An ipe deck slopes sharply skyward behind Amy Persin’s house in Menlo Park, California, creating a secluded backyard getaway that feels like an outdoor extension of her living room. A single step on either side leads to patches of gravel, which her children have claimed as areas for unstructured play.
Cox initially conceived the deck as a conventional surface for relaxing and entertaining. With the bench, however, he seized an opportunity to create something both functional and visually arresting. “You go down these paths and, as the design mutates, other ideas attach themselves and make it stronger and more interesting,” he says.
Cox says he and Persin “went on an ipe run” after committing to the material for the deck, using it to build the slatted fence around the backyard. Rainbow Warrior New Zealand flax, a perennial, complements the material, while off-the-shelf pavers helped keep costs down.