City & Shore Magazine


Backyard Sanctuaries: Outdoor Design Chic

We love outdoor living. Swimming. Cocktails by the pool. Al fresco dining. Reading in the shade of a tiki hut. It’s no wonder we want our outdoor living spaces to look as chic as our indoor design.

Forget the old ideas of scratchy outdoor fabrics and uncomfortable furniture. Seating is deep and comfy. Fabrics can mimic anything we use indoors – such as chenille or damask – and they stand up to sun, heat and humidity. Attractive outdoor kitchens have made the solitary barbecue grill seem so 20th century. And a fire pit is becoming the new must-have even in South Florida heat.

William Wietsma’s snowbird clients hired him because he is an architect and a builder who could fulfill their vision of a house in Bermudian design with Flemish gables on a double lot in Gulf Stream. Wietsma’s company has designed and built 26 homes in Gulf Stream and it gave the Gulf Stream Golf Club, which was designed by Addison Mizner, a facelift.

“The husband is a builder in Virginia and he was very particular about quality,†Wietsma says. “We worked on the project together. We went through how they entertain and how they live.â€

They entertain a lot so the outdoor covered area has dining and two conversation areas with teak furniture that the owners selected. All the main spaces – the family room, kitchen, dining room, living room and master bedroom — open up to the lanai. The small cottage facing the pool and hot tub has an outdoor kitchen with granite countertops and a dining area. Behind the door is a cabana bath. An artist painted a trellis design on the walls.

The pool, which has a hot tub, was designed with scalloped edges, blue tile to match the water and a cast stone from Herpel on the coping and deck.

“In our designs, the outdoor living spaces are as important as the indoor spaces,†he says. “People have been coming to Florida for over a century to be able to enjoy a tropical lifestyle. Our goal is to create a sanctuary for our clients that encourages relaxation, conversation and socializing.â€

by Charlyne Varkonyl Schaub for City & Shore Magazine / June 29, 2013