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A bay that makes dining a picnic.

ALMOST ALFRESCO is one way to describe the experience of dining at Marjorie and Steven Garner's house in Alameda, California. They often enjoy meals in a bay with two garden-facing pairs of glass doors that open wide enough to make it seem as if the dining table were outside. Fresh air, the fragrance of flowers, and the sounds of water bubbling from a fountain become a backdrop for their meals.

The 55-square-foot addition, shaped like a partial octagon, projects 8 feet

from the old outside wall into a new deck that runs across the rear of the house. The double-glazed doors pivot, fold, and store out of sight, creating an easy indoor-outdoor flow. There are no posts to obstruct views of the deck or the garden and lagoon beyond.

To go outside, the Garners can simply open one of the center doors. To fully open up the bay, they fold the center doors back on the wider side doors, then fold the combined doors back against the sides of the bay. The weight of the double doors is supported by heavy-duty offset-pivot hinges with sealed ball bearings; the hinges tie the doors to 4-by-8 posts in the bay's side walls.

To carry the weight of the roof sheltering the bay, a heavy beam and steel posts were framed into the old outside wall, and 2-by-12 ceiling joists were nailed to the existing joists. New rafters tied to the new joists cantilever 3 feet beyond the bay's walls.

Architect: Alex Bergtraun, Berkeley, California.
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Author:Whiteley, Peter O.
Date:May 1, 1993
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