One on One With Lili McIntire


Connecting Indoor and Outdoor Spaces

By Gina Dostler

Lili_Black & WhiteIt’s the time for coastal inhabitants to swarm outside to enjoy the great outdoors. Creating a home that smoothly merges the inside out of doors is an art practiced by Lili McIntire’s store Gardenology. Its zen-like ambiance and beautiful furnishings entice customers with every step. With style and design always on her mind, she lets us in on some good ideas that make integrating outdoor living spaces in the home a success.

Q: What was the inspiration for Gardenology?

A: It was a dream of mine for quite awhile. My passion and hobby throughout my life has been garden and interior design. So after working in corporate business management for 25 years I decided to dig out my idea for a store that brought the outdoors in and the indoors out and make it a reality. It’s been a fun adventure, no day is ever alike, and I love to bring beauty into every customer’s home.

Q: Where does one start to bring outdoor living in a home?

A: The connection from your indoor to your outdoor living space is of course the first spot to concentrate when introducing outdoor living. You want something that opens up and spotlights your outdoors and allows traffic flow from the indoors. You want to blur the lines of transition maybe with French doors that open up with ease where a focal point outside grabs your attention. Seamless transitions give the sense of one larger space that flows from one to the next. If you’re working with a set space, use similar lighting, color palette, accessories and finishes on pieces to make the two spaces feel more like one. Or maybe an outdoor rug used as a runner between spaces and bringing “indoor” features out, like mirrors, will have your guests wondering, am I inside or out?

Q: Focal points are?

A: A fireplace, furniture, a fountain, something that is the center of attention and where you can springboard your design. For instance the sound of running water from a fountain soothes the atmosphere and is an excellent way to muffle the sounds of traffic and neighbors. Dining sets also create a focal point where eating outdoors at home is a change of pace. Incorporating lounge chairs lets everyone relax and soak up the sun during the day and enjoy the fireplace at night. Janus et Cie, Brown Jordan and Summer Classics all lend their exquisite designs and functionality to creating a space where you can relax, enjoy and be in comfort outdoors.

Q: What are other points to consider for creating an outdoor living space?

A: Keep a variety of seating options from sofas, loveseats to chairs. Incorporate your tabletop with texture and color with jute placemats with colorful napkins or dinnerware. Establish a sense of discovery and play with the area you have. Use one-of-a-kind finds such as vintage mirrors or planted containers grouped in clusters of different heights to give depth and visual interest.


Q: Living by the coast, what about the weather to consider for wear and tear on outdoor items?

A: Look for furniture, pillows, and rugs that are specifically for outdoor use. Outdoor furniture makers such as the ones I mentioned even go as far as labeling their collections for coastal or inland use. The world of outdoor furniture has come a long way and they are beautifully made furniture to weather the outdoors for many years. There are also outdoor fabric panels and hardware specifically geared for rain, sun, and ocean. You can even use the weather for your own creative benefit. A wall of distressed wood or tile weathers gracefully and gives the outdoor room a serious dose of sophistication.

Q: Your store is a beautiful place to visit and shop. What other items can one find to enhance the home?

A: Home furnishings such as Matteo and Bella Notte washable bed linens, Italian tableware, unusual decorative accessories, vintage architectural elements and one-of-a-kind objects that are all pulled together with unique lighting. Included are vessels, garden pottery, vases and selections of permanent botanicals, every item picked to give the home a distinct and creative feel to both the outdoors and indoors of the home.


Lili McIntire


1701 Westcliff Drive

Newport Beach, CA 92660