Growing up in New York City, the outdoor space I enjoyed was limited to crawling out the window of my sisters’ bedroom onto the half terrace we shared with the neighboring apartment.
Yes…this is true. The landlord had allowed us to take a space from the one-bedroom apartment next door, leaving it as a studio with a terrace door leading to a great outdoor space. The space was divided for us with a wood fence…but no proper access! Needless to say, this made for many fun teenage experiences on the second-floor terrace overlooking Third Avenue in the East 60s. This was in fact our window to the world!
As for enjoying the outdoors as a family, we went to our little country house in Rockland County every weekend. It was not much more than a shack when my parents bought it in 1967 but after years of my dad’s labor of love and pride…we made the most amazing memories of my childhood celebrating meals, parties and hiking in the woods…all on our property.
My Portuguese Aunts, Uncles and Cousins who also raised their families in Manhattan would visit for a Saturday or Sunday each weekend in the summer. The smell of sardines still brings me back to my Uncle Tony’s cooking in a small grill on the pavement.
We had picnics on blankets, picnic tables on the driveway (we were way back in the woods!) and lots of seating and hammocks in the yard. Wherever we could, my mom would set up a table to enjoy a family meal.
When visiting Portugal every few years, the family would gather in the Quintal (I guess the equivalent of an outdoor patio. This was their outdoor living room.)
As I grew to own my own homes, I understood the beauty in Outdoor Living. As soon as I was able to afford outdoor furniture, that’s what I invested in! A dining table, chairs and umbrella and I was set.
Then came the melamine dinnerware that allowed me to be somewhat stylish outdoors and of course I added flowers to the table. Then there were outdoor pillows, and outdoor rugs and everything else I could imagine one might need when dining al fresco.
Naturally, having a house at the beach is as much about being close to the beach as it is having the ability to live outdoors.
The Beach Home Life is how we live inside and outside of our beach houses. It’s a feeling and a place we can always call home.