Outdoor Living Ideas

Contemporary Barbecues and More

May in the US means it’s time to start moving outdoors. Here’s a range of warm weather-oriented design ideas that caught my eye recently because they combine functions and forms in artful new ways. To use an old term often used in shelter magazines, they “do double duty” — with a certain panache.

Warming trends get a boost with two products from Fire Sense. One is a handsome round powder-coated steel fire pit

that comes with a hardwood top  so it can double as a cocktail table. It’s the HotSpot Solid Base Revolver Fire Pit Table, also available from Gaslog Guys. The Hot Spot Notebook Charcoal Grill

resembles a magazine rack (holding only the hottest publications, er coals, naturally). It folds flat for storage (also available from One Click MX), which would be a great help in places like my cluttered tool shed.

On the cooler side, try this reinvention of the  hospital curtain track as a privacy and shade screen across a lap pool.

It’s a clever idea even without the water and could be used under a projecting eave to protect any patio from harsh summer sun. This house for jewelry designer Georg Spreng and his family is by the Stuttgart firm  C18 Architekten (photo courtesy Daily Icon).

I like the way sculpture and furniture somersault together in this “Loopita” chaise by Mexican designer Victor M. Aleman.

which appears to be quite literally a twist on the conventional love seat — or  is that a loop de scoop or a mobius “dip”!

A bench by San Francisco’s Aidlin Darling Design comes alive as serpentine segments of redwood.

You perceive the parts  and the whole together and separately in an ingenious interplay between sitting and stretching — the practical waxes poetic.

A somewhat simpler seat, designed by Los Angeles architect Barton Phelps for his own garden, is all about rustic warmth.

A flagstone couch (covered with canvas cushions) is set into a retaining wall made of recycled concrete rubble. It absorbs the hot late afternoon sun and then radiates the heat at night to make a delightfully toasty spot for relaxing under the evening stars.

Fresh Air Home Design

Here’s a home plan that also takes advantage of the open air. It’s architect Gregory la Vardera’s Plat House 3 (Plan 431-13)  an expansion of his earlier design, and recently added to our Exclusive Studio Collection.

The shaded breezeway along one side

can  be modified to incorporate

a screen porch at one end, as shown here. It’s time to be outside or at least bring the outside inside.

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