The wrought iron furniture is rugged enough to stand up to the weather, and so are the more refined elements -- the plush cushions and custom curtains -- thanks to the advance of outdoor fabric. Plates hung on the shingled wall add to the living room effect, but there's no mistaking the fresh air and unobstructed view.
Behind this clever pass-through lays an outdoor kitchen equipped with a sink, a grill, under counter storage, and a bar-height counter for serving. Barn doors on both sides allow the area to be closed off from inclement weather.
The balcony off this Gulf Coast has full-length curtains on the waterfront side made of parachute cloth both for durability and for the way they ripple in the breeze.
A wide wraparound porch is the pinnacle of a Southern home. This one houses a cozy area for outdoor dining as well as the deep wicker chairs for more intimate gatherings. The gas fireplace, cozy on cool evenings, backs up to the one in the family room. When not in use, plants and candles dress up this space.
As this screened porch forms a bridge between the main house and its guest room, it serves multiple needs: extending the family's living space while also serving as a separate kitchen and living room for visitors. All of the fabrics -- including the fringe on the throw pillows -- are made for outdoor use.
At the rear corner of the lot, a small pool is complemented by a firepit and a screened cabana fitted with the ultimate outdoor kitchen, including a professional-grade grill, draft beer dispenser, stainless counter-height fridge, and even a warming drawer. Diners have a choice between the wicker table and chairs in the cabana or the teak set with an umbrella on the patio.
This second story rear porch provides a casual sleeping porch and takes full advantage of the home's golf course view. Wooden daybeds are perfect for an afternoon nap or overnight guests. The ceilings are equipped with fans for climate control and even with tiny misters that keep insects at bay.
When the architect of this home conceived of its curving stone half-walls, topped with columns, it was to tie the front porch in with the rest of the house, where the walls slope gently toward the ground. The designer saw them as a place to recline and had cushions made to fit, adding to the lounging opportunities already afforded by the rockers and swing.
When designing for the outdoors, why not use colors just as vivid as those you’d find in the garden? This covered porch takes exactly the same attitude as the living room that opens onto it: deep, plushy upholstered furniture. A generously scaled coffee table, low-maintenance rugs, contrast piping for an added punch, and stripes an accent fabric. The wide bar keeps cocktails and other treats handy for those reluctant ever to leave the porch.
Adapted from Design Idea Book, Oxmoor House 2007
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