Hot In the City
Erika Johnson
Hot In the City
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With two years of coastal living under my belt, I’m slowly becoming a seasoned suburbanite. Still, summer time makes me nostalgic for my mid-twenties, when hot nights were spent on my little outdoor city sanctuary (which doubled as a fire escape).  Nestled above my neighbors’ miniature gardens, I sunned on my tiny patio set and sipped lemonade by day. At night, I invited friends to escape the heat with mojitos under the magnificent lights of Boston’s grand skyline.

Evenings in the city are now spent as a visitor on friends’ patios and rooftop terraces.  Nonetheless, the calm of the glassy nighttime Charles River, lit by the twinkling bustle of Boston, is one of my favorite spots to spend a breezy summer evening.

Photo Credit: Donna Karan’s apartment photographed by Richard Powers via Habitually Chic

Obviously, these inspiration photos are a bit more posh than my glorified fire escape.  Regardless of size, four key elements will transform any city patio into an urban sanctuary.

  1. Cozy seating. From chaise lounges to long sofas, plush, colorful cushions are key!
  2. Communal table top. Whether spreading out the morning paper or dining with friends, a long surface is always handy.
  3. Urban ambiance. Lighting should enhance the existing glow of the skyline and stars.  Subtle twinkle lights and lanterns are my favorites.
  4. Bring nature in. Creating a small garden space with potted plants and aromatic herbs softens the feel of the outdoors.
Although small, I fondly remember plucking mint from my miniature outdoor herb garden to garnish summer libations. I created a summer jazz play list and hung colorful lanterns just for the occasion of guests popping by the patio. Nostalgia!

What is your favorite summer memory of an urban outdoor space?

- Erika


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