Dream Decks and Patios

Brooklyn Patio Makeover

See how one New York couple enlarged their living space by turning a small underused patio into a beautiful lounge area.

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Colors in the graphic transitional 8-by-10-foot acrylic rug unite the apartment's interior and exterior spaces.

To make the most use of the square footage by adding seating for up to seven, the key design element was a 7-by-8-foot L-shaped sectional. While it seems counterintuitive to use large pieces in small spaces, it's something most interior designers suggest doing, as long as the pieces are balanced with other elements in scale. Choosing a sectional sofa for an urban apartment with tight doorways and corridors presented a problem that eager homeowners often face. Our top two choices were made of solid L-shaped bases, but we realized they wouldn't actually be able to make it to the covered patio, so we started our search all over.

A few days later we discovered a modular outdoor sofa system that wasn't necessarily suggested for use as an L-shape, yet due to its many configurations could be made into one. Since each piece measured 36-by-38-inches deep, the sofa was able to fit into the elevator, through the halls, into the apartment and out to the covered patio. Once the sofa was out of the box, it simply took adding bolts and washers to attach the legs with an Allen wrench. With the celery-green cushions in place, the sofa coordinated perfectly with the area rug, so much so that the flesh-toned exterior of the building became almost unrecognizable.

Anchoring the sectional with the right coffee table was next on our list. Since space was at a premium, especially on the covered patio, it was important to find a patio coffee table with integrated storage. Sarah adds, "Every square inch of storage space inside our apartment was already accounted for. We simply couldn't put anything on the patio that couldn't remain on the patio, but we knew that some components of the design would benefit from being stored at some times, like during big rains or windstorms. We didn't want to muck up the aesthetic with big, ugly plastic tubs, but we had no idea what other options were out there."

In order to add enough surface area for snacks and drinks and also offer sufficient storage room for throw pillows, serving trays and outdoor drinkware, my furniture designer friend, Dan Faires, and I put our heads together to create something custom that wouldn't compromise style for durability. By creating a 40-by-40-foot table from reclaimed barn wood with a removable top and casters, we were able to provide ample space to store pillows and drinkware inside something weatherproof, and also ensure that the table was easy to move around for cleaning purposes.


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