Outdoor living spaces come standard in balmy Florida, where lounging poolside and dining al fresco are part of everyday life. But in The Reality House, those requisite spaces aren't quite where you'd expect. Case in point: The pool isn't in the backyard. And while there's an intimate front patio cozying up to the front door, it's only an appetizer for the fabulous fresh air sanctuary that lies deeper within the heart of the floor plan.
“Whereas most houses have a view orientation to the back, this house exploits its best side,” says Don Hempel, a vice president of Issa Homes, speaking of the west elevation, which faces a tranquil pond. A shaded loggia off the main kitchen and family room offers the perfect vantage point for watching the sunset over the water.
This outdoor terrace is also visible and accessible (at grade) from the study at the north end of the home and from the second-generation suite for grandparents at the south end. Nearly every room in the house seems drawn toward this west-facing view, in the way that sunflowers naturally orient their gaze toward the sun.
But it's not just nature in all its glory that makes the side-porch design a winner. It has practical merits, too. “People are more likely to use side porches than front porches,” says Nagle, mainly because they don't feel like their lives are on display. “In our research, we encountered one family where Grandpa smoked and his daughter wouldn't allow it in the house. He spent much of his day on a side porch with a TV. Since they don't get out as often, elderly people need access to outdoor space. And that space needs to be easy to reach—no big stairways.”