Unique Outdoor Living Area by Kikuchi and Associates

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When you build your home around a mature Valley Oak tree, other aspects of the site are likely to be distinctive from that point on — and that’s certainly the case with this project by Kikuchi and Associates. With the home already possessing what the designers call “a strong visual ‘indoor-outdoor’ relationship,” a renovation of the house also meant an enhanced outdoor living area. First, a simple Japanese garden was put in place that is a way to visually extend — and link — other rooms of the house. Then, the second phase of the improvements began on the two-acre site: a truly magnificent outdoor living and entertaining space. Now, a portico extends to the main pool and spa area, paved in stone and surrounded by greenery and plantings in a colorful, fragrant border.

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A fully-equipped kitchen makes entertaining easy around pool or spa; a waterfall is a soothing backdrop to the proceedings. Proceed further along the stone path, up a series of steps, and there’s another gathering area: a large circular fire pit, with ample room for seating and gazing, in turn, at the property’s lush new garden additions from a whole different angle. In fact, from the fire pit, you can take in the entire scope of the outdoor living area, past the main pool to a stream, a sculptural addition, and several other water features. In toto, the description of this on the designer’s site may be simply “Hillside Residence” — but now, it’s as much an outdoor living space as an indoor one.

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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).