David Swartz is the National Sales Manager for Paddy O’ Furniture. He began his career in 2018 as an Exterior Design Guide and became Store Manager for the company’s flagship showroom in North Scottsdale that same year. David was one of two people promoted to the newly created Regional Manager positions in 2020 and became National Sales Manager in 2021. Paddy O’ Furniture operates seven locations in the Phoenix metro area and two locations in Nashville.
What is a Zen Den?
Arizona weather is ideal for spending time outdoors, and many homeowners choose to enlarge their living space with backyards equipped for entertaining. From a simple barbecue grill to a fully equipped outdoor kitchen and dining setup, these places are often the heart of our home. Deep seating to stretch out and relax, talk or play games with friends and family, and a swimming pool and hot tub with chaise lounges to soak up the sun can all complete a personal getaway.
But there is always the need for a little “me” time. The quiet time you spend alone with your thoughts or a good book, or better yet, an opportunity to reconnect with your partner. A Zen Den becomes the sanctuary you create for purposes of well-being. These tranquil areas are often located off the master bedroom and away from where the family is likely to congregate. Frequently, they are spaces that were neglected for too long because we did not know what to do with them.
Why are Zen Dens increasing in popularity?
Our lives are busier than ever, and we tend to be connected to one or more devices all day long. People need a place that is inviting and allows us to slow down, unplug and unwind. When we make time to reflect and recalibrate, we reassess our priorities and reconnect with what and who genuinely matter to us.
What is the first step to creating your own Zen Den?
Sometimes you have the location naturally carved out for a Zen Den. You simply need to add furniture of an appropriate scale that will leave your area feeling airy and open. You do not need a predetermined spot, however. Plants, a trellis, screens, or a well-placed outdoor rug can serve to define the space for your Zen Den.
Do you have any tips for choosing decor and patio furniture for your Zen Den?
First, decide how you anticipate using your Zen Den so you can select outdoor furniture that will provide both comfort and utility. Again, the scale of the furniture is significant. You do not want to overwhelm the area or take away from the feeling you are trying to achieve. The colors should be soft and calming. Accessories should serve a purpose, such as pillows or a table, just large enough to hold a couple of glasses of wine and a small charcuterie board. Avoid things like clocks or electronics that fight against the serene atmosphere you are creating.
I’ve heard that water is an excellent feature for establishing a meditative area? Why is that?
Almost all of us find the sound of flowing water calming. Whether it is a more prominent accessory to a pool, a tabletop water device, or anything in between, the sound of water soothes the brain and invites an opportunity for meditation. Water drowns out the other noises in your environment, adds humidity to the air, and softens the dryness.
What are some tips to keeping these Zen Den’s cool in the Arizona heat?
There are several ways to keep your Zen Den comfortable year-round. The items you use to define your space should promote airflow. Shade is the other must-have. A simple market umbrella often does the trick, or if your site is larger, a cantilever umbrella with a moveable base will give you optimum shade no matter the time of day or angle of the sun. Pergolas combined with sunshades are also effective ways to create shade. Even misting systems can be an affordable option.
Do you have any tips for making patio furniture last against sun and heat damage?
Outdoor furniture in Arizona must be made for our unique climate. At Paddy O’, our furniture is developed and tested for the desert environment. Our aluminum frames do not conduct heat, and a spritz of water dissipates any heat even on the warmest of days. Our woven frames have 300% more UV inhibitors than the industry standard. The famous Bliss cushion, a Paddy O’ exclusive, provides unmatched comfort, durability, and colorful design options. Your investment in quality outdoor furniture will pay for itself several times over. The durability guarantees you will not be replacing your furniture every season, and the comfort and style you love will lead to spending more time outdoors — whether it is together with family, or alone when it is time to focus on you.