It's no secret: City life can wear you down. Not to mention the concrete jungle affords very little solitary space to breathe. A backyard? We can only dream. A balcony? If we're lucky. Most of us city dwellers only have a fire escape to find outdoor solace...if that. So, with that in mind, Pottery Barn challenged us to turn our boring fire escape into a dream escape, perfect for book reading, coffee drinking, and mental decompressing.
Not wishing to break any fire codes, though, we outfitted a typical fire escape with a few portable elements that bring equal parts resilience, romance, and functionality — basically everything we love about New York. Keep clicking to see if it was a mission accomplished, and check out our tips on how to bring a little personality to your outdoor space. Need a little extra moola to fund your decor desires? Click here to be entered to win a $400 gift card to Pottery Barn!
A standard NYC fire escape in the Lower East Side, this "quiet corner" was pretty drab. Even our fern, now diseased (it keeled over by itself, as you can see in the top-left corner), couldn't stand it.
But, with a few small additions, you can bring the inherently drab space to life. Just be sure to keep in mind fire-safety codes, which prohibit storing objects outside that would block any escape routes. That said, use items that you can easily move indoors and out. A small side table, for example, brings dimension to your outdoor space and is easily portable for that 10-minute morning coffee or hour-long nighttime breather. Plus, you won't have to put your books or coffee on the dirty ground.
And, don't forget: Ambiance is everything for an intimate respite. These bronze-finished metal lanterns complement the rusty exterior and bring a little warmth and romance to the space...should you ever want to share it with someone special. Add brightly colored florals inside the lanterns to bring a little whimsy. We coiled metal dry-clean hangers inside the glass to keep the flowers in place and away from the candle. Pretty genius if we do say ourselves!
Pottery Barn Mosaic Side Table, $199, available at Pottery Barn; Pottery Barn Extra-Small Arches Lantern, $19, available at Pottery Barn; Pottery Barn Small Arches Lantern, $39, available at Pottery Barn.
Okay, so maybe you don't have a green thumb. That doesn't mean you can't bring a little plant life to your space. Resilient, durable plants like cacti and succulents are your best friends. Not to mention they add much-needed pops of color to all that cold metal.