Hearth & Home

Photo courtesy: ©2015 Patrick Zaremba, Zaremba & Company; www.zarembaandco.com. George Dzahristos, Photographer.

Special Section: The Outdoor Room Design Ideas


We invite you to submit photos and descriptions of your Outdoor Room projects for publication in future issues of Hearth & Home. Please visit www.theoutdoorroom.com and click on the Submit Your Outdoor Room Project tab to fill out the project information sheet and upload photos.


The Outdoor Room is alive and well and currently appearing in backyards from Dallas to Des Moines, San Francisco to Sandusky. Its incarnations may be as varied as the regions themselves, but these days, no matter whether someone has a postage-stamp-patio or sprawling property, a super-restricted or super-sized budget, whether the weather is pleasant year-round or for just a few months, nearly every homeowner aspires to have their own version of an outdoor retreat in their yard.

The outdoor living spaces shown on the pages of Hearth & Home’s second annual Outdoor Room Design Ideas section reflect just how pervasive the concept has become, and how highly personal the interpretations.

The projects featured here – chosen from scores submitted by our readers – are examples of well-designed Outdoor Rooms from all parts of the country, in a wide range of scope and sizes. They offer a glimpse into some of the key trends and elements being implemented by those on the front lines of Outdoor Room design – architects, landscape architects, builders, designers, and specialty retailers.

This Special 32-Page Section is available as a free PDF to all readers of Hearth & Home. Reprint it as a giveaway to your customers, and let them find elements of design within its pages that will aid them in creating their perfect Outdoor Room.


Quick Links

Ron Wellander Decorating Den Interiors (1) David Thorne
Bayview Landscape Architecture Katherine Field and Associates The Stove Pipe Company
Poulos + Schmid Design Group Decorating Den Interiors (2) Texas Custom Patios
Patio and Hearth Shop Zeterre Landscape Architecture AMS Landscape Design Studios
Beechwood Landscape
Architecture & Construction
Antique Brick Outdoors Envision Landscape Studio
The Pool Artist Matthew Murrey Design Galbraith and Associates
Geoscape Coastroad Hearth & Patio One Specialty
Canin Associates Stewart/HG Bay Area Design and Landscape
Lindgren Landscape Anne Attinger Rodney Robinson
Landscape Architects

Rancher’s Rustic Retreat

Photos Courtesy: ©2015 Sue Myers Smith, Sue Myers Smith Photography; www.smsmithphotography.com.

The clients’ country ranch was the inspiration for the outdoor living space at their house “in town.”

To achieve this, landscape architect Ron Wellander divided the space into a series of smaller rooms on two different levels. A dining room sits on the upper deck, sheltered by the house on three sides. The unique flooring in this area is made from multi-colored, quarried-slate laminate tiles, a single course of which is carried onto the lower concrete terrace to tie the spaces together.

The outdoor kitchen in the space is designed with the husband – an avid outdoor cook – in mind, and its rustic elements really help to convey the ranch feel. The L-shaped work area is equipped with a top-of-the-line, stainless-steel grill, and appliances housed in an island made from re-purposed barn wood and “rusty” Cor-ten steel, with two-in. thick, honed bluestone counters.

The rusty look is continued with inset panels of Cor-ten steel in the door fronts of the built-in stainless-steel cabinets.

Landscape Architect: Ron Wellander
Company: Ron Wellander Landscape Architect, Sonoma, CA
Project Size: 1,250 sq. ft.
Materials: Floor – concrete, slate; Outdoor Kitchen Structure Ceiling – barn wood; Island Counter – bluestone; Island Base – barn wood, Cor-Ten steel
Brands: Grill – Twin Eagles; Refrigerator – Summit; Cabinets – Danver Stainless Steel Cabinetry; Sink – Signature Hardware; Heater – Infratech Dual Element 33-in. Electric Comfort Heater
Budget: $69,573

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Sitting Pretty

Photos Courtesy: ©2015 Anice Hoachlander, HD Photos.

The homeowners were pleased with their newly constructed screened porch, however, its overall narrow footprint made it challenging to come up with a pretty-yet-functional floorplan. Designer Shelley Rodner was tasked with creating a plan that would enable the homeowners to enjoy meals on the porch, but also have an area where they could stretch out and relax.

Rodner’s solution was to create a design with two “cluster groups.” The first, for dining, features a round table with four wicker chairs. Matching deep-cushioned wicker rockers, sofa, and loveseat, as well as coordinating side- and coffee-tables, were placed in a second cluster group for sitting and relaxing. This living space is beautifully accessorized with pillows, lamps and an area rug, just as an indoor living room would be.

The dark furnishings and rug are contrasted by the brightness of the porch’s white ceiling, posts and rails, and lighter wood floor. Red accent colors, and a variety of subtle patterns throughout the space, add visual interest, as does an interesting pattern of gray-painted panels that runs the length of the porch near the ceiling on two walls. Lighting sconces mounted in every other panel are both pretty and practical.

Designer: Shelley Rodner
Company: Decorating Den Interiors/Shelley Rodner, Bethany Beach, DE
Website: www.decdens.com/srodner
Project Size: 50 sq. ft.
Brands: Furniture – Summer Classics; Lighting – Uttermost; Rug – Capel Rugs
Budget: $95,000

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Mid-Century Modern

Photos Courtesy: ©2015 Treve Johnson Photography; www.archive.treve.com.

Landscape architect David Thorne teamed up with the property’s architect-homeowner on this exterior update. The goal was to better integrate the outdoor areas with the home’s mid-century modern architecture, and provide more living space for the young family.

A custom-designed water feature, visible through a floor-to-ceiling window on axis with the front door, beckons guests outside and encourages flow between the interior kitchen and Great Room, and the adjacent Outdoor Rooms. The elongated, horizontal planes of the space, particularly the seat walls, modern minimalist fireplace, and grid patterns in the patio, repeat the clean, contemporary lines of the house architecture.

Thorne also created a series of tiered gardens – both flowering and edible – on the steep hillside property. The gardens’ olive, fig and citrus trees, as well as an assortment of herbs, are within easy reach of the stucco-and-stone outdoor kitchen. Accent lighting enhances the outdoor space with a warm and inviting glow at night.

Landscape Architect: David Thorne
Company: David Thorne Landscape Architect, Oakland, CA
Website: www.thornela.com
Other Contributors: Architect – April Gruber, AG Design Studio
Project Size: 3,734 sq. ft.
Materials: stucco, ledgestone, Ipe wood
Brands: Gas Grill and Sideburner – Lynx; Kamado Grill – Big Green Egg
Budget: Not Available

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Award-Winning Outdoor Room

Photos Courtesy: ©2015 Tim Williams; www.timwilliamsphoto.com.

This upscale outdoor space won awards from both the New York State Nursery and Landscape Association and the Long Island Nursery and Landscape Association. The project included a swimming pool and spa; a poolside outdoor kitchen under a solid-roof pavilion, and an outdoor seating area around a custom fire table – in addition to beautiful landscaping.

Although every part of the space is elegantly designed, the fire elements make it extra-special. A 24 ft. linear fire feature sits atop a raised wall with a waterfall that spills into the pool; the flames shimmer on the water at night for ambiance. A hydrangea-lined bluestone walkway leads to the adjacent fire pit area. The unique, 9 ft.-long by 6 ft.-wide, fire pit-coffee table has a large, square, natural-gas custom burner in the center. Its gray, cut-glass medium matches the color of the tabletop, a 2 in. thick Pennsylvania bluestone with rock-faced edge. Stone veneer, matching the stone on the residence, is used on the fire table base, outdoor kitchen, and fire-feature wall.

Landscape Architect: Greg Marett
Company: Bayview Landscape Architecture, Roslyn, NY
Website: www.bayviewla.com
Project Size: 1,000 sq. ft.
Materials: Floor – cream-colored Travertine with bluestone border; Outdoor Kitchen and Fire Table Base – stone veneer; Fire Table Top – 2-in. rock faced Pennsylvania bluestone
Brands: Stone Veneer – Cultured Stone; Furniture – Frontgate
Budget: $500,000

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Room to Roost

Photos Courtesy: ©2015 Katherine Field and Associates.

To look at this sophisticated outdoor living space, one would never guess it used to be an abandoned, four-acre chicken farm. The new owners hoped to maintain the rural character of the historic Greek Revival farm, while turning it into an updated oasis for their family of six.

The design features a series of Outdoor Rooms, including a pergola-covered outdoor kitchen, fireplace and seating area, a negative-edge pool and spa area, and an expansive play area for the kids. An enclosed pool house is designed for fun and features a bar, pool table, and two folding walls that open the room fully to the adjacent pergola and pool deck.

Though the overall look is polished, the materials used throughout the space – rough-sawn red cedar and timber-frame construction on the pergola, local stone on the pool, and stained wood beams, ceiling and trim work in the pool house – are a nod to the farm’s rustic heritage.

Company: Katherine Field and Associates, Newport, RI
Website: www.katherinefield.com
Project Size: 625 sq. ft.
Materials: Fireplace – fieldstone; Pergola – rough sawn red cedar with bronze purlins
Brands: Grill and Outdoor Refrigerator – Viking Range; Furnishings – Country Casual, Perennials Fabric, Sutherland Teak; Hardware – Coastal Bronze, Rocky
Mountain Hardware; Lighting – BK Lighting, Beachside Lighting, Bega Lighting, Hunza
Budget: Not Available

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Canadian Compact

Photo Courtesy: ©2015 Bernie Huizing.

This Outdoor Room may be only 20 sq. ft. in size, but it gets the job done and looks great doing it. The project called for revamping an existing patio and brick wall so the new space looked like it was always there. Outdoor Room designer Bernie Huizing, owner of The Stove Pipe Company retail store, added a fireplace to the space, framing the new structure in the center of the curved wall.

Due to the constraints of the wall, the new fireplace had to be built at a raised height, a design necessity that actually resulted in a custom look. The fireplace is covered in cultured stone and is the focal point of the petite patio.

An old gas barbecue, originally built into the brick wall, was removed and replaced with an infrared grill that maintains searing cooking temperatures even in Canadian winters. All-weather wicker furniture and plant-filled urns complete the space and add softness.

Designer: Bernie Huizing
Company: The Stove Pipe Company, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Website: www.thestovepipecompany.com
Project Size: 20 sq. ft.
Materials: Fireplace – Boral cultured stone, Country Ledgestone, Black Rundle
Brands: Fireplace – Heatilator, Carolina36; Grill – Saber; Furniture – Outdoor GreatRoom Company, Cabana Collection
Budget: $10,700

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Sophisticated Summer Camp

Photos Courtesy: ©2015 Alexander Photography Studios; www.alexanderphotogallery.com.

What started as a request for a simple roof over an existing grill turned into a majestic Outdoor Room with the look of a modern, luxury resort. The 700 sq. ft. entertainment pavilion shelters an outdoor kitchen, a bar counter with pendant lighting, a dining area and sitting area.

The space has a dramatic tray-style, beadboard ceiling with recessed lights, sleek outdoor cabinetry, ceramic flooring and backsplash, and a contemporary, neutral palette accented with blue and yellow. Floor-to-ceiling shutters in the dining area add visual interest and can be closed for more protection from the elements. A custom water-wall is a beautiful and melodic focal point in the sitting area.

Architect Gregory Schmid carefully sited the new pavilion to preserve the surrounding mature trees and to complement the adjacent structures already on the property – a gazebo with pool and fountains, and a custom treehouse complete with rope bridge, slides, HVAC system, and its own kitchen and bathroom! The well-appointed landscape also integrates terraces, a putting green, baseball field, fish ponds, and views of the neighboring horse farm.

Architect: Gregory L. Schmid
Company: Poulos + Schmid Design Group, Sandusky, OH
Website: www.psdg.us
Other Contributors: Builder – Robert Schaefer, Robert Schaefer Construction Co.
Project Size: 945 sq. ft.
Materials: Floor – porcelain ceramic; Ceiling – PVC beadboard;
Island Countertop – Quartz
Brands: Grill – Wolf; Exhaust Hood – Best Range Hoods; Water Feature – Bluworld of Water; Stone Veneer and Steps – Northern Ohio Cut Stone; Cabinetry – Werever Outdoor Cabinets; Quartz Countertops – Traditional Marble & Granite; Porcelain Ceramic Tile – StonePeak Ceramics; Beadboard Ceiling – Azek Building Products; Bahama Shutters – Exterior Solutions; Lighting – Lithonia Lighting, BEGA, Hydrel, Edge Lighting, ConTech Lighting
Budget: $270,000

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Perfect Pool House

Photos Courtesy: ©2015 Anice Hoachlander, HD Photos; www.hdphoto.com.

“A Shack.” That’s how the homeowners described the condition of the original pool house when they bought their home. They requested that its cement foundation and support system be reused in the renovation, but otherwise wanted a total redo to match the beauty and sophistication of the rest of their home.

Designer Shelley Rodner did just that. She replaced the “eyesore” raised solar panels with new ones integrated into the roofline to heat the pool. Custom-built side panels on the exterior walls, crafted in a Chippendale design, look like artwork and are a dramatic improvement over the previous dated and worn lattice panels.

The new panels allow light and breezes to fill the space and are positioned high enough to allow for placement of the collection of luxury outdoor furniture.

In another example of pretty practicality, Rodner included a solid wall within the pool house to create a storage area for the pool mechanics. This not only kept the equipment out of sight, it helped to cut down on the noise.

Designer: Shelley Rodner
Company: Decorating Den Interiors/Shelley Rodner, Bethany Beach, DE
Website: www.decdens.com/srodner
Project Size: 45 sq. ft.
Materials: Hardy Plank Board
Brands: Furniture – Summer Classics; Rugs – Capel Rugs;
Lighting – Uttermost
Budget: $65,000

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Fantastic Fireplace

Photos Courtesy: ©2015 TKImages; www.tkimages.com.

A dramatic wood-burning fireplace is the focal point of this outdoor living space. It anchors one end of the gabled pavilion, soaring to the height of the vaulted ceiling. Though beautiful, this massive fireplace did create engineering and masonry challenges on the project.

“The manufactured beam running through the back of the fireplace required many hours of masonry work to make it look just perfect,” says builder Ryan Guikema.

That kind of attention to detail is evident in the entire Outdoor Room. The stone on the fireplace is carried through on the outdoor kitchen island and the seat wall. The seat wall itself is finished with cast-stone caps and low-voltage lighting; it surrounds the entire project to define the perimeter of the room.

The ceiling of the pavilion is made of tongue-and-groove pine that has been white-washed to contrast with the darker cedar beams. There are also curved corbels, rack-bracing to match the beams, and columns finished in cedar.

Builder: Ryan Guikema
Company: Texas Custom Patios, Stafford, TX
Website: www.texascustompatios.com
Project Size: 600 sq. ft.
Materials: Ceiling – tongue and groove pine; Fireplace – stone; Floor – stone tile; Island Base – stone; Island Counter – granite; Pergola – cedar
Brands: RON30 Grill, Refrigerator, and Outdoor Kitchen Built-in Accessories – Renaissance Cooking Systems
Budget: $94,800

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Research Project

Photo Courtesy: ©2015 Partha Daughtridge.

When Partha and Bill Daughtridge opened the Patio and Hearth Shop retail store in 2009, they had lots of experience in the gas industry, thanks to their family’s fourth-generation business, Daughtridge Gas Company. But they had little experience in the outdoor living industry. They decided if they were going to sell the Outdoor Room, they had to learn as much about it as possible.

So, in the name of research – and relaxation – they created their own outdoor oasis. “We wanted to learn and experience as much as possible about the process of creating an Outdoor Room and about the products we sold,” says Partha.

They partnered with general contractors, landscape designers, masons, and their own on-staff gas experts to create a space that is as beautiful as it is functional. The outdoor kitchen, planned with input from Bill, the chief griller, is outfitted with a gas grill, kamado, sideburner and sink, and covered with a solid roof that’s vented to remove smoke.

The kitchen island bases, as well as the fireplace, are crafted from cement fiberglass modular pieces finished with cultured stone. A gas fire pit table is featured in the seating area near the fireplace, and gaslights add ambience and visual warmth to the space. The adjacent rose garden, complete with sculptural element, creates a grand entry way to the Outdoor Room.

“Through my own experience with creating and maintaining an Outdoor Room, I have been able to give my customers better service and advice,” says Partha. “Our patio has become another ‘showroom’ for our store.”

Designer/Retailer: Partha Daughtridge
Company: Patio and Hearth Shop/Daughtridge Gas Company, Greenville, NC
Website: www.patioandhearthshop.com
Other Contributors: General Contractor – Smithson; Landscaping – Vinson Landscaping, Tom Moss Landscape Designs; Rose Gardens - Witherspoon Rose Culture
Project Size: 900 sq. ft.
Materials: Ceiling – Cedar frame and metal roofing; Fireplace - stone and cultured stone; Floor – concrete;
Island Base – Eldorado Outdoor concrete-fiberglass cabinets; Counters – Absolute Black leathered granite on grilling island, polished Volcano Granite on bar; Retaining Walls – concrete stone with bluestone caps
Brands: Gas Infrared Heater – Twin Eagles; Kamado Grill –  Primo; Fireplace Fascia – Omega Mantels of Stone; Fireplace – FireRock Fireplaces; Gas Logs – R H Peterson Co; Gas Lights – Legendary Lighting; Furniture – Summer Classics, Whitecraft, OW Lee, Ancient Mosaics, Piage and Pieta, Vintage Studio
Budget: $90,000

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Plant Playground

Photos Courtesy: ©2015 Mitch Maher and Jarrod Baumann.

The homeowner, a plant biologist with a passion for cacti, succulents, and citrus plants, asked landscape architect Jarrod Baumann to convert her old country-style garden into a modern landscape that better complemented her contemporary home. What resulted from their collaboration of ideas is what Baumann calls a “plant playground.”

The space is an explosion of rich colors, textures, unusual plant combinations, creative hardscapes, numerous garden sculptures, and other unique elements that combine in an exceptional outdoor living environment.

A large, “wind room” conversation area by the pool is constructed of stainless steel and glass panels etched with botanical motifs. This space incorporates a custom steel fire sculpture and a water feature.

Another water feature – a 100 ft. concrete trough “stream” – descends through four elevations of terraced gardens, under and around a lawn area and bocce court, and ends at a freestanding 6-ft. rock cairn. Each terrace is framed with embossed steel “wave walls.” The wave motif is echoed in a serpentine wall of dry-stacked ledgestone that weaves around a garden of succulents.

An arbor of white powder-coated iron arches and a whimsical patchwork of grass and paving stones stand out from the landscape, as does the stark, white pool and outdoor kitchen area, left unadorned in strong contrast to the lush environment.

Landscape Architect: Jarrod Baumann
Company: Zeterre Landscape Architecture, San Francisco, CA
Website: www.zeterre.com
Project Size: 43,560 sq. ft.
Materials: Fire Pit – steel; Wind House – stainless steel, glass; Wave Walls – embossed steel; Serpentine Wall –
high desert ledgestone; Arbor – powder-coated iron
Budget: Not Available

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Creating a Lifestyle

Photos Courtesy: ©2015 David Guettler, David Guettler Photography; www.guettlerphotography.com.

The client said it best: “I never imagined an exterior renovation could have such a positive impact on how we live and interact as a family.” Considering the renovation included a full-surround infinity pool, an infinity spa framed by recessed fire panels, and a luxurious cabana with all the comforts of home, it’s not surprising the family is doing a lot more living outside.

The cabana is the apex of this alfresco living space. The open-beam, solid-roof structure houses a living area anchored by a fireplace with a large television mounted above the mantel. Just steps away is a dining area and an L-shaped outdoor kitchen with ample prep and serving space, and built-in grill, refrigerator, ice maker and sink.

The dark-stained, exposed beams in the ceiling add contrast to the light earth tones used in the granite counters, limestone flooring, and fireplace and island finishes. Fountains, pottery and a stunning landscape design with specimen trees and plants, complete the space.

Landscape Designer: Drew Sivgals
Company: AMS Landscape Design Studios, Irvine, CA
Website: www.amslandscapedesign.com
Other Contributors: Landscape Contractor - Ryan Suarez, Altera Landscape, Dana Point, CA
Project Size: 4,500 sq. ft.
Materials: Cabana Ceiling – stucco with stained exposed beams; Fireplace – precast hearth; Floor – Tatami limestone; Island Counter – granite; Pool – glass mosaic tile
Brands: Grill and Outdoor Appliances – Lynx; Tatami Limestone – Walker Zanger; Glass Mosaic Tile – Jeffrey Court; Precast Concrete Steps, Caps and Molding – Pacific Stone Design
Budget: $195,000

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Post-Sandy Paradise

Photos Courtesy: ©2015 John Martinelli Photography; www.johnmartinelliphotography.com.

A renovation of this oceanfront home was already underway when Hurricane Sandy hit and decimated the site.

The rebuilt home is now a superb summer retreat, with the outdoor living space taking center stage. At the center is an oval-shaped pool with attached raised spa, both of which incorporate a blue glass bead finish. A pool house, connected to the main home by an overhead breezeway, is a resort-like entertainment center packed with amenities for both fun and relaxation.

Under its covered porch is an outdoor kitchen with plenty of counter space for prep and serving, as well as a bar counter with stools in viewing range of the outdoor television. Inside the pool house is another television, as well as a wet bar, full electronic game room, shower and bath facilities, and more. Comfortable seating and a state-of-the-art sound system are featured both inside and out, and a second-floor deck on the pool house overlooks the entire area. A custom-built, stone-enclosed pizza oven, situated between the pool house and fire pit, is another outdoor cooking option.

Landscape Architect: Steve Chepurny
Company: Beechwood Landscape Architecture & Construction, Southampton, NJ
Website: www.beechwoodlandscape.com
Project Size: 2,200 sq. ft.
Materials: Floor – Travertine; Fire Pit and Fire Wall – Chestnut Grove Veneer Stone; Island Counter – Granite
Brands: Grill and Outdoor Appliances – Alfresco Home;
Pizza Oven – Wildwood Ovens
Budget: $415,000

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Homegating Headquarters

Photos Courtesy: ©2015 Jacob Slaton; www.jacobslaton.com.

The game plan was to create a fun and comfortable outdoor living space for the family to watch Arkansas Razorbacks football games.

Retailer Antique Brick Outdoors designed a 12-by-16-ft. custom pergola over the patio. The space includes a 46-in. fireplace with built-ins for wood storage, a custom Arkansas Razorbacks fireplace screen, and plenty of outdoor furniture that’s comfy enough for a couch potato.

A big-screen television with custom enclosure brings the game to life in the outdoor space. The room is also outfitted with surround sound and dimmable lights.

The result is a winning space with amenities that far exceed any parking-lot tailgate or stadium seat.

“The family hosts many game-day watch parties for family and friends in their new outdoor space,” says Megan Thomas of Antique Brick Outdoors. “They love it and use it more than their indoor living room.”

Company: Antique Brick Outdoors, Little Rock, AR  
Website: www.antiquebrickoutdoors.com
Additional Contributors: Landscaping – Better Lawns & Gardens; Designer – M N’Teriors; Builder – Richard Harp Homes
Project Size: 2,000 sq. ft.
Materials: Fireplace – Choctaw chopped rock; Retaining wall – Anchor retaining wall block; Patio – stained and scored concrete
Brands Used: Retaining wall and other stone products – Antique Brick & Block (sister company to Antique Brick Outdoors); Fireplace – Isokern; Custom Fireplace Screen – Design Specialties; Furniture – Ebel; Emissary; Jatex; Ancient Mosaic; Elaine Smith Pillows; Treasure Garden Umbrella
Budget: Not Available

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It's All in the Details

Photos Courtesy: ©2015 Joe Dodd.

This outdoor living area may be small in size but it’s big on details. Sleek lines and smooth surfaces combine to create a contemporary aesthetic that sets the tone for the space. The two separate rooms are defined by twin custom pergola structures made of aluminum, redwood and shade fabric.

In the outdoor living room, comfy couches offer a view of the linear gas fireplace and television, stacked in a stucco and redwood surround. Opposite on the bluestone and concrete patio is the outdoor kitchen and bar area with built-in grill, sink, refrigerator and pizza oven.

A modern, linear fountain provides the backdrop for the entire space, while string lights link the two rooms together and add some fun. Definitely not fun was a challenging slope on the property near the outdoor kitchen area. It was resolved with 6 ft. deep concrete footings to support the patio, overhead structures and grilling island.

Company: Envision Landscape Studio, San Diego, CA
Website: www.envisionlandscapestudio.com
Project Size: 900 sq. ft.
Materials: Floor – bluestone; Pergola – redwood and aluminum; Ceiling – redwood and shade fabric; Countertop – concrete; Fireplace – stucco and redwood
Brands: Pizza Oven – Margherita Wood Oven, Fontana Ovens and Grills; Grill – Urban Islands
Budget: Not Available

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Six Rooms in One

Photos Courtesy: ©2015 Brian T. Stratton.

The goal was grand: to create a sleek, yet classic-looking home resort with six distinct but cohesive Outdoor Rooms. The design challenges were plenty: trying to fit everything the clients desired within a small lot and, more importantly, securing the pool area to safeguard the family’s two-year-old son.

To accomplish all of the above, landscape architect Brian Stratton divided the yard into separate spaces for a pool; outdoor kitchen and bar; living room; dining room; lawn area; and playground. He cleverly positioned the islands for the bar and outdoor kitchen – complete with built-in grill, sideburner, pizza oven and sink – to create a barrier to the pool area. A small entry gate between the islands sits on center axis with the pool and is the sole access to this area.

A combination of thorny rose bushes and fencing, hidden by white hydrangeas, protects the rest of the pool’s perimeter. On the living room side of the island barriers, a fireplace takes center stage in front of a curved sofa, echoing the lines of the curved raised hearth.

Landscape Architect: Brian T. Stratton
Company: The Pool Artist, Hackettstown, NJ
Website: www.poolartist.com
Other Contributors: Landscape Contractor – James Maka, Maka Landscape Contracting Company
Project Size: 1,900 sq. ft.
Materials: Patio and Pool Coping – Turkish marble with brownstone detailing; Fireplace – limestone natural stone veneer, brownstone detailing, ceramic tile for firebox; Island Base – limestone natural stone veneer; Countertops – brownstone
Brands: Grill, Sideburner, Access Doors – DCS; Outdoor Furniture – Pier 1; Landscape Lighting – Encore Landscape Lighting; Pool Lights – Jandy Pro Series; Plantings – Shemin Landscape Supply
Budget: $210,000

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Classic Meets Cool

Photos Courtesy: ©2015 Derrick Tribbey Photography; www.derricktribbeyphoto.com.

A simple green and white color palette, clean and elegant materials, and a classic lattice pattern are design elements that unify the separate Outdoor Rooms in this polished entertaining space. The geometric lattice design, created by “grouting” paving stones with grass, adds visual interest and softens the hardscape walkways that surround the pool and link one Outdoor Room to the next.

The pattern is also carried through on the Travertine flooring in the living room pavilion. It appears again in the design of an ornamental planting on the fence near the outdoor kitchen and dining pavilion.

Other special elements include a contemporary fireplace with cut-glass medium in the outdoor living room; a mosaic-tiled, raised-wall water feature in the rectilinear swimming pool; and a green-tiled backsplash on the brick outdoor kitchen island.

A new retaining wall and plantings helped to transform the formerly unusable, steeply sloping rear corner of the property into a multi-hole putting green. The green is equipped with lighting, an outdoor fan and surround sound.

Designer: Matthew Murrey
Company: Matthew Murrey Design, Dallas, TX
Website: www.matthewmurrey.com
Project Size: 2,500 sq. ft.
Materials: Floor – Travertine; Pavilion Columns – cast stone; Ceilings – bead board; Outdoor Kitchen Island – brick; Countertop – limestone
Brands: Grill – Twin Eagles; Sink – Blanco; Refrigerator and Ice Maker – U-Line; Fireplace – Lennox
Budget: Not Available

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A Taste of Tuscany in Oregon

Photos Courtesy: ©2015 Lara McCormick, Peerless Images Photography.

Terracotta-colored roofs, Roman-style columns, and pergolas are some of the elements that lend Tuscan style to this expansive outdoor living space. A 20 by 45 ft. swimming pool is at the hub and surrounded by multiple structures that define the separate rooms within the space.

 A 400 sq. ft. open pavilion is the main entertaining center, and home to a fireplace living area and an outdoor kitchen outfitted with a built-in grill, sink, dishwasher, refrigerator and dining counter. The pavilion’s vaulted, tongue-and-groove ceiling over the fireplace seating area features exposed beams and custom ironwork gables with grapevine detail.

The sloped property facilitated the design of the pool/exercise/guest house and provided an opportunity to add a wine cellar to its lower level. A separate pool equipment building is disguised with a fire pit seating area on the rooftop and a pergola extension to blend in as another point of interest. Water features and stepped retaining walls round out the details.

Landscape Architect: John Galbraith
Company: Galbraith and Associates, Medford, OR
Website: www.galbraithla.com
Project Size: 13,700 sq. ft.
Materials: Floor – stamped concrete, cut flagstone; Pavilion – stucco, wood, precast concrete columns, concrete tile roof, ornamental iron gable treatment; Pavilion Ceiling – tongue and groove; Fireplace – precast concrete; Outdoor Kitchen – CMU faced with granite; Countertop – granite
Brands: Grill and Access Doors – DCS; Precast Concrete – Pacific Stone Design
Budget: $500,000

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Year-Round Entertaining Space

Photos Courtesy: ©2015 Ken Duffy.

The owners of this Virginia home wanted an outdoor space to entertain year-round – and bug-free. To that end, landscape design-builder Ken Duffy created a sheltered Outdoor Room with a large stone wall as a wind-break on one side, and a half-wall with decorative wainscoting and permanent screening on the opposite side.

In the open span along the back of the space, recessed electric screens can be closed to keep bugs completely at bay without blocking the view of the circular flagstone patio and seating wall just down the steps outside. This flexible patio can be outfitted with a portable fire pit, an extra dining set, or a cocktail bar, depending on the entertaining needs or season.

The Outdoor Room includes a custom buffet island with built-in refrigerator installed beneath the home’s kitchen window for handy pass-through of food, plates and other necessities. Comfy furnishings, a big-screen outdoor-rated TV, gas fireplace, and two gas heaters complete the year-round entertaining haven – and were especially put to good use during the family’s Super Bowl Party.

Landscape Design-Builder: Ken Duffy, ASLA
Company: Geoscape, Oakton, VA
Website: www.geoscapeinc.com
Project Size: 1,050 sq. ft.
Materials: Ceiling – pine tongue and groove; Floor – composite decking, flagstone; Fireplace – stone
Brands: Gas Fireplace – Napoleon; Television – SunBrite TV; Refrigerator – Danby; Gas Heaters – Bromic Heating; Electric Screens – Phantom Screens; Composite Decking – Timbertech; Landscape Lighting - FX Luminaire; Furniture – Summer Classics, Crate & Barrel; Rugs – Frontgate, Ballard Designs; Accessories – Pier 1, Pottery Barn
Budget: $100,000

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Make it Modular

Photo Courtesy: ©2015 Tom Parks.

Modular, prefabricated masonry components were used to create this outdoor cooking and relaxing space designed by North Carolina-based retailer Coastroad Hearth & Patio. The pretty and functional Outdoor Room is positioned right next to the home’s kitchen garden, and includes two symmetrical outdoor grilling islands – one for gas and one for charcoal.

They flank the wood-burning fireplace, the focal point of the space. The modular fireplace components were finished on site with brick to match the cooking islands, which were customized with decorative backsplash arches. The native flagstone patio was “grouted” with grass to add even more visual interest.

“Our challenge was to provide a sense of enclosure and security in the space without losing the openness and view beyond the yard,” says designer of the project, Tom Parks. “We were able to help shape the work and relaxing areas in a way that was very practical to use.”

Designer: Tom Parks
Company: Coastroad Hearth & Patio, Shallotte, NC
Website: www.coastroadonline.com
Other Contributors:  Builder – Mark Saunders Luxury Homes
Project Size: 1,000 sq. ft.
Materials: Floor – flagstone; Island Base – brick; Countertop – brick
Brands: Grills – Fire Magic; Fireplace – FireRock
Budget: $25,000

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Luxury Log Cabin

Photos Courtesy: ©2015 David Gaona.

The Texas homeowners wanted an outdoor living space that reminded them of their cherished second home in Wisconsin – a rustic log cabin. Builder David Gaona created a secondary building to connect the Outdoor Room seamlessly to the main house.

For realistic detail, he used reclaimed hand-hewn beams and brown board from barns in upstate New York on the fireplace mantel, ceiling, walls, beams and cross beams of the soaring structure. Other natural materials, including stone on the fireplace and outdoor kitchen, brick on the walls, and Oklahoma flagstone under foot, add to the cabin-like feel.

But while the outdoor space may look rustic, the amenities are completely refined. Ceiling fans, custom heaters, and motorized retractable screens hidden in the archways, ensure comfort year-round. A large TV hangs on the fireplace, and the outdoor kitchen features a built-in grill, refrigerator and pizza oven.

The complex project also required engineering to reset the foundation, extensive electrical wiring, and the creation of a steel framework to support the weight of the custom pizza oven’s massive stone surround.

Builder: David Gaona
Company: One Specialty, Grapevine, TX
Website: www.onespecialty.com
Project Size: 400 sq. ft.
Materials: Floor – straight cut Oklahoma flagstone; Ceiling – reclaimed hand-hewn timbers and beams, antique brown board; Fireplace – stone with reclaimed wood beam mantel; Island Base – stone; Island Countertop – granite
Brands: Grill – DCS; Pizza Oven – The Bread Stone Ovens Company; Refrigerator – True Manufacturing; Motorized Retractable Screens – Phantom Screens; Heaters – Infratech
Budget: Not Available

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Seamless Indoor-Outdoor Living

Photos Courtesy: ©2015 Silliman Homes; www.sillimanhomes.com.

This Mediterranean-style home combines classic “old Florida” architectural details with cool, contemporary décor, and is the epitome of indoor-outdoor living. When the home’s wall of sliding glass doors is opened, the indoor living space flows seamlessly out to a fully furnished lanai anchored by a gas fireplace and television.

Just off the lanai is a separate pool house pavilion, containing a complete outdoor kitchen with plenty of storage cabinetry, a dining counter, a second television, and more comfortable furnishings. The roof of the pavilion extends over the spa area of the swimming pool to shade it from the sun.

Next to the pool house is a gas fire pit conversation area, offering additional opportunities to sit, sip and relax. On the main residence, a balcony with large sliding doors extends the living space of the oversized, second-floor recreation room.

This beautiful home won two awards in the Home Builders Association of Metro Orlando’s Parade of Homes competition -- First Place in the “Custom Home Over $1 Million” category, and the Grand Award for the entire “Custom Home” category. It also was runner-up in Orlando Life magazine’s Home of the Year awards.

Architect: Tony Weremeichik
Company: Canin Associates, Orlando, FL
Website: www.canin.com
Project Size: 7,287 sq. ft.
Materials: Floor – Travertine; Wall by Spa; Fireplace Surround – stone veneer; Countertop – granite
Brands: Stone Veneer – Eldorado Stone; Fireplace – Heatilator;
Sliding Glass Doors – WinDoor, Inc.
Budget: Not Available

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Pool House Update

Photos Courtesy: ©2015 Nancy White.

Before, it was a 1950s poolside bathroom and equipment building, devoid of architectural style and functionality. After, it became a well-designed, fully outfitted, three-season pool house, rich in Mediterranean detail to match the style of the main residence, and a new favorite gathering place on the property.

The biggest challenge, according to landscape architect David Gerstenmaier, was working within the same footprint as the original structure. But the footprint is the only remnant of the old building. The new pool house features tongue-and-groove ceilings with reclaimed barn wood beams. Another reclaimed beam is used for the mantel on the grand stone fireplace, which sports a curved, raised hearth and built-in nooks for storing wood.

Deep-seating furnishings are perfect for relaxing in front of the fire or watching TV after a swim, and a kitchen area with pass-through is convenient for entertaining. To reflect architectural elements found on the main house, the building has a red tile roof and soft archways around the perimeter that open the space to the outside.

Landscape Architect: David Gerstenmaier
Company: Stewart/HG, Richmond, VA
Website: www.stewartinc.com
Project Size: 7,000 sq. ft. (including pool and yard renovation)
Materials: Floor – Travertine; Ceiling – tongue and groove, reclaimed beams; Fireplace – natural stone; Island Base – reclaimed wood; Countertop – granite
Budget: Not Available

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French Country Chic

Photo Courtesy: ©2015 Amanda Martin.

“It’s better than I ever could have imagined!” was the homeowner’s reaction to the completed French Country poolside pavilion. However, imagining and envisioning the space throughout the design process was difficult for the client. To help her better visualize the layout and design, landscape designer Amanda Martin created a series of 3-D renderings so the client could suggest revisions to achieve exactly what she wanted.

Open on three sides, the 18 by 35 ft. pavilion features a stone wall that spans the entire length of the space and incorporates a floor-to-ceiling fireplace as the focal point. Two windows with shutters are built into the wall to break up the expanse of stone and let light into the space, and a solid roof overhead provides shade and shelter from the elements. The work side of the stucco outdoor kitchen with granite countertop is positioned on one side of the fireplace, while a matching buffet server island mirrors it on the other.

The hanging chandeliers, wall sconces, and distressed finishes on the furnishings carry the French Country theme throughout the space.

Designer: Amanda Martin
Company: Bay Area Design and Landscape, Seabrook, TX
Website: www.bayareadesignandlandscape.com
Project Size: 630 sq. ft.
Materials: Pavilion – rough cedar with composite roof; Floor – 16 by 24 in. Travertine; Ceiling – stained pine; Fireplace – stone; Island Base – stucco; Island Counter – granite
Brands: Outdoor Kitchen Appliances – Bull Outdoor Products
Budget: $101,000

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Old World Courtyard

Photos Courtesy: ©2015 Glass Photography.

A drab stucco courtyard was transformed into a comprehensive outdoor entertainment center with the look and feel of an Old World piazza. The space features a fully equipped outdoor kitchen area, including a masonry-enclosed pizza oven. A separate bar area with refrigeration, sinks, storage and an outdoor television, offers ample seating around a uniquely shaped, raised-height granite counter with rough-hewn edges.

A pergola with massive timber supports shades the dining and seating areas, and is anchored by a stone fireplace with a curved, raised hearth. Lindgren softens the expansive hardscape by incorporating planters and beds throughout, as well as a unique water feature in one corner.

As impressive as this space looks, the design, planning and installation of the utilities behind the scenes may be even more impressive, including a complex drainage system to collect and remove all excess water from the enclosed courtyard. In addition, there is an extensive and equally complex network of gas, electric, potable water.

Designer: Tim Lindgren
Company: Lindgren Landscape, Ft. Collins, CO
Website: www.lindgrenlandscape.com
Project Size: 1,500 sq. ft.
Materials: Fireplace/Fire Pit – Stone Veneer; Floor – Borgert Pavers;
Pergola – Douglas Fir
Brands: Appliances – Viking; Fireplace – R H Peterson Co; Pavers – Belgard
Budget: $350,000

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Splendid Sustainability

Photos Courtesy: ©2015 Anne Attinger.

The owners of this desert home – nicknamed the “Copper House” for its copper gate and other copper elements – sought a more sustainable and better-functioning design for their enclosed courtyard. Landscape architect Anne Attinger eliminated the lawn that originally covered half the space (the pool encompassing the other half remained), replacing it with low- and moderate-water-use plants, a raised herb garden, and hardscape with high solar reflectivity to cut the heat. These efforts, along with a drip irrigation system, and a subsurface drainage network to catch rainwater, combined to net a 50-percent reduction in total water use.

To make the space more comfortable and inviting, Attinger created a pergola-shaded living area. Its unique, custom fireplace adds cozy ambiance on cool desert evenings. It’s the focal point of the entire courtyard, in direct view from the home’s main doors.

In the kitchen, a window was replaced with a removable wall to encourage flow to the outdoor kitchen and dining area. Copper accents figure prominently in the space – in homage to the home’s moniker. The Asian design influence is inspired by the homeowners’ Japanese art collection.

Landscape Architect: Anne Attinger
Company: Anne Attinger, Landscape Architect, Palm Desert, CA
Website: www.anneattinger.com
Other Contributors: Builder - Greg Scrivens, GL Scrivens Construction;
Landscaping – Dick Crounse, AC Custom Landscape
Project Size: 2,000 sq. ft.
Materials: Floor – exposed aggregate, porcelain tile, acid-finish concrete;
Pergola – steel; Fireplace – concrete, copper, stainless steel, stucco
Brands: Fireplace Sculpture – The Fire Place of Palm Desert; Shade Structure and Metal Work – custom, GL Scrivens Construction;
Concrete Fireplace – custom, Leak Detectors Pool Services; Irrigation – Rain Bird; Patio Furniture – Dedon; Pottery – Vintage Nursery
Budget: Not Available

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Old Meets New

Photos Courtesy: ©2015 Don Pearse Photographers.

This stunning outdoor space juxtaposes the new with the old – or at least it’s designed to look that way. Landscape architect Allan Summers has created several realistic “ruin” walls in the pool and outdoor living areas on the property. The walls are characteristic of the remnant walls left from Colonial structures that are scattered throughout the Brandywine Valley in northern Delaware, where the home is located.

The central ruin wall runs along one side of the pool and is a rough and rustic contrast to the pool’s smooth, modern stone coping and terrace. A 6 ½ ft. high weir emerges from the wall as a water feature that cascades into the spa. On the opposite side of the pool, the same stone is used on the columns of the pergola and the large fireplace attached to it. Other strategically placed “ruin walls” hide the pool equipment. Extensive plantings of trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses complement the setting with a look Summers calls, “colorful, controlled wilderness.”

Landscape Architect: Allan Summers
Company: Rodney Robinson Landscape Architects, Wilmington, DE
Website: www.rrla.com
Other Contributors: Builder – Boss Enterprises
Project Size: 3,350 sq. ft.
Materials: Ruin Walls, Fireplace, Pergola Columns – stone;
Pergola Beams – recycled barn beams
Budget: Not Available

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