A Connecticut family brings the luxuries of indoor life beyond the backdoor. The result is this truly spectacular, multi-level patio design and backyard oasis.
TEXT COREY J. HALSTEAD PHOTOGRAPHY MICHAEL GOTOWALA
Relocating from warm, sunny California to the—well—not-always-so-warm-and-sunny Northeast, can certainly be a challenging transition. That transition becomes even harder when spending time at home in your outdoor living spaces is something that you truly value and enjoy. That’s exactly the situation that one family found themselves in when they packed up and headed east, purchasing a beautiful home just west of Hartford, CT. Seeking to bring a little bit of California to their new home, the homeowners reached out to outdoor living designer Michael Gotowala, owner of The Outdoor Kitchen Design Store by Preferred Properties in Cheshire, CT. We caught up with Michael to check out the finished project and understand a bit about his artistic vision he calls “living outdoors fabulously.”
“As a designer, I work to understand each family member’s lifestyle preferences indoors and then portray part of that lifestyle outdoors,” explains Gotowala. “ This results in an elevated quality of life.” And with a family of four in tow, Michael’s new clients were looking to do just that. Michael set out to design a series of connected, yet individual outdoor spaces to accommodate large outdoor gatherings and parties, as well as the small, impromptu family dinners on the back deck.
The final outdoor space includes multiple levels with vignettes that are somehow seamless in transition. The upper level, a sprawling deck located right outside the backdoor sliders of the home, features a complete outdoor kitchen perfect for casual, everyday use. Complete with a DCS drop-in grill and Alfresco side burner, the “L” shaped island offers high-top bar seating, a wine cooler, and a beautiful view of the lower pool area. Blue granite counter - tops that sit atop the granite stone veneer, offer a stark contrast to the clean-lined Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens cabinetry. The same finishes are found on an adjacent island that houses an outdoor refrigerator and sink.
On the lower level—located underneath the waterproofed deck above—the outdoor greatroom offers all-season luxury. The lounge style space includes a fully stacked bar area, Wood Stone pizza oven, heated marble floors, and—located just beyond the pass through window—a bubbling spa with views of the TV for movies. A private outdoor shower is located next to the spa with a granite bench framed by two remote controlled fire features that dance in front of the beautiful stone backdrop.
Just beyond the line of perfectly aligned sun lounges sits the clean-lined fiberglass ‘Elegance’ pool manufactured by Leisure Pools. A raised sun deck creates a wall on the deep end of the pool from which two waterfalls spill—a feature designer Gotowala refers to so vividly as “Whale Tale Waterfalls.” Perhaps even more stunning after dark, the pool comes alive with color changing LED lights that make that late night swim even more relaxing.
“The more dramatic the outdoor fireplace, the more dramatic the outdoor living space becomes,” confesses Gotowala. And dramatic this outdoor fireplace is indeed. Balanced beautifully by the stone arched woodbins on either side, the fire feature seems to somehow ‘anchor’ the outdoor spaces together perfectly. Relax by the crackling warmth of the fire on the geometric arrangement of couches or get even warmer on the seat benches in front of the woodbins. Just behind the couches are the breakfast nook and cooking island that houses a unique, Hibachi style grill by EVO.
Despite all of the luxurious outdoor living features this project includes, perhaps it’s the masterful design of the spaces that is most impressive. Outdoor spaces are no different than those located on the interior of the home in that they need to be functional—yet beautiful—and designed specifically for the way the client lives. The success of this luxury backyard retreat is a result of the understanding between client and designer—an understanding that clearly paid off for this CT family that can enjoy little ‘staycations’ any day of the week.
Michael Gotowala Preferred Properties Landscaping & Masonry Chesire, CT 06410 203.250.1030 855.Get.Outdoors
+ Products Cabinetry
Brown Jordan OutdoorKitchens
Turkish Blue Marble (antiqued and sandblasted)
Wood Stone Bistro 3030
+Electric Overhead Heat
Green Mountain thin stone