Deck Detectives - Design Bureau

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City folks know that the best summer parties take place on rooftops. Cold drinks and good food are a necessity, but constantly running to the kitchen to get party favors can be a buzzkill for any host trying to enjoy his or her own get-together.

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“Our innovative outdoor refrigeration solutions are flexible when it comes to integrating them in varied spaces, so they are perfect for designers looking to add refrigeration to any area,” says Steve Proctor, director of marketing and sales for True Manufacturing Company, a frequent collaborator of Chicago Roof Deck & Garden. Handmade in the U.S., its True Professional Series residential refrigeration line is designed for custom residential spaces like this Chicago roof deck.

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Deck Detectives

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Photos courtesy of Chicago Roof Deck & Garden

What do deck design and psychology have in common? A lot more than you might think, says Adam Miller of Chicago Roof Deck & Garden. “You have to ask a lot of questions that seem irrelevant to figure out how the owners live and how they need the space to function: Are you a beer drinker or wine lover? Do you cook steaks and lobsters when you’re entertaining outdoors? Or are you grilling burgers and sitting on the couch?” says Miller, a licensed landscape architect who jokingly refers to himself as a parttime counselor.

Miller put his skills to work on a recent Chicago project that involved creating an outdoor roof deck for a family of four. He discovered that the couple had different priorities for the space—she wanted an outdoor oasis with a connection to nature, and he needed an outdoor kitchen with a gourmet grill. Using the 500-square-foot surface above the garage, Miller and the Chicago Roof Deck & Garden team designed a space that meets both their needs.

“The biggest challenge was that this is an urban townhouse on a corner lot,” says Miller. “Behind them is a condo building where you could see into the neighbors’ homes. And she wanted to keep the other side open to have the view. So we created a balance of shade and privacy.” Miller designed a floating, cantilevered pergola made of hearty ipe wood that shades the space without blocking the view. The structure is mounted into the masonry walls of the garage for stability. He added a combination of clear and frosted glass fronted by planters to the other side of the deck. “It gives you transparency and light but blocks the view of the neighbors.”

With one owner’s requests in check, the team set about fulfilling the other’s wish list by creating an outdoor kitchen fit for a professional chef. “It has a Big Green Egg smoker and a Kalamazoo grill, which has both gas and charcoal options,” Miller says. “It was a challenge to fit it into the small space, but in the end we created a highly functional outdoor area.” Sun, space, and smoked meats—the perfect rooftop combination.

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