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rooms in bloom

Stylish Outdoor Spaces Grow From Fertile Imaginations

May 21, 2000|Barbara Thornburg

It's not a patio, it's not a lanai--it's an outdoor living room," says interior designer Jarrett Hedborg, who decorated the outdoor pavilion in a Beverly Hills garden designed by architect Frank Perrino. The 16-by-16 open-frame wood structure, with its four Doric columns and soft tie-on canvas roof, sports all the accouterments of an interior room: comfortable furnishings, a fireplace with mantle, heating, mood lighting and stereo--as well as an outlet for the TV. The owners, Mary Jo Greenberg, a former 1950s RKO actress, and her husband, Joe Dickey, a retired paper executive, often entertain and dine there. "I wanted it set up as a living room with real furniture--not pool chaises and aluminum tables," she says. A strategically lit 45-foot ficus nitida at the end of the pool becomes the focal point for the room at night, its moonlit image mirrored in the pool. "It's like a painting in the water," Greenberg says. "We never tire of sitting here and looking at it."

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Furnishings: Conservatory teak chairs and lounge with Indonesian accents--a turn-of-the-century carved boat and basket.

Plantings: Ficus nitida, cajuput and Victorian box, angel's trumpet, star jasmine and fortnight lily.

Lighting: The system is by Lutron, the lighting design by Barbara Bouyea.

Amenities: Turbo gas-powered barbecue by Barbeques Galore.

On the menu: 8-ounce sirloin steaks.

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When I saw this house and garden, with its Inca pool and cascading fountain, I thought I was in some Ecuadorean fantasy land," actor Tim Curry recalls. The 1922 Spanish Colonial Revival home designed by architect Stiles O. Clements--of Los Angeles' Wiltern and Mayan theaters fame--features an outdoor patio room at the foot of a two-acre hillside garden. When Curry moved in seven years ago, the house needed a paint job, and the garden had reverted to scrub with several deer in residence. Shortly after occupancy, he moved his Arts and Crafts hickory furniture from the living room to the patio, where he left it. "It just seemed to belong there." In the garage, Curry discovered 1920s Spanish patio sconces and the original barbecue set. Also on the patio are two elephant saddles outfitted with legs. "They're marvelous, really. They sit a person plus one dog very comfortably." The actor often eats outside. He says, "I spread out my papers, read scripts; friends drop by, we have a drink and gaze at the garden. For an Englishman who grew up in wet, soft places, the California climate still astonishes me: The whole point of California, really, is to live outside." *

Furnishings: Raj meets Arts and Crafts.

Plantings: Sago and king palms, and the succulents Sedum adolphii, portulacaria and kalanchoe.

Lighting: 1920s wrought-iron sconces, Christmas lights, an Arts and Crafts floor lamp.

Amenities: Original charcoal grill fireplace, outdoor heaters.

On the menu: Suckling pig.

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When I'm inside cooking, I feel like I'm outside," says Jan Woods of the indoor-outdoor kitchen in the Santa Monica home she shares with husband Eddie Woods, a business litigation lawyer. Culver City architect Steven Ehrlich transformed the former living room into a spacious outdoor room to capitalize on the dramatic canyon views. "The deck, in essence, becomes an extension of the kitchen," says Ehrlich, who replaced French doors with sliding glass doors that glide out of sight into a wall pocket. An added side wall affords privacy while a built-in bench offers additional seating for guests. An existing outdoor kitchen, with counters re-clad in stainless steel, includes a gas grill, sink, refrigerator and ice-maker. In addition, Eddie says he often holds casual business meetings in what he jokingly dubs his "outdoor office." "People sometimes wonder how I can leave to go to my real office."

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Furnishings: Rondo frosted-glass and tension-wire table and Melandra armchairs from Italy.

Plantings: Rosemary and French lavender in concrete pots.

Lighting: Floodlights, strip lights, hurricane lamps from Biot, France.

Amenities: Scotsman ice-maker and compact refrigerator.

On the menu: Vegetables Provenal, fish with rosemary.

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