“We have the most glorious weather on the planet, so joining indoor and outdoor living spaces was my must,” says Maria Demme, a broker whose company, Ideal Properties, is part of the Southern California boutique agency Pantanella & Partners. Of course, when shopping for a house, you may have to think outside the box—literally—as Demme did. “Originally, my house had a side door but no back door, which really impeded access to the backyard,” she says. “So I turned a back window into a door. The window already had a header so it was a simple project.” Demme knew she’d made a smart decision when she threw her housewarming. “The party flowed beautifully from the house to the yard,” she says.