A steel trellis, concrete terrace and bench create a modern and spacious outdoor room behind a typical Victorian house in Cambridge. The trellis provides a structure for creeping vines that will eventually shade the outdoor room but still allow light into the dining room. Peabody Terrace, a concrete housing tower designed by Jose Luis Sert in 1964, is clearly visible from the backyard and is an icon of mid-century modern concrete.
The driveway trellis is designed like a carport, not dissimilar from the many carports in Cambridge and Somerville covered in grape vines and wisteria. Large granite slabs were repurposed and set in pea stone atop a pervious sub-base that allows the driveway to act as a dry well for storm water run-off.
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Since the owners are committed to not owning a car one of their first priorities was to reclaim the driveway on their property for leisure and entertaining.
We reused some of the granite slabs of the original driveway and set them into peastone with a gravel base that acts as a drywell for the rainwater on the property. The long narrow space can be set with banquet style tables for summer entertaining under the trellis, it can be used as a run-around space for their son or it can park a car or two for their visitors.
The owners also wanted to create a low maintenance terrace off the back of the house overlooking the garden and were excited about the idea of having what we called an outdoor room.
The combination of a low concrete wall and built-in bench creates an intimate seating area that acts as an extension to the kitchen and dining room. Another steel trellis above creates an armature for more plants that will fill in and provide shade. The terrace is topped with blue stone and wood screens give the plants a ladder on which to grow.