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2nd Nov 2020

Modern Rustic Outdoor Living ... whatever the weather.

An outside living ‘room’ can take many forms and perform multiple functions. In warmer climes most terraces are designed to offer some form of shade - often timber or metal frame covered in vine, straw or cane. Our damper British weather, however, requires a more robust and rainproof solution and ideally incorporates a heat source too! No-one could escape the fact that 2020 brought with it a completely new set of entertaining demands - not least of them that socialising should be done in small groups and preferably outside... cue an unprecedented outside living space boom. Having built more than a handful of pool houses, pavilions and pergolas of the Mediterranean ilk, the Barr Group have added a few UK climate busting tricks into the mix. In true Blue Peter style, we would like to share a few we made earlier!


The Asher House Pavilion, designed by HollandGreen Architects, with finish specification and styling by Lara Clarke interiors sits poolside with a view across rolling Oxfordshire fields. It is attached to the main house but can only be accessed from the garden, via an internal window - which one imagines would serve as the perfect entertaining hatch! A Cotswold stone plinth, matched to that of the main house, supports the reclaimed chunky timber, handpicked by the Barr team - forming the frame of the solid 'old barn style’ structure. A traditional tiled roof and guttering mean that it is usable in all weather and a wood burner keeps its outside diners cosy on cooler evenings. Rustic furnishings give it a warm homely feel, with large window mirrors reflecting the pool and the stunning wild planting beyond. 

Not much further afield, Langford House exhibits a more contemporary version, this one designed as part of a wider extension and renovation project by Smallwood Architects. The structure allows for covered open-air dining - but happily doubles as a covered outdoor gym, games room or party barn. The conventional tiled roof incorporates a glazed section and the two closed sides provide a room-like feel. The terrace flagstones run seamlessly from inside out - enabling a quick shift of venue to ‘indoors’ should the heavens open!

The Villa Mariposa pergola and surrounding hard landscaping was designed by Barr Baleares architect Luis Fernandez Lao. Our clients brief was for a designated outside eating space which provided shade whilst still maximising the fabulous view. A woven straw cover let's infrequent rain showers dissipate through negating the need for more structural solutions. Its rustic form is typically Mallorquin and perfect for the Balearic climate, enhancing the simply renovated Finca to which it belongs. Timber struts frame the view, making a moving picture of the Serra de Tramuntana mountainside.

Casa La Loma takes the outside living room concept to its max - offering dining and lounging space, as well as the fully-equipped outdoor kitchen - complete with sink, griddle, storage and open shelving. The exposed matt-black steel frame is lined with oak boarding which sits beneath traditional Mallorquin clay tiles. Designed by Rachele Bowley of Barr Design the joy is in the detail - as always no stone is left unturned!


Finally, the serene covered terraces of Casa Sol, designed and styled by owner Camilla Faulkner (of Interior Facelift). No fewer than three covered ‘rooms’ are beautifully curated for lounging, dining, entertaining or sleeping, making outside living a lux necessity. Structural arches and outside windows frame views and section spaces. Limestone tiles and soft plaster walls run seamlessly throughout allowing the outside spaces to become an extension of the villa.

Whatever the climate, one thing is for sure, outside living and entertaining spaces brought some much needed social feasibility to 2020. This is a trend which seems to be bedding according to Barr Group's prospective build projects. Alongside home gyms, spas, pools - as well as, of course, the annexe boom, the outside snug looks like it has some exciting design-led mileage...

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