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One of the hottest trends in interior design today is blended living space. Blurring the boundaries between inside and outside is especially desirable in the beautiful Napa Valley. Most times of the year, we live in a climate that is absolutely perfect for it. We can strive to establish a strong connection between indoor spaces and the natural environment.

In addition to the added air, light and sun, it creates a visual impression of larger and more open space. In addition, the right products and installation have the potential to lower your heating and cooling bills, (helping the environment!) and reduce outside noise. Dissolving the boundaries between indoor and out is also modern and calming.

And, it’s not as difficult to achieve as you might think. One needn’t be building a home from the ground up to acquire this look.

Depending on the orientation of your home to its courtyard, deck, patio, view, or yard, you can expand and bring nature and the outside into your kitchen, living room, dining room or bedroom with large windows or a variety of new door products on the market.

A wall of windows is a great way to bring the view, but not the weather, of the outside in. Easily movable doors can expand livable space to the outdoors seamlessly. Enclosing an area with sliding or folding windows allows you flexibility in how you use and experience the space depending on the season, the occasion, or just your mood. When choosing a large-opening door, your choices are virtually limitless.

You might be surprised at how many types of moving glass walls and doors are on the market today. In addition to sliding glass doors, French doors, and pocket and stacking glass walls, there are bi-fold glass walls that operate by each panel folding on top of the adjacent panel to open. A fun and unusual idea with an urban industrial chic vibe is a glass garage door that opens overhead.

If you can’t incorporate a whole wall of glass, think smaller. There are many areas in the home that would benefit from the features of a folding wall system, but may not have space to accommodate such a large opening.

You can blend your living room extend and your terrace by installing retractable glass walls or pivoting, folding or louvered doors to unite inside and outside. Sliding walls can also make your deck an extension of your living room and can be retracted in good weather and closed during inclement weather.

Open air dining can be achieved by using the same techniques in the kitchen. And, pocket doors installed on the exterior walls in your bedroom can open the outside to you beautifully.

If privacy is a concern, a modest wall or shrubbery can be installed between your home and the street or neighboring property.

Blending living spaces also refers to bringing the inside out. If we are lucky enough to have seating or dining area outside, your existing outdoor spaces can be made more livable by adding a screened porch or a pergola shaded seating area to enhance outdoor entertaining. An awning over an outdoor dining space creates a lovely picnic area year round. And a fire pit is always a homey touch.

It’s not that difficult or expensive to create blended living spaces and Napa Valley is the perfect place to bring that feature into your home.

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Deborah Macdonald is the owner of Textured Design Napa, an interior design firm. Contact Deborah at 707-255-0246, Deborah@textureddesignnapa.com, www.textureddesignnapa.com.

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