Picture the automotive equivalent of opening your house to summer, and you’re close to envisioning me folding back the top of the classic ‘65 Mustang convertible I bought when I graduated college. June warmed the air, sun filled the sky and I couldn’t resist that cherry-red car with its roof opened to the season. It was bliss—until it wasn’t. By October, oil leaked everywhere, and the engine coughed like my uncle Irv. I sold the lemon and learned two valuable lessons: (1) always look under the hood, and (2) beware of summer—it can inspire daring moves. 

For those similarly seduced by summer (which is to say everyone), there are many ways to embrace it that won’t leave you stranded on a freeway. Take your home, for example. How does it celebrate the season?

For five of the homes featured in the following pages, it’s all about what’s out back. Sparkling pools and stylish pool houses create summer sanctuaries mere steps from the back door. For a remodeled ‘30s house, architect Warren Lloyd fashioned a new courtyard that opens the dwelling to relaxed outdoor living all season long. Designer Hillary Taylor conjured a Greek Revival home that’s primarily one-room deep, allowing garden views and sunlight to mingle freely with the interior’s fresh details and luxurious layers. Natural light and rich textures define a Holladay home’s ranch-style remodel, courtesy of designer Catherine Goodsell. And in Park City, architect Scott Jaffa let a lush, wooded hillside drive his design of a modern home engulfed in mountain views.  

Need more? Then turn to our picks of gorgeous greens, cool outdoor furnishings, refreshing recipes and countless design ideas for you and your summer-charmed home. 

Enjoy the ride.

Executive Editor Brad Mee @mrbradmee

This editor’s note was included in our Summer 2021 print issue. The magazine is available on July 1st.

Photo by Lindsay Salazar.