En Plein Air :: Atrium Love

I was devouring my latest issue of House Beautiful yesterday looking for inspiration for projects and articles and for things to do around my own home when I came across a rendition of a greenhouse that was turned into a living area. I fell in love. Head over heels. Immediately. I love the idea of turning a simple greenhouse into a space that could at once be casual and relaxing and yet elegant and sophisticated. I'm a huge fan of bringing the indoors outdoors and the outdoors indoors. I write about this alot. 

Here's the rendition that inspired this post... and sent me into an amazing daydream!

via House Beautiful, May 20013

I suppose much of this stems from my youth and my summers in the South of France where my grandmother seemed magically to blur the lines of indoors and outdoors. When you were inside her home you felt the strong presence of the of the mountains that surrounded you and the Mediterranean sea which seemed to be a finger tip's distance away. This combination created a true paradise. When the sun shone, the sun shone all around you and illuminated the indoors, and when the rains came, they came all around you. When it rained, in the summertime, in the South of France, it poured. The rains were torrential and often brought with them hail the size of golfballs, and these rains were often accompanied by loud thunderous booms which echoed and reverberated all through the mountains that surrounded us. Lightning would light up the house and seemed ten thousand times brighter than the sun. To a young child the brightness and the noise were quite terrifying. And yet, I had this fascination. I had to look. I had to see... It was so curious and wondrous and scary all at once. And so very, very loud, so that when these incredible storms came, sleep became nearly impossible. 

My grandmother decided to turn a very narrow walkway, that separated the garage from the house, into a dining atrium. The long, narrow space was covered with glass, and fountains were added to the walls. There was something, to me as a child, that seemed so magical about this space. To dine en plein air beneath the sun or stars or in the rain was at once mysterious, thrilling and delightful! I still love the feeling of being one with nature... It's the reason I chose my present home with oversized bay window in the living room that looks out onto an expansive backyard where the scenery is always changing, and the rustic screened-in porch that becomes a Spring and Summertime oasis, where we sit with warm mugs of coffee or crisp, chilled glasses of white wine and watch the local wild animals (bunnies, fox, deer, turkeys, pheasant, and birds) come and go...

It would be my dream, one day to have my very own atrium space where I could get some work done, sit and relax with a good book or entertain family and friends. I envision a space that has both a dining as well as a comfortable seating area. Wouldn't it be so wonderful?

 There's something special about each space below, but my favorites are the ones that truly seem to be outdoors.

Happy Thursday!
I'm going to clean out my screened in porch this evening. I can't wait to start using it again!



*all images via Google images