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This backyard transformation was phase 1 of a whole house renovation for a getaway house in White Salmon, Washington. The owners, reside in Portland but come out to their escape hatch frequently and spend a lot of time out in the backyard, entertaining guests and enjoying the summer sun. A design master-pan was conceived for the residence inside and out. Construction commenced on the backyard problem first, addressing items like poor flow from house to outdoor space, lack of sunlight indoors, and a general rather unsightly rear of house. The new backyard outdoor space becomes part of the composition of the house, transforming the ugly duck into a cool looking dude.

A tall concrete fin wall sets up the order here, cleverly hiding stairs and providing structure for a modest upper deck, that slides out from the main level house. From there a mid-level concrete patio nestles the owners comfortably lower amidst the neighborhood, while 2 concrete planters help to delineate the new space boundaries. A new hot tub is located on an upper turret level with a tight cedar wood screen around (because hot tubs are ugly) it echoing the language of the wood screen guardrail of the upper deck and itself becoming part of the overall composition. Throw in some strategic landscape up lighting and other accents and this outdoor room is complete.

Decks don't have to look any old deck.


Photography by Jeff Amram.