Photography courtesy of © Lori Brookes

Zelkind Residence, Scripps Ranch

Boris and Edit badly needed some “chill space.” The couple’s lives had become quite full between their careers and home life with 3 active children, ages 7-13 years. After completing an update of their Scripps Ranch home’s interior in 2010, they were ready to transform a part of their home that no one had stepped foot in for years— the 14’ strip of disheveled concrete and random vegetation making up the back yard.

Boris and Edit knew they didn’t have a normal back yard, nor did they want one. “When we approached Kendra at Revive, we knew we didn’t want the typical back yard with a lawn. We really just wanted a nice space for entertaining, yet intimate enough for family time,” says Boris. “A grill area was a must for me, and Edit wanted seating with some fire and water elements. Other than that we really had no clue on style or what it needed to look like.”

Kendra began by creating a “Mod-iterranean” concept based on the Mediterranean home’s new interior and Boris and Edit’s modern sense of style. She then divided the space into 3 areas: a central/firepit area, grilling area and cabana lounge area. The areas were designed to work together as a whole, yet each has its own atmosphere and purpose.

Revive partnered with expert contractor Cullen Bryant of Greenline Construction to build the custom hardscape elements. For the patio, a combination of poured concrete slab and pavers at diagonal angles was used to widen depth perception of the space. The existing wall surrounding the area was modified and refinished with an ultra-smooth Santa Barbara stucco finish with sustainable Brazilian hardwood detail accents. Wooden bench seating to match was built into the walls and LED strip lighting was installed to softly illuminate the edge in the evenings.

Kendra designed a custom fire and water feature that combines the gentle ambiance of falling water with the warmth of fire and rock. This modular fire-and-water display encompassed by bench seating is the central focus of the outdoor space, offering an inspiring entrée from the interior dining room’s French doors. A Dragon Tree, embraced by colorful succulents, frames the area along with a wide bench that doubles as storage for its oversized, colorful accent pillows. “Kendra extended our home to the outside seamlessly and it looks right out of a magazine—our guests are always impressed!” raves Edit.

The grill station was thoughtfully designed with ample lighting and counter space. The natural stacked Flagstone veneer base and thick concrete countertop stained black is framed by a modern wood arbor with semi-transparent black stain. Hanging black iron pinhole LED lights create both downward light for grilling and ambient illumination. “Boris asks me if he can grill for dinner all the time now,” smiles Edit.

Off the master bedroom, an inviting outdoor lounge bed with cabana shade provides a peaceful retreat for one or two. A fruitless olive tree near the cabana chair features rustic wicker balls with small black iron hanging lights inside them, gently illuminating the evenings. Undergirding the tree is an exotic array of succulents and ornamental grass.

On Friday mornings, Edit loves to come out to tidy up and water the plants. “I love the ritual of taking care of our new space because it’s easy, and being outside around the plants is so relaxing!” Kendra used only plants that were eco-friendly, low-maintenance and drought-tolerant, such as Lomandra ‘Breeze’, Anigozanthos ‘Bush Ranger’, Agave ‘Nova’, and a colorful array of succulents & soft-textured ornamental grasses.

“We’ve hosted several events out here already, including a surprise birthday party my husband threw for me,” says Edit. “I love the opportunity to be out there with my husband and my kids – it’s given them a space that feels special. It’s like a beautiful outfit, we always look forward to putting it on.”