I have been designing houses in Greater Vancouver for many years. Every once a while, I go back to Beijing to visit my family and friends and each trip back to China I realize how much the climate and environment affect our homes and lifestyles. While the apartment balconies in Beijing are enclosed with glass and equipped with air conditioning units, most people in Vancouver, including myself, try to embrace the outdoors as much as possible.
In Vancouver, we have possibly the best natural environment in the whole world. From the cool summer breeze to the mild winter rain; we really have all these benefits for free. We should take advantage of this and embrace our outdoors.
There are so many different ways of creating outdoor living spaces, including patios, pergolas, trellises, gazebos, balconies and sundecks. The covered sundecks, however, are my favourite. They provide everything we need for the West Coast outdoor living. They shed the rain in winter; block the harsh sunlight in summer. They are fairly simple to construct and are versatile; they can be designed to blend with many different architectural styles. They can be built on concrete patios or wood framed sundecks.
In the summer, the covered provide us with a cool, shaded area, and allow us to feel the cool ocean breeze. They can become the most usable and enjoyable space of the whole house by bringing the outside in and the inside out. Built-in kitchens, BBQs, beverage fridges and sound systems are excellent features and bring the focus outside. Select outdoor furiture can make the covered deck area versatile and comfortable.
When the weather turns cold and wet, we can still enjoy the covered deck, as long as they are equipped with outdoor heating. Grab a blanket and your favourite spot on the outdoor furniture in front of a fire. Outdoor fireplaces, fire pits and outdoor heaters make them warm and cozy. The addition of a T-bar skylights can bring in natural light even on the darkest of rainy Vancouver days. The scent of fresh rain water in the air always smells nice, too.
Living in Vancouver, the most liveable city in the world, is fantastic. Let’s spend more time outside and enjoy the luxury.