Homes that Embrace!

There is something warm and comforting about courtyard homes.  When we see them, we instantly feel at ease and peace – a sense of calm overwhelms us.  These homes embrace us, wrapping us with protective arms and welcoming spaces.   Coming home to a courtyard space immediately sets the tone for more to come.  

Defining Space – Use your Building Blocks to Create Space

Designers use the massing of the homes to create spaces between them.  These defined outdoor spaces become part of the total of the home.  They often extend living from inside to out – allowing spaces inside to flow effortlessly to the exterior.  In essence, the spaces created between “wings” of the home act as outdoor rooms, additional space for homeowners to enjoy their own private sanctuaries.

Simple, yet Awesome

This beautiful little beach home, designed by Butler Armsden Architects, is a perfect example of simple masses placed in just the right way to create awesome spaces.  By separating building blocks from one another and shifting them in relationship to each other, spaces are created between.  This space creates an opportunity – take advantage of it!

Plan for It!

The floor plan of the beach house clearly shows how the shifting of the masses creates space.  Butler Armsden uses this shift to not only create a sweet little deck off of the rear of the home but also to create a welcoming front entry from the street.  The space between is just as important (if not more important) than the actual cottage itself.

Protecting and Comforting

The configuration of courtyard spaces creates a sense of protection.  We take lessons from the ancient castles and keeps, the fortified walls protecting the family from dangerous marauders and invaders – only those invited are welcome.  Today our courtyards become sanctuaries from the daily grind, a place to relax and not worry about the strife outside our walls.  We can relax and engage with our families and friends without outside distractions. Oh yeah, make sure you put your phone away if you really want the true effect!

Rooms with a View!

Courtyard homes often create unique views from within.  Not only can we see the outside, we can also see the other side of our home.  There is something intriguing about being visually connected to other parts of your home while enjoying a different space.  Seeing the kids go off to bed while you wrap up evening chores in the kitchen or watching a movie creates a sense of control – you know what’s going on.  This control gives us a little added peace in our hearts, perhaps we can relax just a little bit more.

Mass Appeal

When planning a home or an addition, it’s important to understand how the careful placement of massing influences your ultimate experience.  Use the various “blocks” of the home – living rooms, garages, patios, bedroom wings and even decks and patios – to create spaces between them.  It may be as simple as adding a screening fence or “wall of shrubs” near a patio to help create the space you envision.  Pergolas and arbors can have the same effect, providing a comforting overhead protection.  This enhances the idea that outdoor space is actually another room to enjoy while at the same time connecting with nature.  

Control Your Environment

Carefully located masses can help control the environment.  Placing a garage mass on the north side of the home can block those cold winter breezes.   In addition, placing a terrace near a south facing wall of stone or brick can extend the enjoyment of your space into the fringe seasons – masonry walls absorb heat from the sun which then radiates back to you.  A cool fall evening may be tempered and allow you to enjoy your space a little bit more.  Adding a roof or trellis overhead not only helps define space, it also can help to control harsh sun and heat.

Whether you live in a warm or a cold climate, courtyard spaces can enhance how you live and enjoy your homes.  They create warm and inviting environments, protecting you from the elements as well as the harsh realities of the everyday.  They create sanctuaries where you can escape, sit back, and relax!

Design on left by Raymond Jungles Architect

Cover image design by Butler Armsden Architects