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Step Outside



It all began with an outdoor kitchen and pergola.

The existing barbecue island was touched by the fire that swept Thousand Oaks in 2018. Thankfully the house wasn’t impacted but some of the landscaping, furniture and outdoor masonry elements, including the fireplace and barbecue island suffered from the heat and ashes.

The man of the house had a sketch of their ideal outdoor kitchen. The layout was simple – lots of countertop space, bar-like dining area, place for a TV, grill, appliances and a pergola.  What wasn’t simple is designing a kitchen without cutting into an existing retaining wall; a kitchen that would be spacious and proportionate with the patio seating area and not intrude on the existing fireplace and seating in front of it that the homeowners loved.


The lady of the house shared inspiration photos to communicate the style, look and finish of the outdoor kitchen.

We like to use Pinterest and to exchange design inspirations and ideas when we’re designing a project. It helps us incorporate small details that clients would love to have in their outdoor living space.  We create a board on Pinterest or, or if the client already has one, they share it with us and we are able to understand what they envision for their home.

The homeowners wanted a sophisticated, modern kitchen that can accommodate large parties and be the hub for adult fun and family entertainment.

We used the length of an existing retaining wall as the main counterspace. The countertop material is precast concrete made in a studio and installed onsite by an awesome team!

The clients chose smooth stucco finish for the kitchen facing, the same as the fireplace to connect the two elements.

The backsplash is wood planks running in horizontal pattern for a modern kitchen look. It brings warmth and makes this outdoor living space feel like you’re inside a cozy kitchen.  The landscape behind the backsplash wall looks like a living panoramic painting.

The luxurious stainless-steel ancillary is by Lion Premium Grills (except for the refrigerator and ice maker, which Lion doesn’t make). 

We added a few under-counter Kichler outdoor lighting to create a dramatic effect for a magical evening experience.


The pergola and outdoor kitchen are the focal points of the backyard patio. It takes your breath away when you step into the backyard.  It’s majestic!

The pergola has deep bond beam footers that stretch around the perimeter of the pergola.

The City of Thousand Oaks, and California building codes in general, require a substantial grade beam and large footers due to earthquakes and strong winds. They’re very deep and are loaded with steel.

The roof of the pergola had to be gable and matching the finish of the roof on the house (City of Thousand Oaks requirements). 

The posts are finished in smooth stucco same as the kitchen island and


fireplace. The front two posts have two lantern lights and the back two posts have speakers.

The pergola ceiling extends over the outdoor TV to help guard the TV from rain. The ceiling has wood finish and is accented with recessed lighting and a fan.  The extended ceiling creates a spacious experience inside the outdoor kitchen.  Most posts sit about 12” from the edges of the pergola.  The posts on this pergola sit 3 feet from the edges, which is a very unique design.


The existing outdoor fireplace had beautiful form. The structure was solid although slightly charcoaled from the fire.


The lady of the house wanted to give the fireplace a new life and update its style!  That meant removing the bullnose edges around the perimeter and refinishing the fireplace with white stucco.

The results were spectacular! The fireplace came out looking like new.


The client added a beautiful wood mantle, which personalized the outdoor fireplace. The white stucco finish created a modern, luxurious look that goes perfectly with the rest of the backyard architecture.


Pool Deck, COPING & TILE

The homeowners had stamped concrete, and even though it was in relatively good shape (no structural cracks), it faded in color.  Keeping it would have created an odd transition between the new kitchen floor and the existing concrete deck.  The clients decided to extend the new pavers around the rest of the backyard to the pool deck area.

The pavers are 12” x 24” rectangular slabs with beveled edges. The color is light cream that contrasts well with pool coping and compliments the color of the house. The runner pattern offset on 1/3 creates a timeless and sophisticated look.

The original pool tile served the homeowners for many years but a few tiles were starting to fall off and couldn’t be replaced. It was time for a pool tile


remodel. The homeowners selected a glass tile with a tropical blue-gray color pattern.


The concrete pool coping was finished in dark grey to contrast the pool deck in the same way the dark window trims contrasts the cream color of the house.

Water Slide, BOULDERS and Steps

This client's backyard is a fun place for the children and their friends to gather.  The water slide in the backyard is an exciting and rare attraction! 

The slide was structurally sound but it needed refinishing. The artificial boulders needed some love as well.

The original steps at the bottom of the pool deck were intruding on the new kitchen layout. The steps had to face a different way for the design to work. 


The bottom portion of the steps was completely demoed and rebuilt.  It turned out beautiful!  It was hard to believe the concrete steps could be “turned” and look like nothing happened.


When the project is complex and has three dimensional structures, it's important to spend time on the design prior to construction. We used 3D landscape design software to workout all architectural design details, patio spacing and construction requirements.

Thank you for taking the time to discover and learn about our work. 


Please give us a call to schedule your Free Design Consultation if your outdoor living space needs love and attention, or simply fill out the form below and we'll get in touch with you.