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Go Alfresco: Armstrong Interiors

With hot days and balmy nights ahead, there’s no better time to update your outdoor living area. We chat to interior designer Angelique Armstrong about outdoor living design.




With daylight savings now making our evenings warmer and brighter, what should we consider for our outdoor living spaces?
Indoor-outdoor flow is one thing Kiwis love about our summers. Gone are the days where the architects put kitchens on the south side of the house. Now our kitchens are at the forefront of living spaces, so consider maximising flow and space and extending this idea outside. Set this up like you would inside, and consider situating the barbecue in good proximity to family and guests you are cooking for as well as whether there is appropriate shelter from the wind and sun.

When choosing outdoor furniture and accessories, do we need to match the colour palette that we have in our interiors or is this a good place to add more colour?
When choosing outdoor furniture, it is good to continue the feel of the design theme you have within the rest of your home. However, a nice way to add colour is with cushion scarabs and scatter cushions, bean bags and accessories like an outdoor dining set or placemats. These can be changed yearly for a different aesthetic if desired.

What are your tips for creating an outdoor kitchen/barbecue area?
At Armstrong Interiors we have experience with designing outdoor barbecue areas. Using UV-based materials and hardwearing options for extreme weather elements is a must. Outdoor kitchen taps and sinks all need to be of marine quality. Fireplaces also complement and tie in the materials, scales and proportions for an overall timeless design.

What are some exterior must-haves for summer?
It is more and more popular to have an outdoor seating/lounge area. I recommend either a modular sofa with side tables and a centre table, or two outdoor sofas of the same size and a couple of matching chairs and perhaps an outdoor rug. The idea is to treat this like an outdoor room – keep the space intimate and not too spread out. Have some big blankets on-hand ready to wrap around yourself when the nights become a bit cooler in temperature.


Angelique Armstrong



Louvres to love: Stratco

Let’s face it, we Kiwis love our indoor/outdoor flow. Whether morning, noon or night, if we can rest up and relax with a book, or chill with friends in the privacy of our own lovely green space, we feel pretty content.



But the best way to appreciate our outdoor havens is to be able to have some control over the capricious whims of Mother Nature; we don’t want to be scorched while reclining on our sun-loungers, but neither do we want to be drenched!

Stratco specialises in delivering state-of-the-art shelter solutions, such as fixed verandas, pergolas, electronic louvres and sunroofs, that enhance your outdoor experience in order to give you and your family extended months enjoying it.

Ian Rae, Outdoor Product Support for Stratco, says their clients are assured of a fully consulted job from start to finish. “We can do an initial consultation over the phone, then arrange a free visit to the site to look at the area the client wants covered and what they are trying to achieve. Following the site inspection an accurate quote goes to the client, generally within a few days. It takes around four weeks from confirmation to actual on-site work commencing,” Ian says.


The Stratco Allure systems’ frame and louvre blades are constructed from specially designed aluminium extrusions to meet with New Zealand’s stringent building code, and all hardware componentry is manufactured to their unique design specifications.

The fabrication and powder coating of all components is carried out in their Christchurch-based factory, prior to transporting to site for installation by Stratco’s highly skilled professional installation team.

Because each system is fabricated to order, this ensures versatility for the homeowner (or designer/architect for a new build) to choose whatever colours, size and shape they desire to match the overall design approach.


The unique control system is composed of a Danish-designed silent LINAK push/pull hydraulic motor running through a centralised automation control unit. The whole system is simply operated using either of the two remote controls. A standard inclusion in the Stratco Allure package is an Italian-designed Rain Sensor, which closes the louvres when rain falls, thereby keeping outdoor furniture dry.

To keep the unit aesthetically pleasing, the entire motor/control system is hidden from view; add in the perfect matching of colour of frame, the operating componentry and surface interface, and the entire unit feels, and looks, totally seamless.

“The beauty with louvres is that you get 100 percent control of light throughout summer and winter; especially in winter, when you want that maximum heat to come through,” Ian says, “And the remote control is very easy to use – no mucking around with an umbrella!”


Phone 03 338 2829 or visit



Bringing life to your garden

Bringing life to your garden: Garden Classics creating outdoor living solutions tailored to your needs

Local family business Garden Classics has been creating the best outdoor living solutions for Canterbury homes for more than 20 years.

Bringing life to your garden

The expert team designs and produces water features, pots and planters, as well as statues and ornaments, from its Christchurch-based factory and showroom. “If you can’t find a product that’s exactly what you want, we can put together custom-designed products tailored to your specific requirements,” says owner, Richard McKendry.
The company has also been involved in the development of a range of fantastic commercial projects over the years, including the creation of concrete features for Wigram Skies, Rolleston Square, and Ocean Ridge, Kaikoura.
Manufactured from traditional concrete or new lightweight, glass-reinforced concrete, Garden Classics will strive to meet your needs with its unique selection and bespoke service. “Whether you are browsing our huge range of ‘in stock’ items, or perhaps you’re after a specific creation to bring some extra life to your garden – we have the right solution for you.”