With a demanding career-oriented lifestyle and a high priority of family time, the ability to relax and entertain at home was especially important to our Clients. After listening to our Clients’ needs at the first meeting, we understood that a few key points were essential in helping them to achieve their vision for this project; natural light, organic form, and low maintenance.

Once we sat down at the drawing board, our designer further evaluated the project and set two additional goals for our team to address any potential challenges and find solutions to make this the beautiful and functional space our Clients envisioned. First, it was evident that the location of the new sunroom could block off direct sunlight to the existing living and dining rooms. As the purpose of this sunroom addition was not only to add an extra room to the house, but most importantly to improve the quality of the adjacent living space, we set out to find a solution to enhance rather than detract from the natural light of these rooms. Second, the existing basement floor elevation would put the finished patio elevation 4 to 6 feet lower than the surrounding lawn, and as a result, retaining walls and guardrails would have to be installed around the patio. This would isolate the patio area from the remainder of the lawn making it difficult to access, and the views from the patio would be greatly restricted. As one crucial purpose of this new patio was to enable living activities to extend beyond the boundary of the house and to utilize the full potential of the outdoor space, it was essential to our team to find a solution to meet this important goal, adding comfort and accessibility to the outdoor space.

Our solutions to address the first goal were to maximize the southern daylight penetration and extend the living and dining rooms into the sunroom by installing large windows with transoms in the sunroom to allow the adjacent spaces to be well lit naturally throughout the day. By replacing two of the existing living room windows with full size connecting doors, and by modifying the living room fireplace, the sunroom could also serve as an extension of the living room with a two-sided fireplace in the center. Additionally, by creating a dining area in the sunroom, the usage of the new addition is greatly increased, which also frees up the valuable space near the kitchen, the heart of the house for a modern family.

With our second goal for the patio in mind, we set out to create a resort-like atmosphere where our Clients can get away to experience the beauty and relaxation of a vacation, right in the comfort and convenience of their own backyard. To address the elevation difference between the finished patio and the surrounding lawn, our solution was to create a multi-level patio that gradually ascends up the lawn, thereby reducing the height of the retaining walls to a comfortable sitting height. Planters were integrated into the curvilinear design to add color, texture, and life to create an organic patio. We imagine this new patio as a place our Clients can kick back and relax with their favorite books, enjoy a light conversation on cool autumn evenings over a bottle of wine in front of an open fire, and get together with family and friends; cooking and sharing their favorite meals and making memories on this great outdoor dining space.

The choices of material are natural wood and stone. With maintenance in consideration, we chose a clean line shiplap ipe hardwood siding for its rich natural brown color to anchor the outdoor space with contrasting pale heavy texture stone columns and patio sitting walls. With careful consideration of scale, form, color and texture, we were able to create a contemporary design that is both organic and warm.