This month, Martha Stewart Living relaunches its extensive line of patio and outdoor furniture, now available exclusively at The Home Depot. With 16 collections, Martha has reintroduced herself to the outdoor furniture market through The Home Depot. Please click here to shop the collections. It was also this month - 15 years ago, in 1999 - that Martha introduced her first patio furniture lines with Kmart as part of the much-lauded and deeply-missed Everyday brand. The patio collections were part of a larger class segment that the company introduced at Kmart under the general heading of Martha Stewart Everyday Garden. This new category also included gardening tools, planters and seed packets but was dominated by the beautiful outdoor furniture lines. When I asked my good friend Kenn if he had any information about Martha's debut patio furniture collections at Kmart he wasted little time scanning every single page of the original Martha Stewart Everyday Garden catalog, some of which you will see below. It gives me great pleasure to showcase some examples here as part of the Martha Moments archive. Thank you Kenn, for helping me with this post!
This is the cover of the original catalog that introduced the first Martha Stewart patio collections. In addition to the outdoor furniture lines with Kmart, Martha also sold outdoor furniture collections through her own catalog, Martha by Mail, although they were not as extensive.
Here is Martha sitting in a Key West chair, accompanied by one of Alexis Stewart's bulldogs. She is surrounded by chairs from some of the other collections, each of which was inspired by the design essence of a great North American city or region, from Charleston, North Carolina, to Victoria, British Columbia, in Canada. Many of the pieces were fashioned after Martha's own American garden furniture, much of which is antique. The Martha Stewart designs combined the beauty of traditional decorative detail with the functionality and comfort required by the modern homeowner, which made them instantly popular. The collections included dining sets, chaise lounges, seating sets, swings, gliders, hammocks and benches. The patterns featured on the cushions and umbrellas of the furniture were also designed by MSLO and were exclusive to the Kmart line. Many of the cushions were weather-, fade- and mildew-resistant.
TOP THREE PHOTOS: This is the Victoria collection, named after the city of Victoria, British Columbia, in Canada. The collection featured powder-coated steel frames to resist scratching, chipping and fading. This collection was sold regionally (not available in all stores) and came in two colours: ivory and dark green. Upholstery came in Sand Stripe or Pink Peony.
TOP TWO PHOTOS: The Charleston collection is one of the most elegant. Based on the spirit of Charleston, North Carolina, the furniture featured intricate wrought-iron details. The upholstery shown is called Scrolling Leaf but a Rhododendron design was also available for this collection. It featured a five-piece dining set, umbrella, chaise lounge, glider and a three-tier étager.
TOP TWO PHOTOS: This is the Golden Gate collection, based on the seaside elegance of San Francisco. The five-piece set shown above could be used indoors or out. It was made of heavy-guage aluminum, which never rusts, and was powder-coated to resist scratching and chipping. The upholstery was called French Blue Box and the tabletop featured an exclusive pressed-leaf design that was etched into the glass. The new MSE planters were ceramic but lightweight so that they could be moved around the garden easily.
TOP TWO PHOTOS: The Key West collection is among my personal favourites from the outdoor furniture line. I love reed furniture outdoors or on the porch, as shown, and I like many of the design details from this collection, such as the chair with its glass holder and side pocket for magazines and newspapers.
TOP TWO: The Southampton collection, based on the Long Island village, was made of heavy-guage cast aluminum that never rusts. The design was based on Martha's favourite nineteenth-century cast-iron garden chair. I love the unique design and its elegant formality.