Delineating the boundaries between the two realms of the home: the indoor and the outdoor — LIV Design Studio is recounting design elements for executing this trend elegantly and effectively.
While indoor-outdoor living has been a concept for quite some time, it was the confinement and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic which made it burst forth even more as an emerging path forward. Driven by biophilic design principles, where architecture is used as a medium to deepen our connection to nature, this trend shows no sign of stopping.
That’s because design centred around nature and bringing more of it into our interior lives helps improve our quality of life by putting comfort and wellbeing first.
Fresh air, natural light, and an abundance of plants have a dual aspect to them: calming, soothing, unwinding and relaxing while also at once energizing and able to reduce our fatigue.
We’ll share the most elegant uses of the indoor-outdoor living trend as well as showcase a curated selection of LIV Design Studio projects that elevate the trend.
Indoor/Outdoor Living Design Principles
Outdoor living is always something we have encouraged in our designs. It connects people with nature where you can refresh and rejuvenate.Dickson Chu, LIV Design Studio
Materials and designs that tread lightly on the earth bring you closer to the outdoors than ever before. Think upcycled pieces, renewable bamboo furniture, organic recycled cotton, and even the principles of Passive House design.
A commitment to sustainability reiterates our commitment to delineating the boundaries between the natural and unnatural world and planting ourselves firmly in nature where we are home.
2. Indoor-outdoor furnishings & fixtures
Pieces with an inherent duality for both spheres of the home are highly covetable. Furnishings with fabrics waterproof fabrics that are comfortable are key, for no one wants to feel as if they’re reposed upon a tarp or raincoat.
Look for outdoor furniture that looks like it could be set up inside and yet is durable enough for four seasons. Bring in fans or heaters that are suitable for both the indoors and outdoors to create comfortable spaces.
Further reading — LIV’s Guide to Outdoor Living ft. Concord Adex
3. Innovative glass doors
By combining the outdoor patio with the interior, it sure gives more space for entertaining.Ken Liao, LIV Design Studio
Sliding glass doors that facilitate a truly seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces are key. Create continuity between the inside and just beyond your glass doors with a cohesive palette of textures, materials, and colours.
Since many apartments already have sliding glass doors opening to a balcony space, one tip towards the indoor-outdoor design trend is to pretend that your sliding glass door doesn’t exist and arrange the furnishings and decor both inside and outside, to appear to be one continuous space.
4. Natural light
There’s nothing quite like natural light in its ability to improve the look and feel of a space. Maximizing available natural light and finding ways to harness it with mirrors and light colour palettes can extend the natural light which enters a home.
And this isn’t simply a design principle, it’s more like a wellness principle. There are measurable positive effects on the human body due to increased exposure to natural light from increased vitamin D production to balancing circadian rhythms.
Further reading — Green Spaces: Immersive Plant Design
In Canadian cities such as Vancouver and Toronto, year-round indoor-outdoor living seems like a fantasy. But LIV Design Studio and Concord have created elegant solutions to extend even a Canadian home’s usable space through all four seasons.
Concord Metrotown convertible solarium
LIV Design Studio’s Ken Liao says that the convertible solarium found in the upcoming Concord Metrotown community in Metro Vancouver will be the first of its kind in Canada used in a multi-residential high-rise tower.
“The solarium panel can utilize the outdoor balcony space,” he says. “And you can turn or combine it into an entertainment space with the interiors simply by adjusting the solarium panels for all-season use.”
Structural engineers needed to increase structural column support to facilitate this breathtaking design to accommodate the load of solarium glass. The full-height glass solarium comes in a solidly built metal framing, resulting in a truly uninterrupted flow between inside and outside.
The pandemic makes us realize that our homes should not only be livable, but also be versatile in adapting to different functions like working, studying, and much more.Dickson Chu, LIV Design Studio
Concord Metrotown Conservatory
Also at Concord Metrotown, a shared amenity space called the Conservatory plays with the indoor-outdoor trend even more. This tranquil space is inspired by preciously opulent Fabergé eggs from Russian Imperial times.
Part of the wellness sphere and encircled by a 400-metre running track, this space provides residents with a place for respite. At once inside and outside, it’s a macrocosm of the trend.
Further reading — 2021 Colours of the Year – Gray & Yellow
Concord Canada House
“In our suite balcony, there are built-in heaters in the ceiling with beautiful wood-finished soffit so residents can enjoy the balcony year-round,” said LIV Design Studio’s Dickson Chu.
The Concord balcony standard includes radiant heaters that reclaim the outdoor space from the cold weather. Also, balconies come with composite wood decking, which is durable to withstand weathering and yet has a polished look.
The outdoor living room in Concord Canada House suites is made possible by heaters and a sliding glass wall with an extra-wide opening creates allows for freedom of movement and ultimate connectivity. And for the design, we’ve continued elements, materials, and styles found indoors and brought them to the outdoor spaces from the furnishings to the plants.
These homes allow for Alfresco dining and living in Toronto in a new light.
Future of indoor-outdoor design
“The outdoor living trend is definitely here to stay,” said Dickson Chu. “Even before the pandemic, we have always encouraging outdoor living and green lifestyle in our designs.”
“With this pandemic experience, I’m sure it will change everyone’s perspective and everyone will want to have their own outdoor space. And with our newly introduced solarium on the balcony …it gives residents the extra space for living, working, and entertaining in a safe zone they can trust.”
Indeed it’s perhaps unfair to call indoor-outdoor design a trend because of its strength and longevity. When we design homes — especially in multi-residential projects which take years to complete — we’re actually designing for future consumers and future lives lived in these flexible spaces.
So, while the trend may have been embraced in the last year due to global circumstances, it certainly is here to stay and we look forward to seeing it reprised in future projects.