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2018 Idea House | Outdoor Gathering Spaces

Packed with comfortable furnishings and custom features, The TOH 2018 Idea House was built for "staycation" living, and this courtyard is definitely going to be the prime activity zone. Take a tour, here.

Staycation-Worthy

Photo by Talia Sweenor

"The idea was to not just create one huge rectangle," says landscape designer Jon Zeyl of the area between the back of the house and a garage sidewall. "We wanted welcoming spaces, logically broken up by geometry, that people would want to to use." Uniting all the areas are concrete pavers set in a variety of sizes and patterns.

LANDSCAPE DESIGN: Landscape Creations of Rhode Island

PAVERS: Unilock

COMPOSITE ROOF TILES: DaVinci Roofscapes

CLAPBOARD STAIN: Olympic's Steely Sea

CLAPBOARD SIDING: LIFESPAN Solid Select

CEDAR SHINGLES: SBC Cedar

PLANTS AND TREES: Fast-Growing-Trees.com

MICROCLOVER SOD: Sodco

The Ultimate Amenity

Photo by Nat Rea

This 7x13-foot pre-cast plunge pool was delivered in one piece, dropped into a 4-foot hole, and then faced with stone veneer and a bluestone ledge. With a built-in bench and water temperature controls, this right-size pool is perfect for a quick, cooling dip when the mercury climbs.

PLUNGE POOL: Soake Pools

STONE VENEER: Eldorado Stone

FURNISHINGS: Hayneedle

Well-Dressed Pool

Photo by Claudia Jepsen

Colorful mirrored gazing globes float on the surface of our right-size plunge pool.

POOL: Soake Pools

GAZING GLOBES: Mayan Dreams Imports

TOWELS: Hayneedle

Green Landscape-Without the Wait

Photo by Claudia Jepsen

Mature-looking plants, trees, shrubs, and sod were all ordered online and installed over the course of a single weekend, saving both time and money.

PLANTINGS: Fast-Growing-Trees.com

MICROCLOVER SOD: Sodco

Low-Maintenance Lawncare

Photo by Nat Rea

Microclover sod requires infrequent watering and zero fertilizer. To avoid over-watering, we chose an in-ground irrigation system that includes a timer that can be remote-controlled from a smart phone or computer and adjusts to local weather conditions.

SPRINKLER SYSTEM & TIMER: Orbit B-Hyve & Orbit Irrigation

MICROCLOVER SOD: Sodco

Instant Water Access

The no-leak, no-drip, never-freeze outdoor faucet system features a twist-lock design that automatically turns the water on as soon as the connector is inserted.

HOUSE HYDRANT & HOSE: Aquor Water Systems

Shower Spot

Photo by Nat Rea

Tucked into the far corner of the concrete-paver patio, the custom-built outdoor shower features a pergola roof, custom-designed privacy panels, and a door laser-cut with a design of schooling fish.

OUTDOOR SHOWER: Sweenor Builders

PLANTS: Fast-Growing-Trees.com

PLANTER: Hayneedle

For a Quick Rinse

Photo by Nat Rea

Both fun and functional, an outdoor shower is a sought-after amenity at any house near the beach. Inside, the curved seat and plumbing wall got a natural accent with moisture-resistant knotty western red cedar.

SHOWER: Sweenor Builders Mill Shop

KNOTTY WESTERN RED CEDAR: Real Cedar

SHOWER FITTINGS: DXV

LIGHTING: Clarkson Lighting

TOWELS: Hayneedle

Outdoor Kitchen

Photo by Nat Rea

Perfect for casual entertaining, the outdoor kitchen and dining area sets the stage for al fresco meals. A lantern wired into the garage wall provides evening task lighting. A teak bar-height dining set with wicker-topped stools is just steps away, allowing the chef to enjoy the party too.

KITCHEN ISLAND and GARAGE WALL: Eldorado Stone

COUNTERTOP: Cosentino

LIGHT FIXTURE: Clarkson Lighting

FURNISHINGS, GRILL and APPLIANCES: Hayneedle

PATIO PAVERS: Unilock

Built-In Barbeque Station

Photo by Cynthia Brown Studio

To create the outdoor kitchen, builder Jeff Sweenor started with pre-fab cabinets and cut out holes for a gas grill, stainless-steel refrigerator, and ice chest. He then covered it with manufactured stone veneer, and topped it with a non-porous, scratch- and stain-resistant countertop.

KITCHEN BASE AND STONE VENEER: Eldorado Stone

GRILL, ICE CHEST, REFRIGERATOR: Hayneedle

COUNTERTOP: Dekton by Cosentino

Evening Lounge

Photo by Nat Rea

Casual Adirondack-style seating, including a bench swing hung from an angled pergola—echoed in the circular paving design—offers plenty of options for gathering around into the wee hours.

PERGOLA: Sweenor Builders Mill Shop

FURNISHINGS, ADIRONDACK CHAIRS, SWING: Hayneedle

FIRE BOWL: Eldorado Stone

PATH LIGHTING: Clarkson LIghting

PATIO PAVERS: Unilock

Fire Feature

Photo by Claudia Jepsen

On evenings when there's a chill in the air, the courtyard's gas fire bowl has a magnetic attraction. Mood, task, and path lighting illuminate the surrounding areas.

FIRE BOWL: Eldorado Stone

ADIRONDACK CHAIR SET: Hayneedle

PAVERS: Unilock

LIGHTING: Clarkson Lighting

Mood and Safety Lighting

Photo by Cynthia Brown Studio

Task and ambient LED path lights keep the party going after dark, and accentuate the landscape.

LIGHTING: Clarkson Lighting

PAVERS: Unilock

PLANTS: Fast-Growing-Trees.com

Conversation Piece

Photo by Cynthia Brown Studio

Off the sunroom, a seating area outfitted with an all-weather synthetic-resin wicker sectional sofa invites lounging and conversation.

SECTIONAL, PILLOWS, PLANTER: Hayneedle

PAVERS: Unilock

RETRACTABLE SCREEN WINDOWS: Scenix by Larson

Welcome Back

Photo by Nat Rea

For convenient daily comings and goings, the back door connects to the freestanding garage via a covered walkway, offering protection from the elements. This secondary entry gets the first-class treatment with a small sitting porch that echoes the full-width porch out front, with a cedar floor and ceiling and tapered wood columns set on manufactured-stone-veneer bases.

CLAPBOARDS, WINDOW TRIM, AND SOFFITS: LIFESPAN Solid Select

WESTERN RED CEDAR: Real Cedar

EXTERIOR SEALER (ON CEDAR ELEMENTS): Olympic

WALKWAY PAVERS: Unilock

BACK DOOR AND INTERIOR SHIPLAP: Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods

PORCH FURNISHINGS: Hayneedle

OUTDOOR SCONCES: Circa Lighting

STONE PIER: Eldorado Stone