Design New England

The sunny outdoors beckon


By a sun-drenched pool (Made in the Shade May/June 2007), a cedar arbor shades a full kitchen (including a built-in grill) and a table and chairs where children and adults convene when lunch is ready. Painted lattice hides storage cabinets and provide privacy.

Maybe it’s the 4th of July holiday that has us thinking cookouts and alfresco dinner parties. Summer isn’t summer without them. While some of today’s outdoor spaces, such as the one above, are equipped with a full kitchen set up, all you need for successful dining en plein air is seating, good food, and a summer breeze. From roof decks to terraces, a look through Design New England archives provides picturesque variations of these appetizing spaces.



Interior designer Lisey Good and husband Lenny Snyderman have moved to a new place in Boston’s Bay Village (see Home at Last May/June 2012), but the roof deck atop their townhouse on Beacon Hill (The Good Life July/August 2008) must have been hard to leave. Compact but efficient, there was space for cooking, dining — and, most importantly, relaxing before and after meals. It was like having a tree house in the middle of the city.


When warm weather entices, Livia Cowen of Mariposa places a rustic dining table just outside her 1880 Queen Anne carriage house-turned-home in Gloucester, Massachusetts (Feathering Her Nest March/April 2009). The shaded brick terrace defined by columns and trelliswork overlooks lush gardens.


A conservatory, like the one in Bunny Williams’s Connecticut home (Almost Heaven March/April 2012), is a magical place that is somewhere between indoors and out. Williams’s signature “undecorated” style makes this a sanctuary no matter the season, alive with greenery and characterized by antique arch doors, deep skylights, and simple white-slipcovered chairs that welcome visitors to stay for dinner.


Sometimes a comfy place to sit and a bistro set for four do the trick, though interior designer Fotene Demoulas’s Back Bay roof deck (Growing Up May/June 2010) also has a fully equipped section for grilling. And should storm clouds gather, guests can slip into the furnished rooftop head house. Modular Janus et Cie outdoor seating and potted plants keep the look simple and space flexible.

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