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Bob's a true reno guy -- he loves a project. He had built this gazebo and deck and they were both structurally A OK and serviceable. What was lacking was a cohesive design flow that drew you in to sit awhile, unwind and reflect on the gorgeous countryside that surrounded their fishing camp and home. Easier access to the gazebo and some stylish outdoor furniture were necessary first steps.
The garden area around the house was sadly neglected; there were no points of interest to take in while Bob and Donna relaxed outdoors. On such a large property this can be a daunted task, but well worth the plans and the labor.
Outdoor living spaces have become wildly popular over the last few years. A great deal of attention is being directed toward building beautiful backyard gardens and furnishing them with an eye on style as well as practical living. This is what Donna was looking for. She and Bob weren't using their gazebo or deck as it stood.
We began by installing a double door entranceway to the gazebo and some additional decking. To link both areas all the wood was stained dark brown, the gazebo ceiling was painted white and a white sun canopy was hung over the deck.
We came up with some very unique solutions for outdoor furniture. Paul designed a rocker lounge using plywood arches for a base -- very cool. A champagne table on wheels has a stainless steel sink in the center that holds ice for keeping drinks cold. Unplug the sink and the melted water drains through the deck. (This is for exterior use, of course.) The tabletop has been finished with cement to look like fossilized stone. Huge plastic flower pots remain in proportion to the vast outdoor landscape.
There's plenty of seating indoors and out now; the gazebo has low, rectangular storage boxes topped with canvas covered mattresses. A table and benches made from all-weather synthetic weave sit on the deck's painted carpet.
Brilliant landscape architect Kim took full advantage of Bob's passion for one-of-a-kind design. He suspended a 2000 pound rock over a gravel bed fountain -- it is truly an awesome sight. A flagstone path was built, a rock hedge supported by heavy mesh is in place awaiting a rich growth of moss, and gardens are planted with periwinkle, geraniums, salvia and black-eyed Susans that all contribute to the seasonal colors.
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Ceiling & Floor
The wood posts, beams and floor were covered with a dark brown solid exterior stain that goes on like paint but penetrates as well for a longlasting finish. The ceiling was painted white, and large twig lampshades accentuate the height and shape of the A-frame.
Crisp white curtains that flank the screened windows can be drawn to keep sun or rain at bay; they are also an important element in making the outdoor living room feel stylish and finished.
Low daybed box frames stained to match the floor open for storage. Mattresses covered in white canvas are comfortable and summery.
This outdoor coffee table has a built-in ice bucket for keeping the drinks chilled. It has been built on wheels attached to a metal frame for easy handling. The table is a box 48"x 48" x 15" with a hole cut in the middle for a stainless steel sink. To produce a fossil stone effect for the tabletop, a thin coat of super strength cement concrete (exterior patch used for walls) was spread on smoothly with a spatula. When it was dry, we sanded any sharp or pointy bits, and then applied concrete sealer with a white tint added. Use a brush to apply the sealer and then rub it in with a rag, highlighting the natural textures in the cement coating.
To make the rocker lounge chair, you will need six arches cut from 3/4" plywood, each 8" wide for the base. The arch is part of a circle that has a 68-inch radius. You need a large area to trace the arc on the plywood. Cut one and use it as a template so they are all the same. Glue two arches together so that you have three completed arches, each 1 1/2 inches thick: two outside rockers and one middle rocker. The chair slats are made from 1" x 3" treated wood, cut in lengths of 30". They are screwed into the rockers with 1 1/2" epoxy-coated deck screws. The finished rocker is primed and painted with exterior gloss white paint.
Bob had built an open overhead structure for the deck area, which we redesigned to hold a canopy of white weatherproof fabric. (Look for materials designed to be used outdoors at your fabric or upholstery outlet.) We cut pre-determined lengths of fabric and sewed under the edges. Large grommets were punched in 18" apart along the hemmed edges, as well as in the middle for rain drainage. Clothesline rope was threaded through the side grommets; the canopy hangs from hooks that have been screwed into the deck's overhead framework.
Table & Benches
This new table and benches are fabricated from a synthetic weave that is beautiful and durable. It comes in a range of colors including the bronze seen here. Jim painted a faux carpet on the deck using a stencil that fit the width of the boards, which made measuring and placement easy. The carpet's background is light brown, the design a light gray. For the stenciled fringe, first light gray was rolled on, then the stencil was moved slightly offside and filled in with white. This makes a very realistic shadow, adding dimension to the whimsical carpet.
The garden was planned for short and long-term enjoyment. The flowers are coming into full bloom now, but the moss intended for the rock hedge will take a few years to fill in completely. Planting perennials is a good way to have color appear and change throughout the growing season.
A water feature is always a tranquil feature in a garden. Size doesn't matter -- it can be as small as a ten-inch wide bowl or basin with a tiny pump and a few stones, or as grand as Kim's rock suspended from a steel frame over a bed of small stones. The idea is the same -- the soothing sight and sound of moving water over (or against) rock.