Best Before and After- Outdoor Elegance

Take a peek at the Cherners’ private oasis just steps from the sand.
Todd Childs

Everybody loves the beach, but a backyard dip or soothing sunbath can be a wonderful luxury in itself. With a constant stream of friends and family coming to visit, Andy and Abby wanted to have their own sun-drenched sanctuary for relaxing and entertaining. Sometimes you get just what you ask for. With Ankie’s design expertise, they transformed their so-so suburban backyard into a space worthy of any regal resort.

Gimme Shelter

The space already had a large screened porch that the Cherners decided to keep. However, Ankie created a second open-air pavilion at the opposite end of the house, offering balance and scale to the back facade. He embellished the latticed gable with a large circular cutout, a theme that is echoed by the round window in the door leading to an outdoor shower. This door is repurposed from the captain’s quarters on an old boat. In the back of the yard on the opposite side of the pool, Ankie added a pergola with lounge chairs. This structure is a great focal point and helps to detract attention from the bike path that runs immediately behind. Plantings backing the pergola create a sight and sound barrier, ensuring privacy and the best view from the house. Lovely.

On the Surface

While the Cherners wanted the space to be the best it could be, they didn’t want to go to any unnecessary trouble or expense. Consequently, the old pool was resurfaced, avoiding a costly tear-out. The area surrounding the pool was a cut-up patchwork of concrete and grass, making the backyard seem disjointed. To unify the look and provide more usable entertaining space, a concrete patio was extended to run the length of the house, bridging it completely with the pool. “The concrete was an obvious choice for us,” says Ankie. “It gives the look we were after, and it works well in the sun. It tends to dissipate heat, so it’s cool underfoot.”