In this latest project for a long-time client, Mimi and her team took their interior design talents to the back yard, creating a series of outdoor rooms for cooking, dining, and entertaining. The indisputable star of the new kitchen is the custom Engelbrecht grill, with the fire spit for roasting and Viking cooktop for boiling lobsters a toss-up for second billing. But the best feature in this kitchen just might be the stainless steel cabinets: They are completely weather-tight, ensuring that all the kitchen implements and accessories stay dry.

While the home owners prepare meals, family and guests gather nearby under a custom pergola. Its sloped roof follows the lines of the house for a seamless, organic look. A clever retractable shade creates a cool place for dining in summer; it stacks neatly to the side when a sunnier space is desired. An additional trellis was designed around the house to address the bright afternoon sun. “I wasn’t sure the trellis would be enough,” Mimi says. “But the vertical flats block the glare perfectly—no need for curtains— or sunglasses.” A combination of stock dining table and chairs with a custom metal bench and cushions creates a harmonious look.

A flagstone patio gives continuity to the outdoor rooms; a column of boxwoods separates the cooking and dining area from the outdoor living room. With an inviting wood-burning fireplace, it’s a cozy spot for after-dinner drinks on cool nights.

Photograph by Nathaniel Cooper,