Designer Spotlight

Indoor-Outdoor Living: 8 Covetable Ideas From AD PRO Directory Architects

From an unconventional New York apartment to a sleek Seattle domicile, these residences brought to life by AD PRO Directory architects deftly draw the outside in
Project located in Las Vegas Nevada. The scope included architecture and interior design.
Project located in Las Vegas, Nevada. The scope included architecture and interior design.Stephen Morgan

With the postwar suburban sprawl bloomed the longing for vast, open spaces with opportunities for indoor-outdoor living—a departure from urban dwelling. But even if capacious backyards or scenic sight lines aren’t a reality, residences that blur the lines between indoors and outdoors, magnifying fresh air and greenery at every turn, are just as clamored for by today’s homeowners. Whether it’s an unconventional New York apartment or sleek Seattle domicile, these residences brought to life by architects in the AD PRO Directory deftly draw the outside in.

Estes Twombly + Titrington Architects

The Cove House in Jamestown, Rhode Island, gets panoramic views of the coast.

Photo: Warren Jagger

In the Jamestown, Rhode Island, abode that Newport practice Estes Twombly + Titrington Architects designed for a pair of empty nesters, “the intent was to take advantage of panoramic water views to the south and west while providing a bright interior year-round,” says project architect Peter Twombly. “Additionally, there needed to be a strong connection to the adjacent patio space and yard to the south.” This was accomplished through large, energy-efficient Unilux windows and ten-foot-high lift-and-slide doors that open to the outdoors, where Richard Schultz’s 1966 collection lounge chairs for Knoll mingle with Room & Board’s Montego table and Aruba chairs. “Whether you are indoors or on the terrace,” adds Twombly, “you have uninterrupted views of the ever-changing weather, ocean conditions, and sunsets.”

Lang Architecture

Carroll Gardens Townhouse is a four-story Italianate row house that was converted and restored for a single family.

Photo by Ty Cole

For the gut renovation of a townhouse in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens neighborhood, forging a dialogue between the indoor and outdoor spaces was top of mind for New York firm Lang Architecture. The client, recalls principal Drew Lang, “wanted to restore the historic elements of the house, but they also wanted it to feel fresh and modern—to bring light in and make the home as open and spacious as possible.” Consider the kitchen, illuminated through a grid-style wall of glazing with an embedded door that leads to the backyard. Views of the greenery, best savored from the banquette or dining table, are complemented by two banks of custom cabinets brush-painted in a bespoke gray made by Fine Paints of Europe, a Pietra Cardosa sandstone backsplash from Stone Source, and rift- and quarter-sawn reclaimed white oak flooring supplied by the Hudson Company.

Janof Architecture

A hillside Seattle home uses façade-spanning windows to emphasize the city views inside.

Photography courtesy Janof Architecture

Perched on the south slope of Queen Anne hill in Seattle is the striking steel-and-glass box that Amy Driggers-Janof, founding principal of her eponymous local studio, designed for clients inspired by the modernist Maison de Verre in Paris, completed by Pierre Chareau and Bernard Bijvoet in 1932. The homeowners wanted it to “overlook their tremendous view of downtown Seattle and Mount Rainier while maintaining a contextually relevant façade on the street,” says Janof. Passersby clock the industrial spiral staircase, descending from the walls of aluminum-clad Kolbe windows. “The owners wanted the house to be both timeless and modern, local and cosmopolitan, masculine and feminine, a practical family home and an outrageously glamorous party pavilion,” elaborates Janof. “Capturing the view so expansively brought the city right into the living room.”

Starling Architecture

The pool centers the site plan of an East End home by Starling Architecture.

Photo: Eric Petschek

Backdropped by the rugged coastal landscape of Long Island’s Amagansett Dunes, the beach house that Ian Starling, principal of Brooklyn practice Starling Architecture hatched in collaboration with Emily Lindberg Design, is clad in Gendai shou shugi ban from Nakamoto Forestry in Portland, Oregon. The charred siding offers an organic flow into the modern interior, where Douglas Fir and white oak panels are installed throughout the floors and ceilings. Situated on an elevated deck, the pool is the center of the site plan, visible from the communal spaces through floor-to-ceiling windows. In the dining room, a monumental sliding door vanishes into a pocket in the wall for indoor-outdoor living with ease, but it’s the double-height living room that Starling deems the showstopper because of its “incredible volume,” he says, “when you’re in the space, you feel like you are outside because of the expanse of glass facing the pool.”

Daniel Joseph Chenin

In Las Vegas, Nevada, Daniel Joseph Chenin crafts a home that's one with the rugged landscape.

Stephen Morgan

His clients had a deep appreciation for the Mojave Desert, so Paradise, Nevada-based architect and designer Daniel Joseph Chenin conceived a one-story house that amplifies its rocky ridge setting on the outskirts of the Las Vegas Valley. A “desire to feel embedded in their natural surroundings drove the massing and organization of forms for this home,” says Chenin. The courtyard, for instance, features native plantings and a boulder excavated from the site, linking directly to the main gathering space anchored by a custom area rug that recalls nearby Red Rock Canyon. “Exterior materials, including hand-stacked stone and hot rolled steel, will weather in response to the elements becoming increasingly distinct with the passage of time,” says Chenin, who maintained a indoor-outdoor living consistency by using travertine slab flooring, reconstituted oak veneer, and unlacquered bronze hardware.

Jeffrey Dungan Architects

The pared-back interior architecture by Jeffrey Dungan lets the adjacent Florida coast enliven the senses.

Photography courtesy Jeffrey Dungan Architects

Jeffrey Dungan wasn’t a fan of glass railings in residential projects until his Mountain Brook, Alabama, firm designed one from scratch for the centerpiece staircase and catwalk in this Alys Beach, Florida, retreat. “Having done many beach homes, I wanted this one to be a quiet space that felt almost like it had a modern monastic vibe,” says Dungan, who opted for pared-down furniture and neutral palette to emphasize the point. That sense of serenity is also instilled via the courtyard to the left of the sculptural wood stairs. “I love the privacy and the sound of water moving through it,” adds Dungan. Fold open the pocket doors, which hide seamlessly into the wall, and you’re “inviting that peaceful sound into the house.”

Rise Projects

An open floor plan allows for uninterrupted New York skyline views and patio access in this Upper West Side apartment.

Photography courtesy Rise Projects

By combining three apartments into one 4,000-square-foot unit spanning an entire floor on New York’s Upper West Side, local studio Rise Projects “transformed the rabbit’s warren of rooms into a home that has an uninterrupted flow and a focus on the relationship between the indoor living space and the outdoor balconies and garden,” explains founder Karen Frome. Its focal point is the neutral-toned living room, adorned with a herringbone wide-plank wood floor and surprises like a built-in daybed and bar behind the Calacatta marble-topped fireplace. It opens into the dining area, defined by a Thomas Hayes Studio table and Alison Berger Glassworks chandelier, another fine vantage point for reveling in city vistas. Rise Projects designed the living room “with southern exposure to maximize on the sculpted light beaming in,” notes Frome, allowing one “to enjoy the skyline and the precious green outdoor space at any time of day or night.”

de Reus Architects

Open-air structures and natural material palettes make it difficult to decipher where the indoors begin and end at the Bias House in Hawai’i.

Photo by Matthew Millman

For Bias House, on the Big Island of Hawai’i, local firm de Reus Architects created a contemporary tropical residence that immerses inhabitants in nature. Organized as a series of interlocking, hipped-roof pavilions, the development’s façade melds hand-troweled cement plaster, coral stone, and black anodized aluminum—materials selected for “their quiet harmony and beauty against the starkness of the surrounding lava terrain,” says founder and managing director Mark de Reus. Living spaces are aligned “toward the glancing coastal views, rather than straight out to the ocean horizon,” he says, resulting “in a collection of intriguing spaces between the separate pavilions” that underscores the Japanese concept of Ma. Other moments of indoor-outdoor coordination delight, as with the bathroom’s outdoor shower honed from Calacatta marble or the interior’s natural material palette featuring teak and basalt stone.

Looking for a design professional to help you create a serene bedroom of your own? Browse hundreds of AD-approved designers on the AD PRO Directory.