The Outdoor Room® Design Ideas
By Lisa Readie Mayer
We invite you to submit photos and descriptions of your Outdoor Room projects for possible publication in future issues of Hearth & Home. Please visit www.hearthandhome.com and click on the Outdoor Room tab to fill out the project information form and submit photos.
Welcome to the fifth annual Hearth & Home Outdoor Room Design Ideas special section! On the following pages we spotlight sensational Outdoor Room projects submitted by our readers – specialty retailers, manufacturers, architects, landscape architects, designers, and builders. Every year the projects get bigger and better; this year we are blown away.
The Outdoor Room has clearly permeated all regions and demographics of the U.S. and Canada, and continues to grow. We don’t need a study – although there are many (see our Outdoor Room Trends story) – to tell us why: Outdoor Rooms add beauty, enjoyment, and value to a home. But there’s another possible explanation for the rise of Outdoor Rooms: According to the 2018 State of American Vacation report, 52% of Americans did not use all of their earned vacation days last year. Outdoor Rooms provide a vacation-like environment every day at home.
We’ve noticed common threads in projects this year. Outdoor living spaces are being segmented into multiple, distinct rooms for cooking, dining, relaxing, and entertaining. There is greater seamless flow and a unified design aesthetic between indoors and out, thanks to window walls, continuous flooring, indoor-style outdoor-kitchen cabinetry, and sophisticated outdoor lighting, furniture, and accessories.
Outdoor Rooms increasingly have roofs, fans, heaters, and televisions, providing creature comforts and protection from the elements for multi-season, if not year-round, use. Finally, fireplaces and fire pits are… well… on fire.
Another observation: A number of the submitted projects are remodels, upgrades and/or expansions of existing outdoor living spaces. In other words, we’re already seeing second-generation Outdoor Rooms.
In this special section, you’ll find a collection of some of the most impressive submissions. While, undoubtedly, many of your customers’ desire – and can afford – this kind of luxury, there is also an enormous market for Outdoor Rooms on a less-grand scale, scope, and budget. So, whether you’re helping a homeowner achieve the ultimate outdoor oasis, or a tiny retreat on an apartment balcony, we hope this guide will provide useful and inspiring design ideas for everyone who aspires to live outdoors in style.
Photos Courtesy: ©2018 Rebecca O’Neal,
Carbo Landscape Architects, www.carbo-la.com.
A comprehensive landscape renovation, implemented in four phases over a three-year period, was designed to complement this mid-century modern residence on the Vermillion River in Lafayette, Louisiana.
The centerpiece of the project is a new, contemporary, outdoor-living pavilion. It is the focal point of the view into the backyard from the wall of windows that spans the rear of the home. A cement-wall backdrop anchors the structure, otherwise open on three sides. Bathing and storage areas are tucked behind the wall, accessible through a wood-slat door.
Another pair of wood-slat doors near the dining table, slides to conceal a recessed grilling station when not in use. Light fixtures and fans mounted to the beamed ceiling, make this sheltered outdoor room equally inviting for entertaining or simply relaxing in front of the television.
Just outside the edge of the pavilion’s Ipe decking, a linear gas fire pit juts into the lawn. It parallels the clean, horizontal lines of the slatted panels that extend from the pavilion to provide visual interest and filter views beyond the property. Rectilinear concrete pads in the lawn direct traffic to an infinity-edge pool and outdoor shower. A series of gardens featuring trees and plants arranged in rows, grids, and other bold, linear patterns, reinforce the modern aesthetic of this unique space.
Landscape Architect: Jeffrey K. Carbo, FASLA
Company: Carbo Landscape Architects, Baton Rouge, LA
Project Size: 1,800 sq. ft.
Materials: Ceiling – Wood, steel; Floor – Ipe decking; Walls – Wood, steel, concrete block; Fire Pit – Cast concrete
Photos Courtesy: ©2018 Dave & Susie Garcia, DPG Design.
San Francisco Bay area landscape design-contractors Dave and Susie Garcia anticipated the construction phase of this expansive outdoor living project would take three to four months – plenty of time to be ready for the homeowners’ planned party six months out. Mother Nature wasn’t cooperating, however; she delivered four months of near-daily rain. The rains also caused another setback: the loss of a large, preservation-protected and bonded oak tree in the midst of the project.
But meet the deadline they did, and the party was a perfect debut for the new multilevel outdoor paradise. A centrally located pool has a spa and waterfall. It is surrounded on one side by hardwood decking with cable rail, while Italian porcelain pavers extend from the other side to an alfresco seating area and a sheltered entertaining cabana. This structure houses an outdoor kitchen with a grill, refrigerator and storage cabinetry built into a wood island topped with granite.
The cabana also boasts a bathroom, a wood feature wall with television, and fans and heaters mounted on the exposed beams in the ceiling. A synthetic-turf play-yard overlooks the lovely space trimmed with plantings in an array of textures and colors.
The Garcias say the project not only transformed their clients’ backyard, it changed their lifestyle. Dave says, “They told us, ‘We’re outside more than we’re inside, now. We love it!’”
Landscape Design-Contractors: Dave and Susie Garcia
Company: DPG Design, Oakley, CA
Project Size: Over 6,000 sq. ft.
Materials: Floor – Porcelain pavers imported from Italy, hardwood decking with cable rail, synthetic lawn, railroad-tie steps with natural stone; Walls – Concrete; Island Base – Hardwood; Countertop – Granite; Fence – Redwood
Brands: Grill, Outdoor Refrigerator, 3-Drawer Pantry, Double Access Doors, and Outdoor Heaters – Twin Eagles; Synthetic Lawn – Global Syn-Turf; Decking – Iron Woods; Railing – Cable Rail
Photos Courtesy: ©2018 KatVitulano Photos.
This project’s greatest challenge was fitting everything on the client’s long wish list into a compact outdoor space. Landscape architect John Mushman of Environmental Design Associates created a design that incorporates every hoped-for element in a functional and stylish way.
French doors off the back of the house provide easy access to an outdoor kitchen with a built-in grill, ample prep and serving counters, and a bar-height dining ledge. From the outdoor kitchen, a set of three-tiered wedding-cake steps lead to a stone patio that runs beneath the dining area.
Another set of curved steps provides entry to the free-form edged pool. Its tile border is repeated in a raised spa that spills into the pool water. Up two steps from the main patio is an intimate outdoor living room with deep-seating wicker furniture surrounding a rectangular, gas-fueled fire pit. The fire pit is topped with an extra-wide border, handy for resting drinks or a platter of hors d’oeuvre.
Landscaping beds run along the perimeter of the Outdoor Room and dot the interior of the patio to soften the expanse of stone flooring. A selection of plantings in assorted colors and textures adds charm and beauty, while a backdrop of mature evergreens creates a natural privacy fence for the outdoor living area.
Landscape Architect: John Mushman
Company: Environmental Design Associates, Flanders, NJ
Project Size: 1,600 sq. ft.
Brands: Grill – Weber Summit
Photos Courtesy: ©2018 Rick Lee,
Four distinct yet coordinated Outdoor Rooms at this new-construction home mean four times the fun. Thanks to a covered roof, programmable wall-mounted heaters, ceiling fans, and a slew of floor-to-ceiling screened panels, the screened porch is a luxurious spot for year-round entertaining. It is home to an outdoor kitchen with a grill, sink, refrigerator, and drop-in cooler, all built into custom wood cabinets topped with leathered Spectrus granite. Matching teak dining and living room sets are situated to overlook the pool and the golf course beyond.
Attached to the screened porch is an extended, roof-sheltered lanai. Outfitted with marine-grade polymer furniture, the shady retreat also features a spa and television. The lanai opens to a stone patio area with outdoor dining furniture, chaises, and oversized cabana “pods” surrounding a rectangular pool, an ideal spot for grabbing a snack, sunning, or snoozing. Tucked away from the action, the fourth Outdoor Room is an intimate patio with all-weather-wicker seating and a unique, copper, fire-water feature set in a stone surround.
Repeated use of coral and aqua colors in the furniture cushions, accent pillows, and cheery rugs, unifies the four areas, while a unique monogram lends a personal touch. Crafted from copper, a large letter “R” – the homeowner’s initial – is embedded poolside in a piece of sandstone framed by dark stones.
Designer: Pamela Smith, ASID, NCIDQ 020049
Company: Copper Leaf Interior Design Studio, Marietta, OH
Other Contributors: Architect – David Bullock, Nau & Bullock Architects, www.naubullockarchitects.com; Landscape Architect – Jim Hiss; Builder – Rick Webb, Webb Contracting
Project Size: 5,600 sq. ft.
Materials: Ceiling – Painted wood composite; Floor – Sandstone for lanai and screened porch, Blue Ice stone for pool deck; Walls – Stone, painted wood composite; Island Bases – Custom wood cabinets; Countertops – Spectrus granite with leather finish; Fire-Water Pit – Brentwood stone with sandstone cap, copper vessel with glass.sk
Brands: Grill – Fire Magic; Outdoor Refrigeration – Twin Eagles; Lighting – Custom copper fixtures by Bevolo Lighting; Furniture – Teak porch furniture by Gloster Furniture; Lanai furniture by Weatherend Furniture; Pool and deck furniture by Skyline Furniture and Telescope Casual Furniture; Umbrellas – Treasure Garden
Photos Courtesy: ©2018 Joseph Bucci.
When the owners of this Hamilton, Ontario, home wanted to create their “dream backyard,” Greentario Landscaping’s Carmine E. Filice created a resort-like retreat they could enjoy every day. The staycation paradise is divided into multiple living areas, all unified by the natural stone and paver patio underfoot.
At the center of the backyard space, a stone waterfall emerges from the landscape, creating joyful music as it splashes into a kidney-shaped pool. A cabana entertainment center with a striking Douglas fir ceiling beckons with comfortable furniture positioned to take in views of both the natural-gas fireplace and large, flat-screen television.
A beverage and serving island with built-in beer fridge, wine fridge, ice maker, storage, and trash receptacle, runs the length of one side of the cabana, while ceiling-mounted fans and heaters ensure maximum comfort in this inviting space. Just outside the cabana, a more intimate fire-table lounge area sits on the patio.
When thoughts turn to dinner, it’s an easy stroll past the pool to the outdoor kitchen. The chef can choose whether to cook on the built-in gas grill, sideburner, or charcoal-fueled kamado, while guests watch from stools at the island counter or nearby dining table.
Certified Landscape Professional: Carmine E. Filice
Company: Greentario, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Project Size: 3,000 sq. ft.
Materials: Floor – Natural stone, pavers; Walls – Natural stone; Island Bases and Countertops – Natural stone; Fireplace – Stone, Natural gas; Cabana – Douglas Fir
Brands: Grills – Lynx, Big Green Egg; Bar Fridge, Wine Fridge – Bull Outdoor Products; Ice Maker, Storage Drawers – Lynx
Photos Courtesy: ©2018 Crystal Waye,
To optimize workflow, function, convenience, and most importantly, enjoyment, this beautiful Palo Alto outdoor space is organized into distinct zones. Food prep and cooking take place in the pergola-topped, outdoor kitchen “hot zone.” Its modular, stainless-steel island components are configured in a U shape and feature top-of-the-line Kalamazoo Gourmet outdoor appliances, including a multi-fuel hybrid grill, power burner and countertop pizza oven.
Completing the set-up are a built-in sink, refrigerator, plenty of work surface, and weather-sealed storage cabinets, each incorporating a seamless rain gutter around the door to keep out moisture and insects.
Guests can savor hot-off-the-grill dishes while seated at the outdoor kitchen’s integrated bar, or at the dining table in a sheltered pavilion that juts from the house. This spot is home to a full-wall entertainment center incorporating a “cold zone” with refrigerated beverage center, refrigerated wine storage, and outdoor icemaker.
Adjacent is a “wet zone” with sink and outdoor dishwasher; weatherproof cabinets and counters create a “dry zone” for tableware storage and buffet service. Ceiling-mounted fans and heaters, and ambient and task lighting ensure comfort and functionality in this space any time of day, in all seasons.
Just steps from the pavilion, a petit patio defined by a low stone wall, sports a linear, gas fire pit surrounded by comfy furniture. Some might dub it the “chill zone.”
Designer: George Moustroufis, George Moustroufis Design Group
Manufacturer: Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet, Chicago, IL
Materials: Floor – Plaza Gray limestone; Island Bases – Stainless-steel modular cabinetry; Countertops – Neolith sintered compact surfacing
Brands: Hybrid Fire Grill, Countertop Artisan Pizza Oven, Undercounter Refrigerators, Outdoor Wine Chiller, 15” Outdoor Ice Maker – Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet; Cabinetry – Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet Signature Series; Sink and Faucet – ROHL
Photos Courtesy: ©2018 Matt Kocourek,
Window walls span the rear of this new-construction contemporary home, blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living. Since the backyard is visible from a bedroom, living room, dining room, and kitchen, builder Dan Webster and architect Kathleen Fogel of Extraordinary Homes in Olathe, Kansas, made sure it was equally polished and sophisticated.
A sleek and stunning Outdoor Room – the homeowners have dubbed it “The Pavillion” – extends from the house near the kitchen-living-dining area. The space features a cement patio sheltered by a solid, hip roof. At the far end, an impressive wood-burning fireplace, faced in stone, anchors a cozy seating area.
Closer to the house is an outdoor kitchen divided into three separate stations: a center island for prep, serving and dining; a cooking island with built-in grill and exhaust hood; and a sink and storage island. The center island is finished in stone to match the fireplace, while the other two islands are fashioned from outdoor cabinetry that closely resembles the cabinetry in the interior kitchen, right down to the hardware.
A dining table supplements the bar seating in the outdoor kitchen area. Both locations offer a direct view of the television hung on a wall of dark ipe wood. The wood walls and tongue-and-groove pine ceiling lend warmth to this modern outdoor entertaining space.
Builder: Dan Webster
Company: Extraordinary Homes, Olathe, KS
Project Size: 720 sq. ft.
Other Contributors: Architect – Kathleen Fogel, Extraordinary Homes
Materials: Floor – Concrete; Walls – Ipe wood, metal; Island Bases – Custom, stone, cabinetry; Countertop – HanStone quartz; Fireplace – Wood burning, stone finish
Brands: Grill – GE Monogram 42-inch Outdoor Cooking Center; Hood – Zephyr 42-inch Stainless Steel Outdoor Vent Hood; Faucet – Samsa Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet; Countertop – HanStone quartz; Fireplace – Oracle Wood-Burning Outdoor Fireplace
Photos Courtesy: ©2018 Miro Dvorscak,
Artful details abound in this elegant poolside entertaining center, designed by Jane Page Crump, RID, ASID, and Ashley Tisius, RID, ASID, for a homeowner who frequently hosts philanthropic events. Stately columns support the pavilion’s rich tongue-and-groove ceiling, accented with stained and waxed beams.
At one end is a U-shaped outdoor kitchen with built-in grill, refrigerator, sink, and pizza oven. The gas pizza oven is housed in a dramatic, tiered wall that acts as the focal point of the cooking area. Recessed niches flank the oven and feature 18-by-18-inch mosaics of Rosa Verona marble and Blue Bahia granite. This blue-hued granite is repeated on the island counter, while the crisscross pattern on the counter stools echoes the mosaics’ design.
A tile “rug,” created with Torreon stone, Rosa Verona marble mosaics, and Blue Bahia granite, is inset in the flooring, grounding the fireplace seating area. The white Texas limestone fireplace is embellished with ornate sconces and decorative mirrors, and has two stone benches that extend from either side to provide additional seating. A suspended television provides another diversion in this relaxation area. Fabrics, throw pillows, and decorative accessories pick up the blue in the granite. Faux teak furniture provides the desired look of wood, without the maintenance.
Designers: Jane Page Crump, RID, ASID and Ashley Tisius, RID, ASID
Company: Jane Page Design Group, Houston, TX
Project Size: 550 sq. ft.
Materials: Ceiling – Tongue-and-groove with stained and waxed beams; Floor – Tile with Torreon stone, Rosa Verona marble, Blue Bahia granite; Pizza Oven Feature Wall – White Texas limestone, mosaics, Rosa Verona marble, Blue Bahia granite; Countertops – Blue Bahia granite; Fireplace – White Texas limestone; Furniture – Faux wood finish, outdoor fabrics
Brands: Grill – Viking Range Corporation; Pizza Oven – Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet; Mosaics – Caley
Photos Courtesy: ©2018 W. Art Kunkle.
To create an inviting, three-season, outdoor-living space was the goal of the extensive backyard renovation at this Memphis home built in 1973.
The first step in the project was replacing the massive 25,000-gallon, L-shaped, in-ground swimming pool with a 12,000-gallon, rectangular, Gunite pool, to free up space in the yard for other “rooms.” An ample new pool deck made of Techo-Bloc stone provides areas for sunning in chaise lounges or watching the action from high-top seating.
The stone extends to a patio area that borders an elevated deck that spans the rear of the house and connects to interior rooms through multiple sets of sliding doors. A swath of perpendicular decking boards divides the deck into distinct areas for dining and relaxing, while complementary furnishings and cheery red cushions maintain a unified look.
Down the steps from the deck, paving-stone pathways lead to a relaxation area with a rectangular, gas fire pit, set on a gravel patch surrounded by lawn. Unique chairs crafted from wine barrels are conversation starters in the fire pit area. The stone veneer on the fire-pit surround is repeated in both a raised planter beside the rear deck and the pool’s retaining wall, linking the entire backyard space.
Designer: W. Art Kunkle
Company: Warming Trends, Memphis, TN
Other Contributors: General Contractor – Susan Kunkle
Project Size: 11,500 sq. ft.
Materials: Pool Deck, Planter and Retaining Walls – Techo-Bloc; Fire Pit – Stone veneer, Techo-Bloc capstone; Pool – Gunite
Brands: Fire Pit – Warming Trends Crossfire ‘Ready to Finish’ Fire Feature; Grills – Weber, Memphis Wood Fire Grills; Furniture – Wine Barrel Chairs, Summerset Casual Furniture
Photos Courtesy: ©2018 Manny Jawa,
Kudela & Weinheimer Landscape Architects, www.kwtexas.com.
Landscape architect Thad Kudela collaborated with longtime client, developer Trammell Crow Residential, on this upscale, multifamily rental community in Houston. He designed a sprawling, resort-like oasis where the residents – mostly young professionals and small families – can gather to socialize, relax, and have fun.
The outdoor space is divided into two main courtyards. The larger courtyard – approximately 11,000 sq. ft. – centers on an expansive pool with playful water-spout features. It also offers two communal, outdoor-kitchen grilling areas, two private cabanas, and two semi-private seating areas framed by pergola structures. A second courtyard, about 6,600 sq. ft., is a serene space with more intimate gathering areas. It is outfitted with a custom, two-sided, water-fountain feature, and a custom, gas fire pit surrounded by roomy wicker armchairs. The cheery, blue, houndstooth print on the chair cushions coordinates with the tiles on the water feature and the navy umbrellas over the dining tables.
Top-of-the-line materials are used throughout this outdoor resort, adding to the sense of luxury. According to Kudela, the project answers the growing demand and expectation for premium outdoor-living amenities in multifamily communities, and his client is thrilled with the result. “It has become the gold standard for all their future high-end projects,” he says.
Landscape Architect: Thad Kudela
Company: Kudela & Weinheimer Landscape Architects, Houston, TX
Other Contributors: Developer – Trammell Crow Residential, www.tcr.com; Architect – EDI International, www.edi-international.com
Project Size: 17,600 sq. ft.
Materials: Floor – Exterior grit porcelain tile, black star gravel with filter fabric; Pergolas – Tubular painted steel, natural stone veneer on columns; Island Countertops – Granite; Fire Pit – Silverthorn wall ledge, Southern blue cap; Pool – Toe and waterline tile
Brands: Grills – PGS Pacifica; Sinks and Faucets – Lustertone and Elkay Commercial Products; Sink and Faucet – Eclipse Stainless; Ceiling Fans – Minka Air Concept 1 58-in. Fan
When the goal is to extend a home’s interior design into the outdoor living space, and that particular home is full of gold-leaf moldings, floor-to-ceiling oil paintings, and other opulent décor, the Outdoor Room had better be truly spectacular. Here, award-winning pool artist and outdoor designer Ryan Hughes delivers the requisite “Wow Factor” in an over-the-top home resort with multiple architectural structures and water flowing through four pools on different elevations.
The water originates at the spa, located off the home’s second-floor main living area. Though it looks to be on a balcony, the spa is actually supported by a separate structure engineered to hold its 50,000-lb. weight. The spa’s waterfall descends one story into a 10-ft.-deep, 24-by-27-ft. pool, with grotto-style seating positioned under the spa’s overhang.
This midlevel pool spills over an acrylic wall onto a sun shelf with a vanishing edge on three sides. From there, the water travels into a 16-by-40-ft. lap pool. At the far end of the lap pool sits an elaborate pavilion that shelters an outdoor kitchen, sunken fire pit, water fountain, and custom outdoor furnishings.
Close attention is paid to the detailed finishes throughout the space. Over 4,000 sq.ft. of mosaics, with no piece measuring more than half an inch, includes 24-carat-gold tile inlays set in intricate patterns. Numerous fire features and LED lighting add drama when night falls. Construction on this multi-million-dollar, 10,000-sq.ft. project, situated 15 feet from the Gulf of Mexico, was technically complex and took over a year to complete, but was well worth the wait. “When you walk out of the rear doors of the home,” says Hughes, “you have a seamless, infinity, water-to-water visual, right to the ocean.”
Landscape Architect: Ryan Hughes
Company: Ryan Hughes Design Build, Palm Harbor, FL
Project Size: 10,000 sq. ft.
Materials: Pavilion – Cypress wood, precast stone; Patio Floor – Tile; Pool – Glass tile
Brands: Grill and Outdoor Kitchen Elements – Fire Magic; Island Base and Countertop – Custom by Ryan Hughes Design Build; Patio Tile – Harmony Stone; Pool Tile – Oceanside Glass & Tile; Outdoor Furniture – Patio Renaissance; LED Lighting – Precision Architectural Lighting
Photos Courtesy: ©2018 Ann Sherman Photography.
Sometimes an Outdoor Room is an afterthought, tacked on after a home is built or during a renovation. Not so in this case. Due to access issues and an environmentally sensitive location with large trees, the grading heights, swimming pool, and 1,800 sq. ft. of patio flooring had to be planned and completed prior to the construction of the house.
Multiple sliding doors serve as entry points from the home into the 800-sq.ft. covered outdoor entertaining area. The focal point of the space is an imposing stone fireplace with raised hearth and rustic mantel. A large, semi-circular sofa provides ample seating, while an outdoor kitchen with built-in grill, refrigerator, and sink keeps refreshments handy. Retractable screens are tucked into the brick columns around the perimeter of the entire sheltered space for true indoor-outdoor living without worrying about pesky insects.
The stamped concrete flooring continues around the natural, chemical-free swimming pool to unify covered and alfresco spaces. Several waterfalls cascade into the pool from the spa at one end, and a knee wall at the other, adding beauty and calming sounds. This delightful outdoor living area backs up to a tree-lined pond, and has become a prime spot for viewing the spectacular sunsets, according to builder Alan Cheshier.
Builder: Alan Cheshier
Company: Muirfield Homes by Alan Cheshier, Norman, OK
Project Size: 1,800 sq. ft.
Materials: Ceiling – Cedar; Floor – Stamped concrete; Walls – Brick, stone; Island Base – Stone; Countertops – Granite; Fireplace – Stone
Brands: Grills and Appliances – DCS by Fisher & Paykel; Fireplace – Heatilator; Retractable Screens – Phantom Manufacturing; Brick – Acme Brick; Stone – Richburg Stone
Photos Courtesy: ©2018 Loren Nelson,
Spectacular salvaged timbers star in this new outdoor living pavilion, added during the whole-house remodel of a 1980s timber-frame home near Portland, Oregon. Artisan craftsmen preserved the original surfaces and painstakingly hand-scribed the joinery of the industrial as-found timbers used in the pavilion and the pergola linking it to the main house. The hefty, rustic timbers frame striking views of the natural surroundings, visible from the pavilion’s four open sides.
One end of the Outdoor Room features a cozy sitting area anchored by a Rumford-style fireplace and outfitted with deep-seating furniture. At the opposite end, a built-in outdoor kitchen, high-top counter with bar seating, and a large communal farm table welcome guests for socializing, cooking, and dining. All are just steps away from the adjacent in-ground swimming pool.
Homeowners Daniel and Sheri praised the results, saying, “One of the main reasons many of us live up here in the Pacific Northwest is because of the immense natural beauty. The New Energy Works team helped us craft an outdoor living space that has become our family’s favorite gathering place. Everything from the design to the lumber used is perfect for our setting.”
Architect: David Shirley, Associate Architect
Company: New Energy Works Timberframers, Portland, OR
Other Contributors: Builder – Kevin Reese, Reese Enterprises; Reclaimed Timber – Elise Payne, Pioneer Millworks, www.pioneermillworks.com
Project Size: 560 sq. ft.
Materials: Floors – Artisan concrete; Fireplace – Rumford style; Pavilion and Pergola – Industrial salvaged timbers with mortise and tenon joinery
Outdoor Room 2.0
Photos Courtesy: ©2018 Click Photography.
The original Outdoor Room at this Texas home was small and sun-exposed. To better meet the family’s needs, Texas Custom Patios created a larger, new-and-improved outdoor environment around the existing fireplace. Finished in Boston stone, a sentimental nod to the homeowners’ Boston roots, the surviving, soaring fireplace is now the focal point of the second-generation space.
Matching stone is used in a new bar island for dining, entertaining, and TV-viewing, located to one side of the fireplace seating area. The half-moon shape of the bar island mimics the curved, brick arches spanning the perimeter of the Outdoor Room enclosure. The arches serve a functional, as well as an architectural design purpose by blocking the sun and elements to create cooling shade and better shelter.
Stained tongue-and-groove and exposed, chunky cedar beams line the ceiling of the structure. The homeowner wanted to be involved in the project and took on the task of “distressing” the beams, as well as making shutters that frame windows in the outdoor space.
An outdoor kitchen with a gas grill and outdoor-rated refrigerator is built into a brick island that matches the house. Custom cedar doors with carefully chosen hardware are used to front the island’s storage cabinets and refrigerator. Chandelier lighting and other decorative elements add to the refined-rustic, country-French look.
Builder: Collin Jarrell
Company: Texas Custom Patios – Irving Office, Irving, TX
Project Size: 500 sq. ft. added
Materials: Ceiling – Smokey Bourbon stained tongue-and-groove with 10x10 cedar beams; Floor – Walnut Travertine Tile; Wall/Arches – brick to match home; Bar Island Base – Boston stone; Outdoor Kitchen Island Base – Custom, brick to match home; Countertops – Azul Platino leathered granite; Fireplace – Boston stone (existing); Outdoor Kitchen Storage and Refrigerator Doors – Custom, cedar
Brands: Grill and Refrigerator – Renaissance Cooking Systems
Double the Fun
Photos Courtesy: ©2018 TK Images,
When these Houston homeowners requested a backyard re-do, there was one stipulation: keep the existing trees that shaded the wooded property. Brian Reed of Texas Custom Patios came up with a creative solution by building two, separate, freestanding pavilions set at a right angle.
The main structure is home to a nine-foot outdoor kitchen with a stainless-steel gas grill, refrigerator, and storage components built into a stone island with granite counter. The same granite is used on a custom, high-top dining table that sits, protected from the elements, near the cooking island, while an open-air dining option is available on the patio just outside the pavilion.
A second covered Outdoor Room shelters a conversation area surrounding a round, gas fire pit with crushed-glass medium. The custom porch swing beside the fire pit is a replica of the swing the husband made in wood-shop class over 50 years ago.
Echoing the tongue-and-groove pine ceilings in these two hill-country-styled entertainment centers, the stamped concrete flooring features a pattern that resembles wood bridge planks. Adding to the cohesive design, the stone in the grilling island is repeated on the fire pit, as well as the column bases in both pavilions. And, as requested, no trees were harmed in the making of this Outdoor Room.
Builder: Brian Reed
Company: Texas Custom Patios, Houston, TX
Project Size: 424 sq. ft.
Materials: Pavilion Columns – Cedar with stone bases; Ceilings – Stained tongue-and-groove pine; Floor – Stamped concrete in wood bridge plank pattern; Island Base – Stone; Countertop and Table Top – Granite; Gas Fire Pit – Stone, crushed glass
Brands: Grill, Refrigerator, Storage Doors and Drawers – Renaissance Cooking Systems
Photos Courtesy: ©2018 Curt Decapite.
The Rocky Mountains inspired the rustic aesthetic of this backyard retreat at a home nestled in the foothills of the majestic peaks. The 1,000-sq.ft. Outdoor Room, sheltered by three types of overhead structures including a gable roof, a shed roof, and a pergola, features exposed beams, exposed hardware, stone columns, granite counters, and wood accents. All wood elements are stained to match the pre-stained, tongue-and-groove, pine ceilings.
An outdoor kitchen is the hub of the space, with plenty of room at the stone island’s bar for guests to gravitate around the chef at the built-in grill. Dinner is served at a bar-height fire table, right next to a relaxing seating area with deep-cushioned furnishings and rug underfoot.
Skylights light the space naturally during the day, while a new, low-voltage transformer and smart, app-controlled, recessed and pendant lighting illuminate it at night. Thanks to advance planning, the place was wired for heaters to be added at a later phase.
Though the home’s setting in an established neighborhood necessitated craning hefty materials into the backyard, its natural, rustic environs inspired a final element in the outdoor space: an ultrasonic, motion-activated animal repeller. It keeps deer, bobcats, and bear at bay to prevent the beautiful landscape and vegetable plantings from becoming an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Builder: Tom Stewart
Company: Stewart Remodel-Design-Build, Colorado Springs, CO
Other Contributors: Keith Bleeker, Advantage Building Solutions, Colorado Springs; Specialty Lumber – Timbers Diversified Wood Products, Colorado Springs; Electric – Mike Henderson, MDH Electric
Project Size: 1,000 sq. ft.
Materials: Ceiling – Pine tongue-and-groove; Floor – Stamped concrete; Island Base – Eldorado stacked stone; Countertops – Granite; Pergola – Rough sawn cedar
Brands: Grill – Delta Heat; Lighting – Vista Professional Outdoor Lighting; Pendant Lights – Hinkley Lighting; Pavilion Hardware and Brackets – Simpson Strong-Tie; Granite – Planet Granite; Stone – Colorado Masonry
Photos Courtesy: ©2018 Brad Gober, Green Country Real Estate Photography.
After playing 18 holes, the Outdoor Room at this golf course home is the perfect place to recap the round and continue the fun. To create a strong connection to the interior spaces, landscape architect Candace M. Dillingham maintains the same elevation in the covered patio that spans the rear of the home.
At one end, a private, intimate sitting area with fireplace and television sits directly off the master suite. Bookending it is an entertainment area with lots of options for seating and dining, an outdoor kitchen with built-in grill, sink, and bar ledge, and a second television. A gas fire pit is centrally positioned so its warmth and ambiance can be enjoyed from any vantage point in this area, particularly the adjacent spa finished in matching stone.
Just steps from the spa, a large built-in pool is surrounded by lounge seating. A tiled wall rises from the far side of the pool with five scuppers that spill into the water; decorative urns are mounted on stone columns at either end. Great care was taken with the design of the wall so, while it is a focal point for the outdoor space, it does not block the view of the tree-lined golf course. The lucky golfers have a great view, too, and frequently compliment the homeowner on his outdoor living space.
Architect: Candace M. Dillingham
Company: Skii Landscape Architecture, Tulsa, OK
Project Size: 2,300 sq. ft.
Materials: Floor – Rock salt finish concrete; Island Base – Concrete block walls with stucco veneer; Countertops – Granite; Fireplace, Fire Pit – Tulsa Stone, Kansas Cream Stone; Pool Coping – Kansas Cream Stone; Pool Waterline and Water-Wall Feature – Tile
Brands: 48-in. Grill and Sideburner – DCS by Fisher & Paykel; Furniture – Woodard; Water Scuppers and Fire Bowls – Bobé Water & Fire Features; Pool Tiles – Oceanside Glasstile
Resort-style outdoor amenities abound at The Royale at CityPlace, a five-building, 344-unit, luxury apartment complex in Kansas City. Landscape architect Katie Martinovic of NSPJ Architects in Prairie Village, Kansas, uses synthetic turf and colored-concrete borders to delineate the distinct outdoor living spaces that surround the saltwater pool and spa in the vast outdoor courtyard. The unique U-shaped pool has a raised, blue-tiled, water feature and two sections for lounging on partially submerged chaises. Fire bowls atop poolside pillars reflect dancing flames on the waters at night.
Additional recreation destinations include a bocce court, cornhole patio, an alfresco seating area with an extended linear fire pit, and a fireplace and seating lounge covered by a louvered pergola. A second pergola with a remote-controlled louvered roof, houses an outdoor kitchen with two grills built into a stone island. While waiting for food to cook, residents can play a game of pool on the weatherproof pool table, or watch TV right beside the grill.
Designer Karen Saper of Lifestyles by Design collaborated on the project, selecting the vast collection of oversized loungers, deep-seating sofas, dining sets, and other furnishings in the courtyard. Saper creates a luxury-resort vibe with the addition of fabric cabanas that shade chaises by the pool. She unifies the expansive space by repeating the color of the pool tiles in chair cushions, throw pillows, and other decorative accents throughout.
Lifestyles by Design.
Landscape Architect: Katie Martinovic
Company: NSPJ Architects, Prairie Village, KS
Other Contributors: Designer – Karen Saper, Lifestyles By Design, www.lifestylesbydesignllc.com; Builder – Titan Built, www.titanbuilt.com; Property Management – Block Multifamily Group, www.blockmultifamily.com
Project Size: 529,215 sq. ft.
Materials: Floor – Stamped/colored concrete; Island Base – Stone; Countertops – Granite; Fireplace and Fire Pit – Brick and stone; Pergolas – Arcadia louvered roofs
Brands: Grills and Beverage Center – Coyote Outdoor Living; Fireplace and Fire Pit – Grand Effects; Patio Furnishings – Lifestyles by Design
Photos Courtesy: ©2018 Steven Paul Whitsitt,
Technically, this cooking and entertaining space is outdoors, but its sophisticated design aesthetic clearly takes its cue from the indoors. A glass-wall system facilitates the seamless expansion of the home’s interior kitchen to a sheltered “California Room,” and beyond that, to an equally polished, pergola-topped, open-air extension.
All cooking appliances and cabinetry in the three areas share not only the same look, but an uninterrupted run along the same wall. The outdoor kitchen in the California Room features a built-in refrigerator and natural-gas grill with custom exhaust hood overhead.
A bank of lower cabinets and wall-mounted open shelving tidily store cooking and serving necessities. The focal point of the pergola kitchen is a custom-built pizza oven with stone façade, centered between two additional banks of cabinetry.
All of the outdoor cabinetry is fashioned from a stainless-steel modular system that has been finished in matte bronze metallic powder-coat to match the interior kitchen cabinets. The door styles, sleek handles, leathered Taj Mahal quartzite counters, and the geometric-patterned tile backsplash also are carried from the indoor kitchen to the outdoor cooking areas. Chic seating and dining furniture, and decorative accessories further epitomize the concept of indoor-outdoor living.
Designer: Alicia Marshall
Company: Innovative Outdoor Kitchens, San Diego, CA
Project Size: 18-ft.-long outdoor kitchen run
Materials: Island Bases – Stainless-steel modular cabinetry with powder-coat finish; Countertops – Leathered Taj Mahal quartzite; Pergola – Iron
Brands: Grill – Wolf 30-in. natural gas; Undercounter Outdoor Refrigerator – Sub-Zero; Outdoor Hood and Custom Duct Cover – Danver Stainless Outdoor Kitchens; Modular Outdoor Kitchen Cabinetry – Danver Stainless Outdoor Kitchens with Hampton door style powder-coated in Bronze Matte Metallic finish
Photos Courtesy: ©2018 Cynthia Hays,
According to the award-winning builders at Baldwin & Sons in Newport Beach, CA, outdoor living amenities such as fire pits, fireplaces, bars, outdoor kitchens, and televisions are no longer “nice-to-haves,” but rather considered necessities by today’s homebuyers. At their new Oaks at Portola Hills community in Southern California, Baldwin & Sons upped the outdoor-living ante by offering buyers the option to extend a home’s floor plan with a California Room. The company says these luxurious and intimate outdoor entertaining spaces are actually driving sales at the community; it estimates 60 to 70% of buyers are choosing to add a California Room.
Part room and part porch, the California Room is open on one or two sides and covered by a solid roof. The community offers the California Room in a number of designs, all of which feature an adjacent open-air patio extension to give homeowners a variety of outdoor-living experiences and degrees of shelter. Interior architectural features such as completely retractable doors, soaring ceiling heights, and open floor plans in the community’s eight home designs, bridge the transition to these outdoor spaces.
Depending on the model, the California Rooms might be outfitted with outdoor fireplaces, pergolas, televisions, outdoor kitchens and bars, and indoor-like lighting and cabinetry. Luxury materials and thoughtful details such as exposed beams and continuous flooring add to the indoor-outdoor feel and flow.
Vice President of Sales & Marketing: Melissa Hazlett
Builder: Baldwin & Sons
Community: The Oaks at Portola Hills, Lake Forest, CA
Photos Courtesy: ©2018 Jeff Wilson
The scene: a California backyard. A covered patio sits adjacent to the house, with a pool at the far end of the property, and an uninviting patch of grass and dirt in between. The characters: the homeowner – a Hollywood editor and producer who desires more usable space for relaxing and entertaining; the designer – Michael Bernier, of Bernier Design Group, tasked with making the outdoor area ready for its close-up.
Action: a 36-inch grade change in the 30 linear feet between the home and pool presented challenges. To maximize the amount of flat space, Bernier divided the backyard into two distinct patios, each the setting of a different Outdoor Room.
The area closest to the pool now features a wood deck made of rich, reddish-brown cumaru, an exotic hardwood naturally resistant to rot and insects. It is set against a redwood privacy wall with a built-in bench, lighting, and succulent-filled planters. This area is home to a linear gas fire pit surrounded by contemporary seating.
Pan to: the entertaining patio, created of cement pads set in stones, is three steps down. Here, an outdoor kitchen with built-in grill, warming drawer, refrigerator, and sink, services both the fire pit area and the sheltered dining patio next to the house. A polished cement counter offers a place to prep and serve food and drinks. Fade to: happy homeowner enjoying the outdoor living space nightly to de-stress after work.
Designer: Michael Bernier
Company: Bernier Design Group, Los Angeles, CA
Project Size: 2,000 sq. ft.
Materials: Floor – Cumaru wood decking; Walls – Redwood; Island Base and Fire Pit – Concrete masonry block with smooth stucco finish; Countertop – Polished concrete
Brands: Grill, Warming Drawer and Refrigerator – Alfresco Open Air Culinary Systems