We all know that space is a luxury, yet increasingly people are looking to expand their homes. From loft conversions to roof extensions, redesigning to maximise living areas can transform a property. In recent years, though, the interior design world has turned its sights to another alternative – outdoor living. Far from simply being a place for gardens or swimming pools, architects are now creating versatile spaces that can be used for dining, entertaining, exercising and relaxation.
The sign of a well-conceived design is how seamlessly the outside and inside areas fuse; the aim is for the finished product to feel like a natural extension of an existing space. These seven properties achieve this and more, reflecting some of the world’s greatest outdoor-meets-indoor residential designs.
Rustic Al Fresco
São Paulo home PK Iporanga – designed by architect firm Arthur Casas – has an enviable external space, which effortlessly blends the indoors with the out. Orthogonal lines and minimalist décor keep things crisp, while the inviting side-lit pool and deck contrast beautifully with the chunky Cumaru panelled wood. Exposed brick walls add a touch of rustic charm, while the glazed sliding doors ease the transition from external to internal. The open-plan aesthetic is both contemporary and elegant, with no one area dominating the layout. Leading into a bespoke kitchen and sleek dining area, the pool deck manages o flawlessly flow through the entire ground floor. The lush tropical foliage surrounding the space also adds a sense of serenity and calm.
A truly breathtaking example of eco-design at its most extravagant, the Acqua Liana, in Florida’s exclusive Manalapan Beach estate, offers tropical outside living at its finest. The property – which recently sold for a record-breaking US$22.9 million (HKD$177.6 million) – features a meandering lazy river, a separate pool and deck, blossom-filled gardens plus an outdoor fire spa with waterfall. There’s also a lagoon plunge pool and private beach area. The Hawaiian Koa-wood kitchen opens directly onto the gardens, creating a sense of lush greenery throughout. Materials such as bamboo, coconut and reclaimed teak keep things natural, a suitable touch for the home that’s dubbed ‘Florida’s greenest mansion.’ The outdoor cocktail lounge is perfect for sultry summer parties.
A contemporary residence in LA’s prestigious Bel Air district, this ultra-modern home boasts outside living space with A-list worthy features. Taking centre stage is the 132-foot infinity pool which looks out across the Los Angeles basin; it’s flanked by an immaculately manicured lawn and deck area. The emphasis is very much about bringing the inside out, with elegant sofas and lounging spaces offering the chance to relax with all the usual domestic comforts. Modern art and sculptures dot the residence’s grounds, offering a quirky contrast to the garden’s pristine white walls. The ultra-modern sunken fire pit, adjacent to the main house, means al fresco fun can still be had even on the occasional chilly Californian evening.
“Bamboo, coconut and reclaimed teak keep things natural, a suitable touch for ‘Florida’s greenest mansion’”
Shaped like a folha (‘leaf’ in Portuguese), this futuristic Brazilian home is based on the principle of merging separated spaces. The dozens of glass sliding doors found throughout the property open up into an array of external areas, while the refreshing sea breeze adds to the sense of tranquility. The swimming pool snakes into the house, effortlessly blending both indoor and outdoor worlds, before transforming into a pond complete with exotic fish. For some serious rest and relaxation, head to the outdoor ‘Brazilian lounge’ towards the rear of the house, where hammocks gently sway above the deck made from sustainably sourced wood. For a more social affair, the front pool deck – scattered with bespoke sofas and covered by a huge, copper clad ‘leaf’ – is the perfect place to unwind with family and friends.
Another São Paulo offering comes in the form of Casa 6, an aesthetically imposing home designed by Marcio Kogan Architects. The main house is suspended over a versatile outdoor space, which comprises of a lounging and dining area. A huge, roughly hewn stone wall acts as a backdrop for the rustic, Scandi-style furniture, while the modern portico structure adds a sense of contemporary grandeur. The green-lit lap pool, which leads down from the kitchen’s sliding doors, is the perfect place for an evening swim, and the surrounding sub-tropical ferns, palms and flowers are a fragrant reminder of the home’s Brazilian rainforest location.
The swimming pool snakes into the house before transforming into a pond complete with exotic fish.”
Life’s a Beach
Offering a spectacularly uninterrupted view of Sydney’s Bondi Beach, this penthouse was blueprinted and built by the MPR Design Group. Housed in an existing Art Deco building, the futuristic design of the space creates a contemporary outdoor relaxing and entertaining area. External lines and fittings are blurred, thanks to light-hued cladding, which creates a sense of both modernity and softness. Wide lime-washed timber floors form a sleek, smooth deck, while the amply proportioned dining area is the perfect place for a supper soirée. The open-plan kitchen sits just beyond the huge sliding doors, which can be opened to extend the space further.
Exceptional sea views and a sense of seamlessness make this Pacific oceanside home in Malibu – designed by Charles Gwathmey of Gwathmey Siegel & Associates – one of the best investments for those who enjoy relaxing outdoors. The emphasis is on contrasting heights; a circulation zone runs parallel to the external wall, which connects the different levels both physically and visually. The result is a pool deck plus dining area, a smaller, raised sun lounging platform, a small balcony and a covered sit-out space; the latter offers beautiful views of the sea. The surrounding lawn keeps things green and the minimalist outdoor furnishings contrast with the starkly, sleek beauty of the main house. Ample glass windows and accents of wood add to the sense of space, nature and light.
Written by Siobhan Brewood-Wyatt