Over the years I have participated in my share of outdoor makeovers.
Due to the time restraints on makeover shows, they tend to be the hardest to do. With an indoor room you have walls/ceiling, so when you do something as inexpensive and relatively easy as add new wall/ceiling color, you've already created a noticeable "before and after."
With outdoor makeovers, I approach them as rooms and find ways to contain the focus and flow, while still giving way to the views that the natural surroundings already supply.
I've always believed that planning for an outdoor redo is no different than anything you do inside your home. Yes, you have to take into account weather conditions when picking fabrics/materials, but all the other design elements used indoors apply. Color, Scale, Texture, Layering, Lighting, Details.
So, when it came time to design my own outdoor furniture collection, I wanted to be able to create a foundation that was a great starting off point. Just like when you're looking for that awesome sofa and chair(s) to ground your living room. Once you have that, you can build around it. You can add all the other elements that make your room, even your outdoor one, the perfect place to gather.
My own back yard, actually more of a side yard, was and still is a labor of love. When I bought my home it was a wreck. Piece by piece I started digging, lugging soil, rocks, plants, building decks, adding water features, and eventually creating outdoor rooms.
I wanted a seemless flow from the inside of my small bungalow to my yard. Since I have installed french doors in all the rooms facing the yard, almost the whole house opens up to it. The living room continues outside with an additional seating area, the dining room does the same, and my bedroom opens to sunken living room/gazebo. The home is small (appox 1,200sf) and the outdoor rooms are key in helping to expand the feeling of space. They are treated the same way in term of design. There are rugs, accessories, accent pillows, artwork, even a chandelier hang in the gazebo.
Now, I feel incredible fortunate to have this space. Prior to my first home purchase I lived in a studio apt in the same neighborhood of L.A. It was on a hill, in back of the main home--Appox. 350sf. I had a small patio/balcony that was about 100sf. Believe me, I used every square inch of that balcony as livable space. I even entertained in that apt. Once, there was a comfortable dinner party for nine. Granted, it wasn't a formal sit down dinner--but people had places to sit, mingle and hang. The indoor/outdoor feel was in full use!
You don't have to be a rolling land owner to enjoy creating outdoor spaces. Even a balcony can give you the feeling you're going for. Layer your outside in the same way as you do inside of your home, and you'll be spending lots of quality time this Summer in the great outdoors of your own home.
Go forth and design well. -angelo
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