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One of the best things about living in South Florida is the ability to live as much in the backyard as inside the home. That basic concept is at the heart of South Miami favorite, Living Alfresco.

Owner Betsy Fantis, who combined her love of both design and the outdoors to create the business, started back in 2005, working out of her home with just three lines to offer. Soon, the outdoor furniture market began to grow – as did Fantis’s client list. “My idea was, let’s make this a room,” says Fantis, who now carries more than 10 furniture lines and a plethora of accessories in her showroom. “Let’s extend our living space to the outdoors.”

 In addition to helping clients furnish their outdoor spaces, Fantis and her team sell accessories such as rugs, pots, lanterns and more. Though a typical client may see Fantis from concept to completion (“We’re all about quality and customizing,” she says.), her new space also affords her a retail element for customers who want to pop in for a few weather-friendly pillows. 

 

But, in the end, it’s the process that keeps this longtime Pinecrest resident passionate about her business. “I’ll go look at a space and make recommendations, seeing what their style and budget is,” she says. “We do the whole thing.

Fantis’s Top Three Tips 

Looking to extend your style to the great outdoors? Here are Fantis’s top tips.

1.Quality over quantity. Because of Florida’s unique outdoor elements, quality outdoor-friendly fabrics and furniture are a necessity.

2.Think about how you want to use the space. Do you want to sit in the sun and relax? Create a fun space for kids? Entertain large groups? Knowing how you plan to use your outdoor space will dictate how you furnish it.

3. Make it an extension of your home. Make your outdoor space a reflection of the rest of your home. “We live in such an outdoor environment,” says Fantis. “[Outdoor space] is a whole other room that you can take advantage of.

 

 

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