We all treasure the memories of a good vacation, where relationships grow closer as you share great food and drinks. Where you feel incredibly relaxed and content and your senses are inspired by new textures and tones.
What if you could enjoy that in your own backyard every day!?
We wanted to transform our small city backyard into a contemporary, backyard oasis inspired by our travels to Mediterranean villas and European cities.
Our luxurious escape was designed with plans of enjoying gourmet food and wine with our friends and family around our custom outdoor dining table, relaxing after a long day of work with a cocktail and our pup Duke, and snuggling around our outdoor fire pit on the patio in the crisp fall.
We bought Sascha’s family home nestled in the heart of the city of Ottawa. The original wooden deck was cutting off the backyard space and didn’t have enough square footage to combine the living and dining area in the way we were envisioning; we knew it was time for something fresh.
It was bittersweet tearing the old deck down as Sascha’s dad had built it himself and had put a lot of hard work into it. Sascha jokes that she wishes she had influenced the original design more when she was younger had she had the foresight to see herself becoming the future owner.
Once the existing deck and surrounding river rock was removed we had a fresh plot to work with. First up was getting the ground ready to lay the floor by installing the gas line for the fire pit and levelling the native soil.
Our team began by digging the trench for the fire pit gas line and backfilling it with screened sand. We chose the gas Summerhill Fire Pit for the convenience of running a line directly from the house removing the need to purchase propane.
Next our team levelled the existing soil to prepare the ground for its new surface. We chose to use this incredible product, Gator Base from Cohen and Cohen, to save us labour and materials.
Gator Base is an extremely durable, high-density polypropylene product that is easy to install and replaces 6 inches of the crushed stone you would need to create a solid, weight-bearing foundation for a backyard project like this. This means that we saved time and money because we didn’t need to excavate our backyard and bring in unnecessary materials.
Once the area was properly prepared the fun could begin. To create a contemporary look, inspired by our favourite travel destinations, we decided on 2CM outdoor porcelain tiles in a two-toned charcoal and ivory diamond pattern.
Because we were working with a small city backyard we chose to carry the tile throughout the entire backyard to visually increase the space.
Working with Euro Tile & Stone we selected the versatile 24-inch 2CM Porcelain Pavers in Gray Flow and Ivory Flow. The beautiful texture and colour of the two-tone tile is as equally functional as it is aesthetically pleasing.
The durable outdoor surface is resistant to salt, chemicals and our inevitable cold weather frost and since it is not affected by UV rays the beautiful colours we chose won’t fade over time. It is also a highly slip-resistant surface which is very important in an outdoor space, especially after a summer rain, around a pool or an inevitable drink spill.
The 2CM Porcelain Pavers Waterfall Collection can be found at Euro Tile & Stone in a variety of different colours and patterns. They also have a wonderful indoor range of coordinating products that allow you to create a beautiful indoor-outdoor flow for a contemporary urban look.
When transforming a space it is always good to think of your next phase. In our case, we knew we were going to need to replace our fence in a few years. We decided to lay slate chips along the fence line so, when we eventually replace the fence, they will be the only thing we will need to disturb, protecting our gorgeous tile surface.
We were so in love with the grey and ivory tile surface that we wanted to continue the colour palette into the stone perimeter. Traditional river rocks usually have tones more in the browns so we opted for perfectly coloured grey slate chips by the fence.
We placed charcoal river stones in high traffic areas, like by the door, because they are smoother underfoot but still cohesive with the grey and ivory outdoor tiles.
The final step, before adding in all the beautiful furniture, was to update the exterior of our home and the fence. We met with the paint experts at Silver Brook Paints who have the incredible, in-depth knowledge and products we need to facilitate the stunning contemporary painted brick and fence we were looking for.
We chose the Steam AF-15 by Benjamin Moore, a warm white exterior paint that looks absolutely stunning against a sunset and breathed new life into our exterior bricks and fence.
These 4-foot steps from Cohen and Cohen are very special as they are a dual-purpose element and offer extra seating when paired with a unique Vintage Rug Cushion. They are extremely sleek when layered up to create the ideal height for our backdoor and they add visual weight to the space as well as the contemporary look that is carried throughout the entire backyard.
We are so happy with them and love how they contrast beautifully against the white bricks while also layering perfectly into the charcoal outdoor tiles on the floor.
THE BIG REVEAL
With so much hard work behind us we were so excited to bring in furniture and all the beautiful details that make a space special and comfortable.
We began with the backyard fire pit to create a gorgeous atmosphere. To continue the contemporary Mediterranean vibes of our backyard space we opted for the smooth lines of a circular fire pit with blackened lava rocks.
The 120 thousand BTU gas-fed fire pit is perfect for summer gatherings with family and friends and will also be warm enough to extend our outdoor living well into the Canadian fall.
We knew we wanted to spend a lot of time outdoors hosting friends and family and relaxing with our dog Duke so lots of comfortable seating was important to us. We incorporated a beautiful armless sofa from the West of Main custom upholstery line.
It's made with quick drying fabric and is probably more cozy than our couch inside making it perfect to stand up to the elements while bringing the luxury of a vacation getaway into our backyard.
We added additional seating to the firepit area with some West of Main Outdoor Chairs. We chose the Tulum Outdoor Chair because their ergonomic shape is very comfortable and the wood frame and grey netting add visual interest and texture to the space while contrasting beautifully with the couch.
- Hamptons Throw
- Gobi Throw - Taupe
- Rostock Accent Table
- Bali Stool
- Duke End Table
- Tulum Outdoor Chair
- Harrington Dining Chair
- Outdoor Edition Sofa Sectional
- Summerhill Fire Pit
- Fresno Framed Long Wall Sconce
Good food is key to a memorable experience. Justin was so excited to add the life changing, palate pleaser, Green Mountain Pellet Grill from Romantic Fireplaces Kitchens and BBQs to our space. This backyard essential will smoke, bake and sear all in one.
This state of the art grill allows us to cook dinner under the evening sky and enjoy gourmet food daily. The most exciting part is that we added in the pizza oven and can’t get enough of our little culinary trips to Naples.
We have also discovered the Ultimate Rib Recipe, packed with flavours, like char hickory or maple, from the grill pellets. (Available at Romantic Fireplaces Kitchens and BBQs)
The Ultimate Rib Recipe
- The magic begins with pork ribs. Remove the silver skin off the back, it should peel off easily
- Rub both sides of the ribs with Hog Waller bbq Rub by SuckleBuster. You can find this award-winning rub from Texas at Romantic Fireplaces Kitchens & BBQ
- Set your grill to 225 degrees Celsius
- Cook your ribs for 2 hours
- Remove from the grill and take ribs inside
- Turn the grill up to 325 degrees Celcius
- In the house, put ribs in aluminum foil
- Spray the ribs with apple juice
- Meat Mix BBQ Sauce, found at Romantic Fireplaces Kitchens & BBQ, and mop it on those ribs
- Throw the ribs back on the grill, wrapped in foil, for 1 more hour (minimum)
- Dig into the finger-lickin’ deliciousness!
The custom dining table is probably the star of the show and was inspired by a vineyard we visited in San Francisco. The unique center trough makes hosting a dream, especially when filled with unique wines from the master explorers.
We are excited to partner with Buyers + Cellars to begin your sipping journey at the stunning tasting room in Ottawa, designed by West of Main Design, or right in your own backyard with their at-home delivery service. If you would like to experience an unforgettable backyard tasting adventure, our recommendation is to order a Mixed Potential Pack.
The team at Buyers + Cellars will take you on a journey around the world to family-owned farms, vineyards and cooperatives that take pride in producing the world’s greatest vines.
The dining area is finished off with dining chairs from the West of Main range of Outdoor Dining Chairs. The classic white Harrington Dining Chairs contrast beautifully with the rustic wooden dining table and are super easy to maintain so they stay looking beautiful and can be left outside all summer.
To finish off the space we layered different materials and textures in to make the space feel unique and special. We added in gorgeous pillows from the West of Main shop along with some cozy throw blankets for snuggling up when the weather gets colder.
We also added a variety of end tables in different colours, shapes and materials from casted aluminum to wood to serve as dual purpose surfaces to hold drinks and bring a new level of personality to the space.
With your beautifully curated outdoor living space you are definitely going to want to host guests to share the experience. We believe that hosting outdoors isn’t much different than inside your living or dining room and encourage our clients to bring their indoor accessories outdoors when entertaining.
Use your Vintage Chapati Board, the Delhi Bowls, or a Suopo Jar to accessorize your table in a very natural way. Get the most use of your beautiful pieces and create the luxurious lifestyle you deserve indoors and out.
With the extra time that we have been spending at home it was such an incredible experience to treat ourselves to our dream backyard. The urban backyard transformation has increased our living space and complete with kitchen, dining and lounging area we are soaking up more sun and fresh air then ever before.
The curated backyard gives an otherwise small space a large and spacious purpose. The fire pit and luxurious blankets extend our enjoyment of the outdoors long into the fall and will start it earlier in the spring. And most of all we get to step outside to enjoy a few travel vibes even while we are grounded on home soil.
For your own backyard transformation contact West of Main Design.
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