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Architecture Design Tips: Indoor/Outdoor Spaces

Connecting to the outside for year-round enjoyment.

On every remodel or new house design, we work hard to configure spaces so they have a strong inside/ outside connection. We do this because we believe living symbiotically with nature is always important in our lives. It’s a soothing element in an increasingly chaotic world. And it usually brings in more natural light, which is really important, especially in an environment like the Pacific Northwest, where light can be scarce. Designing in ways that connect to the outside also bring us color and texture, making for a more sensory rich environments.

We can bring more nature into our lives by how we design our house. We can simply look at it, or we sit next to it, or maybe right in it! We engage with nature. It needs to make sense however, taking into consideration such things as security, privacy, glare, and energy. In our work, as Architects we try to balance these things in a way that the whole of the house engages with its site. Your personal outside spaces can be in the treetops, just outside your bedroom, in a courtyard, or on your roof! 

Below, we have selected images from several of our projects to help illustrate the many ways in which we design to connect to the environment around us. No matter the style of your home or the conditions of your site, connecting to the outdoors through design will enrich your space and your life!

kirkland seattle Mid Century remodel covered patio with vaulted ceiling, exposed beams, and folding doors
The grand vaulted roof of this Mid Century home extends out to shelter the patio, making it a true outside space to enjoy year round.
The roof deck with AstroTurf and glass panel railing overlooking lake Union and Seattle on the third story addition of the Urban Farmhouse in Wallingford.
Not only does this roof deck provide outstanding views (unobstructed through the use of the glass railing system), it also creates highly valued outside space on a tight city lot.
We’re up in the trees that shade the house in the summer, while looking into the back yard below, and where the folding doors blur the line between dining indoors and dining al fresco.  
capitol Hill Seattle backyard
Just outside the kitchen and screened from the driveway, a careful selection of materials lends to the calm feeling of this sunny family room patio.
master suite addition ADU with outdoor living craftsman home seattle
The multilevel design of this home forming an ‘L’ around the courtyard helps to activate the space, making it a true outdoor room that connects disparate living and sleeping spaces of the home.
Queen Anne Kitchen remodel patio
This outdoor space utilizes an existing tall retaining wall to create enclosure, beauty, and privacy in a once overlooked and unused throw-away space – now a center point of the home.
patio outdoor area
This walkway extends from the master bedroom into the landscape with its outdoor spaces, year ‘round garden and hot tub.  It truly is an extension of the house. Landscape plan, at right, by Scot Eckley.
landscaped patio plan
living space and stairwell with views to outside
Looking into the landscape through several spaces of the house makes for a complex and interesting views.
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