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Room Guide: Outdoor Living at it's Best

Spring is here (for the most part) and that means summertime is right around the corner.  People are dusting of their grill tools, cleaning off their decks, washing the patio furniture and getting ready for a new season of adding the outdoors as an expansion of their home living space.  Outdoor living can be overlooked as just an added bonus or a "plus" in a home design only if there is room for it in the budget, but sometimes these spaces are where the most enjoyable time at home is spent with family and friends.

Here are a few fun porches and patios we designed that are sure to bring the party to the out-of-doors...

Nothing foils plans for a summer get-together like bad weather, a scenario we Michiganders know all too well.  Consider retractable screens by companies like Phantom Screens, making the porch more versatile for a variety of weather conditions.

These spacious porches not only offer ideal entertaining and dining space, they also give the rear elevations of these homes charm and interest.

 Complete with a built-in grille, this stone patio has plenty of space for entertaining and enjoying the expansive view of Lake Michigan

You don't have to have hundreds of square feet to create a welcoming space - this quaint screened porch adds miles of charm to Traverse's design.

 Multi-leveled stone patios add beauty and elegance to the exteriors of these designs

This beautiful terraced patio gives a bit of shade from the hot summer sun without completely blocking the rays we wait all winter to enjoy

Turned 45 degrees off the kitchen from a glass vestibule for maximum air circulation, this outdoor room extends residential living space and makes the most of seasonal ambience. The homeowners loved to cook and entertain, so we turned this space into the ultimate screened room and dining experience, a place that allows them to live outside, inside.

Doesn't this outdoor fireplace just make you want to snuggle down in one of the comfy chairs, put up your feet, open a book and enjoy a chilly summer evening in front of a roaring fire?

 This gives a whole new meaning to the term "wrap-around porch"

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