@ Coast Ponsonby

With summer coming, Ponsonby News asked this month's cover star Coast owner, Nicola Webster, a few questions about outdoor living.

COAST was first established in a spare bedroom from our little Herne Bay villa almost 14 years after my husband, Alex, and I returned to New Zealand after spending eight or so years living in the Caribbean, London and Hong Kong. We had decided to try to create a luxury lifestyle brand that would reflect New Zealand’s unique quality of life.

We started from the ground up with high quality, New Zealand-made lifestyle products that would be both timeless and enduring - essential in New Zealand’s harsh conditions. Our first product was the Marine Bean - a luxury, outdoor beanbag, which remains our best-seller today.

At that time New Zealand held the America’s Cup and Auckland was the epicentre for superyachting. Our strategy was initially to focus on the superyacht market, but we found that our luxury outdoor beanbags and canvas luggage were equally at home ashore. Consequently, our market has broadened considerably over the years, as has our product range, which now includes textiles, travel bags and leather goods.

Summer’s on its way, what’s hot for outdoor living for next season?
The continuing trend this year is the seamless transition from indoor to your outdoor spaces - and the blurring of distinctions between indoor and outdoor furnishings and the softening of exterior design. Long gone are the days of stark and uncomfortable outdoor setting. Once the exclusive province of the marine industry, hard-wearing and UV-resistant materials have entered the mainstream and can be found in upholstery fabrics, throw cushions and even outdoor rugs. The ‘outdoor room’ - a comfortable and inviting outdoor space - can now be achieved with upholstered exterior furniture, plenty of throws, cushions, occasional tables, outdoor rugs - and of course our outdoor beanbags and ottomans!

We are seeing a lot of coastal colours this season, blues, greens and naturals - and there is now a lot more texture in outdoor fabrics, which gives a more relaxed interior feel. Throw cushions in bright and pattern colours are a great way to dress up and change the look of an outdoor space and it is easy to change to another look later down the track. Outdoor furniture sees a return to more natural looking materials, such as teak and rattan, which add texture and depth to spaces.

Who creates your designs and what are your inspirations?
My husband, Alex, is designer and works closely with our long-time production manager at the factory in Auckland to render concepts into workable, functional products. We discuss all of our ideas as a team and I take the lead in designing and selecting textiles and colours. As a life-long yachtie, Alex draws much of his inspiration from nautical crafts and the use of marine fabrics and techniques.

Your bean bags are well known now - how should they be cared for?
The Marine Bean collection was our first and remains our bestseller. Part of their enduring appeal is that they really do last. Only the other day, a lady came into our Ponsonby Road to buy a Marine Bean ottoman. It was to go with the COAST beanbag she bought 14 years ago, which was still going strong!

The Sunbrella covers are guaranteed against fading and deterioration for five years. You really can take them outside and leave them outside. Spot marks can be removed with a sponge or soft brush and some warm, soapy water. The covers of most of our beanbags (and all of our newest collections) can be removed and machine-washed. Stubborn marks can be addressed with a mild bleach solution. After washing, we recommend that you apply 303 Fabric Guard (available through COAST) or similar.

Occasional cleaning is essential to ensure the longevity of your outdoor beanbags. As with all items, the better you look after then, they longer they will last!

Tell us about Sunbrella...
The Marine Bean collection is made from marine grade Sunbrella, a fantastic outdoor fabric which is well known and very well regarded by the marine industry and design professionals alike. It carries a five year exterior guarantee in New Zealand and Australia (10 years in Europe and the the US). Sunbrella is a solution dyed acrylic - meaning that the colour runs through every filament and will not fade. In our experience, it is by far the best outdoor fabric on the market for New Zealand conditions.

There has been so much advancement in Sunbrella fabrics over the 14 years we have been using it - increased softness, incorporation of recycled materials, more texture and variety - and we are finding that many people now use it for indoor applications such as sofas, window seats, curtains and blinds.

The Sunbrella range is now available from COAST (online and in store) by the metre.

COAST, 77 Ponsonby Road, T: 09 354 4552, www.coastnewzealand.co.nz