by Jenny Walton & Stephanie Dennee
How do you live outdoors? The connection from the inside of your home to your outdoor space and natural surroundings is central to your living experience. Today’s outdoor spaces can include decks, patios, pools, outdoor kitchens, fire pits, and lounge areas—ideal for entertaining and so much more. With inspiring materials available from The Open Room, outdoor kitchens from Mountain Land Design, and spa solutions from Diamond Spas—there are endless ways to enjoy every season outdoors.
The Open Room
Life Outside in the Comfort Zone
“Go see Heather!” That’s how Heather Newhouse, owner of Open Room Furniture, typically meets new clients. Her Ketchum and Sun Valley community members, neighbors, and fellow business owners have consistently recommended her as ‘the outdoor living space specialist’ for close to a decade now.
“I have clients who will swing by regularly to say hi to my dog, and then we’ll chat, and they’ll see a new chaise or bench, and before you know it, we’re loading it in the car. Or, I’ll meet a new client because perhaps she was at dinner with a friend and found out that I carry Loll Designs, for example, and then she’ll visit, and over coffee, we’re designing an outdoor room around Loll’s beautiful Alfresco dining table and chairs,” says Newhouse.
For Newhouse, interior and exterior design come naturally. As she explains, “The first question I ask people who want an outdoor living space is, ‘How do you envision using that space? What is your lifestyle? How often do you entertain? Are you two people or a large family?’ All of this gives me an idea of how to start producing a design that will complement a client’s lifestyle.”
When Newhouse is invited into a client’s home, her primary goal is to get a “feel and flavor of their indoor” lifestyle and then take that indoor feeling outdoors. “It’s a cohesive space; you’re walking from one room to the next, and you’re bringing that feeling outdoors. You’re tying in one or two elements from the indoors to the outdoors and marrying the two, if you will.”
“People want more of a lounge-type setting, rather than a traditional outdoor set-up. It’s definitely more casual, & of course, everyone loves a fire element.”
––Heather Newhouse, Owner, Open Room Furniture
Currently, Newhouse has noticed that the contemporary mountain palette has shifted to what she refers to as “griege,” a gray with beige rather than pure beige. This new neutral is ideal as a base from which to add pops of color with cushions, pillows, blankets, and outdoor accessories like umbrellas. “And people want more of a lounge-type setting, rather than a traditional outdoor set-up. It’s definitely more casual, and of course, everyone loves a fire element, like a fireplace or fire pit, and gas preferably. All of us in the mountains look forward to our summers and our outdoor spaces, and it’s not just about the space, it’s also about the environment and how you create that with furnishings and accessories that make it appealing, comfortable, and functional,” she shares.
One element that Newhouse thinks is especially inviting is accessorizing with lighting. Because it remains light so late in our area, often until well past 9:00 PM, the Gloster Ambient Cocoon, a portable, remote-controlled solar-powered (rechargeable LED) lantern that can illuminate a terrace, balcony, or table with the dreamiest of light, is on her list of must-haves this season. “It has this elegant teak handle so you can hang it in the trees or on a pergola. It’s a lovely way to transition from dusk to dark,” suggests Newhouse.
Transforming an outdoor space can also involve altering an area’s exposure to the sun with shade. Designers and builders often prefer covered patios; however, when that is either not an option or the client’s area benefits from a moveable accessory, that shade, in the form of stunning and exquisitely constructed umbrellas from The Ultimate Umbrella Company (TUUCI) is also on Newhouse’s list of excellent components that elevate any outdoor space. “We have requests for shade, and honestly, it’s a necessity when the sun is beating down on you during the height of the summer.” It’s often considered an investment piece and one that clients wished they had purchased earlier in the season.
Open Room Furniture has recognizable energy in its setting on First Avenue with a highly-curated group of brands like Kingsley Bate, Treasure Garden, Barlow Tyrie, Cane-line, Summer Classics, Brown Jordan, Ow Lee, and more. These international furniture lines represent the mountain tastes and styles of Newhouse’s clients and her dedication to providing a selection of classic and eclectic collections with naturally luxurious materials like teak, glass, and steel, and inspirational pieces that unveil a client’s personal style. She understands her clients and their desires for a well-considered and beautifully appointed outdoor space and in many instances, continues by furnishing their interiors.
Newhouse’s sense of the mountain town aesthetic finds her exploring outside of her hometown of Ketchum in other mountain communities like Jackson, Wyoming, and Park City, Utah, but for now, you can locate her happily heading up her family-owned business just one block east off Main Street in downtown Ketchum.
Entertaining Your Dreams with Mountain Land Design
Ignite Your Passion for Outdoor Living
You may have driven by one of Mountain Land Design’s five showrooms located throughout the Mountain West and wondered what’s inside. Yes, Salt Lake City, Sun Valley, Boise, Jackson, and Provo all have beautiful showrooms, exquisitely designed and organized with kitchens displaying the latest in appliances, plumbing, and hardware. But it’s the feeling of family, the “Mountain Land family,” says Kirk Smith of Mountain Land Design, that matters the most. That feeling is what makes the client experience so distinct.
“When a client walks through the door, they’re surprised to discover that we are not a typical retail store. We have a relaxed environment that is suited to creativity, design, and fulfilling dreams.” Those dreams of extraordinary kitchens, patios, and outdoor spaces are easily realized with a team whose attention to detail and knowledge far surpasses that of staff at an average box store. Mountain Land Design’s team is educated on the most modern appliances, technology, and kitchen innovation because of weekly product training, which takes place in those stunning showrooms.
Outdoor living spaces require careful consideration. When designing an outdoor living space, Mountain Land Design suggests you bring your architect, landscape architect, or interior designer with you.
“When a client walks through the door, they’re surprised to discover that we are not a typical retail store. We have a relaxed environment that is suited to creativity, design, and ful-
––Kirk Smith, Mountain Land Design
“They understand the elements of outdoor living spaces, and consider elements often forgotten like plumbing, the purpose of the product, and placement of product,” Smith says. “Generally, most clients understand the elements of outdoor living spaces. However, we like to dive deeper with questions that give us a clue into our clients’ lifestyle. Questions like ‘Do you like to entertain, and how many guests do you entertain? What do you like to cook? Alternatively, are you in charge of cocktails? Then you’ll want to consider an ice maker.’ We like to know their lifestyle and entertaining levels before we recommend products for a specific layout and project.”
With appliances for all budgets and styles that reflect a multitude of applications for every part of the house, Mountain Land Design is prepared with collections from Alfresco to Zephyr (and everything in between like Lynx, Sub-Zero-Wolf, Viking, Kalamazoo, and Heston). Mountain Land Design is equipped with innovative ideas and a deep understanding of outdoor spaces so that your outdoor living is on par with your dreams.
Smith states, “One of the trends we have seen this year is the focus on outdoor living. People want to be outside as much as possible in our mountain regions. Often, they will replicate the kitchen inside their home, outside their home because they want to utilize that outdoor space year-round. In all of our markets, we have four seasons, and our clients love the ability to entertain at any time. An outdoor kitchen is full of options like refrigeration, ice makers, wine cellars, storage, sinks, and cocktail stations, ventilation, heating, trash and recycle bins, warming drawers, and other integrated products like steamers and fryers. Clients will request winterized products when available. Also, we’ve seen more covered patios and high-end grilling opportunities, like multiple grills for smoking, blazing, and of course outdoor pizza ovens.”
Another quintessential element for an outdoor living space is versatility. Whether your gathering is an intimate one with 10 to 15 people, or a full-blown summer shindig, the layout should be able to accommodate either scenario with ease. From lounging while the kids swim to grilling while the game is on, the kitchen area remains one of the central locations from which to enjoy the view of your backyard. Designing the outdoor living area with its culinary space also takes into account whether there is a pool, jacuzzi, or fire pit. This is also an area where the experts at Mountain Land Design excel. They know that inspiration and planning are essential to the design of your ultimate outdoor kitchen and that their clients are happiest with the results when comfort, convenience, and function are placed high on the list of priorities.
Smith reiterates, “Our clients enjoy their lifestyles, and we want what’s best for them because they become family through the design process. We know our high-quality brands and products will satisfy their needs, but we want them to explore the possibilities that will make their lives more enjoyable and relaxing while they spend time together.”
“People want to be outside as much as possible in our mountain regions. Often, they will replicate the kitchen inside their home, outside their home because they want to utilize that outdoor space year-round.”
––Kirk Smith, Mountain Land Design
Immerse Yourself in Custom Design
Beyond providing space for relaxation and entertainment, an outdoor area should interact with and improve the natural setting, bridging indoor spaces to the land. Water is a natural source of inspiration for this transitional space, and the benefits of hydrotherapy have been touted since the Romans built their first heated tubs in Bath, England, some 2,000 years ago. The addition of a spa or pool to your outdoor area has the potential to serve the dual purpose of providing the health benefits of a nightly soak while visually enhancing an outdoor space.
Recognizing the need for home spas and pools to be elevated beyond the utilitarian into the artful, Denver-based Diamond Spas has been fabricating 100% custom stainless steel or copper spas, pools, glass-walled pools and spas, swim spas, cold therapy pools, and water features for over 20 years. The award-winning company has transformed the design potential for luxury outdoor aquatic vessels and customizes the design process to fit a client’s every desire. Stephanie Bennett, president of Diamond Spas, explains, “We personalize each of our clients’ pool and spa experiences. Everything from shape, size, and seating arrangements, to water features, vanishing edges, and chromotherapy are possible. The options are endless.”
“We personalize each of our clients’ pool and spa experiences. Everything from shape, size, and seating arrangements; to water features, vanishing edges, and chromotherapy are possible. The options are endless.”
–Stephanie Bennett, President, Diamond Spas
Before diving into the myriad of options available in a custom spa or pool, thoughtful site planning is critical. Diamond Spas works with talented architects, builders, and landscape professionals across the region, coordinating pool and spa designs that complement the natural and architectural elements they adjoin. For a recent project, Heath Kuzsak, principal at Agrostis Inc., a landscape architecture firm based out of Jackson Hole, partnered with Diamond Spas to create a custom patio spa for a lush, creekside property. He explains how, early on in the project, they were able to hone in on important specifics with their client and Diamond Spas. “When developing a custom spa plan, we can drill down into the details with our clients—how many people will use it, whether it’s intended for entertaining or a private setting, where jets should be placed, filtration options, and even accounting for how tall the client is to make sure seat depths fit their frames.”
For a creekside Jackson Hole project, it was essential to have a spa that sat in line with the terrace. Heath recalls, “The clients wanted easy access in and out of their spa from ground level. Setting it flush with the patio also ensured that the view of the spectacular property beyond wasn’t blocked from any position. The stainless steel construction that Diamond Spas specializes in adds a refined element that complements and enriches the overall landscape design.”
Diamond Spas is at the forefront of metal spa fabrication, working in either the sleek styling of stainless steel or the Old World charm of copper—both offer clients a range of looks to fit their home design. The visual appeal of metal is just one benefit, explains Stephanie. “Stainless steel and copper blend harmoniously with common landscaping materials. Both metals are also highly durable. They will never crack, fade, or blister like traditional pool and spa construction materials. Our metal vessel shells are fabricated with the strength and precision of TIG welding, making them leak-tight and long-lasting.”
Stephanie says that once the basics of site considerations, seating preferences, and metal selections are determined, opportunities are limitless to transform a spa or pool into a patio or backyard showpiece. Among the features frequently integrated into their spa design are specialty water features or waterfalls, as well as web-based temperature, jet, and light controls. She also believes the trend of glass or acrylic panels that she’s seen in the last decade will continue to rise. “Acrylic or glass side and floor panels, set within a stainless steel or copper frame, are something we currently build a lot of with fantastic results. Clear panels bring tremendous transparency and light into the aquatic world.”
From the design phase, the Diamond Spas team of engineers, welders, plumbers, finishers, and polishers fabricate the entire spa or pool from their Denver-area manufacturing facility before shipping it anywhere in the world.
The balance of durability and design are key components in any outdoor aquatic setting. Through the use of stainless steel or copper, Diamond Spas strikes that balance. “We create functional works of art at Diamond Spas. Each is 100% unique,” says Stephanie. “Our clients come to us with amazing visions. We turn those visions into reality.”
“We create functional works of art at Diamond Spas. Each is 100% unique. Our clients come to us with amazing visions. We turn those visions into reality.”
–Stephanie Bennett, President, Diamond Spas