by Fred J. San Juan Capistrano, CA
Jul. 16, 2018
Our house is nicely finished inside so we didn’t have to do a great deal of work when we moved in. The yard backs onto open space so we feel like we live in the country. It is really peaceful and quiet to sit outside. We should have enjoyed it more but we didn’t spend much time there. The problem was that nothing had been done to the patio. It was just an open space with no defined sitting area and so didn’t seem inviting. There was not enough shade when it was really hot and bright and if the weather was a bit cooler, it was too cold to stay outside.
Since we live in such a perfect climate, we wanted to maximize the time we could spend outside so made a list of what would make a difference to the patio. We decided that some kind of firepit or fireplace would be necessary and wanted comfortable seating that felt like a living room. We both enjoy reading and a good glass of wine and saw ourselves doing this on the patio. The best decision we made was to use an architect and not just a contractor. The architect we used gave us the idea to build a roof over the deck area where we wanted to sit. It is not connected to the house, but the architect focused on making sure the area felt unified and that the transition from indoors to out was a smooth one. He produced renderings so we could see exactly what the finished product would look like. So much easier than looking at plans or just talking about what we wanted. We put in a gas fire and a big hearth so it really feels like a sitting room.
I know a lot of people skip the architect because it adds to the bottom line, but I am sure our patio would not have looked this good without one. I also think it made the construction process much easier. The contractor just followed the plans and the project was finished on time. Our architect also suggested that we put heaters hanging from the roof that could be turned on by the flick of a switch. They are my favorite part. We spend far more time outside in the evenings because of them.
We finished off the area with outdoor wicker sofas facing each other, a coffee table and a small rug underneath to pull the space together. The patio is now our favorite room in the house.