Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Indoor-Outdoor Living - Guest Post

Southern California didn’t invent indoor/outdoor living, but we sure have had a hand in perfecting it.  The Mediterranean climate here makes dining al fresco a pleasure, and relaxing by an outside fireplace a favorite evening pastime.

While real estate agents only count air-conditioned space in a home’s square footage, everyone else knows it’s the rooms with coastal breezes that sell So Cal homes at such a premium! 

So, when my Canadian friend and colleague, Arne Salvesen, asked for guest posts while he vacations, (lucky dog), the indoor/outdoor living topic leaped immediately to mind.  Here are some ideas and resources for making the most of it, wherever you happen to live!

Minimize the transition
One of the best ways to maximize your indoor-outdoor flow is to blend the two spaces visually.  I like to continue the floor color and/or material from the kitchen-great room out onto the patio/deck whenever possible.  Stained concrete is an ideal material for this, as it will handle wet or sandy feet without problem, and can look modern or traditional, depending on your taste.

NanaWall systems blend the line between
indoor and outdoor living
I also love glass walls that completely open up.  Nana Window Walls is a great resource for that, as their tracks are so low profile, you won’t stub your bare toes on them coming in or out. 

Finally, I like to minimize the transition between indoor and outdoor living spaces by using similar color palettes in both.  This could mean pairing natural, honey or cinnamon stained cherry cabinets inside with teak outside, (or even stained grey maple inside if you want to let your outdoor teak silver). 

I’d also go with the same countertop colors inside and out, and coordinating all-weather upholstery and rugs in both spaces.  That ensures that anyone coming in from the beach, pool or hot tub won’t ruin your indoor fabrics and you won’t ruin your down time worrying about them. 

Accommodate the elements
 Builders have perfected indoor comfort with central heat, air conditioning, radiant floors and other climate control systems.  Why not give your outdoor space the same consideration?  Consider a fireplace, fire pit and/or heat lamps to handle cool nights.  For hot days, ceiling fans and a misting system are delightful. 

Retractable phantom screens, like these
from Alpha Windows and Doors,
offer valuable shade and insect protection.
If bugs are an issue in your area, consider screens for your outdoor living space.  I like the phantom versions that disappear when you don’t want to see them. 

One element that is often overlooked is cooking ventilation.  You probably have it in your indoor kitchen, (though it may be uncomfortably noisy to use).  It’s really helpful above your outdoor grill, as well.  I learned this the hard way at my Florida home when lunch smoke almost destroyed a family barbecue.

Last, but definitely not least, be sure to include outdoor lighting so your guests will see each other after dark!  I like it when the outdoor lights coordinate with their indoor counterparts. 

Entertain in style
I love the outdoor entertainment trend almost as much as I love the outdoor entertaining trend.  Think Beach Boys with your burgers or Stravinsky with your salmon and sauvignon blanc.  Speakers and televisions that handle the elements are welcome additions to your deck or patio.  A knowledgeable audio-visual or outdoor specialist can guide you through product selection and placement.
Outdoor entertainment systems, like this SunBrite TV,
enhance your outdoor living experience.
Gearing up
An LA-based architect friend remarked to me at a builder show that his clients have more appliances in their outdoor kitchens than their indoor versions.  No one wants to bring their grill tools inside, he noted wryly.  Until this year, though, there wasn’t an outdoor-rated dishwasher to handle those rib-greased turners or forks.  Now, thanks to Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet, there (finally!) is. 

The first outdoor-rated dishwasher,
from Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet,
makes cook-outs easier.
Outdoor-savvy manufacturers have also come up with outdoor-rated wine captains, warming drawers and pizza ovens.  Kalamazoo shared these helpful hints in creating a successful outdoor kitchen on my own Gold Notes blog.  [Arne's Note: I talked about the Kalamazoo dishwasher pre-KBIS as well.  Great product!] 

If my San Diego area town home had more than a postage stamp-sized patio off of my office, you know I’d be creating one of these in a heartbeat!

Final thoughts
 You don’t need massive acreage, mega-views or major moolah to create successful indoor-outdoor spaces.  My tiny patio will have an umbrella for shade, along with a side table, two comfy chairs and ottomans for work breaks.  I already painted my office walls a similar color to the patio walls, and will choose an outdoor rug and furniture that coordinate with their inside counterparts. 
I can see this Palmetto All-Weather Wicker pair from
Pottery Barn on my office-adjacent patio!
Design to your outdoor space’s location vis-à-vis the indoor room next to it.  If it’s off a bedroom, consider a chaise lounge (or two).  If it’s off of a kitchen, set up for outdoor dining and cooking, space allowing.  If it’s off of a great room, extend the indoor fun to outdoors.  Do it all in a way that makes sense for your home, lifestyle and budget. 

Most important of all, enjoy it!  

© Jamie Goldberg, 2011.  All Rights Reserved

Jamie Goldberg, AKBD, CAPS is an NKBA-certified, independent kitchen and bath designer in San Diego, Calif.  In addition to writing the Sensible Style blog for and her own Gold Notes blog, Jamie is the kitchen and bath columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune.  Her first book (on indoor kitchens) will be published by Taunton Press in November 2012.


Nick @ Cupboards said...

I don't see a whole lot of outdoor ventilation products.... Did you have one that you suggest, Jamie?

Great post, btw!

jb @BuildingMoxie said...

wow! Luxury. but I love the simplicity of the concept. Matching a motif and carrying indoors out (or vise versa) can work in ton of situations, even when a true patio isn't involved. Back slider to a deck for example. Really well done he Jamie, great products and good tips...

On a side note, I love how a guest post block can brings folks together. props to Arne on this.

Gabi said...

Looks fantastic! What type of tile did you use? I love the whole look (and what a practical fireplace :).

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...