Have you noticed a proliferation of turquoise yard furniture around Austin? Drive through the Northwest Hills neighborhood, and you can’t help but notice turquoise picnic tables, chairs, and more.
At first I thought it was some new design trend, but then one of my friends and neighbors told me he was getting his wife a turquoise picnic bench – at her request – for Mother’s Day. Hhhmm… That’s funny. Why?
My patient friends tolerated my curiosity and introduced me to the “Turquoise Table” movement. Nicole and Jesse Vickey, owners of Dinner Elf (translation = yummy family meals), explained that their turquoise picnic bench was an indicator (or beacon, if you will) signaling to neighbors that they should drop by and visit. Nicole wrote a lovely post about it that you can read here where she says the “…table is a bright, kitschy signal that we are ‘front yard people.’ This means we are people who want to know and live in community with our neighbors.”
I probed further, and Jesse explained that for their family,
it means we are “front yard people” — people who want to share our lives with our neighbors. It’s also a really easy spot for us to entertain without having to clean the whole house up. It’s nice to have that easy space to invite friends over for drinks or a picnic. It sets a low key tone for family-friendly summer nights.
Intrigued, I went on a mission to track down more examples of the “Turquoise Table” movement. Once my eyes were open (thanks to that good ‘ole reticular activator), I found lots of examples of folks embracing the idea, usually with a child’s swing or other kid-friendly feature nearby. For example:
One Northwest Hills neighbor I met while taking a picture of her turquoise table shared that her family loves their table, they hang out all the time there, drink wine with the neighbors and watch the kids play together. Another neighbor said her husband likes to work outside at the table, and people just stop by to say “hi” to him.
In short, since most of the homes in Northwest Hills don’t have front porches, the turquoise tables seem to be the modern day equivalent. In our tech-obsessed world, it has become the new symbol of community.
I really like this idea of creating an opportunity to spontaneously connect with your neighbors. What a cool way to embrace the humanity that can be missed as we shuffle from our cars to our houses and back again… In fact, I like it so much that I’m going to give a turquoise table away!
Here’s how you can get in on the action. Send me your contact info along with a youtube video by August 15th that explains why your street needs a turquoise table. The video should be less than 1 minute long. Bonus points for creativity and for involving your neighbors. Oh, and you should know that I’m a sucker for pleas made by cute kids. But remember this is a family operation, so no profanity or nudity, please. I’ll post some of the top videos to my blog and on Facebook (so you have to be cool with your video going public). An esteemed jury will pick the winner. I will deliver your turquoise table by the end of August.
Get out there and have some fun with your neighbors! I look forward to seeing your videos.
Paul Reddam | July 2015