“The first couple years, we didn’t use the backyard at all because there was just a small concrete pad and dead grass,” Julia says.
“The space was so small that to build a deck and try to keep some grass seemed pointless. So instead of dividing it, we came up with a plan to make our backyard an extension of our living space.” The couple utilized the entire triangle-shape backyard for a large deck, left, with living, dining, and kitchen spaces—and a fireplace. “We tried to decide what sort of fire pit we wanted for a long time,” Julia says. “The deck was missing a vertical element. And I always wanted a fireplace in our main living room inside, so we decided to build an outdoor vertical fireplace.” The kitchen—“which is Chris’ baby,” Julia says—has a large grill and smoker and storage, below. “We built it out of brick veneer tiles, and it turned out really great,” Chris says. Julia adds, “I said, ‘If we build an outdoor kitchen, that means you can’t switch out your grill every year.’ So he got a big grill.” Chris, smiling with pride, says, “A really, really nice one.”