My Favorite Room: Things That Inspire

Hello, LDV readers – it’s Holly from Things That Inspire.  When Paloma asked me to participate in the ‘My Favorite Room’ series at the beginning of the summer, I knew immediately which room I would select.  I love and use all of the rooms in my house, but the room that has been truly a sanctuary for me has been my outdoor room.
From September of 2009 through September of 2011, my husband and I worked with our amazing project team to design and build a custom home.  During the process, my architect (Stan Dixon) was featured in the May of 2010 issue of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, and one of the sketches shown in the feature was the outdoor room that he designed for my housePhoto credit: Erica George Dines, via Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles.
From sketch…to reality!  Here is a view of the outdoor room, as seen in a blog post I wrote early in the summer outlining the pool design process. As you can see, there were some tweaks and modifications to the design based on the reality of the setting, but overall the look and feel is exactly as we had envisioned when Stan made the original sketch.  One major change is that we decided to use side lanterns instead of a hanging lantern; a ceiling fan is really a must in an outdoor room in Atlanta because of the heat and humidity.  The fan also helps tremendously when we light a fire in the fireplace.
A closer view of the room (my dog Ben, seen in front of the fireplace, loves to hang out in this room on warm days – the bluestone says cool in the shade).  We never really came up with a  good name for the room.  Initially we called it the loggia, but it is not really a loggia.  The project supervisor started calling it the pavilion, but that never really stuck either. So we just call it the outdoor room.  As you can see, it is fairly spare.  My architect wanted a mirror for above the fireplace, but we have not selected anything yet.  I have been in the house for almost a year, and it has been a great time to see how we live in the house, and what we want to prioritize when we do round two of the interior design in 2013.  Truthfully, the clean and spare feel of the room is fine with me.  I still need quite a bit of furniture and décor for the inside of the house!
As a fair skinned redhead, and I am definitely not an outdoor person, however having this room gives me a whole different way to be outside and still be protected from the sun.  During a hot summer day, it’s the perfect place to sit and be near the kids when they are swimming, but also be in my own space.
The outdoor room is also my favorite place to go in the morning for a cup of tea and the paper (I love to read the New York Times every day on my iPad), and I like it even more when it is raining – there is nothing like being outside in the rain, listening to the sound but being completely protected.  I snapped this picture as I was writing the post, and it was raining…I realized I had not taken a picture of my favorite view in the room, looking over the wooded back yard. I like to sit in the chair on the left, and look out over the pool and the yard – it is a very peaceful and tranquil place!
In the fall and early winter, as well as the spring, we love having friends over for dinner and hanging out in the outdoor room in front of a roaring fire. I will admit that it was kind of a bummer when the pristine fire bricks (note the play on a chevron pattern) in the fireplace started to darken with the smoke from the wood, but after building a huge fire over Thanksgiving of last year, I had to quickly get over my desire to keep the fireplace pristine!  Now I love the fact that the fireplace looks like it is used and enjoyed.  It’s all part of making the ‘new’ house a home.  I am looking forward to the return of the cool fall nights so we can light the first fire of the season – the logs are all ready!
We purchased Restoration Hardware outdoor furniture last year to stage our old house, and it works surprisingly well in this space. I like this style because the seating is not too deep.  The bluestone top tables were my side tables at the old house, but serve as coffee tables and mini dining tables in this space. 
The floor of the room is the same material as the pool deck – bluestone.  Note the arches in the design of the room – two of the three sides have a high arch that enables expansive views of the pool and to the back.
On the third wall, it was not possible to create an open arch because of the passage to the family room and pool bathroom, but my architect continued the arch design on the wall.  It’s a lovely but subtle detail.  This picture shows a good view of the Bevolo gas lanterns that provide a warm source of light. There are also a few ceiling lights on dimmers when there is a need for a bit more light.
My architect designed the great beadboard pattern on the ceiling of the outdoor room – note how the planks vary in direction.  The ceiling fan is very simple – a 52” Hunter fan from Home Depot – I looked and looked for a great ceiling fan and never really found anything that was both in budget and attractive.  Because of the height of the fan, we have it on a special dimmer switch designed for fans, so I can vary the speed at the switch.
I hope you enjoyed this view of my favorite room – truly an all season room that has been the most delightful surprise of the new house, and a space that is used on a daily basis.  It is raining right now on this warm summer evening in Atlanta, so I think I will head out there and enjoy a little peace and quiet after a busy day running around after the kids.  If you have any great ideas for something fabulous to put over the fireplace, please let me know! 
Thank you to Paloma for inviting me to participate in the ‘My Favorite Room’ series.
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Tell Me What You Think! leave a comment...

  1. So beautiful~ i love the lanterns especially. And the arches and the fireplace! So glad you asked Holly to do this – I’ve been dying to see more of her house!!!! It’s just beautiful. She is really lucky to have such a gorgeous home. Thanks Paloma!!

  2. Holly, this was wonderful! Your outdoor room is amazing and is inspiring me to use ours more! I wish we had put in a fireplace but it is still enjoyable! I love being protected under it especially when we are cooking on the grill. I love everything about this post…the lanterns, the design on the ceiling as well as the arches and especially the Bluestone! Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful room!

  3. So beautiful! I really like outdoor spaces that are treated like a real room, with comfortable furniture and thought out accents. You can spend all day lounging around outside . . . . also great for entertaining!

  4. Thank you for all of the wonderful comments!

    Yes, we painted the ceiling of the outdoor room to match the brick. The color was completely custom blended for our project – we must have tested 30-40 colors for the brick, and went the custom blend route when we could not find a standard color that worked with the vision that I had in mind for the house.

  5. I don’t think I would be able to pick one room!
    Your entire house is so beautiful.
    Every detail is gorgeous, but the Bevolo lanterns are my favorite!

    It’s nice to see that you are using the outdoor fireplace. I imagine you’ve enjoyed many happy times in this room already.

    Thank you for sharing your home with us!


  6. oh holly! the painted brick and the beadboard pattern on the ceiling. so much to admire. i am thinking this would be the perfect spot to write a book so….i would never suggest a big ol plasma tv above the fireplace!



  7. Oh Holly, You’d know that my favorite picture looks back at the main house. It’s like 3 picture frames: a big blind arch over narrow niche with French door on the right which I’m sure is an enfilade, wider opening to the left with Zen view of the house’s complex curves and straight lines, then the view framed by the big arch. The room has curves, horizontals, verticals, and diagonals, tied together with color, a tiny bit modern I think. Thanks to Paloma and Holly for showing us.

  8. Holly,
    This is exactly where I would want to spend my free outside time. I love being outside, but don’t love being in the sun, so this is the best of both worlds. As with everything in your new home, the details are amazing. Love the Bevolo lanterns and with a fireplace, you’ll enjoy this nearly year round!

    Hope you’re enjoying the last bits of summer!
    xoxo Elizabeth

  9. The outdoor room is simple and lovely. It needs no more decoration otherwise it would lose its quiet beauty. I wondered why you did not use gas logs since you have gas lanterns. Also, since brick is not a commonly used element in French design either in the U.S. or in France, why did you select it for your home?