The Designer

Adam Miller
Design principal
Chicago Roof Deck + Garden
Chicago, Ill.

What the judges thought: This sophisticated outdoor room features many nice touches such as the Ipe decking and modernistic fire pit. The effort that went into making the hot tub the center of attention at all times takes it over the top.

A star is born: Perched on a roof deck above an up-and-coming Chicago neighborhood, this outdoor room allows one to relax and watch the clouds float by, or share a glass of the bubbly with friends. The star attraction is the eight-person hot tub nestled in a pergola. “It was important to [the client] that the hot tub not be in a corner by itself, but be the focal point,” says Adam Miller, lead designer on the project. “Even if no one is in it, she’ll turn on the lighting and jets to allow the hot tub to be part of the space.” To ensure privacy, the spa is surrounded by frosted glass panels and draperies, also designed by Miller. All spa soakers need to do is draw the drapes, activate the projection screen, and an exclusive movie-viewing experience can commence.

All in the details: From the Ipe decking and cedar pergola to the built-in planters with seasonal grasses that flank the spa steps, this project sports sophisticated touches. “We created something very contemporary and clean, an area with a more chic vibe,” Miller says. To get there, his team first demolished the existing garage and built a two-car garage from scratch,  then created the outdoor room on top. Sleek, stylish details include subtle wall lighting, specially designed by Miller, which transforms the space at night. The sound system can be controlled from the homeowner’s smartphone. There’s a nicely equipped kitchen, comfortable seating areas and a fire pit. A bar was built up to the edge of the spa so that, even if you’re in the water, you’re not removed from things. The client, a 30-something sales professional who travels often, wanted a space where she could invite friends over on a Saturday. Mission accomplished.