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ALL FIRED UP
"The homeowners were basically looking to add another 'room' to their house," says Matthew LaNeve, vice president of Oakland-based Stonetown Construction, describing this cozy outdoor seating area in Morristown. "They have young children and wanted a space where the family could sit outside during the fall and early spring."
The space is anchored by a commanding 9- foot-tall granite fireplace with bluestone details and two built-in firewood storage areas, ensuring that the flames can roar deep into the night. A matching low granite wall with a bluestone top provides an easy place for the kids to sit and roast marshmallows, while a bluestone patio completes the space.
"Since the home is an old country house, we chose materials that would have been used 100 years ago," says LaNeve. "The granite matches the house, and the bluestone is just timeless. Everything looks like it was always there."
HERE COMES THE SUN
"We call this area 'the sunset terrace' because it offers a beautiful view of the valley and the sunset," says Ron Cording, owner of Cording Landscape Design in Towaco. Those stunning vistas come courtesy of the terrace's prime location on the western side of the property, a former farm situated on 10 bucolic hilltop acres in Mendham's Somerset Hills.
"It's a really serene place in which to get away from the more active areas of the yard and relax at the end of the day," says Cording.
The property's other outdoor features include a large pool and a separate spa area that the homeowners can reach via the winding walkway shown here, made of custom-cut bluestone slabs bordered by a bluestone wall. Along this path, a garden area boasts a profusion of sun-loving plant life, such as pink shrub roses, ornamental fountain grass, coreopsis and other colorful perennials.
WALL OF MEMORIES
Clean, simple and sustainable-that was the vision for this Mendham backyard, designed by Morristown- based landscape architect Carolle M. Huber. "Despite the home's fanciful back facade, the landscape is carefully pared down and edited to keep a nice, crisp look," says Huber.
A 3-foot-wide planting bed between the wall and patio features boxwood, knockout trees and lavender, while a walkway made with large slabs of bluestone makes its own contribution to the yard's mood of understated elegance.
But it's the large fieldstone wall that steals the show and adds a sentimental touch: "The stone came from a barn in Pennsylvania that belonged to the homeowner's parents and was in really bad shape," says Huber. "We knocked the barn down and brought the stone to Mendham, so we were reusing something from his childhood."