By Chuck Tripp
Whether you’re young, old, or somewhere in between, most people love the outdoors. Especially in mild, temperate climates that afford numerous opportunities for getting outside for a little R-and-R. One trend we have noticed at Donald A. Gardner Architects in recent years is that homeowners value living spaces that extend beyond the walls of their house proper. Depending on your interests and imagination, there are seemingly unlimited possibilities to bring the outdside in…or rather, to expand your living experience beyond walls, doors, and windows to the great outdoors.
Get outside and have some fun
These days people are looking to extend the boundaries and living spaces of their homes. Converting outdoor spaces into gathering spaces is a great way to do just that. “People tend to view their homes as outdoor/indoor living experiences,” says Chuck Tripp, Sales and Marketing Director at Donald A. Gardner Architects. “And depending on where you live that can be year-round. The outside has truly become a gathering place for friends and families, or for individuals who simply want to enjoy a good book, a sunset, or a little quiet time.”
The days of the old charcoal barbie are long gone. Today, homeowners not only have elaborate grills but full-scale kitchens with ovens, refrigerators, and all the necessary accoutrements to prepare an elegant dinner for two, or twenty. Of course, you will want to carefully check various appliances and tableware to make sure your kitchen will survive multiple seasons in your climate.
Derived from the Portuguese originally, the modern veranda has become as all-American—and as pervasive–as hot dogs and apple pie. Though verandas may come in many shapes and sizes, they are generally covered and offer a rail or outdoor seating component to give the feel of an outside room.
Fires bring warmth—both literal and emotional. They are a wonderful way to manufacture a cozy feel for your family and your guests. Whether it’s roasting marshmallows on a cool winter evening, or gathering around a fire on brisk spring afternoon, a built-in fireplace or free-standing fire pit can add both charm and functionality.
Your family and your guests should not be confined to the den, kitchen, or living room. Areas just outside the door can provide a wonderful alternative to socializing indoors—and add variety to your home entertainment offering. Many families are installing outdoor screens and sound systems to watch ball games, or to listen to music over cocktails.