You Won't Believe This Indoor-Outdoor Hangout Is Built Under a Home

This homeowner decked out her Connecticut backyard with a saltwater pool and rooms for casual living and dining. See how this space, built under their home, came together.

It’s part open-air living room, part cabana, and part federally mandated flood elevation. Homeowner Gaelle Dudley calls it the loggia, and this bonus space below her Fairfield, CT, home is where you’ll find her and her family on all but the coldest days.

indoor-outdoor loggia with teak walls
Annie Schlechter

Before the Dudleys moved here, Hurricane Sandy roared through the area. Houses being rebuilt were raised off the ground to let water flow through should another natural disaster strike. But the builder from Love Where You Live Homes had an inspired suggestion: Why make the space only tall enough to be compliant when another few feet would make it truly usable?

For Gaelle, who a few years back turned a side passion for designing container plantings and styling friends’ porches into a full-fledged design business, this space channels both her innate talents and her family’s lifestyle goals. “Down here we feel like we’re living in California,” she says.

loggia dining area with half stone wall
Annie Schlechter

Clad in cedar with teak-and-galvanized-metal walls and bluestone floors, the structure strikes Gaelle’s signature mix of industrial and natural. Wide, slatted barn-style doors access the yard, pool, and outdoor shower. A mix of weathered, easy-care furniture—metal and wicker chairs around the dining table and a sectional slipcovered in outdoor fabric—keeps the 700-square-foot hangout guest-friendly. Gaelle layers in her favorite bright yellow, chunky woven seagrass, and plenty of seashells to create her take on coastal style.

lounge area dining with towel cubbies
Annie Schlechter

A large cabinet with cubbies—another vintage find—was originally for wine storage. Now it holds rolled beach towels, ready for grabbing on the way out the door. The space “fills our bucket,” Gaelle says. “I love a warm, rainy night; the kids in the pool; dogs sleeping by the couch; and grown-ups playing card games inside.”

rolling console with nantucket framed print
Annie Schlechter

A rolling console holds snacks and dishware so Gaelle is always ready for guests. There's a shower under the stairs that gets regular use. A floor of river rock and pavers drains water quickly.

Just outside the loggia is a saltwater pool and patio. The outdoor play area is connected to the indoor casual living and dining spaces with a cedar pergola. The tall structure helps the patio feel like another room. It's safe to say Gaelle, Alex, and their two sons have plenty of space in their new home to make fun summer memories.

Updated by
Stacy Kunstel

Stacy Kunstel is a former regional editor of Meredith Group's Home magazines. She regularly scouts locations and creates content for Traditional Home, Better Homes & Gardens, and other magazines. Prior to working for Meredith Group, she was an editor for New England Home. She is also the co-founder of Dunes & Duchess, a design and lighting business. She is an expert in interior design, a writer, a public speaker, and a businesswoman. She is often asked to work as a speaker for the Design Influencers Conference, the annual Luxury Home Design Summit, and the New England Design Hall of Fame. Stacy graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor of science in journalism.

and
Monika Biegler Eyers
Headshot of editor Monika Biegler Eyers

Monika Biegler Eyers is the East Coast Editor of Better Homes & Gardens magazine, where she covers interior design. She has 20 years' experience as an editor in the home space, beginning on staff at Traditional Home magazine, then becoming part of the founding editorial team of Domino, where she was the Senior Market Editor of Design. From there she went on to freelance for publications including, among others, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Conde Nast Living, Martha Stewart Living, Bon Appetit, and Living Etc., before joining Better Homes & Gardens. Her focus has always been on bridging the gap between elevated design and everyday living. She has appeared as a design expert on ABC's Good Morning America, CBS' The Early Show, CNN's Open House and HGTV. Her work has also appeared in the books Design*Sponge at Home (Artisan) and Domino: The Book of Decorating (Simon & Schuster).

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