From the June/July 2019 Issue  

This Deck Keeps It Stylish

Writer Marirose Krall  |  Photographer Paul Bartholomew  |  Designer Ella Design Group  |  Location Hunterdon County, NJ

Bold orange gets accessorized with navy, teal and yellow in the lounge area.

A homeowner’s hobby informs the décor in a Hunterdon County, NJ, backyard

The owners of this Hunterdon County, New Jersey, residence like to entertain and, with a pool and an expansive deck, their home is popular with guests. So when it came time to outfit their exterior space, the family wanted to incorporate stylish, fun elements that would work for their lifestyle.

Christine Piscani, a partner at Ella Design Group, which has offices in New City, New York, and in Hillsborough, New Jersey, notes, “They are a family with young teenagers. They wanted a space for adults, but also for the kids.”

Distinct zones on this Hunterdon County, NJ deck ensure there’s room for grownups and kids alike.

To meet that need, Piscani established several distinct zones on the multilevel deck, including dining, fire pit, barbecue and lounge areas. “It’s comfortable for everybody and provides a bit of separation,” Piscani says.

The colors in the table setting pull from the colors in the rest of the furnishings.

The colorful décor was influenced by the wife’s hobby, she says. “It ties into her love of quilting. She loves color and, when you quilt, many times you mix colors and patterns and textures that you wouldn’t normally use together. In very small pieces, they create a rainbow.”

The rainbow, in this case, consists of hefty doses of orange, blue and yellow. Orange sofa cushions—along with a similarly hued chair and ottoman—bring bold summer color to the lounge area. Throw pillows in navy, orange and yellow boost the color quotient.

The palette changes in the fire pit area, which features white chairs and throw pillows in various shades of blue. The color combination is designed to play off the bluish tint of the house. “The house was a bit of a challenge. We couldn’t even find a paint color to match it. It was tough, but we were able to make it work.” The fire pit zone works not only as a complement to the color on the house but also as a transition space. It’s a quiet interlude between the vivid colors of the dining area and the lounge area.

Piscani included whimsical decorative touches to reinforce the color theme and also to allow for editing and revision. “Adding plants and fun accessories was a great way to bring in even more color and texture to the space and keep it not so static.”

In the dining area, the table setting repeats the orange and navy theme and goes a step further by adding lime green napkins for a citrusy touch. The lounge area features colorful tchotchkes, including a multicolored dog figurine and an orange birdhouse.

Colorful accessories can be switched out as the mood arises.

Shade sails provide sun protection over the dining and lounge areas. “We didn’t want to do something that would block the light,” Piscani notes. The two swathes of fabric provide an escape from the glare of the sun at both ends of the deck and can be taken down in the off-season, a must in the New Jersey climate.

“We were able to make it all work,” Piscani says of the furnishings on the deck. Just like in quilting, she says, “You can use a very simple, plain pattern or include a bunch of textures and patterns. It’s the proportions and the scale that make it work.”