A deck and patio in Omaha, Nebraska, has been transformed into a functional, family-friendly outdoor space with the perfect splash of light. Some enhancements to the previously uncovered deck and walkout patio made the outdoor space more functional so it can be used more often. The homeowners wanted a space they could enjoy on crisp fall or spring evenings that also protected them from the harsh afternoon sunlight in the summer.
The renovation included adding a tongue and groove ceiling to the deck, a stone fireplace that functions on both levels, a straightened staircase, and updating the outdoor lighting design.
Outdoor lighting designer Andrew "A.J." Coleman of McKay Landscape Lighting worked with Ken Oster Homes on the renovation. As with many improvement projects, some design aspects can change or get altered as the project progresses. Working closely with the builder played a key role in managing the installation timeline.
While the layout of the deck remained the same, the new covering transformed the space and made it an extension of the house. To enhance the unique tongue and groove detailing and beams on the ceiling, we strategically staggered the fixture placement on every other joist. The light shines up onto the beam itself to create a nice, soft entertainment light that’s not overpowering the space. It was an important element of the space as it draws your attention to the architectural details of the beams while providing a gentle ambient light.
“We originally planned to install well lights in the hearth shining up on the stone fireplace, but because of potential glare, we ended up installing down lights on either side of the fireplace shining down on the stonework," says Coleman. "It just seemed to be the better option."
Coleman chose to put the down lights on a separate switch. He notes, "When the couple wants to watch TV in the space, they can turn off the lights for a darker atmosphere."
The deck has two levels with a step. "Sometimes a single step is the trickiest to navigate," Coleman mentions. "When there are several steps, you see them and can prepare yourself. It’s easy to miss a step when there is just one. We wanted to make sure the step transition was well lit.”
The double-sided outdoor stone fireplace on the patio is a unique architectural element. It gives scale and perspective to space. Lighting it from the ground up creates interesting shadows while emphasizing the structure.
The stair leading from the deck to the patio went from a curved layout to one that comes straight down. The lights on the railing were custom painted to match colors. "Our team had to install the fixtures as the stairs were being installed. We would not have been able to do it after the fact," says Coleman.
A light shines down onto the grill area that's also on its own switch. The homeowners can turn it on when they are cooking after dusk. It will be easier to see what they're doing and safer to use.
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