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Continued: Outdoor-living trend drives bigger, better outdoor rooms

  • Article by: LYNN UNDERWOOD , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 20, 2014 - 3:03 PM

“This courtyard serves as our yard,” said Berghoff, who enlisted designer Wulf for the makeover. “We can open sliding glass doors on three sides and use it late in the fall because it’s protected from the elements.”

Wulf’s design includes a sleek bluestone patio that matches the interior kitchen floor to “continue the flow from inside to outside,” she said.

The courtyard is decorated with a water feature — basalt columns with flowing water — and resin pots filled with tropical plants to create a tranquil setting. For a conversation area, she arranged pieces of wicker-look furniture made from recycled plastic.

Smartly designed new outdoor furniture has played a role in the ultra-comfort of these new spaces, said Sutphen. The weatherproof synthetic wicker, teak and cast-aluminum frames are easy to maintain and designed to hold thick cushions.

“In outdoor rooms, you can use more playful colors in the cushions and pillows,” said Lisa Peck of Lilu Interiors, who recently designed a vibrant-colored seating area on a deck above a garage near Lake of the Isles. “And there’s so many more choices in outdoor fabrics.”

How you design your outdoor room depends on which features you want, how you plan to use it, your available space and, lastly, your budget.

The Mahons’ outdoor great room serves as a comfortable multi-use space, but it also represents their sweat and dedication to getting it done.

When the couple exceeded their budget for the foundation and framing, they spent many nights and weekends laying the Old World look fieldstone — most of it from their prop erty — surrounding the pizza oven. Steve pointed out some of the imperfections in the stonework, but added that it didn’t matter.

“We just wanted something that was real and authentic,” he said, “a communal place to share bread with family and friends.”


Lynn Underwood • 612-673-7619


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