August is the time for getaways, real and imagined, before the inevitable return to work or school, which seems to arrive earlier every year. So here's a round-up of ideas to keep the vacation going just a little longer, prompted by a summer camp visit (see the camp stove above) and, clockwise from the top, outdoor kitchen Plan 901-14
; lanai Plan 935-6
; and grilling porch Plan 496-14
Fresh air living has been a popular feature of American home building since the 19th century. Camps developed in the 1880s as part of a back-to-nature trend, paralleling the development of the summer or vacation house, and the idea of open-air bedrooms in year-round houses. A wonderfully compelling recent
example in the Napa Valley by architect Howard Backen shows how a master bedroom can transform into a grand sleeping porch when the windows slide out of sight behind curtains and into wall pockets (photo courtesy Backen, Gillam & Kroeger). Berkeley architects Fernau + Hartman often blur the boundaries between inside and outside. They made open-air sleeping a feature of their design for
a house in Colorado, shown here. When it’s time to say goodnight, the bed, which is on rails, rolls onto the sheltered porch – next stop, dreamland (photos courtesy Fernau + Hartman). If a railroad track seems a bit extreme, then well-proportioned, operable window walls, casters (with brakes!), and an adjacent porch or deck will do the trick as shown in the following examples.
Gulf Coast Cottage Plan 443-18
includes a sleeping porch off the master bedroom and is
accessible by two doors. Here's the elevation showing the porch on the second floor.
Or consider Plan 888-10
, which includes an expansive sleeping porch with room for two beds, on the second
floor. It's positioned at the back of the house near the home office -- for those essential post-luncheon naps when
your concentration starts to flag!
Summer camp often means cooling off in lake, ocean, stream -- or outdoor shower, and this latter amenity is becoming ever more popular for year-round living. You'll find countless outdoor showers on Pinterest. Here's a very simple example by designer Erin Martin. If you live in a warm climate you can skip the installation of a hot water line!
An outdoor fireplace -- a direct descendant of the campfire, no less! -- is an especially appealing summer-
celebration feature. It's perfect for warming a simple patio as in Cabin Plan 479-12
, shown above, or as the focal point for a more elaborate living porch as inPlan 924-1
, above, and in the lanai and grilling porch off the great room in Plan 132-221
In fact, almost every major room can move outdoors when the weather is right, though if insects are a problem you will definitely want screening.
To browse more plans designed for outdoor living click here.