Double Chaises & Daybeds

Mirabella Double Chaise by Caluco
Significant home improvements do not always require a contractor or a landscaper.  In the case of a small 400 square foot porch, a comfortable living space is added to the home once properly furnished.  Beyond its diminutive size, it has many openings and awkward angles.  It is important to take accurate measurements before furnishing such a space.  The space is accessed both from the master suite and from the main living area of the home.  Understanding how the space will be used in addition to its relationship to interior spaces is relevant.  Good questions the do-it-yourself designer will ask include:  Will it be used as a lounge, a dining room or a meditation space?  When will the space be used?  What activities do the users of the space like to do outside?  Which interior rooms connect to the space?  Answers to these questions will help the designer perfect a design.

Option 1
In response to users who want to rest outside rain or shine and using one of the latest trends in outdoor furniture the daybed or double chaise, one design option is to furnish the space as an outdoor lounge or bedroom.  What is especially nice about eh double chaise is that in warmer seasons, it can actually function as an extra bedroom for guests or an exciting location for a kids' sleepover.  The contemporary, minimalistic, aluminum design of the Mirabella Double Chaise by Caluco has a contemporary sculptural quality that I find aesthetically appealing.  The double chaise is a great place to lounge, visit, read, nap or just watch the rain.
Mirabella Double Chaise by Caluco
Mirabella End Table by Caluco

Mirabella Bar Table by Caluco
The sculptural quality of the collection is particularly evident in the Mirabella Pedestal 42" Square Bar Table.  The dark wicker table top ties into some of the more traditional furnishings of the same hue inside the home.  The bar table has to functions on thi small porch.  Typically, the table is to be tucked back in the corner of the porch next to the hot tub where it is used for things like holding towels and drinks.  When there is an event or party, the table can be pulled out into the main space of the porch and used as a bar table with holding appetizers for mingling guests. 
I have several pieces by Caluco including umbrellas and sofas, they are all quality pieces, moderately priced.  Other contemporary Caluco collections include the Grace Collection.
After putting all of the measurements into an AutoCAD drawing, the generously scaled double chaise would not be accomodated by the small porch. 
On to Option 2.
Photographs Courtesy of http://www.caluco.com/


Online Landscape Design Certificates

French Bistro Outdoor Furniture

Fermob furnishings bring a mix of European sensibility and playfulness. Fermob has many classic bistro designs, many folding. Their tables are meant to last. I have one opera outdoor bistro table that is quite easy to move that I have used extensively both inside and outside.

Mixing indoor furniture with certain outdoor pieces sometimes creates an intriguing vignette. It is also an inexpensive way to create a chic juxtaposed-styles look when updating your interior design on a budget. At times, when we utilize things we have in new ways, even things we think that we don’t care for, they take on a new purpose and a new air and find their place in the home and in doing so become valuable and beautiful.

Terracing to Create Useable Outdoor Spaces

Altering the topography minimimally by giving into the existing topography is my preferred method of landscaping.  However, machine made cuts into a hillside may provide substantial terraces and building pads and places for never ending views and can be functional, ecologically viable and evoke modern design.

Hilfiker Retaining Wall and Stepped Vineyard Terraces

Building a retaining wall and then backfilling the space up to an existing hillside is another way to alter a site's topography to create a flat, more useable landscape without altering the existing hillside habitat or in addition to making cuts in the hillside.  If you plan to use the space for gardening avoid compacting the backfill with heavy equipment and use the best soil your money can buy.

There are many types of retaining walls to consider.  Poured in place concrete can created a clean modern look, but make sure to include drainage in the wall or you may end up with a swimming pool or a blow out. 

A concrete wall can also be faced with stone mortared in place preferably by an skillful stone mason.

Stone Faced Concrete Retaining Wall by Kevin Kruger

Concrete, stone and mortar can be used alone to retain soil as in the case of an island planter. 

Benches can be built into walls and columns can be created using stacked stone, mortar and again a skilled stone mason, like Kevin Kruger and his assistant Billy who performed the work below.

Faced Wall to Left and Right of Stacked Stone & Mortar Column

A Hilfiker Gabion Wall is another more industrial method that evokes a more modern and functional design aesthetic.  To make it appear a bit more refined, the stone may be stacked flush against the cage at the front of the wall and then back filled with quarry stones.

Hilfiker Retaining Wall in Contrast to Stone Faced Column

A wall turns into an art piece with elements like the boulder below and horizontal stacking of pancake like stones punctuated by specially selected stones.