Urban Outdoor Living

With big ideas, and creative thinking, this project was to have many features, but the concerns were how do we get there? Consultants wanted an outdoor dog bathroom that filtered the unwanted scent and pee, without extensive work and walking all the way down to main floor when on the penthouse roof. They needed a framing structure that was removable, but didn’t appear removable or pieced together. Originally the planters were to be solid concrete so they’d never rot or deteriorate. However dreams are aren’t always possible as the structural engineer informed us, this would be too much weight for roofing system. A travertine tile was wanted for the kitchen and bar area, but how do you incorporate a 1” deck board and a 2” travertine tile all while keeping the floor level.

Walking down, or talking an elevator ten floors down can be time consuming and make for a lot of additional work. Covering up all your roofing membranes and safety tie offs does not meet any code requirements, and can cost greatly in the future, if roof decks ever needs servicing. If you build planters out of wood instead of concrete, it would defeat the whole purpose of having maintenance free and a modern look. Above all, when you are entertaining or private dining, it’s essential you don’t have trip hazards or lack of space, by adding unwanted levels, trip hazards or drop off points.

While designing this project, we decided to Duradek (a synthetic waterproof sheet vinyl) to accomplish waterproofing in the dog run area. This product is not affected by the acids in urine and will last through the ages. We redirected the urine with ¼” per ft. slope, so pee would run off into drains that made its way to the drainage system of the building. To make it an appealing place for the dogs to use, we simply added maintenance free synthetic turf. But wouldn’t this start to smell over time? We worked alongside of the plumbers to install a water hose system that can easily wash away any remnants of urine or poop.

This leads perfectly into the following concerns. How did we provide access to roof area, drains, safety tie offs and plumbing areas? With the consultants we carefully marked out each area that would need services one time or another. We then build hatches with flush mounted stainless steel handles and picture framed boarders to give it the appearance “we are not trying to hide these hatches”. Instead we took the approach “they are here, let’s make them look good”.

Planters! What to do about these planters? Instead of pouring heavy concrete and voiding the roofing warranties, we decided to come up with a light weight pressure treated wood framing plan. However as most people know, even the best of treated lumber will rot quickly, when submerged in moisture and water. So how did we overcome this? After framing and sheeting the planters we also used Duradek sheet vinyl to waterproof the insides of planters. With that area being waterproof how does the water escape? We installed DDS Duradek plumbing drains at the bottom of planters that went directly to roofing system and ran off to building drains. After all the insides were protected, we horizontally installed Wolf serenity decking on the outsides of planters and travertine tile on the top ledge, to give it the concrete look.

The final obstacle to overcome was the different building products meeting at the same heights for a seamless transition from kitchen and dining area to fireplace and relaxation center. We ordered a grate system called Silca system that screws directly to the framing. This area was framed sunken in to the rest of the area to allow for the travertine pavers to meet up level with the Wolf serenity decking. The product is also made from high quality plastics that will never rust, rot or deteriorate as the years and water pass through it.

With all of this being done, we were able to maintain the look the consultant was looking for. The dog run was successful and in use two years straight, without any smell of contaminants or urine. It eliminated the work of going down to main floor every time the dogs needed to use the doggy room! All of the roof hatches were built so the overall look of the deck was not sacrificed, while having accessible places to service the roofing system. The planters and kitchen are my favorite architectural designs. A maintenance free area to grow your favorite herbs and flowers, while cooking up and enjoying the outdoors. The weight was no factor, because we were able to decrease the weight by over 50%. The whole area was completely seamless, all while providing different and more durable products for the dining and eating area. What better way to enjoy the outdoor then, maintenance free the way YOU want it.

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