A colourful, boho outdoor living space

6/06/2017 09:26:00 am HELEN STILES 0 Comments

After a thoroughly sunny week off last week, I'm sticking with the summer vibe today (even if it has now started to rain). I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking about how to create the perfect outdoor space, so I thought I'd share a patio design project I worked on last year for a Californian couple.

No, it's not this pic above (the Ace Hotel rooftop by Commune Design) but it's a pretty good inspirational image for a colourful, globally inspired outdoor space! Now I know many of you will just skip down for the images of this project, but I'm going to give you the background and blurb anyway, just so that you have the whole picture...

...The brief was to create a California-cool, laid-back and sociable patio area to be the heart of their ranch-style home. With more days of sunshine than this East London interior designer can ever dream of, (265 to be precise) California is all about outdoor living. This patio area is quite literally the centre of the home – flanked on 3 sides by the master bedroom, living room and kitchen/dining rooms, meaning that the design scheme had to work really hard to complement and connect all of these spaces.

As I'm clearly not based in California, this project was completed via my eDesign service – an affordable interior design service where we liaised entirely via email/skype/Pinterest. The clients completed a questionnaire and provided measurements and photographs of the space. I then came up with inspiration and colour boards before working up the scale layout, mood boards and finally, a detailed shopping list. I sourced products that were available locally to the clients, or that shipped to California for a reasonable cost (including a few from the Hide & Seek shop).

I wanted to reflect the couple's love of exotic travel and saturated colour. I always start by asking clients to share their Pinterest boards. Pinterest is a great tool to help identify your style likes and dislikes (although I always advise editing your choices down to make sure that the images you pin are really what you'd like to live with, rather than just a fleeting flight of fancy).

The initial inspiration board looked like this, and captures some of the classic 'California cool' design elements: natural textures; strong colours; global textiles and an eclectic mix of styles:

Next step was to refine the colour story. I had to work with the adjoining rooms, which contained some strong, dark greys, blues and reds (in the master bedroom – see the full scheme here) and the existing patio flooring which was a grey and black chipped stone and couldn't be replaced. Here's the colour scheme I came up with (shown using some texture, which makes it easier to visualise):

Once the clients had signed off the inspiration and colour boards, it was on to the detail of designing. This patio is enviably large, but with multiple doorways leading to other rooms it was challenging to layout in a sociable yet practical way. We wanted to make an intimate, relaxed seating area near the outdoor fireplace, plus a functional dining space, but without restricting access to any of the doorways. After toying with various different options, the final layout involved having a sociable outdoor lounge area next to the fireplace. The sofa, armchairs and poufs arranged around coffee-tables is a classic furniture layout that works just as well outdoors as in. The arrangement faces onto the main garden and pool area too and the poufs allow a little flexibility to seat more people and are great for kids (or just putting your feet up in the evening!)

The moodboard for the main lounge area looked like this, with lots of saturated colour, global textiles and a large rug to pull everything together:

Pops of gold add a slightly more glamourous edge to offset the natural stone and rattan elements. The tall planters with spiky planting add a nice structural element (and help to break up the different areas). I also came up with an 'option B' which was slightly cheaper, using classic adirondack chairs and more budget friendly rug, pouf and cushion options (I should probably say pillows, rather than cushions, given that this was a US project):-

The clients ended up going with a mix of the 2 schemes – the rug and chairs from the first option, with a couple of cheaper cushion options. I also created an extra reading/reclining area just outside the living room doors which helped to make use of this otherwise wasted space:

After a fair amount of debate, I opted to move the dining area into one corner, which creates a more intimate space for eating. The clients were on a strict budget, so are reusing their existing dining table and bench for now. However, ultimately this corner lends itself to built-in banquette-style seating (with storage underneath for all the toys and pool paraphernalia) so this option can be implemented as and when budget allows.

The plan for the banquette seating is to build it in around the existing brick shelves, like so:

As this is eDesign, I don't have the benefit of seeing the finished project, but the clients did send me a couple of pictures of the work in progress:

My pinterest board contains lots more of my favourite outdoor living spaces if you're looking for further inspiration. And if you fancy creating your own colourful, boho outdoor living space, then here are a few textiles to help you create the look...

1. Peruvian Frazada // 2. Mud cloth cushion from Mali // 3. Himalayan salt tea lights // 4. Brazilliance cushion // 5. Organic British sheepskin // 6. Hemp poufs // 7. Moroccan boucherouite rug //