Outdoor Furniture Comes to Chicago

casual show,international casual furniture market,outdoor furniture, Chicago market

Once again, September brings the International Casual Furniture Market to the Windy City and those of us in the outdoor furniture industry together for another market.

International Casual Furniture Market,Merchandise Mart,Chicago market,outdoor furniture

A newly renovated Merchandise Mart, begun last year, jolted long-timers out of the same-old routine and offered some interesting adaptations of this venerable old space to twenty-first century use.  I particularly liked those areas where people could congregate with their laptops to continue working while not at a traditional desk.

Kiki's Bistro,Chicago dining

The halls were bustling and busy, with late afternoon cocktail parties and many opportunities for socializing and mingling between exhibitors and buyers. The riverside opening night gala party is always casual and energetic and a favored stop before heading to dinner at one of Chicago’s myriad of mouth-watering restaurants.( For the record, I recommend Kiki’s Bistro and Pane Caldo, two favorites that we make sure to book in advance each year.)

Reflections,outdoor furniture

Lloyd Flanders

Lloyd Flanders threw a party for Reflections—its thirty year old collection that is still going strong today. Funny, it looks as youthful and solid as it did when introduced all those years ago! Some things never age.

outdoor furniture,International Casual Furniture Market,Chicago market,North Cape Outdoor Furniture,Libby Langdon for North Cape

North Cape

New styles were apparent everywhere, with excitement in each booth and showroom from devoted retailers looking for new looks for savvy customers.

outdoor furniture,Chicago market,casual furniture show,International Casual Furniture Market

Lloyd Flanders

It seems that everyone is getting into the wicker and recycled categories. Many manufacturers typically known for metal or wood products, featured mixed-media designs—one of my favorites is the Wildwood Collection from Lloyd Flanders.  An aged teak frame features a loomed all-weather wicker back inset, and, in the mink wicker colorway, the effect was stunning.

outdoor furniture,mosaic tables

Neille Olson Home and Garden

outdoor furniture,mosaic tables

Neille Olson Home and Garden


Alternative tabletops are always in demand and this year’s introductions from Neille Olson Home and Garden did not disappoint. Large scale, grand designs were showstoppers in their traditional line, with the new Giovella design exhibiting a painterly quality that almost looked like brushstrokes. And, to prove how busy they have been in Arizona, they have introduced a new Modern Living Collection, featuring simplified designs and coordinating patterns that make it easy to blend together.

outdoor accessories,International Casual Furniture Market,Chicago casual show,outdoor dinnerware,melamine dinnerware

Tar Hong

The vibe was upbeat and the tempo fast-paced. Both exhibitors and buyers seemed optimistic (despite crazy election year antics) for a 2017 season that will bring good things for all. For me, I celebrated my thirty-first year of attending the casual show in Chicago. Whew! Where has the time gone? I am happy to say that attending market continues to get me excited, so here’s to number thirty-two!


Rooftop Glamping

glamping,outdoor living


How much would you pay for the experience of sleeping outside on the rooftop of a luxury hotel? Or, maybe you wouldn’t consider it even if they were giving it away. Glamping has become the popular style of resort camping. No ordinary tents and campfire cookouts with that you-know-you’ve-been-camping feeling in the morning when your back is aching. Glamping takes the messiness and undesirable qualities of camping off the table.


Many boutique hotels offer glamping on their rooftops. Outfitted with luxury sheet-fitted beds, fire pits, state-of-the-art telescopes for stargazing, outdoor movie screenings, yurts, and more, . . . → Read More: Rooftop Glamping

Double D’s Double Decker Coffee Shop

outdoor dining,outdoorlicious

I spent last week in the mountains of North Carolina, including a day in Asheville. While the residents were complaining about the heat, I was happy to be relieved of the oppressive heat that we have been experiencing in South Carolina all summer. And, while a hot cup of joe was not on my list of wanna-haves, I couldn’t resist stopping at this adorable coffee shop. A bright red English double-decker bus parked in the middle of downtown Asheville serving coffee and food items–how cute! Of course, I had to know if the upper deck was open to customers–it . . . → Read More: Double D’s Double Decker Coffee Shop

Children’s Outdoor Furniture

outdoor furniture,children's outdoor furniture


Kids are people, too. Often, we forget about the little people that live in our homes, expecting them to use everything that is designed for grownups. While we don’t often hear kids complaining about this, it doesn’t mean that we may not be causing grievous injury to their sense of belonging. And, while we may help children adapt to full-scale furniture by using all sorts of props (my family used the New York phone book as a booster seat), there are times when adults would prefer to have their children nearby but not with them. Entertaining outside is . . . → Read More: Children’s Outdoor Furniture

Fashion Design Goes Outside


Not content with limiting themselves to designing couture and ready-to-wear clothing, fashion designers are adding outdoor furniture to their ever-growing list of accomplishments. The outdoor lifestyle has grown into more than a trend and has become a facet of our homes that we are neither willing to forego nor leave behind should our place of residence change. In a word, outdoor living is fashion and that makes it attractive to famous designers and the large companies with which they are aligned.


Missoni, Fendi, and Louis Vuitton are a few of the major fashion brands that have . . . → Read More: Fashion Design Goes Outside