THE OUTDOOR LIVING WINNER is Plan 454-14, by Sarah Susanka and Tina Govan. The jury loved
the way this house offered a variety of outdoor living spaces: from breezeway to deck to screen porch to balcony. The roof deck with the outdoor fireplace across from the entry -- viewed here and at the top of this post -- is the central feature; a real outdoor living room between the living-dining-kitchen wing and the master suite wing. As one juror said: "This roof deck cleverly blends private and public outdoor space." Sarah Susanka explains the concept of the house as a way to connect with nature: "A series of connected buildings, with wide eaves, generous porch and breezeway, and many outdoor spaces, offers the opportunity to move effortlessly from inside to out. A series of movable screens allows the house to be completely opened to the outdoors when the weather is appropriate, as well as to open the center breezeway to the terrace and view beyond."
With folding glass doors on either side, the breezeway walls disappear, seamlessly connecting both sides of the site and framing vistas through the house. From the front patio, you can walk straight out to the roof deck with expansive views on all sides. One juror said what everyone felt: "I want to be on that deck!"
The screen porch, shown below, is off the dining room. The Phantom screens can disappear completely when the weather is right.
The entire design celebrates the enjoyment of nature and is literally -- and figuratively -- reinforced by the tree trunks holding everything up!
Our 2015 Design Awards jury included Houseplans.com staff and Gale Steves, author of Right-Sizing Your Home; Katherine Salant, syndicated real estate columnist for The Washington Post; and Leslie Clagett, author of The New City Home.