The Outdoor Living Space!
Our family moved to this house, many years back, after all my dad’s years in the air force. It was a very modest, smallish, story and a half house—but with, they felt, lots of potential!
One of the first improvements made was to raise the roof at the back of the house, which changed the long hallway-styled bedroom into a large bedroom for my 3 big brothers, an office for my teacher-mother, and a full bathroom shared by both spaces–which I’ll share in another post!
The outside was very sparse–no landscaping to speak of. My parents planted every tree you’ll see pictured. I can’t seem to find anything showing the original back of the house–but this is after the roof was raised. My dad also created a large patio area with poured concrete, then built a large brick and stone bbq for all the fun gatherings we seemed to have–including some wild, neighborhood water balloon fights!
Many years later, with all of us grown up and gone, my mom told me Uncle Fred was going to need to come live with her after a major back surgery. They would have to build one of those horrible ramps for him to be able to come in the front door. “No! Don’t do it!”
I suggested that instead, they remove the window by the kitchen table and “install a french door leading to a deck–with a ramp!” Everyone loved the idea!
On the next trip home, I razzed my big brother that it “wasn’t a deck–it was a big porch!” A design I promptly re-worked when I eventually came back to renovate the house for my mom’s retirement! I insisted he take down certain sections of the railings– which he did–while grumbling and saying stuff under his breath I couldn’t quite hear! Once the new deck extension was built, and it all made sense–he liked it!
(Spoiler alert– You can see some of the other renovations to the back of the house in these pictures. But I’ll share that, too, in another post)
Strategically removing the railing sections to form an “open” corner, allowed a natural transition down to a large outdoor living room– leaving the original deck for a dining level. We created a bump-out in the deck for the pergola porch swing so it wouldn’t eat into the deck space. It was built from a kit–the 5’9″ long swing folds down into a bed–like a futon. Wisteria was planted on each side, and has grown up the sides and partly across the top! It’s a great place to take a nap–I know this first-hand!
The deck was built in the fall and these pictures are from the following summer. The deck is now stained with a very rich, semi-translucent mocha color! The market umbrellas were changed to the palest of yellows, and the sumptuous chairs’ cushions were reupholstered in fabulous outdoor fabrics.
Lighting– I tucked rope lights just under the overhang of the long stair treads, there are built-in dimmers on the 2 lamp posts, and lights are attached to the splines of both umbrellas–all provide ambient lighting at night! AND–I added outdoor speakers! This is a really fun place to hang out–day or night!
The table between the chairs is an urn! I had patio table glass cut into a “donut” so it could be planted full of geraniums and still be a table to set drinks down!
This is the initial garden you step down to. Beginning at the column, and continuing around the outer perimeter, we planted 28 endless summer hydrangeas. We’ve been tweaking the garden in the foreground, in front of the church railing, to create a totally “green” garden of snow on the mountain, and a wide variety of hostas. A tete a tete sits quietly in this space, which is enclosed by hedges of ewes.
Take note of the size of the “tree” in the top picture vs its current size–wow!
From the back “yard” looking towards the house, you can see how far we got before the coldest weather set in.
…..this is how it looked pre-renovations!
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