick to your topic. Themes do not have to be cheesy! You need to draw from exciting, genuine sources for inspiration and keep your party plans authentic.

theme party2 how to: throw a themed party
2 Offer simple menus
Make sure your food choices are concise and delicious. There is nothing worse than being overwhelmed with food at a party. Flavourful appetizers and delicious finger foods are easy to manage, make less of a mess, and are still filling.

3 Create a mood
Lighting is one of the most important parts of a party. An event should begin with brighter lighting, followed by dimming as the evening rolls on. A quick way to add extra glow in any room, day or night: tried and true candles.

4 Play a perfect playlist
It is very important to take the time to create a playlist suited to your guests and your theme. This way, you are not being constantly interrupted to change a song or switch a CD and are able to enjoy the celebrations.

5 Invite compatible guests
Extend invitations for your party to people that are like minded. Regardless of whether they are strangers or not, they will have something to talk about. Your guests should feel comfortable and be entertained by one another; this will make your party a true success!

6 Game on
Get your guests engaged with optional games or dancing.  It helps to create interaction and memories, creating an overall experience.

Designer and entertaining expert Andrew Bockner is the owner of Andrew Richard Designs, a Canadian luxury furniture brand celebrated for its materials and designs. Andrew Bockner creates custom, unique experiences to enhance both the space and lifestyle of his customers.

how to: create a personalized oasis in the middle of the city

I always love to see what my clients are up to with their outdoor spaces. I get such a rush out of seeing the final product, and checking out the finished space after the client has added all of their own personal touches. This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to do just that! One of my clients who I’ve worked with over the past four years came in to our showroom to show me what he’s done with the space and it’s outstanding.

Though this is a larger scale terrace in the downtown core, he has managed to make it feel warm and cosy. A place where you can get away from it all and also be right in the thick of it at the same time! I loved the pictures that he brought to show me and wanted to share some of them with you to illustrate why I think he did such a great job in such a simple way …

outdoor1 how to: create a personalized oasis in the middle of the city
1 Mixing colour, texture and pattern in the fabrics helps to create warmth and interest in the space. With so many amazing fabric options that are outdoor-friendly, you can really have fun with all sorts of fabric designs and colours. Also, taking the decor a little less seriously outside and doing something fun is always nice for a more casual outdoor space.

outdoor2 how to: create a personalized oasis in the middle of the city
2 Bring the space to life with planters filled with live plants and flowers. I find that this also brings warmth and atmosphere to a large terrace space.

3 I love a series of small tables rather than one large table. It’s great for entertaining as it creates the feeling of multiple areas in the same space.

outdoor3 how to: create a personalized oasis in the middle of the city
4 Shade products like the unique ones pictured here help to create privacy, shade and contain the space a bit to really make it feel like a retreat.

These are just a few tips to keep in mind when creating a warm and cosy outdoor urban oasis for your terrace!

Designer and entertaining expert Andrew Bockner is the owner of Andrew Richard Designs, a Canadian luxury furniture brand celebrated for its materials and designs. Andrew Bockner creates custom, unique experiences to enhance both the space and lifestyle of his customers.