The Solution: Reimagine the Deck for Year-Round Outdoor Entertaining
Creating expansive but interconnected spaces
The new design called for extending the deck to the north and west, dividing it into distinct but connected zones for a variety of activities. We replaced the existing staircase to make better use of the space and incorporated the tiny sunroom into a larger, enclosed outdoor room, subtly obscuring the line between indoors and out. Below the deck, we removed the concrete slab and replaced it with smaller, interlocking blocks finished to look like stone, which ties together the entire length of both the covered and uncovered spaces.
The homeowners were able to suspend two, adjacent hammocks below the new deck extension. Lounge seating nestles into the shaded area below the new outdoor room, while a new built-in, stone firepit invites family and friends to gather in the open air.
Before we started laying the paving, we also re-graded the area and our partners at Arkenau Landscaping installed a retaining wall on the north side of the home, as well as a terraced wall to the south for layered plantings. The new retaining walls increase privacy and create a sense of intimacy around the whole space.
The size of the new deck and patio areas are more proportionate to the home’s size, providing a perpendicular counterpoint to both the two-story vertical and sweeping horizontal stretch of the western wall.
An outdoor room for comfortable entertaining (despite Midwestern weather)
The upper deck’s semi-enclosed space flexibly stays open to the air or provides shelter from both the hot summer sun and the cooler fall (and even winter) weather. Using a remote, its screen walls can be lowered to block sun and wind, then retract into the ceiling when milder weather tempts inhabitants to enjoy the breezes and view. As an added convenience, we installed a matching door on the north side of the enclosure to make it easy to move freely from it to the uncovered part of the deck when the screens are lowered.
In addition to building recessed infrared heaters into the ceiling for enjoying the room on cold days, one of our talented partners installed an outdoor fireplace. The custom-made honeycomb wood-grain tile, adds an unexpected texture and visual warmth to the physical warmth of the glass stone fire. Ceiling fans on both the upper and lower levels of the deck help circulate air for additional comfort, as does a fan near the grilling and dining area.
Finally, we wrapped the whole home in an attractive, weather- and fade-resistant DryVit exterior finish in an eye-catching terra cotta.