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Alfresco Living Spaces with a Mediterranean Flair
14 stunning retreats driven by the desire for a seamless indoor-outdoor connection
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There's nothing better than enjoying some downtime in a comfortable chair, with a drink in your hand and a soft breeze on your face. Steal some inspiration from these beautiful European-flavored outdoor rooms.
Rolling hills, sprawling groves, and a sense of serenity inhabit the inviting area surrounding the 3-acre estate of Rachael and Lee Lewis. The views bring to mind the Italian countryside’s pastoral beauty, but the Lewises’ property sits just a few hours west of the bustling metropolis of Dallas.
A pergola, gazebo, pool, and loggia complement the interiors, delivering comfortable spaces for casual entertaining. The loggia is a favorite hangout thanks to its cathedral ceiling, limestone floors, and large masonry fireplace. A pair of custom chandeliers are suspended from a vaulted cathedral ceiling. A 300-year-old wooden pediment from Italy reigns above the fireplace.
Intrigued by the red tile roofs and courtyard-style homes prevalent in this Phoenix-area neighborhood, interior designer Dana Lyon and architect Mark Candelaria looked to Europe for architectural inspiration for the Paradise Valley, Arizona, home Dana shares with her husband, Scott Fey. The design team then called on materials capable of standing up to desert heat, such as brick, terra-cotta tile, and stucco.
An elaborately carved mantel and Indian table add textural oomph to the loggia’s unadorned stucco walls and simple iron furnishings.
The old saying “All roads lead to Rome” might well be translated to “All rooms lead to the outdoors” in this remodeled Tuscan farmhouse-style home in Scottsdale, Arizona. Whether the homeowners are enjoying early morning coffee in the courtyard, entertaining on the spacious veranda, or snipping rosemary from the garden, the sights, sounds, and scents of the outdoors abound.
The loggia features a year-round alfresco living room where contemporary weather-resistant sofas are juxtaposed with a coffee table fashioned from ancient marble mosaics that once graced a church floor.
Amanda Raab Hibner and her husband, Scott Hibner, devised this Tuscan-inspired residence in Austin, Texas, to reference Italian coastal homes Amanda saw on a long-ago visit to the Amalfi Coast. Reclaimed clay roof tiles and limestone-trimmed exterior windows and doors remain faithful to the home’s European inspiration outside.
A reclaimed century-old barn beam makes a period-perfect mantel in the loggia. Texas Lueder limestone lines the floor, which hosts everyday meals, solitary pursuits, and dinner parties.
On the sugary sands of Florida’s Panhandle, a carefully crafted vacation home by architect Greg Tankersley and interior designer Landy Gardner nods to the homeowners’ travels to Italy while inviting family and friends to relax and recharge.
A twiglike mirror made from iron hangs above a limestone mantel on the loggia. “The whole lower level is on the same level as the sand,” says Gardner. “You come out of the water right into the cabana space. You never have to go upstairs. You can just spend the whole day living on the beach.”
"We gave the home a sense of history by playing up its Mediterranean hacienda styling, and we gave it a rural feel with organic materials such as stucco, stone, clay tile, and wood,” says interior designer Donna Vallone of the exterior of the home she designed for clients seeking a comfortable Arizona getaway.
French doors link interior rooms with a series of lushly landscaped courtyards and a long, shady loggia. When open, the doors usher heady flower scents, sounds of bubbling fountains, and cooling nighttime breezes into the house.
Softened by curtains, the colonnade-style loggia offers intimate seating areas under its sheltered roof while providing a captivating backdrop for poolside lounging.
Outdoor Living Room
Kristie Lilienthal dreamed of a stone cottage in the Blue Ridge Moutains that would remind her of Tuscany. “I love Italy,” she says. “I would live there if it wasn’t so far away! The homes there have such a feeling of substance and soul.”
When her real estate agent showed her a hilltop lot that featured a sweeping vista of Lake Keowee in South Carolina’s Upcountry, Kristie knew immediately that she was home. The agent referred Kristie to architect Brad Wright, a South Carolina native and fellow lover of Italy, and Kristie presented her wish list: Tuscan arches inside and out, a generous outdoor living space, and a killer kitchen open to a great-room. Most important, Kristie wanted the shimmering lake at the back of the house to be visible as soon as she, or a guest, opened the front door.
Interior designer Yvonne McFadden created a unique coffee table for the outdoor living room by setting a slab of custom concrete on top of found iron fragments. The iron gate leads to a pool.
Sunny Sonoran Loggia
Some of the most breathtaking homes are defined not by what’s inside the walls but by what’s outside the windows. Even interior designer Leslie Fry believes this to be true, and a it’s a sentiment that architect Scott Carson shares. So the pair were in harmony as they collaborated with builder Tom Argue and landscape designer Jeff Berghof on a 6,500-square-foot mountaintop getaway overlooking the picturesque Sonoran Desert in Arizona.
Having traveled extensively throughout Europe, the homeowner sought a retreat that would capture the laid-back elegance of a Mediterranean villa and encourage an alfresco lifestyle. Clay barrel-roof tiles, stucco walls, and classical columns coupled with wooden windows and doors and limestone case openings are among the exterior’s many authentic details. Plush all-weather upholstery and custom iron chandeliers and furnishings bring the chic comfort of the indoors outside, making the loggia the homeowner’s favorite hangout spot.
It’s not unusual for visitors to this quiet desert hideaway to feel as if they’ve arrived in Tuscany. Set on more than 2 acres in Arizona’s Oro Valley, overlooking Tucson, the charming compound spills over with old-world patinas and assembled-through-time character. Two historically correct structures designed by architect Allen Tafoya sit on the property. Each connects beautifully with its surroundings while evoking images of Italian farmsteads.
A large hearth, complete with an iron pot that can be swung over the fire, serves as the loggia’s focal point. The floor is crafted from square saltillo tiles that were cut into rectangular shapes and set backside-up to simulate Italian pavers.
Light & Bright
Classic. Elegant. Timeless. These words guided the design and execution of this unapologetically formal home, which calls on old-world architectural nuances to establish its authenticity. Finely orchestrated by builder John Schultz, architect Mark Candelaria, interior designer Kimberly Colletti, and landscape architect Jeff Berghoff, this new Arizona residence reflects a Mediterranean aesthetic from the outset. “From the moment you enter the auto court and are greeted by hand-carved statuary from Italy, you know you’ve arrived somewhere special,” Colletti says. “It’s a visual feast for the eyes.”
A copper hood crowns an outdoor cooking area located just off the kitchen. Nearby, all-weather wicker chairs pull up to a travertine-top table for comfortable alfresco dining.
Perched on the edge of the azure Pacific Ocean in Pebble Beach, California, this sun-washed house occupies an enviable roost. The stone-and-stucco-clad hacienda nestles into rocky cliff-top terrain, mature cypress trees and Spanish oaks arc over the terra-cotta tile roof, and bougainvillea vines scramble over archways framing an expansive loggia.
One of several in the loggia, this conversation grouping snuggles around a hearty stone fireplace. Two all-weather sofas are plumped with pillows in a subdued palette of blue and warm taupe that continues indoors. A limestone table and a woven-rattan rug round out the space in interior, yet weather-resistant, style.
Perched on a rocky rise surrounded by undulating vineyards, Montevigna—as this California home was dubbed upon completion—captures stunning views of the countryside. The sun rises and sets over the house, bathing it in golden splendor throughout the day while providing sustenance for centuries-old oaks, Manzanillo olive trees, stately Italian cypress, and, recently, the owner’s raised vegetable gardens.
An exacting level of authenticity, which extends to the landscape designed by David Fazzio, is what makes the house unique. Fazzio chose plants with Mediterranean roots, such as lavender and rosemary, to lend a European feel to the property. For the loggia, he trained creeping fig to climb the columns. “Climbing plants make the house feel more anchored to the ground,” he says. “They provide a rustic country feel. Even though the house is new, it feels homey and comfortable.”
Quiet, Soothing Outdoor Space
When an American family of four decided to move back to the States from Europe, they knew they wanted a home that would express the concept of Old World meets New World—something villa-esque in style with clean lines and simple but high-quality materials. What they found in their new Houston home checked just about every box on their wishlist, including an indoor-outdoor connection.
The living room opens via a series of French doors to a shady loggia where the family enjoys casual alfresco dining. To foster a more modern aesthetic, interior designer Nicole Zarr skipped exterior shutters for the doors, opting to paint the trim blue for impact.
Open to the sky above and most rooms within, this Brentwood, California, home’s lushly planted, plushly furnished central courtyard ushers fresh air, warm sunshine, and a unique sense of carefree coastal living indoors.
Terra-cotta roof tiles, stucco walls, and dark-stained wood detailing lend the facade of this pool house Mediterranean flair. A trumpet vine-laden pergola shades the poolside lounge area, which was created on the site where a dilapidated garage once stood.