Before and After: By Eva Ditler Photography by Martin Mann
Or, how a little rain paved the way to a cozy gathering place…
Even though the backyard of Terry Lawson’s Baypark home was blessed with an awesome water-front view, it was the front yard’s driveway — consisting of nothing but two oil-stained concrete slabs — that was the hangout of choice for family and friends.
“The front’s more secluded from the wind,” says Lawson, “and it’s also easier to get to the kitchen from the front.”
Lawson had always wanted to trans-form this open-to-the-street space into
an enclosed patio with a fireplace and a barbecue — an inviting spot for entertaining. That was just a rainy-day dream, until the day it actually rained and she discovered her roof leaked. She contacted Greg Vorce to fix it.
“While he was here, I mentioned that, if only I had the money, I’d want to make this area into a cozy, more private place to accommodate guests.”
It turned out that the makeover wasn’t as expensive as she thought.
“Terry’s favorite style is Arts & Crafts and she is a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright,” says Vorce. “I tried to incorporate touches of both into the new design.”
Courtyard walls were built, topped by a custom redwood lattice to maximize privacy. Columns, a nod to Frank Lloyd Wright, and an overhead pergola provided a clear entry point for guests. The bland gray home exterior was switched out to a warmer earth-toned palette of greens and browns.
“The new courtyard has a custom out-door kitchen, fire pit, custom built-in seat-ing and new landscaping,” says Vorce.
Plants were replaced with low-maintenance, drought-tolerant materials, a
drip-irrigation system was installed, low-voltage, energy-efficient lighting fixtures were used and the redwood is Forest Stewardship Council certified from sustainable forests in California.