Luxurious Backyard Retreat

Designer Christopher Grubb transformed a typical backyard into a high-end, lavish outdoor living space for the whole family.
Traditional Patio With Outdoor Living Room and Awning

Traditional Patio With Outdoor Living Room and Awning

A large white awning extends out from a luxurious outdoor living room. A traditional metal chandelier illuminates the covered space, complete with sofa, coffee table and a fireplace. Curtains are made to slide, creating a wall to protect the elaborate interior on rainy days. The awning stretches across a dining area with a metal table and chairs for a shady entertaining space.

For this Beverly Hills, Calif., backyard, designer Christopher Grubb and Arch-Interiors Design Group created a stunning outdoor retreat that features a living room, dining area, kitchen and pool.

Grubb shares the challenges and successes of this backyard remodel.

Describe the homeowners' wish list.

The clients had spent a fair amount of time on the beautiful interiors of their home and wanted this outdoor living space to be an extension of the inside. The space was to include a fully functional outdoor kitchen, dining area and covered cabana. They also wished to update their pool and incorporate a grassy area for their children.

High-End Outdoor Living Space

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Before: Typical Backyard

The backyard featured a large, open area with a patio and pool, but after the homeowners did a full interior remodel of their home, it was time to update the outdoors to match.

After: Al Fresco Living

The Beverly Hills backyard is a true outdoor retreat featuring a living room, dining area and kitchen. Retractable awnings on airplane cables provide shade on sunny days or can be pulled back at night for a view of the stars.

Sophisticated Outdoor Living

The outdoor pavilion anchors the backyard. Two solid walls define the living space, while the other sides are left open to the pool and backyard. Comfy, neutral furniture, a stone fireplace, an elegant chandelier and artwork create the cozy look of a living room outdoors. A skylight allows natural light in from above and is surrounded by pleated outdoor fabric that softens the ceiling.

Decorative Details

An etched-glass wall separates the pool from the pavilion for safety but still allows the two areas to flow seamlessly together. Scrolled ironwork on the skylight adds architectural interest.

Sleek Pool Retreat

The pool features beautiful diamond-patterned tile work, while the stone surrounding the pool mimics the geometric design.

Luxe Waterfall Entry

A waterfall spills out of an elegant urn and is flanked by scrolled iron and stone staircases, making for a grand entrance to the pool area. Grass is inlaid into the steps and pool surround to bring a lush, natural element into the space.

Elegant Outdoor Kitchen

No need to head indoors when it's time to eat. The outdoor kitchen features every convenience needed, including a large grill, range and sink and faucet. Stainless steel cabinets and drawers provide storage for all the homeowners' outdoor entertaining and cooking needs.

Outdoor Entertaining Made Easy

The kitchen and bar area is the perfect spot for grabbing a bite to eat outside. Smooth stone countertops are paired with a neutral base that features a mosaic-tile inset for visual interest.

What were the homeowners' design problems?

Space planning, including the multifunction needs and access to the pool bathroom and to the front yard.

What was your biggest obstacle in this space?

Precast and tile details required multiple visits to suppliers for consistency of materials. Onsite supervision of the installation of materials was crucial with many mosaics requiring hand-cut details. The installer was excellent, and working together, we were able to come up with an excellent installation solution.

What made the biggest design impact?

The outdoor pavilion was the grandest success. It is open on the sides so it feels like a light structure, but the scale of it anchors the yard and defines it as room for living. The skylight with its iron details adds the feeling of openness as well as an etched-glass railing between the room and the pool. The pleated sheer outdoor fabric hides the structural elements, softens the ceiling and adds elegance.

What are the "hidden gems"?

The holes in the countertop for umbrellas are under-lit for a nice ambient glow at night. The awnings are on airplane cables so that they're retractable, and the special outdoor fabrics for pillows and chairs make the space feel more like a living room than the outdoors.

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Christopher Grubb

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Arch-Interiors Design Group. Inc. 311 North Robertson Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA 90211 310-652-7600