My Great Outdoors: GatzBee's Perfect Party Grotto

My Great Outdoors: GatzBee's Perfect Party Grotto

Gregory Han
Jun 5, 2009
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Name: GatzBee

Location: Manhattan Beach, CA

Type of space: Courtyard patio

Tell us about your outdoor project and how you enjoy it: Before finally finding the perfect modular furniture for this tiny outdoor space, it was a mess... It was basically our storage area for anything outdoor related. Leaf blower, bikes, you name it. I am obsessed with outdoor entertaining and have been looking for some kind of furniture that would fit our space, but not look too mixed and matched. This patio, though not on the beach side of our apartment, would be the perfect party grotto protected from the ocean breeze, if I could ever find something for guests to relax on.

The space is surrounded by massive bougainvilleas and overgrown star jasmine. A creeping fig covered concrete wall made for a lovely spare tire backdrop, but would soon be home to a much more social setting. After searching all last summer and then succumbing to the indoor living of winter, this year we finally found the right look. We bought several pieces of sectional wicker seating which we can constantly re-arrange in our small area. We also bought some teak to accent it. Now, this isn't your grandma's wicker... this look is both modern and comfortable, and is completely resilient in weather. It's a perfect substitute for benches or chairs. Covered with cushy, weather resistant pillows, it pulls apart into separate seating areas (when you do or do NOT want to socialize with someone).

I added my own personal touches of warmth, considering the brisk evening marine temperatures. Though I didn't want something too eclectic, I also didn't want it to be too matchy-matchy. Hence, the teak coffee table and concrete bowl. The elements are perfect for the space, complementing the brick ground and the wood paneling of the apartment. The small wicker cubes can be used for either surface or seating... and the wicker drums (which I LOVE) can do the same. Finally a summer where we can be proud of our patio, and not ashamed of a potentially beautiful storage space. We have had our first cocktail party of the year, and are waiting for June gloom to end so we can enjoy many more!

How did you create it? Furniture hunting galore, we finally found an outdoor source that has it all... (furniture wise). We mixed and matched various wicker things in the same color family (a nice deep chocolate brown) and then threw in some teak (which should actually turn into a nice patina gray color once it weathers). Since the small space was already so lush in vegetation, I wanted to keep the look as minimal as possible, while still adding enough comfort and seating to fit a nice sized group of people. When not entertaining I can leave the furniture out and keep the cushions under a roof...when people are over I bring out my best throws and accent pillows and make it inviting, and cuddle up to late at night.

Recommended store, site, product or resource? The teak and wicker furniture and accessories are from Teak Warehouse, 2653 Manhattan Beach Blvd. Redondo Beach 866-937-8325
The concrete bowl I found at the Melrose Trading Post, Fairfax High School (Sundays) - the best flea market in LA
The throws were a great find from my last trip to New Zealand - the label is Zealandia.
The cushions are from Maison Luxe (Manhattan Beach) and SottoLeLune.

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