Part One: Designing an outdoor getaway     

Buy it and they will come. That was our thought when DC and I bought our new house, which had a few extra bedrooms, so our blended family of five grown and far-flung kids – and their kids — could come and stay. And now, well, they are. In a few short weeks, we are going to have – deep breath — 11 human beings here for a week – seven grownups, three youngsters ages 8, 5 and 2, and one baby. Holy Legos and diaper pails.

In anticipation of the relative onslaught, I set to work making sure the upstairs, where they all would stay, was as accommodating and — self-contained — as possible.

I survey the upstairs: three bedrooms (one still needs decorating), a landing with a rollout sofa, and, what’s this? My attention lights on the forgotten — until this moment – unfurnished outdoor terrace just off the landing. The covered porch overlooks the backyard and a treelined canopy of open green space, a view that has the same effect on blood pressure as a strong dose of lisinopril or a soft puppy.

Despite the relaxing vista, DC and I never come up here because it’s not “done.” But what if it were? What if it were an oasis in the treetops?

I sketch the footprint, the open railing along the far side, and the French doors, which open onto terra cotta pavers. I try to envision how to make this the go-to place. I picture the kiddos up at 6 a.m., wanting what kids always want, food and attention. I think of their sleep-deprived parents, not yet ready to come downstairs and make conversation, preferring to sit quietly on the terrace with a cup of coffee.

To make that happen – I start drawing — I need a small kitchen and some comfy furniture.

I pencil in a wall of outdoor cabinets on the right side along one 9-foot wall, which conveniently has a weather-protected electrical outlet. I sketch upper and lower cupboards and drawers for non-breakable dishes, glassware, cups and utensils; a small frig for beverages, simple breakfast foods and snacks; and a coffee station. I rough in two comfortable lounge chairs with ottomans, creating a place to put your feet up and send your cares off to the nearest cloud. I add a small table.

“The hardest part of designing an outdoor space is visualizing how the space will function,

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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