Flooring Blur the Line Between Inside and Out

July 6, 2018

As long as I live, I won’t ever forget the first time that I experienced the complete amount of the line between indoor and outdoor area. I was vacationing in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. As soon as I walked in to this amazing condo, I could understand that the whole rear wall was open to the outside. As I walked forward, the side walls ceased, and the roofing ceased, but the floor just kept moving — no threshold, no barrier, no rear wall. The next thing I knew, I was on a large terrace overlooking the sea. Pure magic!

I will tell you that being in this area gave me a feeling of complete freedom. I wished to be barefoot 24/7. In reality, the inside-outside item was so blurred I caught myself looking around once in awhile just to check whether I was in or out at the moment. The only way I could really tell was by looking straight up to determine if I was below the roof.

Regrettably, back here in the Pacific Northwest, the buildings seem to all have walls all of the way around. And that I generally am pretty clear on whether I am inside or outside at any given moment — generally. People often speak about merging the interior with the outside to visually expand their distance, and maybe capture a bit of the feeling of freedom. I never forgot the lesson of the floor that just kept on moving.

I hope you like these spaces which use their floors and outside ground covers to successfully minimize the transition stage from inside to outside.

In this magnificent room, the opening from wall to wall and floor to ceiling is the largest element that removes any feeling of barriers between the indoor and outdoor place. Here is how the floors leads to the feel of a constant flow to the outside. The gray stone in the garden area repeats the color of the concrete flooring and can be at almost precisely the same level, so that you barely see the change because you look outdoors. Having the flooring and the ground cover fitting and level goes one step farther in merging the interior and exterior.

Arthur Dyson Architects

This is precisely what I’m talking about when I say the floor just keeps moving. The flooring material has no elevation change or lumpy threshold to step over. A nearly smooth flow into the outside!

Quezada Architecture

Same thing . The flooring material only continues right out the door with no interruption.

Studio Pali Fekete architects [SPF:a]

Here there is a track lineup for the sliding doors, but the flooring material in a smooth pale gray makes the inside of the home feel completely merged with the swimming pool area.

Tervola Designs

You can either use the specific same floors material inside and outside as in the previous photos, or you could use materials so similar that they minimize the shift and have the same feel.

In this home, the inside hardwood and the decking material are the same color, but the hardwood has greater glow. Both of them are laid the same direction and the paths for the sliding doors blend right in. It’s still barely noticeable where the interior stops and the outside begins.

Leonard Grant Architecture

Concrete can be used both indoors and outside , but the inside floor is glistening. Lining up the joint lines inside and outside gives it a smooth flow regardless of the shift in sheen.

Elad Gonen

In this home, the flooring from the outside is exactly the same as in the dining area, but not at the remainder of the inside. The transition from hardwood to concrete appears to strengthen the feel the dining area and the exterior are one distance.

Though the exterior flooring is in smaller sections, it is still gray concrete indoors and out, so it seems like the space is constant.

Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects

In this example, the flooring and the ceiling substance both continue past the sliding door monitors. They help reduce the very clear line between indoors and outside.

Frederick + Frederick Architects

Even when there are track lines, since there are for these custom folding doors, keeping the floors tile exactly the same generates a strong feeling of one constant space.

Gaulhofer Windows

Folding doors

The tile here extends from the interior , out both ends of the space. Having walls that totally open is a massive bonus when trying to unite indoor and outdoor spaces. However, it would not have quite as much impact if the flooring were different indoors and out.

David Churchill – Architectural Photographer

Not everybody wants to utilize exactly the same flooring indoors as they do outdoors. Here they have hardwood inside and stone outside. I am not sure what substance is used as a transition point between the two, but the threshold distance is totally flat, and that also can help to boost that feeling of the indoors flowing outside.

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