Orefield, PA | 6 Weeks

Bartkavage Residence

Being blinded by the afternoon sun, feeling uncomfortable under its blazing rays and not having overhead protection or shade on their existing patio kept this outdoor-loving family from enjoying their backyard to its fullest. With so many overwhelming possibilities for a backyard transformation, MasterPLAN partnered with this family to target what they really wanted to achieve from their outdoor space by exploring their options with a custom 3D design!

Designer Comments

Originally thinking that a stamped concrete patio would solve most of their outdoor problems concerning weeds and maintenance, the homeowners were quick to realize that there were other potential issues to address. The existing steps leading from the home to the patio were not only dangerous to traverse but they also created a difficult transition from inside to out. This created a physical obstacle for the homeowner’s mom. She didn’t feel comfortable using the questionable staircase, so she mostly opted to not join the family on the patio. Hearing this, we knew it was a situation that needed to be corrected right away! Discussing all pros, cons and options for the space, the homeowners fell in love with our idea of a seamless transition deck and overhead roof design that would allow everyone to walk without difficulty onto the deck and be protected no matter the weather. Being able to engage this space effortlessly also helps the outdoor living space look and feel like an extension of the home.

Analyzing the home’s existing roofline, we found that an attached A-frame style roof would beautifully blend into the architecture and not block any sightlines from inside. Roof structures can easily make spaces feel smaller and closed-in, so our goal was to do the exact opposite. The open roof gable lets your eyes wander into the distance, making the space feel limitless. We suggested skylights to allow natural light to filter back into the space and inside the house, but the homeowners initially decided they were not needed. However, when the roof was framed and the plywood was installed, the homeowners experienced the light they were used to inside the home was no longer there so they reached out to see if it was too late to incorporate the skylights. Just in the nick of time, we were able to add the skylights back into the project for not much more project cost. To finish, we installed a white vinyl ceiling treatment to allow the space to remain light and we balanced the clean lines with an authentic barnwood veneer for the ceiling details. Dimmable LED recessed lighting and speakers are incorporated for a more function and enjoyment.

It was important to size the deck and roof appropriately to comfortably fit the essential 3 living zones yet still have proper proportion to the surroundings. Cooking, dining and lounging are all present on the same level to maximize the use of the space as a whole. It was also important that a grill space be included in the plan, but not far removed from family, friends and the comforts of inside. Being that the grill was too far away on their previous patio, we wanted to incorporate the built-in kitchen as a subtle focal point to the deck. The kitchen includes a natural gas grill, roll-out trash receptacle, storage drawers and an open cabinet for taller items. Convenience outlets, a beautiful honed granite countertop and stone veneer were installed to complete the feature. This stone veneer used on the kitchen island is the same stone used on the front of the home, creating a fluidity and cohesiveness throughout. On the outer side of the kitchen, the stone veneer continues all the way to the ground, giving it a natural “born out of the ground” feel.

Traveling onto the paver patio, you will be greeted at your next destination by a custom natural gas fireplace. With the flip of a switch, the flames come alive and dance with a warm and welcoming ambiance. This family truly appreciates the ease of use and the cleanliness of the natural gas fuel-source. There is no need to store firewood, kindling or maintain ash and embers. The same stone veneer also carries over to this feature for unity. This feature is completed by a chunky barnwood mantle, bluestone shoulders to help guide precipitation and lights at the top of the structure to downcast ambiance when the sun sinks low. This patio focal point is flanked by seating walls complete with, you guess it, a stone veneer and bluestone cap. These walls add extra seating to the space without taking up extra space and they also serve a second function to guide the family dogs into the yard without them trudging through dirt and mulch!

To tie the whole outdoor living space together, we designed and installed a white vinyl fence area by the driveway to house unsightly garbage and recycling cans as well as the utility boxes, transformers and controls. This fenced area helps the space feel clean and well thought out. Beautiful landscape lighting and landscaping flow bucolically throughout the backyard to display color and mood all year-round.

Through the power of our full-color 3D design and installation process, we were able to partner with and guide this family along their journey to discover the full potential for their own outdoor living space that they will certainly enjoy for many years to come!

Client Wish List

  • Reimagine the hardscape with either a patio or deck
  • Protection from the elements and the intense sunshine
  • A place to grill yet still be in the mix
  • A fire feature for ambiance and evening enjoyment
  • Clever solutions so the dogs don’t drag mud and mulch into the space or the home

"The end product was EXACTLY like the original design video created for us!"