From the Ruins...

WARSAW, Poland - It was rebuilt from ruins after the Second World War and still hides a German bunker. This square in central Warsaw is named for a Catholic church and is also famous for a pro-gay rainbow structure that's repeatedly been set on fire.

Plac Zbawiciela - Place of the Saviour, or Saviour Square - encompasses Poland's past and present in a nutshell, with all its conflicts and contradictions. Once grey and grim, the square is now a colourful place full of trendy cafs, reflecting the economic and cultural changes the country has undergone since toppling communism in 1989 and joining the European Union. Sometimes called Hipster Square, Plac Zbawiciela has become a magnet for tourists, students and professionals alike.

On a recent sunny morning, actress and model Kamila Beres was enjoying a salad and a coffee with her mother at an outdoor table at a place called Charlotte. "I like this place very much," she said. "It's like a small enclave with very special atmosphere. It attracts nice and interesting people, artistically minded." Her mother, Janina Beres, said she remembers the area from the time when it was "dormant," adding she appreciates the stylish way it has been revived.

Despite its contemporary vibe, the square - built on a star design, like many squares in Paris - manages to retain its quaintness. The idea for the square originated in the 18th century as part of a road linking royal residencies under the reign of Poland's last king, Stanislaw August Poniatowski. The first buildings, a few inns, appeared a century later and were linked to the city by a horse-drawn tram in 1882.

The Church of the Holiest Saviour, a Renaissance and Baroque style building with twin towers, was completed in 1927 after 26 years of construction delayed by the First World War.

Today, the square's many businesses cater to various tastes and purses. There's a florist, a sushi bar, a shot bar, an Italian cafeteria, and a gay-friendly French eatery.

"We are very happy people engage in creating such captivating places that build the city's positive atmosphere," said Bartosz Milczarczyk, a city hall spokesman. "They have our full support." But that does not include financial support: A traditional Polish restaurant on the square modestly hides in a crumbling pre-war building that awaits renovation.

Every evening, but especially on weekends, the square is filled with the sound of laughter and clinking wine glasses. Many in the crowd are students from the highly esteemed Methodist English Language College. The school, established in 1921, was closed during the war but survived during communism thanks to its popularity and protection from some communist officials who were students there.

The school's 38-metre-high building was Warsaw's tallest when it was completed in 1910. It's now one of just three buildings in the square that predatethe Second World War, along with the church and the building with the Polish restaurant.

Duringthe war, occupying Nazi Germans turned the elegant square into a district for their officers. Then in 1944, they bombed it and burned it down during fights with insurgents and in retaliation for the city's rebellion, in which some 200,000 residents were killed.

Reconstruction was done in the 1950s in the so-called socialist realism style, which is known for pompous, oversize structures, but here resulted in a well-proportioned colonnade that fit the scale of the square.

Still, the area's charm remained hidden under the era's general gloom. People visited the church for Sunday mass, or to check what the fish shop and lamp shop had to offer. In times of shortages, locals could get some supplies from illegal vendors who hid under the arcades and were often fined by the militia.

The bleakness began to dissipate when the communists were ousted in 1989 and a market economy was ushered in. The changes accelerated after Poland joined the EU, when open borders allowed young Poles to travel and bring back ideas and fashions from elsewhere. Gradually, the uninspiring shops ceded room to stylish eateries, and even the untended central green was replaced with beds of colourful flowers.

But not all the changes have been celebrated: A 2006 movie named for the square and partly filmed there showed a merciless side to Poland's new capitalism.

And the nine-metre rainbow in the centre of the square has repeatedly been damaged by arson. Churchgoers, who have a strong say in this predominantly Catholic nation, object to its perceived pro-gay symbolism. The city pledges to restore the rainbow - a metal structure covered in colourful fabric - with fireproof materials.

A hidden piece of the square's past came to light in 2011, when the installation of new tram tracks led to the discovery of a wartime German bunker. Though not unique, it was supposed to be taken to an army museum for preservation. But that would have cost too much, so instead it was covered with soil, and the tracks were run over it, forming yet another layer in Plac Zbawiciela's history.

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10 Best Outdoor Tables That Can Withstand the Unpredictable British Weather
Whether as a casual side table or dining table for all the family, our list has a range of options to help make the most of time spent outdoors.Whatever the purpose, an outdoor table should be weatherproof (that's UV and water resistant) from the surface material to the bolts and screws.Powder-coated metal and oiled hardwood are the traditional choices outdoors, but modern materials are also popular for being low maintenance.Synthetic wicker or rattan, and fibre cement tables are easy to clean and are inherently durable.Just because a table is designed for use outdoors, it doesn't mean you should leave it outside all year round.Most should be moved into an unheated space (shed or garage) for winter, or at least covered, if you want to enjoy maximum use year on year.You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.This coffee table, handmade by artisans in India, is inlaid with white marble mosaic tiles, giving it a stunning sparkling effect when the sun hits it. At 82.5cm in diameter, it has a good amount of surface area for holding plates and decorative candles, as well as drinks and snacks. It can be used indoors as well as out, meaning value for money all year round. It is supported on a contemporary black metal base.Buy now For small balconies or terraces, this affordable folding table is a perfect match. It comes in a range of bright summery colours (cobalt blue, saffron yellow, sage green or dusty pink) that make it an eye-catching feature among plants and flowers. It seats two comfortably for dining or four for drinks. It's made in powder-coated steel, making the set lightweight and durable (although it should be covered when out of use). A matching pair of chairs are £60.Buy now If you're serious about investing in a durable dining table for al fresco entertaining, thistable is a good all-rounder. The dark grey cement fibre top can withstand regular use, and the acacia wood base is thick and robust, keeping with the rustic style. It's weatherproof so you can leave it out during summer, but it's a good idea to cover or move inside over winter to keep it looking its best. It's sized to seat 6-8, but also makes a great buffet table for larger parties.Buy now This striking garden table has thick crisscrossed legs that connect through a square support. The top has a sunburst pattern of acacia wood pieces and a central hole for holding a parasol. Oiled acacia wood is suited to outdoor use because it resists water and UV damage. It's also cheaper than teak or oak. It should be treated regularly to keep it in good shape. This table requires some straightforward self-assembly and comes with either matte black or natural legs.Buy now The quality of this powder-coated aluminium table from specialist Danish manufacturer Skagerak is far superior to ones you can buy on the high street. Both or one half of the tabletop can be folded down for easy storage and portability. The built-in carry handle makes it easy to take to the park or beach for parties. Its size means it can be stored out the way in small gardens or balconies. It comes in dark green, black or grey and has matching stools (£249 each).Buy now Made.com's Lyra table mixes traditional design with the contemporary. The top is a woven poly rattan(a weatherproof version of rattan) with a retro look, and the paired legs are metal coated in a bright blue. It has a glass top for protection that's easy to clean any food or drink spills from too. There's a hole for a parasol, and it sits four for dinner comfortably. It also comes in a 6-seater version (£299) and matching armchairs (two for £179).Buy now This extra-long table is great if you have a large patio in need of a focal point. It has two pairs of slim legs, which means plenty of uninterrupted legroom for guests sitting either side. It's made of strong but light aluminium, which comes powder coated in black, white, pink or blue. The slots in the table top mean that rain can drip away rather than sit on the surface after a shower. It's been well designed for outdoor use and great for big parties and dinners.Buy now The Dante round table is reasonably priced considering size and quality. It easily seats six around a large wood-effect top that is easy to keep clean and can withstand a rain shower. It's made in handwoven synthetic wicker and has a rust-free aluminium frame that is designed to last well outdoors but could equally be used as conservatory furniture too. It comes with a 1-year guarantee and is available in a grey or natural colour.Buy now These handy tables are useful to have around the garden for parties, by the side of the lounger, or even as additional seating. They are made of fibre cement which is strong, as well as water and UV resistant. The matte surface, solid shape and bright colour all look great on grass and among softer planting. The built-in handles help you move these tables around easily as you need. It's easy to keep clean with soap and water but should stay indoors over winter.Buy now This bargain of aset includes two benches as well as a dining table that can seat six. The design is basic but practical enough to meet most needs. The table is made of oiled eucalyptus with galvanised fittings that won't rust. The table and benches are slatted to dry out quickly after a rain shower, there's also a hole for a parasol if you want to add one. It's easy to put together and maintain - treating with oil regularly will keep it working well.Buy now West Elm's table is stylish, with a mosaic inlay that gives your garden a Mediterranean feel. It's a coffee table, but large enough for casual eating, drinking and creating a focus for a seated area in the garden. It's among the more expensive on the list, but it can be used indoors too.IndyBestproduct reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.
From the Ruins...
WARSAW, Poland - It was rebuilt from ruins after the Second World War and still hides a German bunker. This square in central Warsaw is named for a Catholic church and is also famous for a pro-gay rainbow structure that's repeatedly been set on fire.Plac Zbawiciela - Place of the Saviour, or Saviour Square - encompasses Poland's past and present in a nutshell, with all its conflicts and contradictions. Once grey and grim, the square is now a colourful place full of trendy cafs, reflecting the economic and cultural changes the country has undergone since toppling communism in 1989 and joining the European Union. Sometimes called Hipster Square, Plac Zbawiciela has become a magnet for tourists, students and professionals alike.On a recent sunny morning, actress and model Kamila Beres was enjoying a salad and a coffee with her mother at an outdoor table at a place called Charlotte. "I like this place very much," she said. "It's like a small enclave with very special atmosphere. It attracts nice and interesting people, artistically minded." Her mother, Janina Beres, said she remembers the area from the time when it was "dormant," adding she appreciates the stylish way it has been revived.Despite its contemporary vibe, the square - built on a star design, like many squares in Paris - manages to retain its quaintness. The idea for the square originated in the 18th century as part of a road linking royal residencies under the reign of Poland's last king, Stanislaw August Poniatowski. The first buildings, a few inns, appeared a century later and were linked to the city by a horse-drawn tram in 1882.The Church of the Holiest Saviour, a Renaissance and Baroque style building with twin towers, was completed in 1927 after 26 years of construction delayed by the First World War.Today, the square's many businesses cater to various tastes and purses. There's a florist, a sushi bar, a shot bar, an Italian cafeteria, and a gay-friendly French eatery."We are very happy people engage in creating such captivating places that build the city's positive atmosphere," said Bartosz Milczarczyk, a city hall spokesman. "They have our full support." But that does not include financial support: A traditional Polish restaurant on the square modestly hides in a crumbling pre-war building that awaits renovation.Every evening, but especially on weekends, the square is filled with the sound of laughter and clinking wine glasses. Many in the crowd are students from the highly esteemed Methodist English Language College. The school, established in 1921, was closed during the war but survived during communism thanks to its popularity and protection from some communist officials who were students there.The school's 38-metre-high building was Warsaw's tallest when it was completed in 1910. It's now one of just three buildings in the square that predatethe Second World War, along with the church and the building with the Polish restaurant.Duringthe war, occupying Nazi Germans turned the elegant square into a district for their officers. Then in 1944, they bombed it and burned it down during fights with insurgents and in retaliation for the city's rebellion, in which some 200,000 residents were killed.Reconstruction was done in the 1950s in the so-called socialist realism style, which is known for pompous, oversize structures, but here resulted in a well-proportioned colonnade that fit the scale of the square.Still, the area's charm remained hidden under the era's general gloom. People visited the church for Sunday mass, or to check what the fish shop and lamp shop had to offer. In times of shortages, locals could get some supplies from illegal vendors who hid under the arcades and were often fined by the militia.The bleakness began to dissipate when the communists were ousted in 1989 and a market economy was ushered in. The changes accelerated after Poland joined the EU, when open borders allowed young Poles to travel and bring back ideas and fashions from elsewhere. Gradually, the uninspiring shops ceded room to stylish eateries, and even the untended central green was replaced with beds of colourful flowers.But not all the changes have been celebrated: A 2006 movie named for the square and partly filmed there showed a merciless side to Poland's new capitalism.And the nine-metre rainbow in the centre of the square has repeatedly been damaged by arson. Churchgoers, who have a strong say in this predominantly Catholic nation, object to its perceived pro-gay symbolism. The city pledges to restore the rainbow - a metal structure covered in colourful fabric - with fireproof materials.A hidden piece of the square's past came to light in 2011, when the installation of new tram tracks led to the discovery of a wartime German bunker. Though not unique, it was supposed to be taken to an army museum for preservation. But that would have cost too much, so instead it was covered with soil, and the tracks were run over it, forming yet another layer in Plac Zbawiciela's history.
From the Ruins...
WARSAW, Poland - It was rebuilt from ruins after the Second World War and still hides a German bunker. This square in central Warsaw is named for a Catholic church and is also famous for a pro-gay rainbow structure that's repeatedly been set on fire.Plac Zbawiciela - Place of the Saviour, or Saviour Square - encompasses Poland's past and present in a nutshell, with all its conflicts and contradictions. Once grey and grim, the square is now a colourful place full of trendy cafs, reflecting the economic and cultural changes the country has undergone since toppling communism in 1989 and joining the European Union. Sometimes called Hipster Square, Plac Zbawiciela has become a magnet for tourists, students and professionals alike.On a recent sunny morning, actress and model Kamila Beres was enjoying a salad and a coffee with her mother at an outdoor table at a place called Charlotte. "I like this place very much," she said. "It's like a small enclave with very special atmosphere. It attracts nice and interesting people, artistically minded." Her mother, Janina Beres, said she remembers the area from the time when it was "dormant," adding she appreciates the stylish way it has been revived.Despite its contemporary vibe, the square - built on a star design, like many squares in Paris - manages to retain its quaintness. The idea for the square originated in the 18th century as part of a road linking royal residencies under the reign of Poland's last king, Stanislaw August Poniatowski. The first buildings, a few inns, appeared a century later and were linked to the city by a horse-drawn tram in 1882.The Church of the Holiest Saviour, a Renaissance and Baroque style building with twin towers, was completed in 1927 after 26 years of construction delayed by the First World War.Today, the square's many businesses cater to various tastes and purses. There's a florist, a sushi bar, a shot bar, an Italian cafeteria, and a gay-friendly French eatery."We are very happy people engage in creating such captivating places that build the city's positive atmosphere," said Bartosz Milczarczyk, a city hall spokesman. "They have our full support." But that does not include financial support: A traditional Polish restaurant on the square modestly hides in a crumbling pre-war building that awaits renovation.Every evening, but especially on weekends, the square is filled with the sound of laughter and clinking wine glasses. Many in the crowd are students from the highly esteemed Methodist English Language College. The school, established in 1921, was closed during the war but survived during communism thanks to its popularity and protection from some communist officials who were students there.The school's 38-metre-high building was Warsaw's tallest when it was completed in 1910. It's now one of just three buildings in the square that predatethe Second World War, along with the church and the building with the Polish restaurant.Duringthe war, occupying Nazi Germans turned the elegant square into a district for their officers. Then in 1944, they bombed it and burned it down during fights with insurgents and in retaliation for the city's rebellion, in which some 200,000 residents were killed.Reconstruction was done in the 1950s in the so-called socialist realism style, which is known for pompous, oversize structures, but here resulted in a well-proportioned colonnade that fit the scale of the square.Still, the area's charm remained hidden under the era's general gloom. People visited the church for Sunday mass, or to check what the fish shop and lamp shop had to offer. In times of shortages, locals could get some supplies from illegal vendors who hid under the arcades and were often fined by the militia.The bleakness began to dissipate when the communists were ousted in 1989 and a market economy was ushered in. The changes accelerated after Poland joined the EU, when open borders allowed young Poles to travel and bring back ideas and fashions from elsewhere. Gradually, the uninspiring shops ceded room to stylish eateries, and even the untended central green was replaced with beds of colourful flowers.But not all the changes have been celebrated: A 2006 movie named for the square and partly filmed there showed a merciless side to Poland's new capitalism.And the nine-metre rainbow in the centre of the square has repeatedly been damaged by arson. Churchgoers, who have a strong say in this predominantly Catholic nation, object to its perceived pro-gay symbolism. The city pledges to restore the rainbow - a metal structure covered in colourful fabric - with fireproof materials.A hidden piece of the square's past came to light in 2011, when the installation of new tram tracks led to the discovery of a wartime German bunker. Though not unique, it was supposed to be taken to an army museum for preservation. But that would have cost too much, so instead it was covered with soil, and the tracks were run over it, forming yet another layer in Plac Zbawiciela's history.
From the Ruins...
WARSAW, Poland - It was rebuilt from ruins after the Second World War and still hides a German bunker. This square in central Warsaw is named for a Catholic church and is also famous for a pro-gay rainbow structure that's repeatedly been set on fire.Plac Zbawiciela - Place of the Saviour, or Saviour Square - encompasses Poland's past and present in a nutshell, with all its conflicts and contradictions. Once grey and grim, the square is now a colourful place full of trendy cafs, reflecting the economic and cultural changes the country has undergone since toppling communism in 1989 and joining the European Union. Sometimes called Hipster Square, Plac Zbawiciela has become a magnet for tourists, students and professionals alike.On a recent sunny morning, actress and model Kamila Beres was enjoying a salad and a coffee with her mother at an outdoor table at a place called Charlotte. "I like this place very much," she said. "It's like a small enclave with very special atmosphere. It attracts nice and interesting people, artistically minded." Her mother, Janina Beres, said she remembers the area from the time when it was "dormant," adding she appreciates the stylish way it has been revived.Despite its contemporary vibe, the square - built on a star design, like many squares in Paris - manages to retain its quaintness. The idea for the square originated in the 18th century as part of a road linking royal residencies under the reign of Poland's last king, Stanislaw August Poniatowski. The first buildings, a few inns, appeared a century later and were linked to the city by a horse-drawn tram in 1882.The Church of the Holiest Saviour, a Renaissance and Baroque style building with twin towers, was completed in 1927 after 26 years of construction delayed by the First World War.Today, the square's many businesses cater to various tastes and purses. There's a florist, a sushi bar, a shot bar, an Italian cafeteria, and a gay-friendly French eatery."We are very happy people engage in creating such captivating places that build the city's positive atmosphere," said Bartosz Milczarczyk, a city hall spokesman. "They have our full support." But that does not include financial support: A traditional Polish restaurant on the square modestly hides in a crumbling pre-war building that awaits renovation.Every evening, but especially on weekends, the square is filled with the sound of laughter and clinking wine glasses. Many in the crowd are students from the highly esteemed Methodist English Language College. The school, established in 1921, was closed during the war but survived during communism thanks to its popularity and protection from some communist officials who were students there.The school's 38-metre-high building was Warsaw's tallest when it was completed in 1910. It's now one of just three buildings in the square that predatethe Second World War, along with the church and the building with the Polish restaurant.Duringthe war, occupying Nazi Germans turned the elegant square into a district for their officers. Then in 1944, they bombed it and burned it down during fights with insurgents and in retaliation for the city's rebellion, in which some 200,000 residents were killed.Reconstruction was done in the 1950s in the so-called socialist realism style, which is known for pompous, oversize structures, but here resulted in a well-proportioned colonnade that fit the scale of the square.Still, the area's charm remained hidden under the era's general gloom. People visited the church for Sunday mass, or to check what the fish shop and lamp shop had to offer. In times of shortages, locals could get some supplies from illegal vendors who hid under the arcades and were often fined by the militia.The bleakness began to dissipate when the communists were ousted in 1989 and a market economy was ushered in. The changes accelerated after Poland joined the EU, when open borders allowed young Poles to travel and bring back ideas and fashions from elsewhere. Gradually, the uninspiring shops ceded room to stylish eateries, and even the untended central green was replaced with beds of colourful flowers.But not all the changes have been celebrated: A 2006 movie named for the square and partly filmed there showed a merciless side to Poland's new capitalism.And the nine-metre rainbow in the centre of the square has repeatedly been damaged by arson. Churchgoers, who have a strong say in this predominantly Catholic nation, object to its perceived pro-gay symbolism. The city pledges to restore the rainbow - a metal structure covered in colourful fabric - with fireproof materials.A hidden piece of the square's past came to light in 2011, when the installation of new tram tracks led to the discovery of a wartime German bunker. Though not unique, it was supposed to be taken to an army museum for preservation. But that would have cost too much, so instead it was covered with soil, and the tracks were run over it, forming yet another layer in Plac Zbawiciela's history.
1960s Silver Lake Home Retains Aesthetic of Architect Raul Garduno
In a moment of exasperation, Ileene Bernard told her husband, Herb: "If we don't get this house, it's the last house that I'm going to look at for us." Herb now jokes that he "should have seized that opportunity" to halt their yearlong challenge of house-hunting. He didn't even like the house."I fell in love with the house, but Herb did not like it," Ileene says. But he gave in, and since 1966 they have not just lived in the house but have been devoted to maintaining the original design by architect Raúl Garduno. The house has a barrel roof design.(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times) The 1,200-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bath house in Silver Lake dramatically cantilevers from the hillside. The floor-to-ceiling glass panels offer views, an abundance of light and surprising privacy. The prefabricated plywood barrel-vaulted ceiling, reaching 16 feet at its high point, gives the home an airy feeling. Advertisement Ileene recalls looking at pictures of the house in their real estate broker's Multiple Listing Service book.Are you a real estate junkie who likes luxury homes and celebrity cribs? Sign up for our Hot Property newsletter"At that time there was no computer. You could not look things up on the Internet ... just this big book. I came upon a picture of what turned out to be this house. We drove by and from the street we saw the neighbor's house, we didn't see this house, which was all engulfed in trees."Fortunately, the homes were similar, both by Garduno. The Bernards were the second owners of their house, buying it from a Los Angeles Times typesetter, Fleming Drefeld, who had commissioned the home in 1961. Advertisement The Bernards committed early on to maintain the aesthetic of their home, working to keep the materials and finishes the same as when the house was new. In the living room, the floor-to- ceiling glass panels offer views, an abundance of light and surprising privacy.(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times) When the cork tile floor in the kitchen needed repair, the couple refinished the tiles instead of replacing them. The George Nelson Bubble Lights, which have hung from the ceiling since the house was new, remain fresh and contemporary-looking. Another aspect of the interior that the Bernards have kept up is the original warm color palette, created for the house by furniture designers Van Keppel-Green. Bernard sits at the piano, which holds a photo of Ileene, left, her brother Robert and sister Irene Martin taken in 1936 in El Paso, Texas.(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times) One of the period features of the house is the acoustic ceiling, which the Bernards like for the way it warms sound from the piano and the large stereo speakers. Ileene recalls the day when the piano made its way into their living room. "The movers put the Steinway grand piano on a sled, waxed the rails and then waxed all 47 stairs from the carport to the house, then slid the piano up into the house." Herb playfully adds, "I did not know what to do with the reindeer afterwards."Among the changes they've made are an enclosed wine cellar and storeroom under the house, and new storage space inside. Herbert and Ileene Bernard on the deck of their Silver Lake home.(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times) Garduno's original planters along the wrapped deck, which had suffered water damage and mold, were covered with marine-coated plywood and painted to match the house. Now they work as outdoor table tops. When the hillside at the back of the house needed securing, the Bernards put in a garden area and retaining wall that appear original, designed by landscape architect Emmet Wemple, who designed the grounds of the Getty Villa. Advertisement Home tours: A peek inside the houses of Los AngelesThe house has succeeded over a half century, Ileene says, because the people who have worked on it understood and appreciated its character.::Architect Raul Garduno specialized in tough hillside propertiesArchitect Raúl Garduno specialized in the construction of challenging hillside properties, thanks to some of his first homes.His first and second homes fit that mold. The first was built on spec, adjacent to the second - the house the Bernards bought from Fleming Drefeld, who commissioned it in 1961.Several hillside designs are part of about two dozen buildings in Southern California that Garduno designed in various architectural styles.The architect, who died in October, designed and started construction of his first house while working in the office of architect Ragnar Qvale. He eventually left the firm to complete the house and start his own practice. He is perhaps best known for his Modernist residential work. Advertisement Garduno grew up in Los Angeles and came from a long line of doctors. He started out his college studies in humanities at Loyola Marymount University and later studied architecture at USC, graduating in the late 1950s."Raúl always had an interest in architecture," says his widow, Barbara Jean Trembley. "After reading the 'Fountainhead' by Ayn Rand on the plane and identifying with its uncompromising lead character, he wanted to become an architect."ORE HOME TOURSMeghan McCain's home: She calls her style 'Scarface meets Graceland'Tiny Laguna Beach condo feels roomier with ship-shape design conceptsSee how this remodel perfectly captures California's indoor-outdoor living
10 Best Outdoor Tables That Can Withstand the Unpredictable British Weather
Whether as a casual side table or dining table for all the family, our list has a range of options to help make the most of time spent outdoors.Whatever the purpose, an outdoor table should be weatherproof (that's UV and water resistant) from the surface material to the bolts and screws.Powder-coated metal and oiled hardwood are the traditional choices outdoors, but modern materials are also popular for being low maintenance.Synthetic wicker or rattan, and fibre cement tables are easy to clean and are inherently durable.Just because a table is designed for use outdoors, it doesn't mean you should leave it outside all year round.Most should be moved into an unheated space (shed or garage) for winter, or at least covered, if you want to enjoy maximum use year on year.You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism acrossThe Independent.This coffee table, handmade by artisans in India, is inlaid with white marble mosaic tiles, giving it a stunning sparkling effect when the sun hits it. At 82.5cm in diameter, it has a good amount of surface area for holding plates and decorative candles, as well as drinks and snacks. It can be used indoors as well as out, meaning value for money all year round. It is supported on a contemporary black metal base.Buy nowFor small balconies or terraces, this affordable folding table is a perfect match. It comes in a range of bright summery colours (cobalt blue, saffron yellow, sage green or dusty pink) that make it an eye-catching feature among plants and flowers. It seats two comfortably for dining or four for drinks. It's made in powder-coated steel, making the set lightweight and durable (although it should be covered when out of use). A matching pair of chairs are £60.Buy nowIf you're serious about investing in a durable dining table for al fresco entertaining, thistable is a good all-rounder. The dark grey cement fibre top can withstand regular use, and the acacia wood base is thick and robust, keeping with the rustic style. It's weatherproof so you can leave it out during summer, but it's a good idea to cover or move inside over winter to keep it looking its best. It's sized to seat 6-8, but also makes a great buffet table for larger parties.Buy nowThis striking garden table has thick crisscrossed legs that connect through a square support. The top has a sunburst pattern of acacia wood pieces and a central hole for holding a parasol. Oiled acacia wood is suited to outdoor use because it resists water and UV damage. It's also cheaper than teak or oak. It should be treated regularly to keep it in good shape. This table requires some straightforward self-assembly and comes with either matte black or natural legs.Buy nowThe quality of this powder-coated aluminium table from specialist Danish manufacturer Skagerak is far superior to ones you can buy on the high street. Both or one half of the tabletop can be folded down for easy storage and portability. The built-in carry handle makes it easy to take to the park or beach for parties. Its size means it can be stored out the way in small gardens or balconies. It comes in dark green, black or grey and has matching stools (£249 each).Buy nowMade.com's Lyra table mixes traditional design with the contemporary. The top is a woven poly rattan(a weatherproof version of rattan) with a retro look, and the paired legs are metal coated in a bright blue. It has a glass top for protection that's easy to clean any food or drink spills from too. There's a hole for a parasol, and it sits four for dinner comfortably. It also comes in a 6-seater version (£299) and matching armchairs (two for £179).Buy nowThis extra-long table is great if you have a large patio in need of a focal point. It has two pairs of slim legs, which means plenty of uninterrupted legroom for guests sitting either side. It's made of strong but light aluminium, which comes powder coated in black, white, pink or blue. The slots in the table top mean that rain can drip away rather than sit on the surface after a shower. It's been well designed for outdoor use and great for big parties and dinners.Buy nowThe Dante round table is reasonably priced considering size and quality. It easily seats six around a large wood-effect top that is easy to keep clean and can withstand a rain shower. It's made in handwoven synthetic wicker and has a rust-free aluminium frame that is designed to last well outdoors but could equally be used as conservatory furniture too. It comes with a 1-year guarantee and is available in a grey or natural colour.Buy nowThese handy tables are useful to have around the garden for parties, by the side of the lounger, or even as additional seating. They are made of fibre cement which is strong, as well as water and UV resistant. The matte surface, solid shape and bright colour all look great on grass and among softer planting. The built-in handles help you move these tables around easily as you need. It's easy to keep clean with soap and water but should stay indoors over winter.Buy nowThis bargain of aset includes two benches as well as a dining table that can seat six. The design is basic but practical enough to meet most needs. The table is made of oiled eucalyptus with galvanised fittings that won't rust. The table and benches are slatted to dry out quickly after a rain shower, there's also a hole for a parasol if you want to add one. It's easy to put together and maintain - treating with oil regularly will keep it working well.Buy nowWest Elm's table is stylish, with a mosaic inlay that gives your garden a Mediterranean feel. It's a coffee table, but large enough for casual eating, drinking and creating a focus for a seated area in the garden. It's among the more expensive on the list, but it can be used indoors too.IndyBestproduct reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.
Camping with the Lizards on Unspoiled St. Croix
ST. CROIX - For those who crave sun, azure waters, and palm trees - but also the wildness and healing properties of untrammeled nature - there is a place, near and affordable.It is in the rain forest on the western side of St. Croix, the largest and least developed of the US Virgin Islands, far from the pricey resorts and gambling meccas found elsewhere on the island and in much of the Caribbean.At Mount Victory Camp, one can awaken to the murmurings of barbary doves, share living quarters with delicate, pastel lizards, offer picnic scraps to a colony of tortoises, and still be moments away from uncrowded white-sand beaches, snorkeling, fine dining, and museums that detail the island's history.The camp, part of an eco-farm, is a sprawling, hilly compound with a few tent sites and several screened-in platform dwellings, a bathhouse with solar hot water, and an open pavilion. We and other independent-minded campers gathered there at night to cook and share the day's adventures - not to mention whatever wine or rum we had brought."Something I love being part of is the ever-changing community atmosphere that is created here, week to week," said Eric Paxton Stauder, camp manager. "People meet and form lifelong friendships through sharing meals, drinks, and stories by the campfire."In any given week we host a blend of local islanders and visitors from all over North America and Europe," he said. The camp "has a way of attracting really friendly and interesting people, people that seem to truly care about their world and the people they share it with."Of course, Mount Victory is not for everyone - but that is part of its allure. Chickens and roosters strut the property; the solar showers can be more invigorating than anticipated on a cloudy day; and if a guest should forget to close the gate after driving into the camp, the neighbors' cattle are likely to wander in.Driving, especially on the narrow, vine-strung, and pocked road leading into the camp, is an adventure, as "Crucians" drive on the left and some side roads are barely wide enough for two cars.But these are small matters compared with the joys of discovering St. Croix: the forested hills, clifftop panoramas, plantation ruins, coral reefs, funky beach bars, and laid-back lifestyle that turns more than a few visitors into residents.We spent the first seven of our nine nights at Mount Victory in a tent we brought from home and made day trips to hike, kayak, snorkel, swim, and visit museums and gardens.But we also made night trips, most notably to the Sunset Grill, on the beach 1.8 miles from the camp. Having left Boston in a late March snowfall, we felt as if we had been dropped into a postcard: We were escorted to an outdoor table just feet from the water, with a palm tree framing the setting sun, given a lime coconut drink, and served coconut-encrusted mahimahi and a salad studded with hearts of palm.
Why Are Window Air Conditioners so Loud?
Odds are that, if you own an air conditioner, you own a window unit. These are the most popular types - both in the US and globally - available today.Window air conditioner units are so popular because they are inexpensive (running anywhere from $150-$600) and take up no floor space in your home because they sit on your windowsill.They are also easy to install, unlike split air systems and central ac. Installing a window unit is an easy DIY job that can be tackled in an hour or so.Also, because they are installed in a semi-permanent fashion, you just set it and forget it. Unlike portable ac units, which are often wheeled around from room to room, a window unit is designed to stay put.In spite of all of these benefits, however, window units have one major drawback: the noise. These units are loud and different models can range from being moderately annoying to downright deafening.Why are window air conditioners so loud? Well, the reason is simple: because the entire air conditioner - the compressor, the condenser, and the fans - are all located in one single unit.By contrast, with a split ac and a central air conditioner, the compressor and condenser are installed outside of your home. That means that in those units the loudest parts aren't in your home.With a window unit, however, the noisiest parts of the unit are inside your home.This can be a minor annoyance. It may mean that you have to turn up the volume on the tv to hear it. But it can also mean sleepless nights if your window air conditioner in your bedroom is deafening.So what you should do?The best thing to do is to check out the sound levels on your window unit before you make your purchase. All air conditioners come with labels specifying the decibels generated by the unit. A high number means a loud machine. For example, a unit with a rating of 50 Decibels is 10 times louder than one rated 40 Decibels.The smartest thing to do is to go to a big box store like Target or Walmart and listen to an air conditioner before you buy it. Even if you are looking at a different brand, it is important to get a sense of how loud the Decibel ratings are for you. You can do this best by listening to different ac units running.If you already have a window air conditioning unit and you have noticed recently that it seems to be louder, there are few steps you should take.Check to see if the unit is vibrating on the windowsill. It may need to be re-tightened on its shelf. The side panels might also be loose. Inspect those to see if they need tightening. If the unit seems to be vibrating more than normal, consider sliding a piece of wood under the unit to secure it.
Built-ins Ideal for Small Spaces
Today's new condominiums and townhomes are designed on a smaller footprint that has changed the way our homes are furnished.At first, the options for decorating were decidedly modern. Small spaces were thought to be best suited to the sleek, clean lines of pale woods and steel-based sofas, transparent or translucent glass and plastic tables, white walls and bleached floors. The minimal approach allowed the space to breathe, but it was often cold, and for traditionalists, this simply wasn't home.I have designed a series of homes this past year that combine the best of both worlds. High ceilings, crown mouldings and deep baseboards share all the traditions of older homes captured in today's modern vision. The living room in this elegant townhouse combines lofty design with the finest materials.To achieve the right balance, every square foot is considered, every corner utilized. When you are looking for solutions to your small space furnishing challenge, here are some guidelines.Begin with built-ins. Take a look at the wall space and any nooks and crannies that are produced by a chimney flue, heating ducts or supporting beams. They may leave an awkward corner or dead space that you can fill nicely with built-in cabinetry. Here, the fireplace is flanked by custom cabinets that fit the existing wall space and provide a stylish area for storage and display. The window seat is a natural extension and practical use.Select furniture that fits. This isn't always easy to find but more and more designers are cognizant of the need for compact styles.And you can find what you are looking for in modern and traditional designs. Look for sofas and chairs that have no skirts or added frills. Open space below and around furniture always makes a room feel more airy. Some chairs and ottomans are also designed with built-in storage.Mirrors are a decorator's best friend. Properly placed, a mirror reflects light and pushes out the walls. In this living room, the mirror above the sofa sits opposite the high window and widens the room.Choose colours that suit the mood you want to achieve. Select your most expensive items first, the sofa and chairs, the floor and carpet and then wall colour. Paint is the easiest to change. The dark floor grounds the room, along with the wood furniture trim and tables. Pastel hues of the area carpet, creamy upholstery, white lamp shades and silky blue cushions provide large blocks of light, so I chose a muted grey blue for the walls.Please email your questions to house2home @debbietravis.com
Why Are Window Air Conditioners so Loud?
Odds are that, if you own an air conditioner, you own a window unit. These are the most popular types - both in the US and globally - available today.Window air conditioner units are so popular because they are inexpensive (running anywhere from $150-$600) and take up no floor space in your home because they sit on your windowsill.They are also easy to install, unlike split air systems and central ac. Installing a window unit is an easy DIY job that can be tackled in an hour or so.Also, because they are installed in a semi-permanent fashion, you just set it and forget it. Unlike portable ac units, which are often wheeled around from room to room, a window unit is designed to stay put.In spite of all of these benefits, however, window units have one major drawback: the noise. These units are loud and different models can range from being moderately annoying to downright deafening.Why are window air conditioners so loud? Well, the reason is simple: because the entire air conditioner - the compressor, the condenser, and the fans - are all located in one single unit.By contrast, with a split ac and a central air conditioner, the compressor and condenser are installed outside of your home. That means that in those units the loudest parts aren't in your home.With a window unit, however, the noisiest parts of the unit are inside your home.This can be a minor annoyance. It may mean that you have to turn up the volume on the tv to hear it. But it can also mean sleepless nights if your window air conditioner in your bedroom is deafening.So what you should do?The best thing to do is to check out the sound levels on your window unit before you make your purchase. All air conditioners come with labels specifying the decibels generated by the unit. A high number means a loud machine. For example, a unit with a rating of 50 Decibels is 10 times louder than one rated 40 Decibels.The smartest thing to do is to go to a big box store like Target or Walmart and listen to an air conditioner before you buy it. Even if you are looking at a different brand, it is important to get a sense of how loud the Decibel ratings are for you. You can do this best by listening to different ac units running.If you already have a window air conditioning unit and you have noticed recently that it seems to be louder, there are few steps you should take.Check to see if the unit is vibrating on the windowsill. It may need to be re-tightened on its shelf. The side panels might also be loose. Inspect those to see if they need tightening. If the unit seems to be vibrating more than normal, consider sliding a piece of wood under the unit to secure it.
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KingBird Home Furniture