No-Fuss Elegant Outdoor Living at Menlo Park, CA, by Kikuchi + Kankel

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Here is an outdoor area homeowners dream of: in itself, as elegant and classy as the home it enhances, a seamless continuation and expansion that makes for easy entertaining in a design from Kikuchi and Kankel Design Group. The family that lives here has a beautiful, functional space at their fingertips — lush green lawn, well-planned flower gardens, and a playground out back. It’s reached by means of marble stairs, their polished charcoal tone a perfect foil for the pure white of house and pergola overhead. To one side, an alfresco table and chairs, plus a separate open-air lounge setting, provide comfy cushioned seating; to the other side is a cook’s dream of a food prep area, also protected for shady, cool comfort year-round.

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It’s easy to imagine casual get-togethers of all sizes here; you could easily place extra tables on the lawn should you need them. Meanwhile, the spacious grill, cooktop, coolers, and cleanup areas in the outdoor kitchen can handle any kind of outdoor meal you may want, with plenty of workspace on the granite countertops. Cobblestoned flooring underfoot keeps the work area slip-free, a bonus to handle the inevitable spill or scrap. With lantern-style lighting that illuminates the entire area beautifully, this space is as inviting and usable for sophisticated nighttime wine-and-cheese as it is for play dates with the neighborhood kids. It’s an addition of many moods, with a distinctly relaxing approach and easy-care — the perfect outdoor entertaining nook from Kikuchi and Kankel.

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Written by Janet Butler

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Janet W. Butler is a freelance writer, editor, and editorial consultant by day and a “small soprano” by night. An RWA Golden Heart Winner, she is the author of the inspirational romance From the Ashes (“the best little book no one’s ever heard of”), published by SANDS Publishing in 2001; and a romantic suspense, Voice of Innocence, from Desert Breeze Publishing. She is a Chicago native transplanted to northeast Indiana, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and Cassandra “Trouble” Butler, S.R.C. (Spoiled Rotten Cat).

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