Outdoor Living Encore

Please bear with my enthusiasm for the great outdoors. I know many readers here are seeing many 80 and 90 degree days, but we’re still trying to defrost here in Chicago. It’s been a cold wet spring. Many of my more tender garden plants look unhappy. They’re closing themselves off and recoiling, much like I would do if someone threw a cold glass of water on me. Which is what it feels like outside.

So what to do? Resolve that better days definitely are ahead as these images remind …

Today’s outdoor living examples are all from Houzz — a site bursting with beautiful home photos that you can wander through. Here, I share outdoor “rooms” that have styles that extend the architectural style of the homes that they’re attached to:

St. Simons Island, GA mediterranean porch

Patio, Summer House, Island of Kythira, Greece mediterranean patio
Seattle Exterior Renovations By Fine Construction traditional patio
Alder Springs Ranch eclectic porch
Cottage Gardens eclectic porch
Residences modern patio
Family Pool traditional patio
Quaker Bluff Residence contemporary patio
Webster Exterior traditional exterior
Montana mix traditional porch
Modern Transformation contemporary landscape
Midtown traditional porch
So many different styles! But they all seem to flow from the house. Just as if you were to add an inside room to the house, the outdoor spaces should reflect the architecture of the house and the outdoor surroundings. I’m considering this as we think about the outdoor space we want to create behind our house. I have many ideas, but the driving force and deciding factor should be the house itself, which is a traditional/farmhouse style with painted cedar siding. Someday I shall post pictures, but the poor house is not at its best right now. We got a bad exterior paint job only a few years ago, and we’re now awaiting a new paint job next month. For now, the house looks like a young boy with grass stains on his knees and ruffled up hair, and maybe even a few tears in his shirt. And oh yeah … that mortar that’s falling out from between some bricks on the chimney … ah, houses … they’re always throwing something at you to do.

Did you like this post? Don't miss out on more:

What topics interest you?

Outdoor Living

I love being outside in our gardens in the spring, summer and fall — seasons that every year feel too short, winter too long. Thankfully our India pied a terre has two outdoor terraces, one of them just a few steps up from our main door! Both are 1,200 sq ft spaces and someday you know I’ll be decorating them with plants and areas to sit. Plus, we’ll create plenty of shade from the sun. Coconut and banana trees are already there casting some shade.

Here is some outdoor living inspiration, of all styles and for all purposes …

Found at Desire to Inspire, this is a house for sale, so this could be your backyard (with some funds of course):

Found at MariaRR on weheartit, lower budget and I like this even better. Imagine:

Found at Outdoor Sanctuaries Tumblr, the movies outside, like drive-in movies but more comfortable!

Also from Outdoor Sanctuaries Tumblr:

If you can open an indoor space wide to the outside, it’s like being outside. Like this found at Delight by Design:

Even in winter. Found at The World According to Isa:

This feels wabi sabi? Definitely simply back to nature. Found at paonote_room269:

Less simple, also beautiful, from Better Homes and Gardens:

A city view. Found at the little book of secrets tumblr:

Found at Pinterest — a totally different view. Anyone know where photos copyrighted by Gaby are posted? I’m sure there’s more goodies there!

From Chris Court Photography. Ahhhhhhhhhhh.

There is no shortage of images of how people are livin’ it up beautifully outdoors. Follow my Pinterest Living Outdoors Board for more (400+ images there), and a Houzz Ideabook of patio/veranda/lanai photos. For now, I am going outdoors!

Did you like this post? Don't miss out on more:

What topics interest you?


One detail of houses I love is shutters. Why? Try to imagine these scenes without the shutters …

Found on Pinterest and House of Turquoise:

Shown at Home Curb Appeal:

Found at New South Classics blog:

From Withers Exterior Shutters:

Shown at Arts and Crafts Homes, which as more images and explanation of shutters for this architectural style:

From eHow Home, which has a lot of DIY articles about shutters:

Found at essortment:

Shown at Kestrel Shutters and Doors:

From Houzz:

Even though all these photos have something of interest, couldn’t they all shift toward “blah” if they didn’t have shutters? There’s a bunch more shutter and window images in my Exterior Shutters Board on Pinterest and in my Shutters Ideabook on Houzz.

In India, grilles are common in windows for security, but shutters can be combined with grilles:

From New South Classics blog:

In Singapore:

Shown at eHow Home:

From Withers Exterior Shutters:

You can even use what looks like exterior shutters, indoors …

From Houzz:

From Houzz:

From Houzz:

What set off this momentary obsession with shutters? We have shutters on three sides of our Chicago house, but we haven’t had shutters on the back facing the backyard. Soon, there will be shutters there. This will finish everything off nicely, especially the view from the backyard where we spend a lot of outdoor time.

And, sometimes I wonder if we could install shutters somehow on the India flat, to close when we’re not there (which would be the majority of the time) to keep the place cooler and also for security. But considering there are three other flats in the building that would not have shutters, I wouldn’t want to affect the architecture by installing them outside. And I’m not sure how the shutters would look inside. We’ve considered grilles but have no permanent plans right now for grilles.

Did you like this post? Don't miss out on more:

What topics interest you?

Front Doors

First things first. We looked at front doors today for the Chennai flat. The what? The flat? This is already feeling contrived to keep writing pied a terre! But “flat” just … falls flat. That word doesn’t live up to my expectations for this place. So the pied a terre fantasy returns.

Our glorious vision of a place must have a very special door. It’s the first indication of what’s to follow. A few years ago when we visited Tuscany and Umbria, I photographed a series of doors, so entranced by imagination of what lay beyond them. They were all very tall, immense. Some felt rustic, others medieval. Some beautiful and others severe. Some were welcoming and surrounded with flowers. A few were foreboding, bidding you to back away. Clearly they all had personalities.

Whatever door we ultimately choose, our India pied a terre’s door must not be one that’s from the India equivalent of Home Depot.

Here are doors I find beautiful, from around the internet. I try best to pay credit where credit is due to the people or businesses that shared these online for our viewing pleasure.

Jodhpur doors found on nikdaum.com:

From doorsdarling.com. Also known as “Doors, Darling! a blog about doors, knobs, locks and hinges.” Now it takes discipline to focus on that, but I’m glad someone does because they photographed this glorious door in Bikaner in Rajasthan:

From eBay seller MogulGallery in Florida. Yes you can find these doors on eBay and make them part of your pied a terre, anywhere:

Found on sangeetaarts.net, new metal-covered embossed doors:

Bronze Jaipur door photo shared by Travelpod.com travel blogger Thomasgillam:

Someone owns this door from Tamil Nadu now. It’s satinwood and teak, over 100 years old, and was sold on GoAntiques.com. This makes me envision deep red wall in the stairwell meeting a deep honey-color carved door:

Blue n’ bells from pbase.com world traveler Karthik Raja Photography:

This is actually artwork depicting a door on dakshinachitra.net, the Madras Craft Foundation. This place is just south of Chennai. I must visit next time I am there. This is from a DakshinaChitra August 2009 painting exhibition:

I don’t know the original source of this one, but there are Lakshmi coins embedded in this door! Lakshmi is my favorite goddess. This door is visually stunning:

As you’ve seen, doors can be created from an enormous variety of materials, styles and colors to express what you want to those who visit.

Here is the antique door my husband found during his trip to choose materials for the place. His sister Shanthi was helping with the shopping and poses with it:

Here is close-up of the detail at the top:

Here is the back side, the door view we’ll see from inside the house:

It’s 5’6″ tall, low like older doors are, so anyone taller than that will need to duck while walking in. It gives no indication that on the inside, 10-foot ceilings await. It will go through about a month of detailed restoration before it’s installed. The shop will send pictures of the restoration progress, and we’ll share here.

Did you like this post? Don't miss out on more:

What topics interest you?