As soon as the azaleas start blooming in the South, life moves outdoors. Whether it's reading a magazine on the front porch or entertaining al fresco on the patio, outdoor living spaces are an integral part of our homes. The key to obtaining a chic and effortless outdoor space is designing it as an extension of your interior living area, while carefully considering what you're using it for as well as how your specific climate will influence it.
One of Colleen's favorite outdoor spaces is a side porch she designed as part of a family home in Baton Rouge. Set off the formal living room and dining room, this porch and adjoining courtyard was intended for adult entertaining. This isn't a huge space, but the openness of the Michael Taylor bamboo furniture gives the space an airy feel. Plus, the metal pieces are lightweight and durable - perfect for moving around as needed. The two armchairs at the end of the coffee table can easily be added to the dining table for extra guests, and the small concrete side tables at the end of the sofas double as extra seating.
This is truly a space designed to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living. By continuing the slate floor and lime washed brick from the exterior of the house to the interior, there is a seamless flow within the space. A wall of accordion glass doors allows the homeowners to open the room as much, or as little, as they'd like. When the doors are closed, it's an indoor space. When the doors are opened, as they are above, your eye is naturally carried to the outdoor courtyard and the entire space feels open to nature.
If it feels like everyone in Texas and Louisiana has pools.. you're right, they do. How else are we supposed to survive the heat? But in all honesty, this is one of our top pieces of advice for friends, family, and clients: just because something looks beautiful and usable in a magazine, doesn't mean that it will work for you.
The mesh chaise lounges by this Texas pool are durable, comfortable, and most importantly, appropriate for the climate that they're in. If we had chosen chaises with pillows instead, the homeowner would have been consistently bringing them inside before the rain, or squeezing the water out of them and cleaning off the mildew after the rain. Pillows are great for covered outdoor furniture, but for furniture that's meant to be left out in the open, consider more durable materials that can stand up to the elements.