Date: May 24, 2021 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Stephanie Maxwell Newton |
Play & Stay: In Fayetteville, designer Casey Sarkin’s backyard escape offers spaces to enjoy inside, outside, and in-between
The backyard of Casey and Steffan Sarkin’s Fayetteville home has come a long way since they first laid eyes on it almost two decades ago. Then, the area behind the house—part of three acres the home sits on—was nothing more than overgrown brush and a chain-link fence. “When we moved in, we remodeled the interiors but didn’t really do much to the outside, just cleaned it all up,” Casey says. “There was no back porch, no pool, nothing.”
Almost 10 years later, with kids starting middle and high school, the family turned their focus to the outdoors. At one end of the house, they enclosed a screened porch to create a sunroom, then extended the roofline to form a back porch the entire length of the house. The backyard was excavated and leveled to install a pool, and all the landscaping was planted—including one of Casey’s favorites, hydrangeas. “These are ‘Nikko Blue.’ They start out barely pink, then become full-on fuchsia, then go to lavender, a deep, bright blue-purple, then a wine color in the fall,” she says, noting the wall of flowers served as a colorful backdrop for everything from prom photos to graduation parties during that season of life.
In 2019, the designer embarked on a final phase of transformation for the backyard: Converting their three-car garage into a pool house. “We initially started that so we could have a bathroom for the pool, but because Steffan and I both have such large extended families, it also became a place we could have guests come stay,” she says. Without changing its footprint, Casey was able to carve out a living room, kitchen, dining area, bedroom, and full bath in the renovated space, all within steps of the pool and with a view to the beautiful backyard, 20 years in the making.
Back Porch Cozy
The back porch’s living area is a true extension of the home’s interiors thanks to comfortable furnishings, such as a sectional slipcovered in outdoor fabric, and a board-and-batten wall treatment continued from inside the home. “The whole feeling of white, light, and neutral with woven textures very much mimics the rest of my house,” Casey says. A farmhouse table paired with a vintage light fixture brings a mix of styles to the dining space, which is in close proximity to both the kitchen and grill for easy entertaining.
East Coast Cool
While Casey’s personal style tends more modern, she wanted to create an outdoor design that would stand the test of time. “I wanted it to feel very classic with finishes that really don’t go out of style,” she says, noting she looked to the East Coast and the Hamptons for inspiration. “Case in point, that pool is 10-plus years old and still looks current.” Wicker Kingsley Bate loungers and chairs, an antique outdoor table, and a fringed umbrella add a touch of coastal flair.
Pool House Style
Casey’s global aesthetic is apparent in the pool house, where collected furniture and art effortlessly mix. An authentic Morroccan rug and blown-up photograph of Capri (taken by Steffan) speak to the couple’s love of travel. Sliding glass doors provide an uninterrupted view of the pool and, when opened, further connect the converted garage to the action outside.
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