13 Incredible Indoor-Outdoor Spaces
When the weather gets warm enough, the siren call of the sunny outdoors tends to top anything indoors. But our outside spaces can’t house the same luxuries as our inside ones — or can they? Bridge the indoor-outdoor divide with these swoon-worthy ideas from the pages of H&H. From glassed-in terraces and roofed patios to screened-in porches, these beautiful spaces offer the best of both worlds.
Designer John Tong’s west-end Toronto house and courtyard was dictated by his children’s needs, turning an old industrial alleyway into a giant outdoor playroom. Swings were hung from existing steel beams, which created a natural canopy for a seating area.
The back wall features a 12-foot cedar installation that doubles as a backdrop as well as a screen for projecting movies. Bring out a couple of sleeping bags and pillows and movie night reaches a whole new level in this space.
A screened-in porch is the perfect transition space between indoors and out. A low wall anchors the tall windows providing uninterrupted views, while the porch railing continues around the width of the deck, blurring the line between the two spaces.
The pergola in this Toronto backyard provides shade and protection for the built-in seating. Plush cushions soften hard exterior materials like stone and wood. Fresh flowers in a vase on the table echo the look of a more formal indoor table setting.
Paving stone laid in a herringbone pattern creates a rug-like effect and delineates the living space, as seen from the interior of the cabana. A 20-foot sliding glass accordion door delineates the indoor and outdoor areas. The mod furniture would be equally at home in a living room as it is here.
The ikat-style rug was made from weather resistant materials to withstand the elements at this year-round home in the Catskills, New York. This screened-in porch bridges the gap between a century old log cabin on the right and a larger ‘80s house on the left.
H&H’s senior editor Sally Armstrong’s basement walkout was transformed into an entertaining oasis. To create a seamless transition from the inside to the outside, the patio banquette was designed and accessorized to feel like an extension of the interior built-in bench. The concrete floor is also carried throughout.
Seen from basement level, the lush plantings and fabrics soften the concrete surround. A mix of materials, including wood and rattan, will age gracefully. Instead of a big wall of concrete, the terraced plantings provide visual interest — it’s hard to believe this seating area is below ground level!
The varied seating areas, as well as the multi-level bar, truly makes this the ultimate entertaining space. Giving plenty of options for seating is key for a comfortable outdoor experience, and the mix-and-match materials here break up the monotony of typical uniform outdoor seating.
The back terrace of designer Colette van den Thillart’s London home incorporates the best of the English country aesthetic. Mismatched stripes on the armchair mirror the slatted cafe chairs outside. The cerulean pedestal used as a side table evokes a garden bird bath, bringing the outside in.
Designer and artist Jay Hodgins’ long screened-in porch functions rain or shine, thanks to a sturdy roof above. The overhead lighting, soft furnishings and art displayed on the back wall make the space feel like an extension of the house.
Who says outdoor furniture has to be boring? Designer Sarah Hartill brought some glam to her backyard entertaining area with a gold table and chair set. The concrete retaining wall frames the space, giving it a room-like structure, and is topped with pillows for a clever seating alternative.
The central pavilion of this retreat on B.C.’s South Pender Island truly blurs the lines between outdoor and indoor. Two walls of sliding glass doors means ocean breezes come right through. The materials used are all ones that reflect the colors of nature and the furnishings are purposefully low-slung to leave views uninterrupted.