Walking on Sunshine

June 15, 2015 Updated: June 16, 2015

Tessa Moul and her partner Chris, both financial services professionals, wanted an updated design for their loft’s penthouse rooftop patio.

“The rooftop patio was outdated with old decking, two arbours, and lots of trees and plants that required a significant amount of upkeep and maintenance,” Moul said. “It was a great space but the old design left much unused space.”

The 825 sq. ft. wraparound terrace faces north with splendid views east and west that include the CN Tower. Situated in the exciting neighbourhood of Spadina and Wellington, Moul wanted the patio’s space to reflect the vibe downtown. She found designer Lisa Aiken’s expertise was “instrumental in helping us design the outdoor space to maximize its functionality for entertaining.”

When renovating a patio Aiken suggests: “Make sure you know everything you want done before you begin the project. You will find that you want to add more and more as you begin to see how fabulous the changes are.”

Patio furniture is exposed to extreme temperatures. “We have to be sensible about each client’s space and how that affects their decisions based on purchases for outdoors,” Aiken said.

“I suggest furniture with no natural wood—too much maintenance. A composite or resin wicker is popular for a more traditional setting. Ultramodern pieces have state-of-the-art drying aspects to their products and things are made to last.”

“There was no style file,” she adds. “As soon as I saw the space, I started to lay it out for them and they loved it. They have a fabulous interior space, which I am now working on.”

Aiken’s design for the kitchen provided Tessa and Chris storage as well as the ability to “dine and relax in shade.” The flooring is practical as well as beautiful.

“I primarily use Ipe wood. I decided how to lay the boards in my design process, five feet by three feet in removable panels,” she explains.

As in a Piet Mondrian painting, yellow accentuates and delineates the different spaces on the patio while softening the linears of the space. The umbrella provides a sculpted burst of colour, privacy, and shade while acting as an art piece itself.

“I added the large yellow umbrella for that wow factor but also to draw the eye to the end of the terrace. It has four 75-pound weights for safety,” Aiken said.

The weave of the furniture’s textured surface is restated in the accent throws, pillows, a woven basket, and the patio’s flooring. The geometric motifs of thin lines, squares, rectangles, and use of the cream colouring subtly echo the art moderne style of the condominium’s architecture. Whimsical accents are provided by Chris’s collection of Thai Buddhas and the French florals of the dinnerware.

Both reflect the cosmopolitan lifestyle of the couple. The patio is now a carefully curated space with a modern sensibility.

“We were blown away with the results,” said Moul. “We couldn’t be happier with the project and how Lisa helped bring it all together.”

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