Summer brings with it a different set of needs when hosting guests. Here is our summer roundup of exciting products that will add to your sense of style and provide you with super tools to enhance your next barbecue, beach time, or picnic.
(photo at the top of this post) For the modern lovers comes a wooden slatted bench whose adjustable backrest houses a photovoltaic panel, creating a striking lighting effect for nighttime soirees. The strength of the PV technology can produce energy in low light and shaded conditions. Roll-up mattress available in a range of colors and fabrics. Designed by Nina Edwards Anker of nea studio. neastudio.com
Latitude light is a translucent 3D printed indoor/outdoor solar-powered lamp that emits a subtle ambient glow. The design can be customized depending on location or color preference. By tilting the panel at different angles, the light’s capacity for electric power generation is optimized. Lights illuminate automatically at dusk. Designed by Nina Edwards Anker of nea studio. $244. neastudio.com
TABLE ‘T’ Illumination Series
No need for candles! Give your table setting a soft glow, care of a rechargable battery or via electic source. The table is constructed of easy-care Corian with handsome wood legs and metal structure. Table design by dsignedby. Can be customized. Approx 94”l x 36”w x 28” h. $3,300 to $5,000. dsignedby.com
When you are ready to invest in the grill conceived and designed by engineers who are culinarily-inclined make sure to investigate this brand. I met up with the company at this year’s Architectural Digest Design Show and was educated on the finer points of fine-cooking outdoors. The 42-inch built in grill makes a fantastic base for an outdoor kitchen. Some of their advantages: The hood is easy to lift and can remain in any position. Lighting is incorporated into the hood and comes on automatically when you open it.
The grill features different types of burners for different tasks. The variable sear burner allows you to sear, then continue cooking at a lower temp without having to move the food around. The radiant briquette trays are removable and easy to clean—just flip them over and the burner takes care of the mess.
Adding a side burner gives you the opportunity to extend your cooking options, so you can work on sautés, boil water, or get out your wok. Hestan burners are rated 25,000 BTUs, the same rating used in professional kitchens, which means your pot of water for lobsters will come to a boil faster, and if you like wok cooking, you’ll get the heat required for quick stir fries.
The warming shelf at the rear of the grill can be moved up and down, and like the other grates, it is easily removed for cleaning, or can be stored vertically when not in use. Above the shelf is a built-in ceramic infrared burner perfect for searing/finishing or for added heat when using the rotisserie.
Riding the trend of color in appliances, Hestan offers the grill in 12 fantastic color finishes (including Stainless Steel for those not ready to make the color commitment!). The 42 inch starts at $7,099, 36 inch $6,399, 30-inch $5,049. Side burner, starts at $1,619. home.hestan.com
Garden Glory is a collection of extravagantly designed gardening accessories with a big dose of whimsy. These could come in handy for cooling down a crowd! And while they may look cute, Garden Glory’s products are manufactured according to rigorous sustainability standards. Garden hoses are completely free of lead, cadmium and phthalates to keep the water clean, and knitting reinforcement makes them pliable to prevent kinking. Wall mounts in brass or chrome finishes, or lightweight cast aluminum, are built to withstand harsh weather. See the entire collection at Macy’s in Story NYC. STORY is an ongoing themed exhibit/shop whose products change with every few months. gardenglory.com
Gosun Solar Cooler
Here’s a genius idea for those who socialize on the go. Next time you hit the beach, boat, campground, or park keep all your edibles cold with solar power, no need for ice. Bonus: the PowerBank+ has three USB ports for charging phones. Lasts for 14 hours in 80°F temps. Chill Portable Solar Fridge, $579. Also available from this company, a solar panel designed just for phone charging, SolarFlex 10 Foldable 10W Solar Panel, $59. gosun.co
Portable AC and Clear Ice Maker
With temperatures soaring the need for extra cooling comes into play, especially when you have a gathering with a room full of people spreading their body heat! Turn to the Frigidaire Portable Evaporative Cooler. It is compact, but does the job and sets up in an instant. $119.95
For extra ice needs made perfectly clear, get the NewAir Countertop Clear Ice Maker which produces up to 40 pounds of ice per day. Great to situate near your outdoor bar. $104.99 Available at NewAir, who specialize in affordable compact appliances like wine fridges, heating & cooling products, and cigar humidors. newair.com
Here’s a low-tech item that could come in handy on the beach, boat, picnic, or campground. It’s a slow cooker that uses heat-retention only. Here’s how it works: bring food to a boil on a conventional stove, then let it simmer a bit. Transfer the covered pot into the Wonderbag and cinch bag tightly. It will continue to slow cook for up to 12 hours.
This product was invented in South African where power outages are common, and comes in a variety of cool patterns to choose from.
What can you make in this? Try chili, eggplant parmesan, biriyani, korma, poached salmon, fall off the bone lamb curry, puddings, french toast. You can get even more ideas from their cookbook.
Also great for keeping things cold. Handmade in South Africa, this bag allows a family’s income to rise from 20 cents a day to 2 dollars. $34. wonderbagworld.com Wonderbag is currently re-working the US sales link on its site, but you can purchase a bag here.
There’s nothing more cozy than an open fire pit under starry skies, especially when the nighttime temperatures have dropped a bit. It’s a wonderful way to end a night of entertaining. Designer Elena Colombo puts a lot of imagination into her fire sculptures. She flies across North America designing and installing special designs for each client, and works in bronze, steel, stone, concrete and bone depending on the scene.
Her environmental sculptures, fire, water, and wind features will really create a unique place to settle around. Prices vary based on materials, size, technical options, and installation, starting at $3,800 for a 45” steel Burn Bowl. firefeatures.com
For those who like to take their time off off-the-grid here’s a website that shows you where to go. It’s like the airbnb of glamping. Find campsites all around the US, even ones with dark skies, so you can admire the stars. hipcamp.com