By Ann Robinson and Annie Vernon
With the advent of spring after a particularly foggy winter, you may already be connecting more with the outdoors through hiking, biking, golf or puttering around in the garden. But have you ever considered how well your home connects with the outdoors?
A Liberty Park-area home has small windows and an unattractive back door and porch.
An excellent way to improve your home is through the addition of effective indoor-outdoor connections. These connections can be physical, such as French doors opening up onto a porch, or visual, such as the addition of a window to expose a lovely view.
Indoor-outdoor connections can be minor, such as a mudroom situated between the garage and the home, or major, such as an outdoor entertainment area placed just outside the doors of a home’s main gathering space.
Whatever the case, effective indoor-outdoor connections encourage occupants to conveniently get out and enjoy the outdoors, while bringing the beauty of the outdoors into your home.
Here’s another good reason to consider adding indoor-outdoor connections to your home: their value. For example, exterior living space adds usable square footage to your home without costing you the $120-plus per square foot you’d spend for the construction of an addition.
French doors, sidelight windows, gable windows and a master suite addition make the home much more inviting.
Outdoor rooms defined by structures such as decks, porches and trellises include gathering spaces, meeting places, outdoor kitchens, eating areas, play areas and even secure sleeping porches. Finally, adding visual connections to the outdoors, such as through the addition of glass doors or enlarging a window, adds value to your home by making its interior space appear larger than it actually is.
In considering the physical indoor-outdoor connections that might work for your home, remember that connections should be placed to help homeowners and guests transition comfortably from the outside to inside and vice versa. For instance, public spaces at the front of the house, such as porches, are very important for welcoming people into the home.
To provide privacy from the street, outdoor entertaining spaces and recreational areas are best placed in back of the home, off of an indoor gathering space if possible. Small, non-trafficked spaces, such as a fenced atrium, should be created outside bathroom windows.
Improving your home’s visual indoor-outdoor connection includes adding or enlarging openings to capitalize on outdoor views and to allow more natural light inside. Where a spectacular outdoor view does not exist, a charming focal point in the yard, such as a fountain or a flower garden, can be added. If too much light is coming into a window, outdoor structures can be built to modify the light. For example, a trellis can be constructed to shade a west-facing window.
However you like to enjoy the outdoors, effective indoor-outdoor connections can help suit your home to your lifestyle. As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.