When it comes to outdoor furniture and accessories, you need to choose wisely if you want products that will stand up to the city’s harsh climate. After 15-plus years developing trimmings and accessories in the garment industry for companies like Ralph Lauren, Grace Carrey was well-positioned to take her expertise and connections in manufacturing and create something new.
Ten years ago, after moving to Discovery Bay and setting up home on a boat, Grace came to the conclusion that Hong Kong suffered from a lack of quality, affordable outdoor furniture, and she decided to do something about it. So, Blume Living was born. “I went straight to the manufacturers in China,” she says, “and combined orders with my neighbours to fill up a container to Hong Kong.”
In the beginning, Blume mainly supplied outdoor furniture to Discovery Bay residents and domestic customers, but a few years ago Grace set up a company and showroom in Phuket, where they supply furniture to hotels and restaurants in Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia (with a client list that includes The Upper House, Six Senses Yao Noi Resort, and Studio City in Macau). The company website is packed with hotel-standard designs that can be purchased for delivery throughout Asia.
Top Tips & Trends
What Grace doesn’t know about outdoor furniture isn’t worth knowing. When it comes to trends, she says, “Rattan is out – UV makes it brittle so it has a limited lifespan. Polyester webbing and cord materials, traditionally used in ship building, are stronger and more resilient. For table tops and structural elements, look for new materials like spray stone, HPL, aluminium slats and powder-coated stainless steel.”
Good-quality furniture should be able to withstand the elements, and Grace advises against covering it when you’re not using it. She adds, “mould grows in dirt and anything organic, and covering furniture actually encourages mould. Let the air do its thing and dry it out naturally.” For areas affected by strong wind, she recommends furniture that allows the air to flow through, which should keep your pieces on the patio and not in your neighbour’s backyard.
It’s more common these days to see outdoor furniture that would be perfectly at home indoors as well. Cushions are key to making an outdoor space comfortable and homely, and if they are made with quick-dry foam you can leave them outdoors, without having to bring them in every time it rains. “Also, if the furniture has cushions on all the time, you tend to use it more often.”
And for those of us with small spaces, Grace suggests a nicely designed bench and a side table and you’re good to go!
This article first appeared in the Oct/Nov edition of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.
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