Make your interior spaces as naturally beautiful as Laguna’s outdoors.
Section by Vicki Hogue-Davies
The city’s inherent beauty—its sparkling ocean, sandy coves and colorful hillsides—makes it a place where life is often best lived outdoors. With homes situated among such a stunning environment, it’s natural to bring those outside elements in through creative design techniques.
“[It] does happen a lot here simply because of the way our lifestyles are in Laguna,” says Lisa McDennon, owner of Lisa McDennon Design and Nuance Home and Lifestyle boutique, both in Laguna.
Installing folding wall and door systems is a popular way to blur the line between indoors and out, Lisa explains. “This creates more openness and less of a break between what is out and what is in,” she says. For a client’s recent kitchen nook redesign, Lisa replaced a French door to a patio with a NanaWall folding wall system and added indoor and outdoor dining sets with the exact same dimensions.
“When they want to dine sort of alfresco, they open the wall, turn the tables together and cover with a tablecloth,” she says. “They basically doubled their nook—from seating six people to 12—and they have a beautiful indoor/outdoor space.”
Those who don’t want to commence any structural changes can create the illusion of an outdoor oasis by incorporating patio tables and chairs inside. “If there is a great room that pours out onto a patio or loggia, I will frequently incorporate teak or other outdoor furniture that translates inside,” Lisa says, suggesting slightly rustic or beachy pieces with slatted wood frames and clean, modern lines.
If you opt for patio furniture, she recommends choosing pieces that meld with the design of other interior items in the home. Lisa is a fan of the Richard Frinier Collection for Century, which can be purchased nearby at Laguna Design Center in Laguna Niguel. The Andalusia line features versatile Spanish-style chaise lounges, chairs, couches and tables, all with intricate decorative detailing; however, more contemporary tastes may gravitate toward the Metropolitan collection, which blends streamlined teak frames with upholstered, plush cushions.
To complement the furniture, durable outdoor fabrics such as solution-dyed acrylics are increasingly being used indoors, she adds. Rugs made from natural materials like sisal, jute and sea grass also add an organic quality to a room.
And, of course, a simple way to create an outdoorsy feel is by adding plenty of plants, whether in rustic pots or as living wall. “You have to pick the right plants for high- or low-light situations,” says Scott Hutcheon, owner of Seasons Landscaping. “With more light, you can use plants with more color. Plants are like us—they want fresh air and sunlight. The more they have of those, the less … maintenance [you have to do].” If you’re installing a vertical garden, look for a nearby water source and drain, as well as an electrical outlet for the timer and pump.
Once the site is selected and the infrastructure in place, a wide variety of succulents and greenery may be added. The end result, a combination of that lush foliage with furniture and textiles, should be an indoor sanctuary that embraces the beauty of nature—all without setting foot outdoors.
Feel closer to nature with pieces that bring the outside in.
Rugs made of sturdy plant fibers, candle lanterns that provide a warm glow and expansive walls of glass that open to the backyard are all ways to smooth the transition between indoor and outdoor living. Try some of these products to extend an exterior space inside the home.
WEILAND BEEFY BIFOLD DOOR, price upon request, at Window Visions, Laguna Design Center, Laguna Niguel (949-360-0555; windowvisionsinc.com)
ANDALUSIA LOVESEAT by Richard Frinier Collection for Century, from $6,711, at Century Furniture, Laguna Design Center, Laguna Niguel (949-643-1585; centuryfurniture.com)
RECLAIMED METAL GATEHOUSE LANTERN by HomArt in red or black, $76, at Areo (949-376-0535; areohome.com)
THE PLANT BAR OPEN AIR FRAME by Seasons Landscaping, $18, at Uni Home Store, South Coast Collection, Costa Mesa (949-251-1771; unidesigns.net)
NATURAL JUTE WOVEN RUG by Dash & Albert, from $59, at Tuvalu (949-497-3202; tuvaluhome.com)