View From the Top: 21 Fabulous Rooftop Decks

These rooftops take outdoor living to a whole new level -- literally. Check out our favorite rooftop features in these amazing, over-the-top designs.

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November 25, 2014
By: Colleen Sullivan

Photo By: Joey Accordino

Photo By: U-T San Diego

Photo By: Courtesy of EWM Realty; Photo by Ernesto Mendoza and Jonah Gouin

Photo By: Rick Elezi

Photo By: Joey Accordino

Photo By: Horst Architects via Zillow Digs

Photo By: Riley Jameson

Photo By: Horst Architects via Zillow Digs

Photo By: Courtesy of Sprogis and Neale Real Estate; Photo by Boston Virtual Imaging

Photo By: Jeri Koegel

Photo By: John Russel

Photo By: Janne Keskinen

Photo By: John Granen

Photo By: Andrew Franz Architect, Photo by Albert Vecerka

Photo By: Locati Architects, Photo by Roger Wade

Photo By: Jeri Koegel

Photo By: Joey Accordino

Photo By: Chicago Roof Deck and Garden

Photo By: Chicago Roof Deck and Garden

Photo By: Chicago Roof Deck and Garden

A Clear View

Low banquettes around the dining table and a wraparound glass railing were used to preserve the water view on this all-white Miami rooftop. "Flameless candles in the lanterns and votives operate on a remote so there's no issue with the wind," says Sofia Joelsson, owner of SoJo Design.

Pop in for the Movies

This San Diego penthouse, with its 360-degree views of the bay and ocean, is the perfect spot for movie watching. "A screen magically appears out of the wall from a hydraulic lift," says Paul Roberts, director of fine homes at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, "while an authentic pizza oven means you'll never go hungry viewing your favorite flicks."

Go Greek

This Florida rooftop is reminiscent of something you'd find on the island of Mykonos, with its limestone floor, marble-topped dining table, blue cushioned seating and stone planters filled with bright red flowers. "The best part of this penthouse — even beyond the bath, heated Jacuzzi and full kitchen — has to be the sail-like canopy," says Nancy Batchelor of EWM Realty International, "which can be reeled in or out depending on the direction of the sun."

Add Living Privacy

Weight restrictions on this pre-war building forced its New York City homeowners to build an interior shelf within the two-foot, wall-to-wall planters, requiring only a foot of soil, says Amber Freda of Amber Freda Home and Garden Design. The containers were then filled with hardy plants and flowers including spiral junipers, evergreens, boxwoods, arborvitaes, Alberta spruce, petunias and geraniums.

Chess, Anyone?

Twelve-inch travertine tiles were painted black and white to create a giant chessboard on this Miami rooftop. "Having something entertaining near the bar keeps guests engaged," says Sofia Joelsson, owner of SoJo Design. Plastic chess pieces were filled with sand to keep them from toppling over in the wind, while artificial grass was added to the wood trellises on the walls and ottoman to warm up the all-white space. A large rectangular mirror, centered behind the bar, reflects the water views.

Create Indoor-Outdoor Connections

The glass-enclosed living room on this oceanfront California home blends seamlessly with the outdoor rooftop. "Limestone flooring carries through from the inside to the outside to fully integrate the two areas," says Horst Noppenberger of Horst Architects, "while the retractable glass doors open up to create one big space." Also flawless: a relaxing gas fire pit and pool.

Pick Up a Pool Stick

Test your billiards skills while enjoying the mountain views under the enclosed area of this 3,000-square-foot rooftop (the largest in Las Vegas). The custom-built pool table sits close to the rooftop's other notable features: a movie theater, bedroom, wet bar, pool and hot tub, says Zar Zanganeh of Luxe Estates Collection.

Float to the Edge

In designing this pool, the California-based homeowner wanted to reinforce the idea that it was sitting at the edge of a continent, says Horst Noppenberger of Horst Architects. The pool decking is meant to look like a floating platform, while the limestone floor mirrors the indigenous rock of this coastal setting.

Make Waves

Powerful pumps in this infinity pool create a manmade current and a vigorous workout. Tired of doing laps? Flip a switch and the pool transforms into one big hot tub. "With beautiful views of the Boston Public Garden and the Boston Common, it's one of the only residential rooftop pools in Boston," notes John Neale of Sprogis & Neale Real Estate.

Gather 'Round the Fire Pit

Cannonballs set on black lava rocks help circulate the heat on this granite-topped gas fire pit, says Christopher Brandon of Brandon Architects, Inc. "Custom turquoise cushions and a built-in, 48-inch television allow guests to watch movies under the stars," he says.

Make It Rain

Inconspicuous pipes placed over the pool release water, creating a soothing rainfall effect, says Nathaniel Pitchon-Getzels of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. Red bulbs in the light fixtures give this Los Angeles rooftop its Hollywood glow. You can even close the grommet curtain panels for extra privacy.

Welcome to Miami

Treat yourself to the beautiful views of downtown Miami while sitting at this rooftop bar. The floor below is illuminated by colorful LED lighting, giving the space a disco feel, says realtor Janne Keskinen of Kendall Gables Realty. No room at the bar? Grab your drink and head to the nearby fire pit or enjoy a dip in the pool.

Warm Up a Big Space

Lots of indoor elements were used to cozy up this 7,000-square-foot Dallas rooftop including a dining table, lounge chairs, barbecue, TVs and even a refrigerator and dishwasher. Overhead pergolas and planters filled with boxwoods also help to define and minimize the space, says Sofia Joelsson, owner of SoJo Design.

Green With Envy

The owners of this cozy 800-square-foot rooftop used reclaimed bluestone pavers, Ipe wood decking and low-maintenance native plants — including grasses, climbing vines, black-eyed Susan and Echinacea — to create their New York City hideaway, says Andrew Franz of Andrew Franz Architect.

Live Outdoors

The goal was to design a year-round living room so the homeowners could spend more time enjoying the mountain views, says Kyle Tage of Locati Architects. Seating created out of branches and twigs, a stacked stone fireplace, a wrought iron chandelier and an area rug work together to give this rooftop a rustic elegance. "Plus, every piece of wood — the timbers, floor, mantel and handrail — were repurposed with the goal of bringing authenticity to the space," notes Tage.

Kick Off Your Shoes...And Cook!

To maximize storage space, the homeowner stores her footwear behind glass under the rooftop's covered atrium, says Christopher Brandon of Brandon Architects, Inc. "There's even a ladder to access the top shelves." The adjacent full-service kitchen comes with a microwave, dishwasher, barbecue, ice maker and refrigerator with a designated spot for wine. The little red man? "A knife holder," notes Brandon.

Cozy Up to the Bar

The homeowner wanted to create an intimate nook where guests could enjoy cocktails and watch movies on this Miami rooftop, says Sofia Joelsson, owner of SoJo Design. The synthetic wicker and galvanized aluminum stools and bar are made to withstand salt air and high winds, while hibiscus trees in tall black planters provide privacy.

Get Cooking

The full-service kitchen makes it easy to pull off parties on this Chicago rooftop. It features a sink, refrigerator, commercial grill, ice maker and self-serve beverage center. A TV centered on the wall allows the homeowners and their guests to catch their favorite sports without leaving the roof, says designer Vanessa Slivinski of Chicago Roof Deck and Garden.

Party Over the Garage

To extend their home's living space, this Chicago family decorated their garage rooftop with furnishings normally found indoors: curtains, vintage ceiling fans, upholstered furniture and a bar (with keggorator!). "The granite-topped gas fire pit, along with ambient sconce lighting, makes this an inviting family hangout," says designer Vanessa Slivinski of Chicago Roof Deck and Garden.

Chill by the Fountain

Water flows out of six spouts and into a basin where it's upcycled, says designer Vanessa Slivinski of Chicago Roof Deck and Garden. Glass lanterns and fiberglass planters dress up the rooftop's fountain, while a TV plays videos and movies. The custom fabricated concrete fire pit was designed to match the waterfall's zinc patina finish, adds Silvinski.

Swing From the Treetops

You get the feeling you're floating in the air, says Leslie Piper, consumer housing specialist for An artist's rendering of this yet-to-be built penthouse rooftop overlooking Central Park in New York City displays amenities like a stainless steel table with seating for ten, a full kitchen, bar and fire pit. (The apartment could be yours for $60 million, but the rooftop build-out is sadly not included.)

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