Rooms do not always require four walls and a ceiling. In fact, sometimes the best rooms are actually outside. Summertime is the ideal season to think outside the box, and move your daily activities to the garden. As the days stretch ever longer and the garden beckons, it is hard to imagine a better place to enjoy gatherings, both simple and elegant. With a little attention to detail and an eye for beauty, an everyday outdoor space can become a charming room that rivals anything going on inside the house.
Outdoor rooms can sprout almost anywhere in the garden, but they work best in a space defined by some sort of architecture, whether it be a walled courtyard or the shade of a tree. Here in a 1920’s California hacienda, we transformed a loggia with some lighting, Monterey sofas and easy-to-move, comfy, iron chairs. The simple lanterns accentuate the elegant length of the space and give a nice glow as the sun starts to set. The sofas are positioned to look out toward a pool and lush garden, all while escaping the heat of the California sun. It is hard to imagine a better place to sip something cool on a summer afternoon.
This smart, black and white tented terrace was a space we created from nothing. The house, an elegant brick Georgian built in 1929, somehow called for this little bit of theatrical extravagance. Festive and formal at the same time, the broad stripes add an exciting boldness to the space while complementing the reserve of the home’s architecture. For this alfresco sitting and dining space, we designed everything, including the structural iron framework that supports the permanent canvas covering. Open to the outdoors, but fully protected from the elements, this space functions as a true outdoor living room, even in the rain!
Beautiful outdoor spaces don’t always need to be on terra firma. One can create a potted garden in almost any outdoor space, be it a small balcony or expansive roof. On this roof outside a penthouse loft, we designed a verdant oasis that looks down upon an urban landscape. To give order to this asymmetrical space, we created an alee of vine-covered arches that leads to various areas including an outside kitchen, dining room and cozy alcoves for seating. Simple, white paper lanterns and a series of over-scaled Moroccan lanterns lend a beautiful glow and light a path to the various outdoor “rooms” waiting to be discovered.
Whether you have a grand courtyard, a tiny balcony or a plot of grass, try to look at it with fresh eyes. With a bit of effort, it could become your favorite room in or out of the house!