Leave it to Victoria Smith, founder of sfgirlbybay, to bring the outdoor decor game to a whole new level. For the last 10 years, Victoria has been a constant source of inspiration for interior designers and design aficionados alike, sharing her stylish finds, gorgeous interiors and enviable travel photos.

So when Victoria moved from the Bay Area to sunny Los Angeles, she set out to create an outdoor space to perfectly suit her signature modern bohemian style. She chose a vintage rattan sofa to be the focal point of her space, but it needed a little love – that’s when she called on the experts at Revitaliste.

Revitaliste rattan sofa upholstery outdoor furniture vintage transformation Chairish
The rattan sofa Victoria chose had good bones, but needed a little love.

Revitaliste specializes in transforming beloved vintage pieces into modern treasures, perfectly tailored to their customers’ tastes. So it’s no surprise that with their expertise and design guidance, coupled with Victoria’s impeccable taste, the result was spectacular. Victoria chose ‘Rise,’ a bold pattern from Hable Construction because of its beachy vibes. Amy Frederickson, founder of Revitaliste, suggested adding a black welting. “The pattern is really bold, and has a lot of movement. The welt makes it look crisp, modern and perfectly tailored.” And Victoria agreed: “They were spot-on — the cushions look gorgeous and the pattern is perfect.”

Looking to transform your own outdoor space with a custom piece? Here are Amy’s top 5 tips to keep in mind when revitalizing your outdoor furniture.

Revitaliste upholstery rattan bench black white vintage transformation outdoor furniture
High contrast: the black and white fabric perfectly suits Victoria’s black exterior paint.

1. Choose a material that will wear well over time.

“Our favorite materials for outdoor furniture are rattan, aluminum, iron, plastic and fiberglass. Rattan is particularly great because it can endure the elements. Some woods do well outside – teak, most notably, but it requires quite a bit of maintenance and has to be oiled again and again. Keep in mind that if you buy a wood piece for outside, it can be hard to identify the type of wood until its stripped down, even for a professional finisher. That’s another reason we love rattan – it’s a safer bet. You know it’s rattan when you look at it! Also keep in mind that for cushions, it’s wise to invest in having cushion insert that is specifically made for outdoor use.”

2. Be mindful of the finish.

“Love that lacquered look? So do we, but remember that organic materials – like wood or rattan – will expand and contract with moisture and heat, so unfortunately they are not great candidates for painting or lacquering if being used outdoors. Finishes that stand up to mother nature:

  • Acrylic urethane (similar to lacquer but more durable) is great on plastic/fiberglass and can be used on aluminum/iron.
  • Powder coating is a process that works only for metal-based pieces – so does well on aluminum and iron pieces. Powder coating can withstand anything!
  • Oils are a great way to go for outdoor wood furniture.”
Revitaliste rattan bench outdoor furniture upholstery black white pattern cushion inserts
Not only did Revitaliste redo the design, but they also added new cushion inserts.

3. Take care to extend your furniture’s shelf life.

“Outdoor furniture is sturdy by nature, but take extra care to prolong your piece’s life! We suggest that you store the piece inside during the off season, cover it and also bring the cushions indoors when not in use. Consider your environment in your purchase decision: if you live in a really damp climate, select pieces that are not rust or rot prone. And remember that Mother Nature ultimately takes her toll on all outdoor furniture – invest in pieces that are worthy of being revitalized again, and again later!”

4. Find the perfect weather-proof fabric.

“You don’t have to sacrifice style for outdoor! Lucky for us, there’s an incredible array of indoor and outdoor fabrics. Over the years, fabric companies have really moved beyond the awning stripe – outdoor fabrics are so much more sophisticated now, and you’re sure to find the perfect one! Some of the textile companies we’re particularly excited about right now for outdoor include Madeline Weinrib, Holland & Sherry and Quadrille Fabrics.”

Revitaliste rattan bench upholstery black white welt cushions boho vibes outdoor furniture
The black welting on the cushions gives the boho vibes a tailored look.

5. Small design details can make a big impact.

“You can create some fun contrast by boxing the side of your outdoor cushions with a solid fabric, like we did with Victoria’s. Another great way to add detail is by adding a welt or trim, which can lend your piece a crisp and tailored look. Don’t forget that the trim should also be for outdoor use – you don’t want it to fade while the rest of the upholstered piece holds up well!”


Photos by Lily Glass, courtesy of Victoria Smith

June 22, 2017

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