Friday, July 1, 2011

"Hot fun in the summer"

The summer is here, and I love spending time outdoors with family and friends. Summers are usually an opportunity to spend time cooking, having fun and relaxing outdoors. Many families are extending their patios to outdoor rooms with state of the art outdoor kitchens. They want to entertain their guest while doing the things they love. They want their outdoor spaces to reflect their style while being functional and having longevity. With that in mind, they are incorporating custom kitchens with high end finishes and appliances, fireplaces, and even plasma televisions and sound systems. They are also installing pools and jacuzzis to add fun to their outdoor spaces. The design choices are endless. The best approach to start with is deciding on the function of your space. Start with a list of things you typically do when entertaining guest. This will determine if you will need certain appliances (i.e. sink, warming drawers or refrigerator), or need to have plumbing or gas lines installed. Also think about the types of food you like to cook and eat such as grilling or baking pizza. You may also want to sketch a layout for the overall space. However, the best thing to do is to hire an architect or designer to design your space. Here in the South many families like to deep fry foods and boil seafood. So, they are incorporating deep friers and boilers into their outdoor kitchens. You also may want to consider typical weather conditions in your area. This will probably dictate the type of finishes and furniture you can use. However, try to stick with a design that best reflects your personality and style. You definitely don't want a space that will not fit your lifestyle. So, if you follow this advice I think your space will turn out to be a great design.

Belvidere contemporary pool
If you want to tie in landscaping to your outdoor space pools are a good way to bring fun into the design.  Pools can be integrated  into the outdoor space with proper planning. Once you determine your budget contact your local landscape architect or contractor to get a quote and discuss possible layouts.

Pool contemporary pool
Once you decide on your budget and design layout you can start selecting materials to be installed. There are a variety of stone and concrete choices you can use. But, first you must determine what type of style you want to use (i.e. tuscan, modern).

Pergola with outdoor kitchen
Pergolas and arbors can enhance your outdoor kitchen design and maximize your space.  You can add different materials to enhance the bar (i.e stone & granite) and incorporate cooking appliances into the layout. It also gives you an option to add seating around the bar so you can be connected with your guest and family.
Outdoor fireplace
If you would like to create a focal point outdoor fireplaces are a great way to extend your outdoor space. 

Rumford fireplace designed by Juris Laivins, Architect Dallas, Texas

Design created by Michael O’Connell with O'Connell Landscape

Whether your on a budget or not, the possibilities are endless. If you are on a modest budget you can always use plastic laminate or concrete as an substitute instead of granite or stone on the counter tops.

An open concept is a great way to connect the interior to the exterior space. The interior was integrated with the outdoor space through the use of panel(sliding doors and by using the same materials on the floors and ceiling.

When designing the layout of your outdoor space you should consider designing the indoor kitchen adjacent to the outdoor space. This will make it easy to transport food and drinks if needed.

Bates Masi Architects

Traditional traditional pool

Applegate Tran Interiors tropical pool

Palo Alto contemporary pool

Fire pits are a great way to bring in a focal point and add warmth to an outdoor space. But, make sure you check with your local fire marshal to determine the codes and regulations before installing.

Indoor Pool traditional pool
Pool design by architect Andrew Nuzzi A.I.A.
If you live in a region with extreme weather conditions indoor pools are a great option. 

Pool Interior 2 traditional pool

Ron Herman Landscape Architect modern pool

Pool Room traditional pool

Furniture is also a great way to tie your design to the outdoor space.
Carlisle Dining in cast aluminum by Frontgate

Furniture will definitely compliment your outdoor space. Once you have decided on your layout you should begin selecting your furniture style and layout. The weather in your region will determine the types of finishes to be used such as aluminum, teak/wood, or wicker.
Maison dining table set by Frontgate
Axis dining table set by Frontgate
Campagna dining table set by Frontgate
Aqua collection by Summer Classics
Romance collection by Summer Classics
Kensington Teak Seating by Frontgate
A new trend that's becoming increasingly popular is outdoor area rugs. Area rugs is a great way to add color to your outdoor space. Many manufacturers are also designing area rugs that is durable and weather resistant. They are also designing them with stain resistant and eco-friendly finishes. Adding an area rug is a great way to compliment outdoor furniture.

French Knot Outdoor Area Rugs by Frontgate

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