Residential rooftops often have the sole function of protecting a home from the elements – but with a little imagination, many could be transformed into spacious open-air retreats that add a whole new level to your property. From the art school and exhibition centre perched atop the Unité d'Habitation building in Marseille, to the exclusive Bar 54 overlooking the Manhattan skyline in New York, there's no shortage of international inspiration. Here are some of the finest ways to make the best of your rooftop space at home.
With no neighbouring buildings or trees to cast shadows, rooftops are sun traps all day long, making them the perfect place for a swimming pool and a few sun loungers. Not only can you soak up the warmth while you do your laps, but you'll also have a beautiful view to enjoy. Take inspiration from the Berkeley rooftop pool in London, which features white-and-gold mosaic décor, striking arches and poolside loungers. Alternatively, channel the Sydney Park Hyatt's style by dotting shaded cabanas and lush green plants around a wooden sun deck.
Breezy bars perched high above a cosmopolitan cityscape can be found in trendy spots all over the world, from Ozone's terrace in Hong Kong, to the Skye Bar in Sao Paulo. It doesn't take much to replicate this on a much smaller scale. Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber made use of handsome teak couches, soft linen pillows and a white brick fireplace to transform their rooftop space in Baja, Mexico. Simply add a glass bar and some custom-designed bar stools and you'll have the perfect place to sip mojitos and watch the world go by.
Filling your rooftop with lush tropical greenery can be especially appealing if you live in a city and want to create your own natural haven. The Roof Gardens in London have even gone so far as to individually theme their three gardens in Spanish, Tudor and English Woodland styles. Adding some light features, such as jewelled Moroccan lanterns, will ensure that you're able to enjoy your rooftop oasis under the stars once the sun goes down.
Al fresco dining
Keep things casual with a barbecue and rattan sofas, or install an Italian volcanic table for a Mediterranean vibe. A shaded gazebo area is useful for keeping the glare of the sun off the food, while also providing guests with a place to cool down. Alternatively, you could opt for vintage bistro furniture and create a provincial French feel, or up the comfort factor with some handwoven lounge chairs. You'll never want to return to the dining room after hosting a party on a beautiful outdoor rooftop at sunset.
If you're on the hunt for a property with a versatile rooftop space to call your own, then contact Engel & Völkers today. Our global portfolio of luxury properties features everything from idyllic private villas in southern Europe to penthouse apartments in the United States, so you're certain to find an enchanting new home with an equally spectacular view.