A tremendous way to increase a home’s square footage without augmenting its literal footprint is to plan outdoor living spaces, additional exterior living rooms that can work year-round, even in cooler climates. As we design our clients’ homes, we think about these spaces early in the process in order to specify programming that can be utilized in every season. Below, some of our favorite elements to layer within the outdoor living room, plus a new discovery we’ve been excited to incorporate into our homes.
Lighting a fire
Nothing has the power to draw a group together outside like a roaring fire. As a result, whether programmed as a full fireplace with a chimney or a stone-clad firepit, a majority of our exterior living rooms include a fire feature. In outdoor spaces with bluestone underfoot, we typically repeat that material in coping atop the firepit or possibly as a mantle on a stone fireplace. Whether constructed to burn gas or wood and set inside a three-season porch, positioned under a partially covered pergola, or set as a destination of their own, these romantic outdoor hearths are crowd-pleasing features that are typically surrounded by comfortable seating for conversation and entertaining.
Feeding the senses
When it comes to the exterior kitchen, the sky is the limit. Situated under a pergola of climbing vines or sited in the open air, we encourage clients to think beyond a traditional BBQ with an eye towards premium built-in grills and beverage fridges that make the kitchen feel authentic to the space. Building in appliances and spaces to warm cooked food or hold chef’s tools and serving pieces, this outdoor kitchen can become the main cooking and dining area when weather permits. As a result, It’s especially important to consider the relationship of the home’s main kitchen to this particular outdoor space so that logistical issues can be minimized and flow is seamless.
The allure of water
Overlooking an expansive view or tucked within the privacy of a garden, a swimming pool can provide a wonderful family-focused summertime entertaining space. With the addition of a spa or hot tub, the pool can become a year-round feature. When site constraints or client requests don’t permit a full pool, we consider exploring the Soake Pool as an exterior water feature. Smaller in scale and an ideal complement to our timeless architecture, Soake Pools are an innovative and cost-effective way to add a water element to our properties, with customization options that allow the unit to blend completely with other exterior programming in terms of fit, character, and theme.
Extras that count
It’s not one particular item that makes or breaks an exterior living room—it’s the sum of parts together en plein air that creates moment after moment of delight. We consider additional elements including sculpture, specimen plantings, a gazebo, a quiet seating area, and more in order to optimize outdoor living and client enjoyment.