West Elm Summer

Refreshments for the home front as the season slips into spring and summer.

By Kristin Belz April 7, 2012


The Montauk Nest Chair is aptly named; the woven wicker and aluminum frame are built to weather the outdoors all spring and summer.

Savvy retailers are always refreshing their stock – or at least they do so once a season. With each refresh, they’re hoping we’ll feel the urge to do the same. Whether its our wardrobe, furniture or housewares, they know it’s human nature to get a bit tired of what we have and start hankering to throw something new in the mix.

And now that we’ve had a stretch of gorgeous weather (it’s been at least three straight days with a good amount of sun, according to my records!), it’s a good time to venture out and check what’s on display this season in snazzy Pearl District storefronts like West Elm.

West Elm is the Brooklyn, NY-born cousin of the Williams-Sonoma family of home-oriented retail powerhouses (which now includes Portland’s own Rejuvenation), and they are ready to get the spring and summer party started. Refreshers for warm weather run the gamut from minor touches (a serving platter, table linens) to major (outdoor sofas), but my favorite is the Montauk Nest Chair. It’s the return of a best seller, and a splurge ($799) I’ll be saving up for.

The Nest Chair is outdoor furniture that makes a statement combining creativity, comfort and practicality. Woven of chunky greyish brown all-weather wicker over a lightweight, rust-resistant frame, the chair evidently can live outside without withering. And that’s good to know, since its ample rounded shape (it measures 48" high x 44” deep x 32” wide) is not something I’d want to be hauling around a lot. But sitting in it, out on the deck or by the pool, for hours? That I can see. The Montauk chair has siblings – a boxy lounge chair and a luxuriously reclining chaise lounge.


Tea light holders are textured like creatures from the ocean in Maria Moyer’s Plankton series of porcelain objects.

If weather resistant wicker doesn’t float your boat, there’s plenty more to refresh the home for spring and summer. Warm red and coral colors, watery blues and turquoises, and neutral, natural shell shades of white and grey were in abundance. Well-priced soft white porcelain vases and other tabletop objects by sculptor Maria Moyer are inspired by ocean critters and seashells (with 5% of the proceeds of sales go to Oceana, a non-profit).


Called the Plankton Series, it "reflects my appreciation for the beauty and exquisite weirdness of nature," as she puts it. Not a bad way to go about refreshing home and garden as the weather warms.


West Elm
located in the Brewery Blocks
1201 NW Couch Street
(Corner of Couch St. and 12th Ave)
Portland, OR 97209
Mon-Fri:10am – 8pm
Saturday:10am – 8pm
Sunday:11am – 6pm

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