The Season for Indoor and Outdoor Entertaining

1. Forest armchairs and Arthur dining table by JANUS et Cie, Available at JANUS et Cie (SF). 415.551.7800,

2. Deep seating furniture available at Terra Teak and Garden (Mill Valley). 415.331.1603,

3. Luxury outdoor shower by JACLO, $19,500 at CTW Designs (Novato). 415.883.886

4. Round table with lazy Susan and base by Malta, $7,625 at Shamrock Design (San Rafael). 415.455.1575,

5. Swim in place, walk, run, stretch or row in the indoor or outdoor swim spa available at Marin Outdoor Living (Greenbrae). 415.924.8811,

6. The NanaWall system looks like a wall of floor-to-ceiling glass windows, but each panel is actually set on a hidden overhead track, allowing it to quickly and easily open or close and be stowed out of sight. Available at NanaWall (Mill Valley). 415.383.3148,

Architect and Restaurateur Create Indoor-Outdoor Harmony

When Shahram Bijan decided to open his second Toast location (the other is in Mill Valley) in Novato, it was only natural that the town’s great weather and Hamilton Marketplace location lent itself to and indoor-outdoor restaurant. With architect Stanley Saitowitz on board, Bijan says they created an outdoor area with the same wall patterns and furniture as used inside the restaurant. When diners are sitting at the bar area in Toast they can even take in views of the outdoor waterfall. “I think the most important thing for people to think about when trying to create an indoor outdoor space in their own home is to try and create a harmonious flow so you don’t feel like you’re going into a whole different space when you walk outside,” he says. Saitowitz, who’s company Natoma Architects has designed everything from the Oxbow school in Napa to Jack London Tower in Oakland to residential homes in Marin, says one of the keys to creating an indoor and outdoor space is to minimize the vertical planes by using glass to replace walls and keeping the horizontal planes, floors and roofs continuous. When it comes to furnishing an indoor and outdoor space, Saitowitz says to furnish the outdoor area as you would the indoor with couches around fireplaces, and chairs around tables. Keep the inside of the home light and air filled with ‘walls that dissolve into nothing’.

Revamp Your own Backyard

Steve Keihner’s Terra Teak and Garden business in Mill Valley is still successful and growing despite economic gloom other retail businesses might be going through right now. “We’ve got good value and good product and our sales are up this year,” says Keihner. What people love about teak is that it’s a product with a 25-year plus lifespan. It’s a really dense wood with a lot of oil and silica so it’s naturally pest resistant. The Marin resident says customers are starting to ask for outdoor carpets, chaise lounges, deep seating furniture and thicker outdoor dining tables. “Everyone wants an outdoor living room with big chairs to relax in and a fire where people can line four or five chairs and enjoy a glass of wine with friends. It’s all about comfort, comfort, comfort.” Keihner says customers are now looking for furniture with quality that will substantially make a difference in the appearance of their outdoor entertaining area but they don’t want the mortgage-price to go with it. “What I’m sensing and what I’m hearing is that people are turning toward these staycations and putting money back into their houses while still being value oriented. People are turning toward wanting a more comfortable environment and if they can get a good value on something that’s going to transform their backyard they can stay at home and entertain with friends. The world is a little unstable people want something that lets them relax and get away from everything out there in the world.”