Creating a Seamless Indoor-Outdoor Connection

Indoor-outdoor connections, a transitional space between the outside and inside of a home, are one of the most sought after features in modern home plans. Many architects implement these to great a 3D feel. If you are interested in having a better understanding of how architects make these decisions read this article at Architecture Lab (https://www.architecturelab.net/architects-moved-third-dimension/). It could help inspire your future home designs inside and out. Outdoor rooms occupied the number two and three spots on the National Association of Realtors’ list of 13 Hot Home Trends for 2013. Below is a list of a few design elements that foster indoor-outdoor connections.

Indoor-outdoor space
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1. Smooth Indoor-Outdoor Transitions. Blur the line between indoor and outdoor rooms by using the same flooring material indoors and out. Opt for a flush, level transition without steps. Outdoor rooms should echo the home’s shape and style for a sense of continuity. To truly erase the line between indoor and outdoor rooms, install accordion, hinged or pocket doors that may be pushed aside to eliminate entire walls.

2. Create Windows. Mid-century modern designers Eichler and Rummer understood the huge impact natural light has on the human experience of space. They were some of the first homebuilders to install floor-to-ceiling windows to create a continual connection to natural surroundings. Skylights, atriums and picture windows were common in Eichler and Rummers’ home plans. Today’s home designers cultivate indoor-outdoor connections through corner windows, picture windows, and floor-to-ceiling, side-by-side windows for communal areas. In personal spaces clerestory windows can deliver natural light without compromising privacy. Today’s house plans may even boast natural under cabinet lighting via a row of windows between kitchen counters and cabinets.

Indoor-outdoor space
Image Source: Author

3. Include Public & Private Outdoor Living Areas. Aim for a combination of covered and open, private and public outdoor living areas. A private garden off the master bedroom can feel like a retreat. Meanwhile, a more formal front patio can welcome visitors. The most common outdoor room in today’s home plans is a covered back porch or patio, oftentimes with retractable windows or screens for bug-free enjoyment. Current designers are incorporating all the comforts of indoor rooms, by adding fireplaces, built-in BBQs, comfortable seating, and even built-in lighting and music systems. Add a vaulted ceiling to your outdoor room for a grand sense of spaciousness. Such outdoor living rooms are ideal for entertaining. Home plans can be modified to add new outdoor living areas such as breezeways, patios, and porches.

4. Consider Floor Plan Characteristics. Architecture offers a few handy tricks for fostering a strong indoor-outdoor connection. When reviewing your home plan, focus on creating long lines of sight, a design trick for making any space feel larger. Then add windows and mirrors to make your indoor space feel more connected to the outdoors. Be sure to consult with your house designer for advice on which non-load-bearing walls may be safely removed. Home designers can also recommend plans for your specific plot, which may be suited to an L- or U-shaped home that takes full advantage of your most magnificent views.

House plans with strong indoor-outdoor connections and offer many advantages, including increased living space that you can use all year round, maximized views, extra space for entertaining, and the peace of mind that comes with a strong relationship with nature.

This article was provided by Alan Mascord, owner of Houseplans.co, the online home of Alan Mascord Design Associates’ house plan collection. Houseplans.co offers a wide range of home plan designs, in a multitude of sizes and styles, from contemporary home plans to majestic Craftsman-style homes, all at the fraction of the cost of hiring an architect.

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