Project Highlight: A Transformative Outdoor Living Remodel

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Although I always feel our projects offer huge impact, sometimes we complete one that is truly transformative for the home and our clients. This outdoor living remodel fits that bill. We took a pretty basic upper deck to a whole new level (literally). What was once a small space that ensured our clients were roasted in the western sun all summer long was transformed into a huge, modern and comfortable place to hang out through every season.

Our clients love to entertain and have set up the inside of their home to suit the size of their gatherings. The outside of the home, however, was not large enough and could only be used if the weather was perfect. The goal of the outdoor living remodel was to create multi-level gathering spots that would allow them to enjoy their backyard as a family and with their friends.

Outdoor Dining and Relaxing

The upper level of the home consists of the main living, cooking and dining area. Therefore, the upper deck area is meant to serve as an extension of those activities. Off the kitchen, we added a large covered porch created to be comfortable from early spring through late fall. Retractable screens limit the beating sun, wind, rain, and cold while allowing an open-air feel.

A fireplace was installed on an outside wall of the porch, providing ambiance and warmth in the cooler months without blocking traffic flow from the house to the open deck area. The homeowner had a definite vision for the design, and her choice of the geometric tile makes this fireplace. All of her choices really gave the project a personal feel. The gas linear fireplace insert allows you to choose a color for backlighting – how cool is that?

The tongue and groove ceiling supports the modern rustic look our client was going for, which we did not want to disturb with the functional aspects of the space. We painted the ceiling black as well as the canned light trims so they would blend. The recessed radiant heaters can be set to the desired temperature to extend the seasonality of the porch.  They were ordered in a powder coated black trim so you only see them when they are in use. 

Off the kitchen side of the upper level we built an outdoor deck area for grilling, al fresco dining, additional seating and sunbathing. The goal was to create two separate spaces that can easily transition to one large open area. This design was achieved by using a large retractable screen wall.

Caption:  SGR has a thing for building one-of-a-kind doors – it’s one of my favorite things to do.  Front doors, pocket doors, hidden doors – I love them all. This mahogany screen door is an inch and a half thick with Baldwin hardware and hinges. It will last a lifetime! We installed the same screen as the retractable screen wall, to give it a cohesive look.

Outdoor Gathering and Playing

A staircase leads down from the upper deck area down to the lower level of the project. We installed a retaining wall to create the new entertaining space and a planting bed for the homeowner. Large format concrete pavers serve as the flooring across the whole back. Space under the porch was set aside for relaxing in the family’s hammocks and offers additional storage.

This entertaining area is now an extension of the lower level of the home. A cozy seating area was created under the deck, and then we extended the space out to allow for a fully open fire pit area as well.

The Details

I feel that details are what make a project. Here are just a few we added to elevate the quality, look and functionality of this outdoor living remodel.

Downspouts are a necessity, but not pretty. In this project, we concealed them inside the columns, so the focus remains on the columns, not the downspouts

The lighting plan focused on providing safe yet soft illumination when the sun goes down. Inside the porch, we installed dimmable ceiling cans and sconces on each side of the door. The outdoor dining space includes sconces on columns to highlight the architectural details, and we installed lighting in the stair risers to illuminate the stairway dusk to dawn. The lower level columns are also lit and include ceiling fans, sconces and perimeter lighting to allow guests to see where the patio ends and the grass begins.

As part of the remodel, the house siding was changed to EIFS with a tinted color and we added painted smooth cedar and Hardi Board to complete the outdoor area. The decking is made from tongue and groove Azek. We use materials that do not shrink, deteriorate, or attract pests.

Finally, the stainless-steel cable deck railing was integrated into the porch walls, allowing us to safely create a virtually unobstructed view of the back yard from the porch which was important to our clients.

We helped our clients create a circular flow of outdoor entertaining, allowing guests to easily move from one spot to another. The change from before to after is dramatic, truly transforming the look and functionality of the back yard. If you are ready for an outdoor living remodel that will give you the entertaining space of your dreams, reach out. Send me an email or give me a call at (317) 596-0928.

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