In North Carolina, where summers are muggy and brutally hot, most residents strictly pass the time in air-conditioned interiors. Not the Bing family. "We love the peace of being outside," says mother of two Candy Bing. So, working with architect Ruard Veltman, Bing's family devised the perfect escape, with the best of the indoors and out.
The planning began after Veltman built the family’s dream home, complete with a pool. Though they loved the view across the water, Candy and her husband, Darren, felt the surrounding area was missing something.
"After the pool, it just ended,” she explains. Plus, "the kids were tromping through the house with wet feet. Friends of the family had recently put in a pizza oven, which sparked an idea. “We started brainstorming," Candy recalls, "'What else do we want out there?'"
The answers: an outdoor shower, a pizza oven, a daybed, and two TVs to entertain (the family and their friends are all big Carolina Panthers fans and gather to watch games). Meanwhile, a love of English country style had left Candy fascinated with thatched roofs.
So, Veltman conceived an open-air structure that ingeniously comprised all of the above, tucked into one open-air space—topped with a dramatic roof by master thatcher Colin McGhee, who spent six weeks creating it with reeds imported from Turkey. The structure's slatted sides, along with the shade of the roof, keep it blessedly cool—even in the hottest months. "We really didn’t want an indoor space with HVAC," Candy explains.
Indeed, the finished structure is no such thing. "It’s eye candy; something to be proud of,” Veltman says. “You want to spend time there.” And so the family does: in the winter, they'll fire up the pizza oven just to keep it warm. "We’re out here year-round," Candy emphasizes. "We use it for everything." And who can blame them?
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