The start of summer means the beginning of outdoor living. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t live the outdoor life all year round. According to award-winning architect, Kobi Karp, founder and principal of Kobi Karp Architecture and Interior Design, one of the biggest trends in architecture right now is blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living,
Karp is known for designing some of Miami’s most renowned buildings including One Hotel Miami Beach and The Surf Club Four Seasons as well as the Floating Frames House among other residential and commercial projects. His philosophy is that the home is an expression of the individual, both inside and outside. “These outdoor spaces create an environment that is more healthy, more zen, more true to our nature as human beings and feel different at sunrise and sunset. We respond to seasonal changes, feel more human outdoors and more comfortable having our heart to heart talks in these spaces, especially when the weather is accommodating.”
For those building new homes or even renovating existing ones, he suggests, above all else, doing everything possible to add more natural light in. Then think about what features speak to your lifestyle the most. “Make choices for your outdoor living that make you love your home even more and create value,” he says. “An outdoor kitchen might not be for you if you don’t like to cook. So, choose a rooftop terrace instead. Pick what is right for you.”
Here are five indoor/outdoor living trends to consider for your home.
Rooftops Are The New Backyards
Utilizing rooftop space has gone from hotels and restaurants to residential. This is a great idea for homes built on a smaller footprint, water or just situated on uneven land that may too large a project or costly to build out. However, Karp adds, even if the backyard is large enough to accommodate your needs, many of his clients are choosing to utilize their roofs because it’s an added luxury.
A beautifully furnished terrace is a basic build, but he sees many homeowners upgrading the space by installing hot tubs and even pools. However, it’s worth noting installing a rooftop pool can come with its own set of challenges. It’s important to find the most cost-efficient structure so that it doesn’t fall to the floor below. “The best way to add a rooftop pool to a home is to find the existing columns or support beams, and design the pool to fit the existing structural grid and comply with it. This is much easier than it seems,” Karp explains.
Summer Kitchens Add Luxury
Outdoor kitchens are some of the most useful renovations and according to Karp, a smart investment. “Creating a space that is above and beyond the basic requirements of a home is the best investment. Kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms are necessary in all homes, but an outdoor kitchen that can be a multi-purpose, multi-function and multi-season outdoor living space is truly a thoughtful investment,” he says.
Another reason to build an outdoor kitchen is that, unlike adding a pool, it doesn’t necessarily require a large amount of square footage. A countertop, grill, sink and perhaps an under-the-counter refrigerator is really all that is needed.
Cooking outside can also help save on energy bills during the summer months because it allows the home to maintain its temperature, rather than heating up from indoor cooking.
While Japanese style bathrooms have been a major trend in architecture, indoor/outdoor master bathrooms are also coming into prevalence. It’s easy to understand why. They are an additional way to utilize space and add value to the home.
There are several types of indoor/outdoor bathrooms. An outdoor shower is classic. It’s also relatively affordable for both for new builds and existing homes. Outdoor tubs are another trend, albeit not as practical as a shower is.
Bathroom sundecks are also catching on in warmer climates. Just open the doors and let the outside air in. This also provides more privacy than other options. The sundeck can also make a smaller bathroom feel more spacious.
Gaming Goes Outside
Gaming areas are a wonderful feature for family homes and provide a unique background for entertaining. In terms of style, large outdoor chess sets and putting greens are the most sophisticated. But for the sake of practicality, homeowners should put more consideration into what activities their family will enjoy most. Checkers, bocce courts, and even cornhole are other options.
Redefining indoor and outdoor boundaries elevates an open concept floorplan, taking it to a new level. Sliding glass doors allow for a seamless transition between the spaces. Karp says this is achieved by stretching support columns to their widest point, so the slabs aren’t broken up by an interior wall, allowing entry walls to be made of glass. This gives homes open and immaculate views.
“Blend the outdoor spaces with indoor spaces through a large expanse of thermal efficient solar reflective glass walls, doors, and windows that can be opened or closed depending on the season,” says Karp.
The architect is also a proponent of any renovations that bring in natural light. “Nothing creates a better impact or brighter space than creating a large, floor-to-ceiling glass wall to the outdoors, he says. “If you cannot add a wall, I suggest adding an expansive glass skylight with stairs that lead you to your roof to enjoy nature as often as you can. We all live in cubes every day. The more natural light you can add in changes the three-dimensional reaction to your environment.”