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A Shore Furnish

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When it comes to furnishing your Shore home, the options are endless. There are a plethora of materials, styles and colors to choose from, and the decision-making process may be different than when you furnished your primary home because of the weather elements that play a factor, such as high winds and the salt air.

Then there’s making sure your furnishings are comfortable, yet stylish and will hold all your guests when hosting gatherings. The experts we spoke with say all of this can be done in the way you envision, if you are willing to make an investment on high-quality furniture that will last for years to come.

Micaela Malkmus of Zaksons Fine Furniture says the way furniture pieces are put together is what makes the biggest impression in a home.

 “It’s all about balance and proportion,” she says. “Someone can walk into our showroom  and fall in love with a drop dead velvet sofa that we have on the floor, but maybe that piece is not what best suits their space. Maybe it’s that upholstered L-sectional paired with two exposed wood lounge chairs and a large reclaimed wood cocktail table that really scales best in their room.”

Bobby Huber Jr. of Oskar Huber Furniture says they carry many wood products available for the interior of the Shore home— bedrooms and dining rooms.

 “Customers can select the different species of wood: maple, oak, character oak, cherry, walnut, birch, ash, wormy maple and more, and there are also different stains from paints, aged paints and custom color paints,” he says.

Stuart Weiss of Viking Casual Furniture says his customers prefer wood for their Shore home.

 “People like American-made wood furniture,” he says. “Now that people are spending more time at home and at the Shore, they are replacing their living room furniture and getting quality, wood products.”

Bruce Halpern, owner of Tropicraft by Pavillon du Soleil, mostly carries leather and wicker furniture and says leather is in high demand today.

 “We have nice thick wicker pieces you can put cushions on, they are great for a sunroom at the Shore,” he says. “For the interior, our customers like leather. It’s really strong and not going to break. You can choose from different colors and designs, too.”

When it comes to outdoor furniture John Keller of Sequoia Supply recommends Breezesta poly outdoor furniture, which is made of recycled materials such as plastic milk jugs and water bottles and comes in 20 colors. It’s durable, maintenance-free and adds a stylish touch to the outdoor area.

Weiss has been selling tables and chairs made of marine-grade polymer, an innovative and durable product that will not rot when exposed to water or sunlight. Telescope Casual is one of the brands he sells and trusts.

 “Telescope has been making products in the U.S. since the 1900s. There is no maintenance and they are made to last,” he says. “They back products with a 15-year warranty.”

Halpern says furniture made of aluminum will also hold up in certain weather elements and “it’s impossible to rust.” He also says a fairly new trend is mixed materials.  

 “You can have a sling material chair on an aluminum frame with polywood looking arms or backs on it, and tables can be that way too,” he says. “The top is real wood and it’s indestructible and the frame is aluminum.”

Malkmus says clients that have homes near the Shore are looking for durability, comfort and ease, so choosing stain-resistant fabrics is an important factor during the furniture buying process.

“Life is too short to be spending  all of your time worrying about stains not coming out of that silk sofa or chips and dents appearing on the top of your dining table as you’re putting dishes down,” she says. “I have been showing clients performance-fabrics  that have soil and stain resistance qualities like Cryp- ton, Sunbrella or InsideOut brands. As far as hard surfaces, a lot of people are asking for stone top kitchen tables or wood surfaces that have cerusing or some type of texture to them that can hide imperfections.”

All the other experts unanimously agree Sunbrella is one of the best fabrics, with Huber noting it’s  meant to be used every day, can be cleaned easily and comes in coastal colors and patterns to match your Shore house.

“The best fabric is Sunbrella,” Halpern says. “Most threads are  stamped or painted on the outside and white on the inside. When it’s out in the sun and the outside layer fades, the white comes through and makes it look even more faded. With Sunbrella, everything is one color all the way through. It’s made in the U.S. and is 100 percent acrylic, which is a much stronger fabric than polyester.”

Coastal or nautical are the most popular styles, but there is a wide range that work in Shore homes, including transitional, modern and even rustic/urban, according to Malkmus.

“Clients near the Shore are still looking for a coastal style but not one that is overly beachy or nautical,” she says. “I like to use varying textures and light colors for clients in these areas. I am seeing a lot of rattan and natural elements in furniture pieces these days both in indoor and outdoor. I am also seeing a slight resurgence of traditional design style but then paired with a beautiful modern light fixture.”

“We carry everything coastal, but we have the ability to complete any look, from modern to more coastal chic, traditional and transitional,  and even creating the perfect mountain lodge escape,” Huber says.

From having dinner for four one night to having the entire family over for a get-together the next day, there are creative ways to have a dining table that fits everyone but won’t take up your whole space.

“A lot of my clients are asking for dining tables with leaves, preferably self-storing leaves,” Malkmus says. “This way on a regular basis the table is set for a certain amount of people, but on the small occasions when they need to extend the table to accommodate family members, they can easily pull out the leaves and add an extra few chairs.”

 “Seating and extra seating or hidden seating is always key,” Huber says. “There are different ways to get the most from your main living and dining space like accents that can be used as stools if you don’t have enough chairs, and sofa tables that can be used as counter height extra seating with benches underneath.

 “I think the biggest thing is how can we maximize the outdoor seating, whether it be dining or lounge style, let’s get the most seating we can while still maintaining a great look. Most homes at the beach have the unexpected and expected guests, friends and families all gather so getting the most  use out of your outdoor space is crucial, but always making sure it looks great, has great flow and will hold up to the weather and the use of the client’s family is important.”

Having a flow from the living or family room to the outdoor living area also makes a big difference. “Having the indoor and out- door spaces transition nicely with each other in style, scale and function, makes an impact,” Malkmus says. “People are looking for fluidity throughout  the home and even more important these days is comfort. Having the right pieces in the right areas is what makes a home comfortable.”

But what may be the most important part of all when it comes to furnishing your Shore home is not  skimping out on the price and buying American-made furniture,  Weiss says. He and the rest of the experts agree it’s worth t to invest in high-quality pieces that will last instead of purchasing much less expensive items that most likely will have to be replaced the following year.

“People say to me, ‘I saw that on the internet and it’s much cheaper, it’s half the price.’ That’s because it’s not the same thing,” Halpern says. “It’s somewhat similar in look, only it’s thinner gauge and  not the same formulation and by far not the same quality of cushion or fabric. In this industry, you get what you pay for. We sell the best quality, not things that will come back with problems.”

 “You can go to a big box store and get outdoor furniture that might look good or OK but along the coast with the salt air and weather they will not last. But today’s consumers seem to be more understanding of the investment they are making in their outdoor living,” Huber says. “It has become an extension of the interior, and we are seeing this trend continue. Investing in the right type of furniture made from the right materials and knowing how it’s constructed is important.”

Oskar Huber Fine Furniture
Long Beach Island, N.J.
(609) 494-8127
Southampton, Pa.
(215) 355-4800

Sequoia Supply
Hatfield and Warrington, Pa.
(215) 368-7245

Tropicraft by Pavillon du Soleil
Ardmore, Pa.
(610) 645-5400

Viking Casual Furniture
Maple Shade, N.J.
(856) 486-1880

Zaksons Fine Furniture
Brick Township, N.J.
(732) 477-8400

Select imagery courtesy of Viking Casual Furniture; Oskar Huber Fine Furniture; Zaksons Fine Furniture; and Tropicraft by Pavillon du Soleil.

Published (and copyrighted) in House & Home, Volume 21, Issue 1 (Fall 2020). 
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