Three Seasons of Chic

For one couple, an expertly crafted alfresco alcove means big outdoor living without any of the big upkeep.

By Jamie Siebrase
Photography by Kim Dillon


Downsizing certainly doesn’t have to mean downgrading. When two empty nesters traded their roomy Frontenac home for a smaller place with high walk-ability scores, they retained the grandiose open-air amenities they’d previously enjoyed by cleverly facilitating a collision of functionality, comfort and class.

“We transitioned from over an acre to just a fifth of an acre,” says the homeowner of this “edgy Tuscan” home boasting an eclectic mix of classic architectural features. Architect Paul Doerner of The Lawrence Group and developers at Michael Lauren Development helped the Clayton homeowners fit everything they’d loved about their previous backyard into a more compact space.

Because the homeowners “don’t transplant anyplace during the summers,” features that combat heat and humidity were essential. A roof shades the three season room, and a ceiling fan stimulates welcome breezes. The homeowners may have abandoned a 20-by-40-foot swimming pool when they moved, but they retained its desirable cooling effect by incorporating a daintier dipping pool that’s less than half that size.

Ceramic tile, a material rarely afflicted by mold or mildew, forms a sensible yet upscale base. Summer Classics cast aluminum patio furniture from Mansfield Nursery is a timeless - and durable - addition. The homeowners embellished their table with striking natural stone cut by Sander Coovert of Absolute Tile & Stone; simple green cushions liven up the chairs. This soft, natural color scheme gives the petite space cohesiveness.   

A fireplace affords the room its three-season status, warming family and friends well into the fall. Candles atop the mantle are a space-saving embellishment. Handcrafted ironwork, too, adds accent without taking up square footage.

Peter Zadrozinski, owner of Classic Metal Craft, created the window guard first - a practical piece offering aesthetically pleasing security and an element of privacy that doesn’t compromise the alfresco vibe. “Iron can get really heavy,” says Zadrozinski. To keep things light, the ironworker masterfully molded mild steel into curvaceous, nature-inspired décor.

An iron trellis with whimsical florets and leaf patterns complements the window guard. The trellis was an addition the homeowners eagerly added after Jason Delaney, Missouri Botanical Gardens’ North Gardens Supervisor, suggested forgoing pots, which tend to clutter small spaces, and incorporating seasonal hues through a vertical structure. When flowers aren’t blooming, decorative ironwork invigorates an otherwise-dull brick wall.

Above the fireplace you’ll notice the family crest. “This took quite a few man hours to digitally trace and put into a format we could use for laser cutting,” recalls Zadrozinski who had never done anything quite like it before. Zadrozinski specializes in unique requests and welcomed the challenge of creating something meaningful for an ambitious outdoor living room that’s the epitome of big living despite its modest size. 


Ironwork: Classic Metal Craft, 314-535-2022
Developer: Michael Lauren Development, 314-725-0009

Architect: The Lawrence Group, 866-680-5700

Pool: Pooltron, 314-428-1971

Landscaper: M&P Landscaping, 314-426-8833