Bring the Indoors Outside: the California Room Trend

If you are house-hunting and find yourself looking at new or recently developed homes in the Bay Area, you may have seen properties advertised to have a “California Room,” but what exactly is a California room?

California room or luxury porch image from Pixabay
Image by andre casti from Pixabay

What is a California Room?

Sometimes when a house has beautiful views, large sunny windows, and plenty of access to outdoor spaces we might promote it as “bringing the outdoors in.” With the popular trend of California Rooms, however, Bay Area new homes are bringing the indoors outside!

Outdoor living features are as old as the art of architecture itself. The California room is very similar to the classical loggia. It is a living and entertaining space open to the outdoors on at least one side and always covered by a roof. More protected than a lanai, not fully enclosed like a sunroom, and more multi-purpose than a patio, the California room is a luxury space that can be described as a hybrid between a porch and a room.

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Convent tear down

Holy names convent locationA couple of weeks ago, my family and I were up at the old Jesuit Novitiate, Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, visiting my uncle, and saw the demolition of the nearby Holy Names Sisters old convent as we left.

The sisters’ property is where the wonderful Casa Maria Montessori School stood and has been near and dear to our now grown kids and to us.  It was a very loving environment and the expansive grounds provided a myriad of exploration opportunities for the youngsters.

Additionally, though, of course we are all very sympathetic to the nuns need to sell the land to support the elderly members of their community. Sadly for them, the elderly sisters had to be moved not entirely together, but with one group going to one location and another going elsewhere.  (I would love to see a larger Catholic retirement home in the San Jose area that could accommodate them and others, and have blogged about that elsewhere.   Such a place would have provided an alternative that could have kept the sisters together.  Mercy Care & Retirement Center in Oakland is such a place….)

While the houses will be beautiful, no doubt, and perhaps I will be fortunate enough to sell one or more of them, even so, it’s hard to see the convent and grounds get torn up. Below are a few photos that my husband, Jim, took from that day.

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