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The Rise of California Rooms

by | Jan 10, 2023

What is a California room? In short, it’s an indoor-outdoor living space that’s been given the star treatment. Part room, part sunroom, part porch and all charm, the California room is a space to host, relax and (comfortably) take in the great outdoors. 

California rooms cull inspiration from the breezy loggias prevalent in southern Europe where the climate is mild—think villas in the Italian countryside, open-air estates on the coast of Greece and Spain, and grand, airy maisons in the south of France. 

While this design feature has been beloved for years, its popularity surged with the onset of the pandemic, when entertaining moved completely outdoors. Today, the desire for inspired at-home outdoor living space is enduring and evolving. Of the top design experts surveyed for Fixr.com’s 2022 Outdoor Living Trends Report, all agreed that creating year-round usable spaces remains a key priority for homeowners and a full 56% believe that creating indoor spaces outside is an ongoing interest among buyers and owners. 

“Few things speak to the California lifestyle like being outdoors. Even in the winter season, we can enjoy a balmy day or a cozy outdoor fireside retreat,” says Cynthia Montgomery, Founding Partner and CEO of Alamo, California-based J Montgomery Design. “Increasingly, the indoor/outdoor living space is becoming part of almost every landscape we create. These transitional spaces give all the feeling of the outdoors, with all the comforts of the indoors.”

“California rooms are the ultimate embodiment of indoor-outdoor living, bringing the comforts and design of the interior to a more alfresco setting,” says The Agency Alamo’s Andrea Scott, who represents 110 Wayland Way in Downtown Alamo, California. “This intimate space is furnished like an indoor living room to create a luxury experience: it is an outdoor space with indoor amenities. Popular features of a California room are elegant lighting to highlight the high or cathedral ceiling of the space, heaters, misters and ceiling fans, outdoor kitchens with cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, a sink, a built-in grill, refrigeration, plentiful bar seating, at least one television and a stone fireplace. California rooms are all about entertaining.”

Ready to get into a Golden State of mind? Here are a few of our favorite homes that feature the cool, California room style. 


21 27th Avenue, Venice, CAFilled with incredible open air and indoor-outdoor living spaces, this 3-bed, 4-bath Venice home fully embraces the California room vibe. The living room features walls of glass that open to multiple balconies with views of the ocean and the neighborhood’s leafy streets. The home’s rooftop deck is more of a “roof room”—an open-air living room complete with a barbeque kitchen, dining terrace and views to the Pacific. Plus, a stunning, full-height open courtyard imparts a sense of all-season indoor-outdoor living throughout every level of the home. Michael Grady holds the listing. 


3928 Hayvenhurst Drive, Encino, CASituated on an acre of park-like grounds, this newly renovated 7-bedroom, 9-bath home exemplifies the California room aesthetic with spacious interiors that open seamlessly to the grounds through expansive multi-slide doors and accordion window openings. The home’s many outdoor living spaces are complemented by two fire pits, a grand pool with a resort-style cabana and daybed, a covered dining pavilion, towering mature trees, a sports court and a romantic secret garden. Other features include a light-filled oversized gym with a steam shower and a state-of-the-art movie theater. This home is built for those who love to entertain and live the lifestyle of the East Hamptons in Encino. Craig Knizek holds the listing.


110 Wayland Way, Downtown Alamo, CA Set on the Westside of Alamo, this bright, newly remodeled 5-bedroom main home spans 4,400 square feet and sits on a half-acre with a John Montgomery-designed backyard including a pool and spa. The home’s expansive California Room is outfitted with a fireplace and outdoor kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances. Additional features include a sports court plus a 300+-square-foot 1-bedroom, 1-bath guest house. Represented by Andrea Scott, 110 Wayland Way is mere minutes to town, shops, restaurants and the popular Iron Horse Trail. 


15715 Woodvale Road, Encino, CAOne of the Valley’s finest estates, this 5-bedroom, 8-bath, 6,700-square-foot modern farmhouse enjoys supreme privacy with towering hedges and a state-of-the-art camera security system as well as fabulous outdoor living spaces designed for gatherings of all sizes. From the main level, disappearing sliding glass walls open to a huge covered patio with a retractable awning—hello, California room! A barbeque area with ample seating, an adjacent fireplace and a hanging TV offers the perfect space for alfresco meals. Additional features include a lap pool, a separate gym, a 150+-bottle wine closet, a movie theater and a basketball court. Craig Knizek holds the listing.


2190 Lorain Road, San Marino, CAFresh off a two-year renovation, this Cape Cod-style 4-bedroom, 4-bath home in prime San Marino encompasses more than 3,000 square feet of living space plus a 427-square-foot ADU. Interiors are replete with Monarch wide plank hardwood floors, box-beam coffered ceilings, custom crown molding and a marble floor-to-ceiling gas fireplace. Outside, the home’s exquisite open-air California room encompasses a custom kitchen with a built-in gas Weber barbeque, stone counters, sink, designer plumbing fixtures, bar and storage. Adding to the tranquil ambiance is an enticing deck, pergola, mature trees and outdoor lighting. Additional features include a 2-car garage with an EV charger, brand new custom saltwater pool and integrated spa, and all-new landscaping. Sarah Rogers holds the listing.


813 Palms Blvd, Venice, CACelebrated as a green architectural masterpiece, The Art House boasts an expansive corner lot close to Abbot Kinney, striking exteriors and open, sun-drenched interiors. A high-end kitchen opens to the living spaces, plus two large guest bedrooms. On the loft level, find a striking, open primary suite. Enjoy abundant large-scale entertaining spaces, a sunken courtyard, an outdoor fireplace, two roof decks, a two-car garage and a guest studio. Zach Goldsmith represents the listing.


Bahia Chavon 1, Dominican RepublicCasa Miralejos, also known as Bahia Chavon 1, is set within the Dominican Republic’s Miralejos community. Designed by American architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen, this award-winning villa embraces the best of Caribbean living with soaring vaulted ceilings, bountiful natural light, private beach access and unobstructed ocean views. The surroundings invite all-season lounging and include a  swimming pool, lush gardens and a palm grove. Bahia Chavon 1 is decorated in a classic Caribbean style and has been featured in American Elle, Town & Country and House & Garden. Edward de Valle and Nurit Coombe hold the listing.


2681 Country Ridge Road, Los Angeles, CAThis breathtaking Calabasas new construction offers an ultra-private universe exceeding all expectations. Perched high atop one of the most elevated promontory sites, this progressively designed estate is set behind the gates of the exclusive eight-home enclave of Country Ridge Estates. A modern Spanish which sets a new standard of elegance featuring astounding 360-degree panoramic views, soaring 24′-foot ceilings, rare designer finishes throughout and nearly every luxury amenity imaginable. Seven spacious en-suite bedrooms, nine bathrooms, over 9000 square feet of luxury living space, expansive covered patios and terraces and an 11.11-acre lot combine to create impeccable living at its finest. Gina Michelle and George Ouzounian hold the listing.


16836 Marmaduke Place, Encino, CAListed by Gina Michelle and George Ouzounian, this architectural masterpiece is breaking boundaries in today’s scope of modern homes with unparalleled design and jetliner views. Privately gated, find exemplary exterior finishes include natural stone, cedar cladding and shou sugi-ban. Fleetwood doors and windows accentuate the openness of the home, seamlessly integrating external terraces, pool decks and landscaping. A chef’s kitchen showcases Calcutta porcelain counters and custom white oak cabinetry. The full entertainer’s bar is located alongside a stunning temperature-controlled wine cellar. Upstairs are four bedrooms, including a 1,200-square-foot primary suite. Designated for full entertainment, the lower level is suitable for family events or fitness alongside a 12+ person cinema and concession area. Situated at the front of the property lies the guest house—a perfect office space, recording studio or guest space.


882 Cassena Road, Naples, FLPrivate and gated, this home has it all. Enjoy a professional high-end kitchen, a full butler’s pantry, dual offices, dual laundry rooms, an elevator, two primary suites and soaring 12-foot ceilings. One primary suit boasts custom-designed closets, a steam shower, a separate tub and a smart commode. Each additional bedroom provides a full bathroom. Outside, find a salt-water pool and spa, a screened lanai with a built-in grill, a pizza oven direct from Italy and more. Shantel Shimkus is representing the offering.


14 Sullivan Road, Sandisfield, Berkshire County, MAListed by Eric Rollo, this home, known as Atwater, boasts a living room that opens out to a deck with a fire pit, providing exquisite indoor-outdoor living. This rare, private waterfront retreat is in the heart of the Berkshires, set on more than 321 acres with its own 33-acre pond. A host-ready chef’s kitchen features a Wolf range and Vermont marble countertops. A guesthouse, Airstream and bunkhouse offer additional accommodations, allowing up to 20 guests. Additional outdoor amenities include a boathouse, 3 docks, a beach, a deep-water swim area, an outdoor soaking tub and a horse paddock.

For more information on available listings, visit TheAgencyRE.com.

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