The outdoors have never been greater.
Here in the Upper Midwest, where tolerable temperatures only last so long, we’ve always treasured our time outside. But now, in the era of COVID-19, people everywhere are clamoring for more recreation and social interaction outdoors, where air circulation is better and physical distance is easier to maintain.
Over the years, Shelter has designed many spaces to help our clients — or their customers — make the most of the time they spend outside. Here are some favorites. If they prompt ideas you’d like to try at your own home or business, be sure to let us know.
Hit the decks
This renovation on the St. Croix River features multiple decks on two levels, providing breathtaking views of surrounding scenery. We updated the floor plan and added an elevator so the owners could enjoy all areas of their home for years to come.
Eau Claire alfresco
The Oxbow Hotel and its restaurant, The Lakely, are temporarily closed due to COVID-19 concerns. When the complex in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, reopens, it will again welcome visitors to its lively courtyard patio featuring lounge seating, cut-stone fire pits and a pitch for playing kubb — a traditional Swedish lawn game.
This home in Park City, Utah, offers stunning views from both its living room and its wrap-around deck. When weather permits, the two spaces can merge into one — courtesy of folding glass-panel doors.
We equipped this backyard for use well into the fall, with a chiminea that exudes warmth but keeps most of its smoke above eye level. Wooden lightboxes provide seating and add ambiance — especially when happy hour falls after sundown.
Our work on this lakefront home‘s screened porch provides a gradual, graceful transition between the property’s interior spaces and its lovely outdoor setting. The porch shares its back-to-back, wood-burning fireplace with a living room on the other side of the wall.
The accordion windows we included in this kitchen give outdoor diners access to freshly prepared feasts placed on the indoor countertop.
Nearby, we outfitted a porch with sliding windows and infrared heaters to allow for nearly year-round use.
As part of our overhaul of this St. Paul home, we transformed a nondistinctive entrance into a showpiece of a front porch. The project earned Best in Show from the 2018 St. Paul BLEND Awards, and it was selected for inclusion on the 2020 Minneapolis and Saint Paul Home Tour — until COVID-19 forced the event’s cancellation.
For Bauhaus Brew Labs in Minneapolis, we designed a colorful taproom and complementary biergarten. It’s a perfect spot for sipping the seasonal Schwandtoberfest. A heads up: While weather permits, the patio remains open. Just be sure to make reservations before you arrive.
This modern home’s floor-to-ceiling windows let in lots of light, year-round. When the owners want to feel the fresh air, a sleek second-story deck is just steps away.
This small Minneapolis backyard hosts family members spanning several generations. There’s room for grilling, lounging, playing with toddlers and even watching outdoor movies, made possible by attaching a homemade screen to the deck’s striking steel framework.
Our work on this 1880s home included updating the front porch to restore elements of its original design. The finished product includes open-air and screened-in sections, decked out with scallop details and colorful, period-accurate posts.
After ordering food and beverages at The Hangar, Minnesota State Fair visitors can exit through the building’s mammoth eastern door to find seating on an adjacent patio or picnic-friendly lawn.