A new home remodel opens a kitchen and dining room into the garden, creating a welcoming entertaining space

Biology professors Anne Calof and Arthur Lander wanted better access to their garden when they sat down with architect Walter Metez to discuss the renovation of their 1940 cottage in Laguna Beach, California.

The garden had attracted the couple to the house in the first place. Both had come from colder climates where year-round gardening wasn’t possible. Among the home’s defects was poor circulation as a result of bedrooms that functioned as hallways.

Metez corrected this with a light-filled gallery linking the bedrooms to the living and dining areas. Generous built-in shelving allows the hallway to double as a library.

He reinforced the connection to the garden with walls of glass and a series of sloped ceilings that push you toward the light and the view.

The space that is now the concrete patio was once in the shadow of the home’s eaves, which blocked any view of the hills in the distance. Now, through the clerestory windows above the sliding glass doors, “you can see the sky and the trees soaring up into it,” Lander says.

Next: See the floorplan

Calof and Lander often entertain in the garden. “Arthur cooks fancy things that have to be prepared at the last minute,” Calof says, so it is critical that the kitchen is open or he would never see his guests.

“We open up the sliding doors, and the whole space flows together ― from kitchen to dining room to patio to garden.”

This kind of indoor-outdoor flow is possible because the lightweight, open furnishings create minimal visual or physical barriers between the interior and exterior.

Built-ins free up space and eliminate the need for lots of furniture. “Here, we feel like we are living outdoors all the time,” Calof adds.

Design: Walter Metez, Walter Metez Architects, Laguna Beach, CA (949/499-4922)