When we can’t dine out at restaurants, we can always “go out” to eat in our own three-seasons rooms and patio spaces, though we may need to wear jackets sometimes. Photo by Matt Warren Photography

When we can’t dine out at restaurants, we can always “go out” to eat in our own three-seasons rooms and patio spaces, though we may need to wear jackets sometimes. Photo by Matt Warren Photography

Shaking Off Cabin Fever

Are you ready for outdoor living? I am, and I think a lot of us are developing cabin fever given the precautions we are taking to forestall the spread of the corona virus. Spending time in our own backyards has become increasingly important. I thought it would be a nice escape for everyone if I shared some photos of lovely patios we have designed recently so we can turn our thoughts to warmer weather, greener landscapes and rejuvenating time spent outdoors. Although we just had a snow storm, now is a great time to start working together if you want to complete a patio or terrace project by the time warm weather sets in for good. We can get started with “virtual” planning sessions to move the design process forward, and of course, all work would be done outdoors! Please phone our studio at (847) 705-9569 or connect online at IEG Contact.

How Do We Begin the Design?

To start, we take a holistic view of the outdoor areas available. We find out how our clients want to use their property, and then we create separate “rooms” to fit their wish list – outdoor kitchen, dining, relaxing around a fire pit, a cozy spot where they can curl up with some summer reading. We need to know our clients’ entertaining style as well. Do they host cookouts for a lot of people, cater cocktail parties for smaller groups, invite families over for casual meals and games of bocce ball, bean bag toss and badminton?

The three-seasons porch in the photo above is an extension of a lovely residence on a spacious property farm from the bustle of the city and suburbs. Our clients wanted a seating area that is somewhat protected from the elements as well as a fully outdoor dining space that you can glimpse through the windows. For the three-seasons room we chose woven dining chairs that are not only attractive, but with their cushioned seats and high backs, they encourage people to linger over a relaxing meal. The earth tones of all the furnishings allow the gorgeous landscaping to take center stage.

 

Designed to resemble an indoor great room, this seating area is inviting and comfortable. Photo by Matt Warren Photography

Designed to resemble an indoor great room, this seating area is inviting and comfortable. Photo by Matt Warren Photography

Interior and Exterior Design Must Flow

Creating a design that flows smoothly and logically from the interior of the home is always our goal. In recent years, outdoor spaces have come to resemble indoor spaces to a greater extent. Because we chose a very relaxed, organic design for the interior, natural textures and a neutral color palette, we extended that to the outside. This area in the photo above is opposite the dining table in the previous photo, and is designed to evoke an al fresco family room, down to the area rug, accessories and accent pillows. Our clients can use it as an inviting spot for an after-dinner beverage or dessert and coffee, a comfortable place to sit and catch up on email or chat with friends and family.

 

The rustic grain of this carved-wood piece references the scenery beyond the windows. Photo by IEG

The rustic grain of this carved-wood piece references the scenery beyond the windows. Photo by IEG

Outdoor Accessories Are a Must-Have

Indoors or out, accessories are the punctuation that completes a room, beautifully. Again, we opted for organic materials, using this wooden trough as our back drop for natural greens. It fills a corner of the three-seasons room with character and authenticity.

 

Thoughtfully chosen accessories arranged on an artful tray adds a touch of casual elegance to this outdoor family room. Photo by IEG

Thoughtfully chosen accessories arranged on an artful tray adds a touch of casual elegance to this outdoor family room. Photo by IEG

Choose a Pretty Tray

Gathering a collection of interesting pieces in an eye-catching tray is one of our favorite ways to accessorize a room. We always mix materials, textures and colors, and we love finding just the right tray to display them. An added bonus: the tray is easy to move when you need the space for other uses such as snacks or a big jigsaw puzzle. This outdoor composition reflects the way we accessorized the interior of the residence, creating a conversation between the two.

 

Location, location, location. Photo by IEG

Location, location, location. Photo by IEG

Traffic Flow Indoors and Out is a Priority

This dining table and chairs is the grouping you caught a peek at in the first photo of the three-seasons dining area. We love the view of the old silo, which we also updated with a spa-like space at the top, overlooking the magnificent property. When we design outdoor settings we always keep traffic flow uppermost in our minds, including access to and from the house. Issues such as distance from outdoor grills or game areas and the ability to move around the outdoor and indoor areas in a logical manner are priorities, too.

 

Comfortable seating, convenient tables and a striking view make this balcony a great place to renew and refresh. Photo by IEG

Comfortable seating, convenient tables and a striking view make this balcony a great place to renew and refresh. Photo by IEG

Balconies Are Your Own Private Patio

With its orange cushions and woven frame, this love seat is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the view over this spectacular property. A pair of vintage-looking lanterns are tucked into a corner, referencing the history of this land – who might have lived in this area before the days of electricity and high-tech devices? The side-by-side tables are a must-have for beverages, cell phones and other electronics. But wouldn’t you rather just drink in the scenery? I would!

 

Swivel chairs ensure that everyone can turn to enjoy the water wall and fire place or join the conversation. Photo by Matt Warren Photography.

Swivel chairs ensure that everyone can turn to enjoy the water wall and fire place or join the conversation. Photo by Matt Warren Photography.

Fire and Water

Human beings have always been drawn to fire and water, which are beautifully combined on this elegant patio. When laying out this space, it was important to ensure that everyone is able to view the elements while enjoying some face-to-face time outside. The color palette references the natural tones of the slate deck and the stone fence and water wall. Of course, we included our signature tray of accessories, a lantern and a rich blue throw whose color is a nod to the water element. And who doesn’t love a throw available when the temperatures drop and you just aren’t ready to leave the tranquility of this outdoor space?

 

This screened porch is perfect for “me” time. Photo by Matt Warren Photography

This screened porch is perfect for “me” time. Photo by Matt Warren Photography

Enjoying Some Private Time

Ahhh! That hammock looks so inviting. When you’re ready for some quiet, me time, this is the spot. We positioned the hammock to take advantage of view of the beautiful ponds on this property and the sky overhead. The semi-private nook blends the best of feelings of being somewhat protected by outdoors at the same time. Oversized planters, brimming with life, establish a smooth flow to the yard.

 

Weather resistant accent pillows elevate your outdoor style. Photo by IEG

Weather resistant accent pillows elevate your outdoor style. Photo by IEG

S’Mores and More

Energetic accent pillows enliven this semi-circular sectional while pulling together the neutral color palette. We have developed connections with several lines of wonderful outdoor fabrics and pillows that we go to whenever we’re working on outdoor spaces. The fabric of course is weather resistant and the pillows come in handy when you want to stretch out and read or take an afternoon siesta in the fresh air. The sectional provides a lot of seating and encourages conversation in front of the fire when friends and family gather. Is anyone else thinking about s’mores? Have you tried them with a fun-size Milky Way or Snicker’s bar?

 

You may not have an old silo on your property, but you can appreciate the blend of old and new in this remarkable setting. Photo by IEG

You may not have an old silo on your property, but you can appreciate the blend of old and new in this remarkable setting. Photo by IEG

Contrasting Old and New

We felt honored and excited to create several different “rooms” in this vintage silo area for a client with a large property in the country. The conversation area is one “room,” and there is a dining area not pictured. The combination of old and new makes me think of a European café set in the midst of ancient ruins. The contrast is so appealing, and truly unique.

Are you planning to update your home’s exterior spaces? And you can see more of our work here: IEG portfolio.