A Light Redesign Turned This Underused L.A. Yard Into a Yearlong Hangout
The end of summer doesn’t mean the end of entertaining outdoors.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:22 AM
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There’s so much we can say about the space we live in. But “home” means something different to everyone. In Domino’s franchise In 3 Words, designers share three words that reflect the emotional side of their project—from the feeling of adding an item to a space to how it changes the room around it—to highlight the big impact little changes can have on where we live.
As soon as designer Natalie Myers arrived at the real-estate open house in the Ladera Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, she knew she had found her family’s home. “It had the exposed beams and the fireplace I had visualized, but I hadn’t dared wish for both,” she notes of the mid-century, ranch-style fixer-upper. “It was a complete Grey Gardens–style space that I knew could be renovated exactly to my taste.” In a rush to move in, Myers renovated the interior first and put the outdoor work off for another time. Three years later, with COVID-19 canceling summer camp and travel plans, an opportunity to take on the project presented itself. After a bit of design, light construction, and an online shopping date with Walmart, her patio dreams came true. “I pinch myself that this is really my house and this is really my backyard,” she says.
Here, she shares three words that sum up that feeling.
Expansive: “Before the renovation, this part of the yard was the most uninspired. We basically ignored it, but we knew we could make it better eventually,” explains Myers. To make up for what she felt was lacking, she added a deck and reconfigured the seating area with a four-piece acacia wood chat set set over a natural-fiber rug to access the expansive view. “Sitting a little higher really makes everything feel bigger,” she says. On clear days, she and her family can take in the cityscape and a sliver of the ocean, and make the most of their breaks from work and school obligations.
Embracing: “Outdoor entertaining is the only entertaining we can do at the moment, and by fabricating an additional outdoor space, we are able to see our friends (socially distanced!) and not feel as isolated at home,” notes Myers. A modern rectangular fire table and a casual, comfy-anywhere pouf cube give the space an everybody’s-welcome tone that’s inviting all year long—not just the warm-weather months. Myers created more opportunities for her family to be together, for her children to invite friends over, and for hosting a small group on occasion.
Completion: There’s nothing quite like the feeling of finally checking something off your decor to-do list, especially when it’s been on there for years. Now the formerly underutilized area has been beautifully reimagined, even better than intended. Finishing touches such as comfy outdoor pillows in beige and navy, modern ceramic planters—one an industrial concrete, one more Scandinavian—brimming with plants, and enamel serving trays make the outdoor space an extension of her warmed-up, modern interior style. “Now our backyard feels complete,” says Myers. “I only wish we had done it sooner.”