Outdoor rooms connect you with central indoor activity areas. It should be as easy and inviting to live outdoors and step into these “outdoor rooms” as it is to travel from the dining to the living room. It’s about indoors flowing outdoors both visually and physically.
Discover Great Spaces Right Outside
Too many homes are isolated from the outdoors. This wasn’t necessarily by design, more by default. Many homes are built for “curb appeal” and as a result, only the front facade is given much architectural attention. Connections between inside and out, especially to otherwise lovely backyards, are an afterthought, if they were given any thought at all. Better homes have decks and patios, but the best recognize that in season, the space outside the home can become as essential as any room inside. Here are some examples of the many ways this can be done. Click on any image for a closer look.
Right up Front
At the entry to this suburban home we crafted a small “outdoor room” right at the front steps. This masonry structure incorporates a polished granite stone bowl with water overflowing into beach stones within the stone walled “container” (it houses the pump) with an integrated stone bench that invites a visit outside for people arriving or leaving, but wanting to linger. This is all part of a flowing transition from public to private space.
Front Porches are places to linger
Front porches may be the most familiar outdoor rooms. They evoke the nostalgic image visiting on neighborhood porches, and rightly so. They are wonderful places to sit and visit, or just hang out with coffee and the paper. The door is right there making it easy to pop out, then back in hearing the phone ring or an oven timer go off. And there is something soothing about sitting on a covered porch watching it rain!
Cover Out Back
Outdoor rooms connect in and out in every direction. Here a sweet little covered porch was created at the back door up from the drive and into the kitchen. The family comes and goes here pretty regularly. It also turns out to be the perfect place for a grille used year round, sheltered from rain and snow and steps away from the kitchen table.
Porches transition between inside and out
This is a back porch that extends the length of a house overlooking a lake. There is no doubt about the desire to be able to transition with ease between inside and out. A covered porch is a “room without walls” and its roof and floor define the space. When the distance to the ground is only a step or two, a porch like this is not required to have a railing. This extends this room to the adjacent yard and turns the deck’s edge into a long bench!
Full Service Back Porch & Patio
We met this house with the big flat back wall that so many homes suffer from. The new porch not only provides a new sheltered entry to a functioning mudroom, it also extends the length of the house to a new screen porch. The whole thing opens out and onto a broad patio and beyond that to a small pond and flower garden. The success of this plan warranted a feature in Sarah Susanka’s Book “Remodeling the Not So Big House.”
Pergola Smooths the Transition
This colorful addition reflects the Scandinavian taste of the client, who was also an avid gardener. To assure that plenty of light penetrated the kitchen living area we chose to construct an open pergola structure to tie the patio and garden to the house and extending the feel of this new feature to the otherwise bland back wall of the house. Now they are steps away from this treasured outdoor room.
Summer Dining Room
This lakeside screen porch is the quintessential outdoor room. In a summer home devoted to family gathering the doors to the house can stay open and activity can take place in this screen porch as if it were just another room in the house. This is one of the great things about a screen porch – as long as the weather obliges that door can just stay open. And unlike an open patio evening gathering ended by the appearance of bugs, diners can linger as long as they’d like.
We’re lucky to live in a climate where even on the hottest summer days cooler nights bring welcome relief. Before the advent of air conditioning a screen porch was a welcome evening retreat. This porch was added to just that kind of home in the neighborhood west of West Hartford Center. It provides a whole new living experience to this classic home.
Pocket Sized Patio
Older suburban neighborhood homes are built on narrow lots. The challenge is how to create a sense of serenity and privacy when you are that close to neighbors on every side. This patio and bamboo fence establish an intimate oasis off the back of this celebrated “Jewel Box” home (featured in “Inside the Not So Big House”).
An Interior Back Porch
A back porch off the back of this home would have hovered way up in the air. Instead we created a sequence of staged steps inside that leads from the kitchen gathering room down to this interior back porch, with large doors that can open out and step down to that Pocket Patio.
Renewable Energy Roof
Most of our work is on single family homes, but as folks are contemplating retirement and downsizing we are seeing more projects like this – a move to a penthouse condo on Prospect Avenue in West Hartford. As part of the initial renovation we cut the units energy load in half. When asked to consider options to produce that energy with solar energy we came up with this pergola canopy that provides welcome shade and, along with another on the other side of the unit, produces 87% of all the energy they use!
Decks may just be the most familiar and affordable outdoor rooms to add to a home. Here’s mine! It includes a covered entry to our kitchen and extends out octagonally for a table and umbrella above an essential garden shed nestled beneath.
READY TO CREATE YOUR OUTDOOR ROOM?
We hope we’ve got you thinking about the Outdoor Rooms that are part of your home. Or perhaps should, and even soon could be. Schedule your Project Snapshot with us and we’ll provide you with the information you need and the guidance you’re missing to create this and other “Great Spaces” for your home. We’ll work with you to determine what’s possible, at what scale of cost, and what the next steps are to realize that potential.
EXPLORE WOLFWORKS PROJECT PORTFOLIO
A Bedroom Retreat
Here is a sensual bedroom suite to retreat to. Every feature of this cleverly divided space flows together within a single volume of comfort and delight . The only door is the one that invites you to enter.
Front Door on a Lake
How about a house designed for dock appeal! This lake house is all about summer living overlooking Highland Lake in Winsted. The praise this house gets is from the boaters. And for good reason.
A Jewel Box of Texture & Detail
Richness of detail, surprising use of space, thoughtfulness in design at every scale, and a broad but balanced use of fine materials, all executed with exquisite craft make this project a treasure.
A Bath with Wings
This magical Master Suite transformation weds imagination with impeccable craft and the inspired use of rich materials. And yes, that is a TV in the vanity mirror!
A Lot with a Little
A porch, a patio, and all of 150SF of new space completely transformed the life of this home. Featured in the CPTV special "CT's Energy Future" this home shows how to work with what you have.
Mid Century Modernized
Three bathrooms in one of Hartford's rare mid-century modern homes are remodeled with the heart and spirit of that inspired architectural moment.
Farmington Classic Kitchen Suite
Here is a kitchen for living - in the classic style that honors the home's Farmington Village heritage. It is a comfortable place to relax, visit, work, cook, entertain, unwind, and step outside.
This classic Victorian is filled with style and features worthy of preservation. But the kitchen and rear entry missed that attention. Here we sought to balance reverence with renewal.
Light & Openness Nurture Family Life & Personal Health
This project literally changed the personal health and life of a family while adding only a few hundred square feet to the house.
Porches Do Double Duty
The back of this house goes from ordinarily boring to extraordinarily delightful and functional thru the addition of doors leading to these two linked porches and the patio at their center.
A Kitchen Extends to Grab Light
By adding six feet and connecting two spaces and adjoining to a family room we were able to create the expansive open living area that is so desirable and serves today's informal family lifestyle so well.