The home has a large back loggia that opens onto the courtyard. At the southern end, a new dining area features an Indiana limestone table. Custom-made, the solid limestone table had to be craned into place atop a terrace of locally sourced gray Crab Orchard stone. Low walls of white-painted brick topped with limestone frame the dining area. A walkway lined by a series of cropped trees connects this terrace to the folly.
Centered across from the house and courtyard rests a discreet frog pond lined in limestone and set into another Crab Orchard stone terrace. A custom-designed limestone bench includes a flat “shelf” carved into the back as a place to set beverages. The pond allows the owners and their children to raise and catch tadpoles or simply sit and enjoy the sound of the bubbling water.
A long garage wall extending east of the northern end of the house creates the structure’s L-shape, and an existing portico at the far end was updated. The vestibule behind the portico is a cabana house with changing rooms, a bathroom and outdoor shower with easy access to the pool. The flat-topped brick garage was painted white to match the house, and the team planted espaliered fruit trees along the length of the garage to visually incorporate it into the landscape. “In addition, we added 18 in. in height to make a parapet wall and curved it at each end,” describes Ridley Wills, co-owner and design director of Wills Co. “All of these changes turned this wall into an asset and helped integrate the backyard into one cohesive whole.”
Originally, the courtyard had shrubs that limited outdoor entertaining. With the new open grass courtyard, the owners now have much more flexibility for entertaining large numbers of guests.
The team increased the depth and length of the home’s outdoor terrace to more than double its size and covered the space to create a loggia. The furnished area includes a fireplace, dining and seating sections and a painted wood ceiling accentuated by hand-hewn Douglas fir beams. Retractable screens are cleverly concealed in the rack above the loggia’s openings to offer protection from insects. The screens can be manually controlled, but once deployed, they also contain sensors that rise automatically when someone approaches to allow exit and entry.
The Deep End
To visually obscure where the offset pool begins and ends, the plan raised the lawn and placed the pool two steps down from the courtyard and further separated with the fence. An update gave the pool a darker, gray blue interior and new waterline tile.
“The darker color inside the pool allows the surface to really reflect, making it act more as a garden element than a pool,” Weissmann explains. The same limestone and Crab Orchard stone combination used in the upper landscape surrounds the pool. “At the same time, we wanted to celebrate the pool and enhance the space around it.” The designers added four zinc urns at the pool corners and centered the furnishings at either end for seating and dining areas.
The yard renovation became an award-winning space. “The project unified all these elements and solved multiple challenges within the budget,” Wills says. “Now, the owners have an outdoor living environment they can truly enjoy.”
KJ Fields writes from Portland, Ore., about remodeling and design.