Feb. 28, 2013 09:10

The Coreil family spares nothing for an outdoor space that's both functional and beautiful.

Photos by Robin May

The structure is made of brick covered in stucco with large archways. There is a half bath and a fireplace, and just feet away sits the kitchen boasting any appliance necessary to present a proper meal. Flooring in the space, which has Spanish cedar doors and shutters, is Pennsylvania blue stone, and the countertops are granite.

It's clear no expense was spared from start to finish.

It's a lovely area of one's home to entertain - but it's all outdoors. And it's all as durable as it is beautiful.

"It's pretty much as nice as you could build it," says builder Kyle Braniff, who was charged with completing the outdoor living and pool area for the Coreil family's Beaullieu Place home. "It's very sturdy construction and more formal architecturally than something people usually ask for - like the rustic cypress beams look. This is classical Hays Town architecture."

The space designed under Michael Cullen of LAND Architecture boasts not only living areas for lounging and a kitchen for cooking, but it also has a salt water multi-level pool (with an outdoor shower) and a Jacuzzi.

"They have three kids, and it's more for family and friends to come over and for them to entertain. It's more of a family-oriented space where they can sit at the bar and watch TV while dad cooks. Have a comfortable area under ceiling fans to relax," Braniff says.

Virginia Coreil says the kids (ages 13, 10 and 7) love the pool in particular - swimming far before temps seem warm enough - while the space offers just what the grownups need for entertaining.

"Our kids are the age where they are starting to have a lot of friends over. It's good to keep them entertained, and we're able to entertain as well," Coreil says.

The Coreils are not alone. While the six-month project is unique in how very high end it is, people are coming in droves to revamp the tiny patios that come with most spec homes. Braniff has been in the business for nearly 15 years and says the industry is booming.

"Five years ago they were few and far between. We did a few very nice ones. Now it seems that everybody wants to have one," Braniff says.

And while it's clearly good for business, Braniff says the new popularity comes with some realities consumers should understand.

Simply put - properly done outdoor spaces take time.

Whether it is the result or the catalyst of increasing interest in outdoor living, Braniff says popular HGTV programs and DIY Network projects are impacting the industry.

"People see these weekend makeovers that happen in three days and that has changed the whole business. It's a misconception. Doing that is not conceivable," Braniff says. "It's like building a small home a quick pavilion with an outdoor kitchen still takes a couple of months."

He suggests making the outdoor living space part of your home's overall plan and do it in stages if necessary.

"Have someone design a master plan with a five- to 10-year goal and build in phases. So, in a few years you get everything you want. We can do a roof extension or a pavilion and then add an outdoor kitchen or fireplace to suit your budget."

Braniff says to be wary of anyone promising turn-around times that seem too good to be true. And he warns that perhaps the most important thing to consider when creating an outdoor space is maintenance.

"The least maintenance possible is the best way to build an outdoor kitchen. This outdoor kitchen has nothing that could rot. Every material we used whether it's brick, stucco, treated pine, stainless steel - all made to withstand being completely outside."

While the space will certainly stand the test of time physically, the greater feat just may be how well it will fare aesthetically from as many years.

"It's a beautiful design," he says.

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