Sunken Outdoor Fire Pit

Sunken Outdoor Fire Pit

By Diana Budds
Hufft Projects carves out a sunken seating area in an outdoor scheme designed for entertaining.

For the residents of Curved House—so named for its U-shaped plan that wraps around an expansive, Japan-inspired patio—a summertime shindig typically involves splashing around the pool in the afternoon, barbecuing in the evening, and gathering around a custom fire pit as the sun goes down. "Climbing down into the pit feels very intimate," says architect Matthew Hufft, who modeled his design after the recessed conversation areas popular in 1960s and 1970s interiors.

"We didn’t want the pit to be an obtrusive contraption sitting in the center of a zen-like courtyard," he explains. Its low profile complements the outdoor area, designed in collaboration with Weston, Missouri–based landscape architecture firm 40North. Taking cues from a slatted screen applied to the house’s facade, Hufft Projects applied a ring of ipe wood around the perimeter of the pit and designed and fabricated removable powder-coated aluminum benches upholstered in Sunbrella fabric.

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