What Matters

February 2024 Issue

Think Outside The Box

As we deal with the chill of winter and peek into the bright potential of spring and summer 2024, it’s time to turn our attention to the outdoor spaces that have languished in hibernation. As a modern interior design firm, we advocate for the early curating and crafting of your outdoor areas, transforming them into extensions of your living space that blend form, function, and the fresh air of the new season. By planning now, you’re not just preparing for alfresco dinners or sunset cocktails; you’re investing in a seamless indoor-outdoor transition that invites the warmth and vibrancy of spring into your daily life. The right modern design elements be it sleek furniture that defies the divide between indoors and out, or ambient lighting that lengthens the twilight hours can redefine the way you interact with the natural world right outside your door. Don’t let spring catch you unprepared; let’s create an outdoor sanctuary that’s ready to bloom the moment the season turns.


Modern outdoor furniture is strutting out of the shadows of its indoor counterparts, decked in materials tougher than a seasoned gardener’s gloves. Gone are the days when outdoor meant clunky and indoor spelled dainty. High-end indoor furniture brands are now playing a game of backyard dress-up. They’re using materials that make Mother Nature’s mood swings look like child’s play. Imagine a chaise lounge that laughs in the face of rain, or a set of chairs sunbathing without ever getting a sunburn. We’re witnessing a crossover episode where elegance meets endurance, and the patio is the new runway. The message is clear: outdoor furniture isn’t just joining the party; it’s hosting it.


Outdoor lighting: the necessary addition to the perfect nocturnal lounge. Imagine a symphony of soft fairy lights, artful lanterns, and discreet path lights, all harmonizing to create an ambiance that whispers “sophistication” rather than shouts “football stadium.” The maestro is a strategically placed fire pit, offering a warm, flickering focal point. The goal? Crafting a moonlit paradise that’s part cozy haven, part mysterious garden, ensuring every evening feels like a scene from a well-designed fairy tale. Now, go light up your night with style!


The fire pit is the unsung MVP of your backyard. Think of it as the Selina Meyer of garden politics – it commands attention, keeps everyone warm, and occasionally flares up unexpectedly. It’s where burnt marshmallows and half-baked political theories coexist in harmony. Design-wise, it’s a chameleon. Go rustic, and it’s like a throwback to the days when ‘texting’ meant sending smoke signals. Choose a sleek, modern design, and it’s as if you’re hosting a summit talk with world leaders, but with better snacks and less diplomatic tension. It’s not just a fire pit; it’s a roundtable where the only heated debates are about whether Veep is superior to The West Wing. In the world of outdoor design, it’s the centerpiece that turns a gathering of garden chairs into a summit of social strategy, where everyone gets a bit too honest after their second glass of wine.

Here is an example of one of Upon Return’s travel suggestions that takes advantage of the outside:

Hotel Esencia is the place that makes you question your life choices why don’t I live here? It’s an 80-guest hideaway where the staff is so attentive you’ll start feeling like nobility. And with service via WhatsApp, it’s like having a butler in your pocket.

Suites with Caribbean views, three restaurants that will spoil your taste buds, pools that make you forget about the beach though it’s there, and it’s private and a gym and spa to detox from the good life. It’s a 5-star bubble that makes the outside world seem optional. We’re not the type to stick to one spot, but at Esencia, leaving feels like a mistake. The place used to be an Italian duchess’s weekend retreat. Room 702 is the reason we keep coming back it’s not a room, it’s a reward.

Upon Return is your gateway to a world where each destination is a narrative waiting to unfold. Sign up, set off, and return with tales that redefine adventure.


On the Boards this month – we’re featuring our #IMWestEndStory project. Our client – a young, professional couple – recently purchased this contemporary condo, overlooking views of the city and steps away from the White House. Inspired by the homeowner’s passion for art and travel, this design masterpiece boasts a colorful yet elevated aesthetic with unexpected cheeky art pieces and luxury custom wall treatments.
The spaces beautiful natural light with floor to ceiling windows allows us to create moody spaces with heavily textured elements, plaster finishes and painted ceilings. With a neutral contemporary backdrop, floor to ceiling windows and white Poggenpohl cabinetry throughout we were able to incorporate vibrant and luxurious fabrics along with cozy oversized lounge seating. When pulling materials, we drew inspiration from our client’s favorite artist, gathering unique color palettes and integrating millwork with custom painted finishes.
See a few screenshots from our design concepts below. Stay tuned as this project continues to develop!