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3 Living Room Ideas That Draw the Outdoors Inside

Warm focal points and cool connections to the outdoors define these family spaces

By Amrit Phull

The boundary between inside your home and out is not set in stone. With clever design ideas that see natural materials and mutual references – and, let’s face it, plenty of floor-to-ceiling windows – living rooms can feel like they exist outside the home, even while being wholly protected by the elements. It’s the best of both worlds – read on to see our favourites.

living room ideas
Metalwork by Punchclock frames Line to Line’s millwork and marble from Ciot. Porro cabinets from Italinteriors; Alumilex windows. Photo by Nanne Springer Photography.

Cubism Comes Homes

A limited palette of natural materials is behind the visual neatness of this ravine-side family room – a signature approach by Cindy Rendely Architexture. Without a knob or screw in sight, the living area combines flawlessly detailed stone and metal elements punctuated by honey-hued walnut shelves, cabinets and furniture to stealthily conceal services, structure and storage. Against a backdrop of white walls and uniform concrete floors, Calacatta Cielo marble clads perfect box–like shapes ranging from floating to full-height to freestanding. The space is a graphically crisp composition of line and surface, scored by sheets of blackened steel to help frame a fireplace, exaggerate a niche or create focused space for paintings from the family art collection. The calming bubbling of a water feature just beyond the nearly three-metre-tall glass and aluminum openings can be enjoyed from the indoors, where a cherished heirloom takes centre stage: a brown leather chaise–lounge lovingly weathered by use. CRARCHITEXTURE.COM

living room ideas
Windows from Tiltco bounce light throughout. Furniture from Restoration Hardware; pendants from Casa Di Luce; Big Ass Fan; Marble Trend flooring and plinth. Photo by Lauren Miller.

Reaching New Heights

It’s back to barn basics in this countryside weekend retreat, where interior designer Kim Lambert (with architects–Alliance and JRB Design Build) blends rural notes with bold, less-traditional expressions. In a nod to the surrounding farmlands, the white oak-clad space is sheltered by an A-frame roof, interrupted by an anything-but-modest surround. The black, 5.5-metre-tall wall in shou sugi ban cedar divides the living area into two flexible zones for movie night with the family, a solo-book session and everything in-between. A custom hot-rolled steel fireplace unit at the base of the wall houses ample log storage while a low slab bench runs edge to edge. Belgian linen-upholstered lounge seating, burnt-orange leather chairs, layered rugs and felted walls make the grand room comfy cozy, and an equally eclectic mix of lighting including a patterning of Bocci wall lights mimic the night sky and twin Vibia Wireflow pendants add a modest glow without distracting from the breathtaking pastoral views through a wall of glass. KIMLAMBERTDESIGN.COM

The flow between indoors and out is nearly seamless, with only a wall of glass separating the two seating areas. Furniture from Avenue Road and Italinteriors. Leathered Loire limestone from Stone Tile clads the over the mantel area. Rug from Avenue Road. Photo by Arash Moallemi.

Calm Throughout

Nestled in a comfortable 25-square-metre corner of an open plan, this living space by Superkül appears to continue beyond the back door. Oversized glass openings lightly separate the room from an outdoor lounge enveloped in an arrangement of native plantings by Fox Whyte Landscape Architecture. In cooler months, the focus turns inward to a custom steel plate fireplace by North American Metalcraft, precisely framed by an articulated edge and flooring strip in the same metal. The deep bronze colour distinguishes it from the otherwise cool-tone limestone wall and grey, marble-effect flooring. The sole instance of this finely patinated material throughout the entire residence, the fireplace is equipped with log storage concealed from direct view to maintain the room’s air of calm. The couple’s contemporary art collection finds a fitting home in this peaceful space, most notably a wall size painting of a felled tree by Canadian artist Sky Glabush. SUPERKUL.CA


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