The closer an outdoor room is to the house, the more you need to incorporate some of the same architectural elements and materials to visually tie the two spaces together. “It’s extremely important for the outdoor rooms to look like they’re a part of the house,” says Schechter. For an open-air kitchen tucked against the side of a house in Santa Monica, Schechter specified marble counters similar to the ones used indoors. “It’s as if we extruded a piece of the house,” he says.
The materials you choose for floors and walls should reflect your home’s style. Antique brick pavers work well with a traditional Georgian or Colonial Revival; rustic flagstones or wood suits a more casual setting. You can look to local history for inspiration, too. To design a brick patio and cedar pergola for a family in Sag Harbor, New York, Hubbard consulted images of the late-19th-century outbuildings and garden structures typical of the area’s Shingle-style houses.