Posts Tagged ‘outdoor living’

Most Loved Spots: Outdoor Living Ideas

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Outdoor living featuring pool and lounge chairs by Kirkendall Design

Over the past 30 years, I have had the privilege to develop, design, and style many outdoor living spaces. It is often a follow-up request from clients after we have transformed the space in the interiors to continue the same “feel” on the exterior.

I always aim to create outdoor living spaces that are an extension of our clients’ homes. By incorporating elements of a client’s interior style, my team can create a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living spaces that feel cohesive and inviting.

Personally, I draw inspiration for life, love, and design from the outdoors. Nature has always given me a sense of peace and clarity. Whether it’s the rustling of leaves in the wind or the sound of water flowing in a nearby stream, nature has a way of calming our senses and inspiring creativity.

Studies have shown that spending time in nature can reduce stress, boost creativity, and improve mood. Having a functional and beautiful outdoor living space can have a profound impact on your overall well being, which is why I love designing outdoor living spaces for clients.

Custom outdoor living featuring pergola and outdoor kitchen, designed by Kirkendall Design

Outdoor Living Essentials

The best outdoor living spaces have a certain magic to them. They have a way of drawing you in and inviting you to stay awhile. What is it that makes these spaces so special? It’s those “most loved spots” that everyone wants to be in. When it comes to creating the perfect outdoor living space, there are a few essential elements that every design should include.

Take a Seat, Stay Awhile

Comfortable seating is a must for any outdoor living space. Whether you opt for a cozy loveseat or a collection of comfortable chairs, make sure your seating is both comfortable and durable. Consider incorporating a porch swing or chaise lounge into your outdoor living space to create a peaceful spot for reading, napping, or just soaking up the sun. You can add some color and texture to your seating area by incorporating outdoor throw pillows and blankets.

Outdoor living designed by Kirkendall Design

Outdoor living designed by Kirkendall Design

Outdoor living with cozy porch designed by Kirkendall Design

Naturally Chic

The beauty of outdoor living is that you are surrounded by nature. Make the most of this natural setting by incorporating plants, rocks, and water features into your design. You can create a natural garden oasis with a variety of plants, trees, and shrubs, or add a water feature like a pond, fountain, or waterfall for a soothing sound.

Outdoor living with fountain and statue. Designed by Kirkendall Design

Outdoor living designed by Kirkendall Design

Sky’s The Limit

An unobstructed view of the sky can be a breathtaking addition to any outdoor living space. Consider incorporating a pergola or other outdoor structure that provides some shade while still allowing you to enjoy the view above.

Outdoor living featuring pergola and outdoor dining set, designed by Kirkendall Design

Outdoor living with fireplace and beautiful landscaping designed by Kirkendall Design

Gather ‘Round

Whether you are hosting a family barbecue or enjoying a cozy evening by the fire, having a designated gathering space is essential for any outdoor living area. Consider incorporating a dining table, bar, or fire pit into your design to create a focal point for socializing and entertaining.

Outdoor living with fire pit and relaxing chairs designed by Kirkendall Design\
pickleball court with chair, outdoor living idea by Kirkendall Design

Looking to transform your outdoor living space into a beautiful and functional extension of your home? We would love to help. Submit a design request today to get started on creating the outdoor living area of your dreams.

Room For Improvement: Our Favorite Home Improvement

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home improvement renovation project interior design by Kirkendall Design

Room For Improvement: Our Favorite Home Improvement

We often overlook a crucial aspect that deserves more attention: Curb Appeal. Your home’s exterior is its first impression, and it’s easy to underestimate its impact. When considering exterior changes, a new roof presents an opportune moment. As a leading interior design firm in Tulsa, Oklahoma, we understand the importance of harmonizing the exterior with your overall aesthetic vision.
We like to take a picture of your exterior and do some renderings to show you different options; Light fixtures, different colors, trim changes and perhaps even architectural changes all can make a dramatic improvement.
We recently had a client buy a home because it checked all the boxes—except for the outside. For this particular project we took out two porthole windows on the front of the home. We had plenty of windows for light and the design was distracting to the rest of the home, so out they went. Removing those prompted the painting of the brick because we had to patch those in (and the brick color was less than desirable) which totally changed the look of the home.
We also took off the rounded copper front porch because it didn’t shelter anything. We built a new porch that came out and gave shelter, and changed the front doors. Removing mullions and reworking a window also modernized the home.
These were big changes—huge, in fact! If you have the money to spend, architectural changes such as these can make a meaningful change to not only your home’s curb appeal but also its value.

Start with your front porch and work your way out. First, clean it. There’s nothing worse than walking up to a home with a dirty front porch. Sweep it off, clean your windows and put out a welcome mat and some planters with flowers. Maybe consider updating your address numbers. These are all simple changes that can have a big result.

In one of our projects the owner didn’t want to replace the concrete on the front porch, so we added a four-foot by six-foot outdoor area rug and layered a welcome mat on top of that. It gave a fresh, inviting look and you can’t even see the damaged concrete now.
Landscaping is another relatively simple change. One thing I run into with people who have lived in a house a long time (myself included) is that things you may have planted 20 years ago may not look the best now. I can barely trim my boxwoods they are so overgrown they hardly have any green on them.
If it’s so large it’s hiding or damaging your home—it’s time to go. Pull out the old and put in something fresh and simple. Landscaping provides the biggest bang for your buck.
That’s a wrap on our July home improvement series! If you happened to miss any, you can catch up on the other two posts here:
Our Most Requested Home Improvement 
Our Most Impactful Home Improvement
And if you are motivated to start giving your own home some attention, let’s have a conversation. You can trust Kirkendall Design in Tulsa, Oklahoma to reimagine your home’s curb appeal and create a lasting impact for your home.
Submit a design request HERE or call the office at (918) 250-1650.

Modern Ranch Reveal

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We’ve been teasing photos of this home for more than a year and now it’s finally time to share this project in its entirety! It’s always fun to reveal a whole house because you get to see the end result as it’s always been imagined and intended by our team.
This particular project originated when our longtime clients came to us with the idea to build a weekend home. Already owners of vacation homes in Florida and Wyoming, they purchased approximately 90 acres just north of downtown with the intent to build a ranch home to entertain family closer to their primary Tulsa residence.
After a couple of months weekending at the new house, they love it so much they have decided to make it their permanent Tulsa residence and sell their home in the city. As a designer I don’t know if there is any greater compliment. Let’s take a look!

Main Living
How a client will use a space dictates our design of it. The number one purpose of this home: hosting family. So, we designed it to do just that! From the fireplace to the kitchen, we designed the home with gathering in mind.
The house is about 4,000 square-feet and every room is large, so the furniture needed to match that scale. It also needed to accommodate plenty of people, which is why you will find so many seating opportunities throughout the open-concept kitchen, living and dining areas.
Our client is a “black-and-white” girl, but in this home she wanted to bring in color to evoke happiness and create a cheerful environment. We found a one-of-a-kind rug at market, which set our design in motion. From there, we chose the sofas and introduced subtle colors and patterns throughout the home that would play off each other. Of course, we kept the background neutral to keep that familiar black-and-white element and to let the colors shine.
The living room’s soaring ceiling features reclaimed wood beams from Timber and Beam, and is adorned with a massive 66-inch-wide Ralph Lauren chandelier. We flanked the black granite slab fireplace with two large sofas and club chairs. You’ll have to look closely to find the TV in this room– we specifically chose the black granite as a way to disguise it above the fireplace.
Coffee Bar
A coffee bar between the living area and kitchen offers an intimate space to gather with four swivel chairs that allow views into both rooms as well as the outdoors. This home may be for large groups of people, but we wanted to create intimate moments too. Any time you can gather chairs together into two to four directly across from each other you tend to have more direct conversation. It’s a great little spot to have a cup of coffee and read the paper or your iPad while enjoying the amazing scenery outside.
In the kitchen, she wanted views out of both sides of the home. The kitchen sink faces the front of the property while the dining area overlooks the back of the home and the pond. The large dining table offers seating for the entire family with a built-in bench seat for grandkids on one side and chairs for adults on the other.
To break up the large space, we chose San Benedicto leathered granite for the perimeter countertops and a durable Bianco Statuario Quartz for the island, which features even more seating opportunities. As the workhorse of the kitchen, and the home, the island is lit with Hudson Valley pendants and painted Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black. The rest of the cabinetry is painted Simply White while a barn door painted Benjamin Moore’s Courtland Blue hides the generous pantry.
The homeowner had beautiful heirloom dishes, so we lit the cabinet shelves and carefully lined up the collection so that each piece would be visible between the cabinetry mullions. We never want our clients to walk into a home that feels like it’s out of a magazine. We always want them to walk into a home that feels like it’s their personal signature. Creating moments like this is what our design is all about.
Choosing high-performing yet attractive materials was imperative. The light wood flooring is actually engineered wood, which makes it really durable for all the in-and-out traffic as well as the family’s large dogs. The dining bench seat is a “pleather” so it’s easy to wipe up spills.

Primary Suite
As with all my designs, the primary suite is meant to be a restful retreat for the homeowners. The oversized room features a stunning four-poster bed at one end, while the opposite end offers a seating area where the couple can relax and watch TV away from the main living area.
The home may be in the country, but we had to include all the modern amenities for comfort such as the remote controlled shades and black out curtains. Imagine waking up, pressing a button and seeing llamas and horses outside—such a dream!
The owners’ bath is spa-like with a large soaking tub, walk in shower and double vanities. We kept the colors muted in here and let the tile design take center stage.
The floor is the star of the show with a stone hexagon pattern and Carrara subway border.  A linen closet with antique mirrored fronts adds a touch of glamour and hides necessities.

Guest Suites
The owners have three granddaughters and one grandson, so we planned the guest rooms accordingly. The larger bedroom became the girls’ “bunk room” and the smaller was dedicated to the boy.
We had so much fun designing the girls’ quarters. Four custom made beds line the walls between individual window seats at each dormer window. It’s a precious room that reminds me of the story Madeline where they’re all lined up in their beds.
We chose a rosy pink as the predominant color. From the Pinecone Hill bedding to the custom pink sconce shades, everything is soft and subtle, but still very colorful and cheery like the client wanted. The carpet is neutral with a window pane pattern that really helps it stand out. The patterns all play so well off each other.
A barn door painted in Benjamin Moore’s Eraser Pink opens to reveal a secret hideout with a sectional and TV. For now, the girls use it to play and watch movies, but it is large enough to accommodate air mattresses for even more guests.
In the girls’ bathroom, we did the opposite of the primary bath. While the floor is black and white, we added color all over the walls with Caitlin Wilson’s ultra-cheerful Penelope wallpaper.
The same soft pink of the bedroom is repeated in the tile for the “princess bath” shower/tub combo. Instead of one glass partition we used two shower doors atop the tub so you can open both when bathing and not feel totally enclosed.
The grandson’s bedroom has a distinctly masculine tone. It’s arguably the most neutral room in the house with black, white, grey and taupe comprising the color palette. A wooden chandelier hints at a rustic element, while the oval metal nightstands add an industrial feel. The showstopper of the room, however, is the bed, which features fabric stretched over a wood and pipe frame.
The en suite bath echoes the neutral theme with grey being the predominant color. While it may be monochromatic, we still managed to add visual interest with a mosaic penny tile on the shower floor as well as a vertical accent stripe on the shower wall.

Outdoor Living
Cedar posts, pine ceilings, batten board siding, black frame windows and metal roofing give the exterior of the home a farmhouse feel, but with a level of classic sophistication.
The wrap-around porch is meant for about five different opportunities for outdoor gathering. There’s a fire pit seating area overlooking the pond, a cozy daybed swing for afternoon naps, a huge outdoor fireplace for chilly nights under the stars, a dining and grilling area, and the lounge area just off the primary suite. We even hung some swings from the cedar beams on the porch for the grandkids.
One detail I love is the brickwork on the porch floor, which is laid in a herringbone pattern. We paid close attention to details and worked with the brick layers to make sure that whatever direction you’re walking is the direction the herringbone pattern is laid. Many people don’t know that is the way you’re supposed to install it—almost like a little road map.
This is one home and property that will be explored and loved for many years to come. We are so grateful we were able to help bring it to life—and share it with you!

How to Make Your Outdoor Living Area Blend Seamlessly with Your Interiors

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Outdoor living is all part of the home experience and people are more invested in their homes now more than ever. Recently we had several clients who have existing outdoor living spaces contact us to help plan an expansion. People clearly love being outside and want more space to enjoy the seasons! One of the reasons I love outdoor living so much is because it does offer a great way to extend your home’s living and entertaining spaces without actually adding on to your home. And with our weather in Tulsa, outdoor living is very doable!

All One Space
Even though we are “interior” designers, we are always looking and thinking about what is right outside your window and how it reflects back into your home. A good example of this practice is when we determine what furniture to source for your outdoor living area. If I have a living room that has sofas and sectionals in it, and there is an exterior living space off this room, I would not typically put a dining table there. Rather, I would put a gathering of chairs so the living room continues to look like a living room all the way through to the outside. But, be careful to note you don’t want only one type of seating in all these spaces. If the interior living space has a grouping of chairs I would put sofas in the exterior living space so that it serves a complimentary function but offers enough difference to keep it visually interesting.

Kirkendall Design outdoor living
Along the same lines, we often have to ask, what is going to look good and serve your needs. Many outdoor living spaces, especially with newer home build design layouts, have access to the outdoor living from both a living space and the primary bedroom suite. I wouldn’t want to walk out of a bedroom to an eating area; I’d prefer a place to relax and lounge, so the choice to make a cozy seating area seems obvious. And, if you have access and views from the kitchen—that’s the place for your dining table, especially if you are lucky enough to have an outdoor kitchen.
Color Connection
Complimentary colors need to flow from the interior to the exterior.  If I have a fairly neutral living space indoors, but I want a bright color by a pool then I usually sneak in a bit of that color in the living room to tie it all together. Similarly, I wouldn’t want a blue/green/yellow motif inside if an orange and red color scheme are on the porch. The two spaces have to work seamlessly together. One of my favorite ways to get color outdoors is through the use of interesting end tables, whether that’s a ceramic garden stool or another material such as stone. In the same vein, if you prefer a more monochromatic look, an interesting end table can add much needed texture to the space.  End tables really add a lot of character in an outdoor living space.
Setting the Mood
Lighting is a big deal on exteriors. Again, think about the function. You’re not trying to read a book outside, right? You’re there to gather and socialize, enjoy the fresh air or stoke the fireplace. Outdoor lighting is all about creating ambiance. Well, that and deterring bugs! If I can find a way to get indirect light away from the seating area, then bugs will go towards that and not be a bother for your gathering space. Ceiling lights and lighting around the perimeter of your space are both great ways to accomplish this goal.

Kirkendall Design exterior lighting

Screen Season
Everyone loves the folding accordion doors, but in Tulsa you have maybe a total of six to seven weeks that you can truly open the indoors to the outdoors. Beyond that you have to consider the pollen, which you definitely don’t want in your home. My solution to this is always screens, which help protect against pollen and, perhaps worse in some cases—bugs!
We recommend and use Tulsa Area Screen Co. These screens are usually mounted on the outside of your patio and give you filtered air, privacy and protection from bugs. They are incredibly advanced—they come in different materials and can easily raise and lower to suit your needs. If you have the protection of screens, then you really can have those patio doors open a lot in Tulsa.

Kirkendall Design screened porch
Creatures of Comfort
To truly enjoy your outdoor living space as many days out of the year as possible, you’re going to need a little help maintaining the ideal temperature for maximum comfort. This can be accomplished with fans and outdoor heaters. There are some very stylish freestanding heaters or there’s also the option to put them in the ceiling where they can be virtually out of sight.

Kirkendall Design patio heaters
Kirkendall Design patio heaters
Fireplaces outside are the ultimate. Not only are they beautiful, they also can serve as a screening for areas you don’t want to see. As if that wasn’t enough, they offer the opportunity for a wood-burning fireplace, a feature you may love but not necessarily want the mess of inside your home.
Fire pits are also a hot trend. For one, they are less expensive and two, you can typically accommodate more people around one due to the 360-degree seating opportunities. Some are even freestanding so you can move it around as desired. The one thing to consider is a fire pit or fire table (which uses gas) needs quite a bit of air circulation to operate safely. It is not uncommon for me to have a client whose home already has an outdoor fireplace request to add a fire pit, often somewhere more secluded in their yard. It creates its own little gathering area and, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love an excuse for s’mores?