April 9, 2020

Indoor/Outdoor Mixed Use Space

Tired of spending time inside? 

Extend your home’s living space outdoors.

Most of us would give anything to spend more time outside these days. Given our current state of sheltering in place in response to COVID-19, we’re bringing back a timely blog about creating an outdoor living space. Is this something you’ve considered for your home? This post offers some great tips as well as design elements to consider as you formulate your plan. Stay safe and healthy!

It’s that time of year again when we’re ready to head outside for some fresh air.  That outdoor appeal is the spark that gets our wheels turning to design creative ways to add outdoor living space to our homes to gain more practical, livable square footage. 

As a designer at Dover Home Remodelers, I advise customers that in terms of investment, building an outdoor kitchen or family living space is a cost-effective way to add more life to your home. 

Designed right, the new outdoor room will flow like a natural extension of your home. And it can be done based on any budget or space—an outdoor room can be as grand or simple as you make it, but with equally satisfying results. Here’s a few outdoor project-planning items to consider: 

The Outdoor Kitchen. We all know it to be true: Throw a party and everyone ends up in the kitchen. Adding an outdoor kitchen space with a comfortable seating area makes for a great entertaining and family gathering space. 

Think about how people will engage within the space:

  • A bar with seating adds extra dimension and convenience to the room and also defines the space. Design tip: When planning the bar configuration, think about the vantage point of guests seated at the bar: Are they looking at the back or your house? Or out into the yard with a view? Are bar seats oriented to face the west? If so, consider your climate and end-of-day sun exposure.
  • The same rules apply to placement of a dining set or seating group: Be sure it flows well with your space and allows for comfortable gathering and movement throughout the room.

When you’re designing your outdoor kitchen, think about how you’ll use it:

  • Will you use a gas grill only or incorporate a side-burner for more cooking capacity? Do you have a free-standing charcoal or ceramic egg/grill? Be sure to think about these items when planning your space.
  • Do you want a refrigerator for food items or just a beverage bar? Will you be prepping food outside?  If so, you might require a sink and dishwasher to keep all of the prep and cleanup contained. 
  • Have the space professionally wired for electric—you’ll want outlets for everyday appliances, and also for the addition of overhead or holiday lights.
  • Plan your space to include storage: Drawers and cabinets keep cleaning items, grill tools, outdoor accessories, and bar items at the ready. 

The Outdoor Family Room. Whether you’re looking to create an entertainment center—think an all-weather flat screen TV and outdoor pool table—or a quiet, Zen retreat, the space outside your door can be framed to accommodate your needs and your home style.  

  • To keep your budget in check think about a stamped concrete patio with a pergola to define the space—you don’t need physical walls to create your room. 
  • Add a fireplace or fire pit to instantly create a cozy, more inviting feel.  
  • Remember that the space just beyond your outdoor “room” adds to the ambiance—think about incorporating landscaping, water features, a backyard pool or hot tub, etc.
  • Consider a screened-in porch or retractable screens to ward off bugs in the evenings  
  • Accessorize just like you would indoors: Add an area rug, colorful accents and candles or string lights overhead, and you’ve created a wonderful backyard retreat.

Take a deep breath—and head outside with confidence. There’s no time like the present to start planning.

The Best Is Yet to Come,

Beth Orr