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Enjoyment room


Kent Johnson of Johnson Design Inc., Oconomowoc, designed an outdoor retreat for a Brookfield family. "We are seeing a trend toward these transitional spaces," Johnson says. "Originating in states like California, Arizona and Florida, areas like this give the architecture of the house added importance by creating additional dimensions of shade, shadow and light. What we are really doing is bringing back the old idea of porches."

Here are three keys to creating a functional outdoor space.

1. Visual Flow

Clad in smooth cedar siding, the striking porch is exceptionally inviting. "Because we used a material often seen indoors, the transition to the exterior of the house is smooth and visually expands the interior to create more living, dining, relaxing and entertaining space," Johnson says. Doors to the area open from the living room and den, with a great flow for parties.

2. All the Comforts

The long space affords defined areas for dining and lounging and high-end outdoor furniture raises the comfort level. The Lannon stone floor is locally produced and ceiling fans help move the air. Speakers and lighting make it feel even more like an extension of the house.

3. Protected from the Elements

Because the porch faces south, overlooking the three-acre property, it is a protected space. Perhaps the most unique features are the "phantom screens" that are built into the soffits. With a push of a button they can be lowered to protect against insects. M