The Space Between: A Case for Outdoor Living

Create a pool house, a cabana, a terrace, a covered porch, an outdoor living room, or a garden pavilion, and you have created a space between: between your home and the great outdoors.  These “in between spaces” are unique because here, our formal life converges with our casual life.  It is here, that we shed shoes, and posture, pour too much wine, forget the time, or sleep during the day. Yet, these places boast designer lounge chairs, outdoor fireplaces, built in grills, outdoor kitchens, wine coolers, and electronic drop down screens.  Long stem glassware and linen napkins are appropriate as are no shirt or shoes.

Town and Country Conservatories

If you are number cruncher or the designated pocketbook protector, it’s hard to justify investing in a space that you will only use for 3 months out of the year if you are lucky.  However, outdoor living spaces provide the stuff that fills your scrapbooks, inspires your social calendar, gives you reason to pause and relax, and keeps your sight set forward when the sideways rain and wintry mix shows up in March or even April. It’s emotional math, but your “space between” adds an immeasurable dimension to your home and your life. It’s like celebration concentrate.

A Better Life Outside Design and Construction

What are the key design elements to this transitional space? Jim Sasko, president of Teakwood Builders points to wining and dining as a place to begin.  If your outdoor room is adjacent to your existing kitchen then you might consider a Nano Wall or Phantom Screen to remove any barrier between indoors and out and extend the functional reach of both spaces.

Urrutia Design, Photo by Jason Wells


Lahaina Kitchen & Bath Designers, Tervola Designs

If your outdoor room is set apart from the main house, then a cooking space with all the amenities is in order.  Many people start with the bar, the drink refrigerator and a small sink, but easy entertaining requires cabinetry, heating elements, a large sink, and even a dishwasher.  Multiple trips back into the house hampers function and can kill the magic of your “space between.”


Graystone Custom Builders

McCarthy Design and Build LLC

Rolling Stone Landscapes

“Many people ask us if the style of the outdoor living room has to “match” the style of the house,” reports Sasko.  “I think that there should be a complementary dialogue maintained between the home and a poolside building, but there is ample opportunity to do something different in your outdoor space, and the contrast will highlight each.” Find inspiration in tradition: such as the farmhouse & carriage house relationship or beach house & cabana complement.  Or think of your outdoor space as a “jewel box,” a contrasting focal point that sparks intrigue and draws people out.

Richard Mandlekorn Photography


JLF and Associates

A third key design element is your site plan: how does the outdoor space relate to the existing house? Take advantage of views and sight lines, both looking out to and from the outdoor space. Introduce the space with landscape features or set it apart with an unexpected twist: a change in material finishes perhaps. Designers call this place-making. Your “space between” offers an entire mode of living that calls you out of everyday time.  The approach, the finishes, and the views all work together so that the moment you enter you are emotionally prepared to drink it in.

Ike Kligerman Barkley Architects and Designers

For more outdoor living ideas visit Teakwood Builders at Houzz or Pinterest