10 indoor outdoor living areas

The garden should really be a part of the home, not just a place to potter on weekends, but a regularly used room. Get inspiration for your indoor-outdoor project with this gallery

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Kitchen extension with an indoor outdoor link

Alex and Kamla moved into their bungalow and gradually updated it room by room. Time spent overseas had given them a taste for open-plan, indoor outdoor living and their goal was to have a big kitchen, with doors on to the garden, as the heart of the home.

It took nearly a year for the planning permission to be granted, but Kamla and Alex put the time to good use by landscaping the 76ft garden and planting trees to ensure a good outlook once the building work was finished. ‘I even built a pond to practise my bricklaying skills,’ adds owner Alex.

Alex was careful to ensure a level threshold between the indoor outdoor areas, so they merge seamlessly to create a flexible space (above). ‘On a spring day, when it’s tranquil and green, I like to enjoy the view of the garden from the sofa,’ says Kamla, ‘It’s a great space for evening get-togethers: sociable and lively, with the speakers blasting out music, and disco lights flashing.’

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New York loft style kitchen with a dining terrace

Six bi-fold doors open up the width of this house onto the dining deck, and three solar-powered skylights make the extension even brighter. ‘The Velux windows were twice the price of standard ones, as they are electric and have rain sensors, so close automatically,’ says owner John.

new york style kitchen with indoor-outdoor living

‘Susanna is Italian and passionate about cooking, so when she moved in with me, the kitchen was the first room she wanted to put her stamp on,’ he continues. Bi-fold doors from Your Price Bi-fold Doors open up to the decking for easy alfresco dining. Along with the three skylights, they allow plenty of natural light into the room.

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A contemporary indoor outdoor home

‘The house was falling down, and the garden was completely overgrown and full of oak trees,’ says owner Matt. ‘I showed it to Rachel, my partner at the time, and we both fell in love with the idea of living in such a private rural location.’

The main focus of the new single-storey house is a glazed open-plan kitchen/dining space with folding-sliding doors that completely opens up the corner of the building closest to the oak tree.

white cottage home with indoor-outdoor living

In contrast to the extensively glazed rear of the house, with glass sliding doors and flush thresholds that connect the house to the garden, the front of the property has been designed with smaller windows facing onto a busy road. ‘It was never about building the biggest house we could on the plot, but about fitting in with the surroundings,’ explains Matt.

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A Redesigned 1950s bungalow

Michelle and Stephen Spoor could see the potential of this home when they inherited it. Its layout wasn’t thought through, and it did not put the large amount of garden space to good use.

‘It had a large south-west-facing garden, so there was plenty of space to extend,’ recalls Michelle. ‘We immediately knew that we wanted to create an innovative design that would cleverly incorporate the old building and make the best use of the space available.’

indoor outdoor bungalow extension

‘We set aside an area outside the kitchen, so that I can easily dash out to cut herbs and pick fresh produce when I need them for cooking,’ she adds. The architect’s design for the property has more than fulfilled the couple’s wishlist for a light, contemporary home that makes the most of the space available. The end result is a modern, airy and uncluttered interior, with an indoor outdoor layout that’s perfect for both everyday family life and entertaining.

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A 1950s home redesigned for space

‘We wanted to create a large open-plan living space connected to the garden,’ explains Sam. The house was set back from the road, so to increase the footprint the couple decided to bring the front of the house forward in line with their neighbours’.

For the back garden, the designs focused on indoor outdoor living, so a large patio, lawn and play area for the children was the main requirement. ‘We treated the landscaping in a similar way to the house, in that we got several quotes and took our time to choose the right landscaper and materials,’ says Sam.

indoor-outdoor dining area with decking

The garden now incorporates a series of vistas, and contrasting materials – such as the black limestone, red bamboo, grass and timber, and white gloss planters – all adding interest and texture. ‘We chose to mix traditional planting with informal palms and grasses,’ says Sam. ‘It just needs time to grow and mature now.’

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A glass box kitchen extension

Once the interior of this property had been completed, owners Tatiana and Shawn could think about linking the kitchen-diner to the outside.

When it came to planning the kitchen, Tatiana and Shawn wanted a contemporary design to complement the sharp lines of the glass extension. ‘We wanted a multifunctional, minimalist space where we can move easily between areas,’ Tatiana explains. ‘It had to be modern, shiny and hi-tech, but also inviting.’

glass box extention indoor-outdoor spaces

‘We wanted to create a zen-like space with Asian-style influences,’ says Tatiana, ‘so the centrepiece of the garden is the Buddha water feature in front of the outhouse. Shawn designed the firepit, which is great for parties.’

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A bright kitchen with links to the garden

After 10 years of managing with a tiny square kitchen, owners Emma and Julien wanted an open-plan, kitchen-diner, fully glazed on two sides, with sliding patio doors opening on to the garden. With these indoor outdoor requirements in mind, the couple were ready to brief the architect, Emma’s cousin Bill Piers

The couple’s preference for the new kitchen included white minimalist units. ‘I didn’t want any handles, and the finish had to be matte,’ says Emma. ‘I searched everywhere before coming across a design that was perfect, as well as a bargain, at 65 per cent off that weekend.’

indoor-outdoor link to the garden

The couple had always envisaged a modern extension, but one that would still be sympathetic to the age of the house and its surroundings. ‘It’s the way I approach most of my designs,’ says Emma. ‘I like to bring together favourite objects and family mementoes, and use them in my decorating schemes to add character and a sense of family and history.’

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A home with a central courtyard

‘We wanted to have a good interaction between the indoor and outdoor spaces,’ says owner Declan. ‘We knew that we would need to extend at the back in order to maximise the square footage of the house, so the layout would make the best use of the natural light and space.’

The new kitchen extension is linked to the home by a corridor from the living room, with a courtyard in the middle that seamlessly connects to the interior spaces. ‘The large sliding glass doors and rooflights ensure the whole place is flooded with natural light.’

Indoor-outdoor home with a courtyard

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A 1950s bungalow filled with glazing

‘We lived in the house for around a year before we decided to apply for planning permission to extend. This gave us time to do plenty of research and decide how we wanted the house to flow and work for us,’ says owner, Jaqueline

With permission granted, the walls at the back of the house were demolished and a large double-height conservatory-style extension was built, creating a large open-plan area that is now the kitchen/dining space.

indoor-outdoor decking with bi fold doors

Patio doors open the living area onto smart decking and the double-height atrium-style design has breathed new life into the bungalow, creating space for a kitchen/dining area.

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An indoor outdoor open plan extension

‘The first thing I wanted to change was the kitchen,’ says owner, Amanda. ‘I didn’t only want a large open-plan space, I wanted it to be huge, as I knew it would be the hub of the home. ’ The decision was made to knock through the existing kitchen, breakfast room and utility, and then extend out into the garden by almost four metres – a loss of outside space that the family was happy to compromise on.

industrial kitchen extention with indoor-outdoor style

Knocking together the existing kitchen and dining room and adding a four-metre rear extension created the ‘huge’ space Amanda craved. It was created to look seamless from the outside, with its cream rendering and pitched roof, tiled to mimic the original building.

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