Patio and Inspiration

I love outdoor spaces. The fact that our little southwestern house has an enclosed front patio and a back patio makes me very happy. I just wish I had furniture to fill them with. Right now our back patio has a turtle baby pool, a makeshift wood and PVC pipe shelf (that I am actually very grateful for) and an old bench that needs its screws tightened. Last week I threw our old futon mattress out there for me to hang out on while Maja swims. I would love to cover it with some fun bright outdoor fabric so I don't have to worry about it so much. Another thing I would love would be a canvas awning, like this one, to shade our west facing patio in the afternoon, plus it would add so much fun color!
The rest of these pictures are some inspiration for myself. I have been looking at small house/ cottage house plans by Ross Chapin, and many of his homes have built in eating areas. Honestly, I have a love-hate relationship with built in's. I love how they save space, but I don't know if a brood of children would try to kill eachother. I guess they would get used to it. These pictures from Apartment Therapy show that this space can be beautiful and happy, not cranky and miserable!

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