With the advent of automated doors and windows that pocket to create seamless indoor/outdoor spaces, chic durable fabrics, designer-crafted furniture, state-of-the-art outdoor kitchens, and remote-controlled screens that protect against bugs and the elements, homeowners are making certain their outside seating areas are as beautiful as those inside.
Local home builders and interior designers confirm their clients want a maintenance-free oasis apart from the traditional living quarters where they can entertain, watch the big game, or just relax. Here are five spectacular outdoor spaces shared by local interior designers.
With a request from the homeowner for an outdoor living area as fun and lively as her three female adult children, designer Sherri DuPont of Collins DuPont Design Group let her creative juices flow.
“The home was inspired by a Mediterranean trip taken by the entire family,” explains DuPont. “Throughout you will see references to the Greek Isles, Morocco, and Sicily, but it is most recognizable in the outdoor living area with colors of turquoise, deep blues, and a background of crisp, clean white.”
To ensure the space—nestled adjacently to the dwelling’s vanishing-edge pool—remained fun and casual, DuPont included two wicker swing chairs and configured a comfy bench seat beneath the wall-mounted television; DuPont’s favorite elements are the recessed niches in the same wall, all hardwired for low-voltage candle lamps. A stained tongue-and-groove ceiling in a warm mahogany color, worry-free white canvas Sunbrella upholstered cushions resting in wrought iron furniture, and a blue-and-white striped rug reinforce the area’s fun holiday vibe.
Rain or Shine
Positioned alongside the 67-mile Caloosahatchee River, this reimagined outdoor living area features views that seem to stretch forever; in the evening, the twinkling city lights of Fort Myers add drama. More than a century old, this historic estate home was built by Elizabeth Lauder Kellum, the niece of Andrew Carnegie, and her husband, Med Kellum. In 2020, private owners commissioned Renée Gaddis, principal designer at Renée Gaddis Interiors, to fully restore the stately residence.
The outdoor space—with its incredible wide-water views—is defined by a natural quarried bluestone fireplace and a large white motorized pergola ceiling. The wood-burning fireplace adds warmth, as does a rustic beam mantle dividing the light gray brick. Exquisite and comfortable furnishings round out the stunning space. “This warm and inviting space allows the family to relax around the fireplace while taking in breathtaking views of sunsets along the river,” says Gaddis.
For Two or More
Beautifully symmetrical, this outdoor living room in Talis Park presides over the eighteenth hole on the gated community’s golf course. The first goal for this often-used transitional space was comfort; the second was entertaining capability. Successfully marrying the two intentions was Melissa Allen, senior interior designer at Romanza Interior Design.
An impressive wood-like ceiling fabricated from tongue-and-groove PVC delineates the space and—although designed to look like fine millwork—very practically withstands the elements. A 96-inch ceiling fan promises the area is always comfortably cool regardless of how many people gather in the space. Seating includes four reclining swivel lounge chairs; a large, comfy sofa; and three refined stools—crafted from reinforced concrete—for extra seating when needed.
“We tend to spend just as much time designing outdoor spaces as we do interior spaces, as so many of our clients utilize these just as much or even more than the interior living areas,” says Allen. “Finding the right balance between use and aesthetics is key to enjoying outdoor living spaces.”
Feeling like an extension of its lush surroundings, this traditional, tropical outdoor living room, created by Harwick Homes, maximizes the fabulous views of Caxambas Bay on Marco Island. Chrissy Howard, former senior designer at Jinx McDonald Interior Designs, left copious amounts of open space to increase the space’s soothing ambience.
Surrounded by classic coral flagstone, a vent-free gas fireplace reaches a tongue-and-groove cypress wood ceiling. Underfoot, ashlar stone tiles placed diagonally add subtle texture; wicker-style furniture furthers the coastal vibe. Peaceful and serene, this outdoor living room leaves the impression it rose from the water.
“Outdoor areas are meant to bring the outside in and feel like they are part of nature but yet have all the comforts and security of modern living,” states Howard. This space boasts a well-designed outdoor kitchen, cozy fireplaces, ample seating, adequate lighting, and built-in speakers and televisions all enclosed with motorized hurricane shutters and screens for added security and comfort.
The outdoor living area in this cheery residence on Doctors Pass in Naples looks out on a classic all-white pool area and beyond to the dock on the bay. Green Bahama shutters, where palm tree fronds peek playfully through the windows, reinforce the tropical composition.
Inspired by her clients’ upbeat personalities, Bethany O’Neil, owner and principal designer at Bethany O’Neil Interior Design, selected happy patterns in vibrant colors for the home’s interior and exterior. Outdoor curtains—once common and now a novelty—add privacy, a touch of mystique, and a little romance. Three cushy sofas stationed around a large center coffee table invite guests to sit and stay awhile.
“This outdoor area is the primary space for entertaining in the home. Just beyond the porch is another large area that seats up to 12 people for a dinner party. The clients love to entertain, spending the majority of their time in these outdoor rooms,” states O’Neil.