In case you haven't yet picked up on it, I'm in love with the idea of an "Outdoor Living Area". My ideal OLA would be where the living room (or kitchen or bedroom) open up into a beautiful flagstone veranda lined with lush foliage, oversized chairs, benches, cushions and the like for lounging, and a mismatched iron table for brunches and late night dinners and of course there would be a chandelier hanging over head (probably from a perfectly positioned 100 year old tree). You wouldn't know where the house ended and the OLA started... it would be heaven.
This works very well and is very plausible if you fulfill the following criteria:
1. It doesn't snow between the months of October and May (I live in New England, it does).
2. You do not have any mosquitos, black flies, gnats or any other undesirable arthropods. (We do. My quest to bring my OLA inside my apartment with potted plants led to an infestation of gnats).
3. You have plenty of room for OLA. (Currently I live in an apartment with windows that barely open... yet still the gnats found their way in).
4. You can curl up with a book and not realize the day has passed, you have friends who have no problem lounging around eating brunch for hours and those same friends can transition easily into rousing board/card games in the afternoon. (Finally this I have!)
So my dreams for an OLA will remain dreams until we find the perfect house (and I'll just have to make do with the climate!)
In the meantime, here are some OLAs to drool over (all from Dominomag.com)...
What would your dream outdoor living area be like?