Berlin Designs, Inc. Blog: Design Rituals

... a passionate revelation of my design rituals ...
a passionate account from a South Florida award-wining interior designer who is blessed to celebrate her 20th year anniversary of designing "interiors that lift your spirit™"
Welcome! The search is finally over. That perfect marriage of understanding without words:one look, one image, a breathtaking view... Someone who will know how to interpret her client's wishes by listening to all the unsaid words, seeing the cues, perceiving the feelings with a simple gaze.
I am the lucky designer who will get to go into the personal spaces in your life, your office or home. That place you call your own, where you can be you. Your surroundings matter to me, my passion is to let the best of you shine through the space you occupy. No antiseptic rooms, catalog photo-shoot ready, rather the elegant comfort of a back porch at sunset is the feeling I want in the interior of your private spaces. The sink-down comfort of being in your OWN space.
Let your smile shine as you enjoy learning about my passion for design. Then, you will see why we say: experience Interiors that lift your spirit™.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pergolas for the great outdoors

Over the last few years, the backyard living concept has evolved from a deck or patio area with a pool to true outdoor living spaces complete with full kitchens, eating, sitting and living areas. With this rise in the popularity of outdoor living spaces, it's no surprise that outdoor structures such as gazebos, arbors, trellises, pergolas are also more in demand. "People aren't looking for a simple outdoor space anymore. They're thinking in terms of defining spaces with walls, ceilings and roofs, but only in an open sense to blend with the outdoors," says Ernie Sears, president and owner of Backyard America in Virginia. Sears began his business as a building contractor specializing in outdoor structures, but since 1998 has been providing design services and fabricating kits for customers all over the country. "Pergolas have really taken off over the last few years," says Sears.

Likewise, Michael Mendelsohn, owner of Mendelsohn Construction in Scottsdale, Ariz., is also seeing his business grow as a result of more outdoor structures. "Every home I'm doing, we're enlarging the back patio areas — even after the plans are done. People want more multi-use living centers with TVs and full kitchens."

Most outdoor structures are some sort of variation or combination of a deck, patio, pergola, arbor, trellis or gazebo, and sometimes they may be of a custom design or even go by different names to reflect their function or region of the country (lanai, palapa, veranda). "These structures are all about expanding use," says Sears. "People want to get more useful hours per day and more useful days per year from the outdoor living spaces."

The same basic principles of design and construction apply as to the outdoor structures as it does the main house: use materials and design similar to those of the home to blend the two structures, make sure you follow all codes — especially those regarding setbacks and electrical/gas hookups, and choose materials and build carefully so that the structure will stand up to the elements. Where wind load is a concern, like it is in Florida, the structure needs to be properly anchored to the ground.

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