Summer Camp at Home

By Dan Gregory

You may not need a multi-wing camp stove (top left), but it can suggest ways to cook up some fun for your new house!

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 in

Plan 924-1, above, and in the lanai and grilling porch off the great room in Plan 132-221, below.

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.

Wed Aug 02 00:00:00 PDT 2017