Creating a Backyard Escape
July, 2006 - Issue #21
When's the last time your backyard party concluded with a fireworks show? If you're Marisa Robbins, you're answer would represent pretty outstanding frequency. After all, Robbins Westridge home, conveniently located on a view lot on a quiet cul de sac, provides VIP seating to Magic Mountain's nightly summer fireworks display.

With that kind of plum location, it's a good thing that Robbins enjoys entertaining. "We have people over nearly every night, and definitely every weekend. I'm always willing to put something on the barbecue, light the fire pit and host a little get together. We swim, play with the dogs and just enjoy the evening," says the accommodating hostess.

Before you think that Robbins takes on too much on her own, have heart. Daughters Madison, 7, and Marley, 5, are always willing to help organize a shindig or two. "They love their backyard and this house, and have a lot of fun when we have people over," says the proud mom.

Robbins knows what it's like to be young and ready for summer fun Santa Clarita style. A SCV native and Saugus High School graduate, Robbins and her girls relocated to their Westridge home a year and a half ago after time spent out of state.

"It's wonderful to be back home, and it's a dream come true for the girls. Their family is here, and this house can grow along with them until they are ready for college. It's great for me, too, because I still have a lot of friends out here, and my parents are nearby," she says.

And speaking of Robbins parents, you may know them, or at least be familiar with their business - they are owners of Le Esprit Salon & Day Spa in Valencia. Robbins has a cosmetology license, but spends most of her salon time working behind the scenes.

After a day's work, Robbins, like many of us, wants to get away from daily frustrations. While vacationing with two small girls maybe hard to arrange, "getting away" is as easy as walking into Robbins backyard. "I wanted to create a fun, relaxed atmosphere for us; somewhere to escape the stresses that come with life; somewhere to kick back and watch the sunset," she says.

Robbins' desire for relaxed outdoor living inspired her to take matters into her own hands. "I have a sewing machine and I was going to create some outdoor curtains for my patio, but then I saw exactly what I wanted flipping through Inside SCV Magazine. I called Christine of Esther & Frankie and she came over for a consult," she says.

The pair decided on custom outdoor drapes and a variety of accent pieces. One glance at Robbins' backyard shows off the family's penchant for pink. Rose-shaded pillows rimmed in chocolate piping boast "M's" (for "Madison" and "Marley") in feminine script. The design company also created new seat covers, pillows and a lounge chair pad to coordinate with the yard's existing elements.

"All of the items [Christine] created were made of Sunbrella material, so they're stain proof, water-resistant and don't fade. They've held up really well with the weather so far," says Robbins, who plans on contracting Esther & Frankie to create new covers for her outdoor patio umbrellas next.

Robbins new custom fabric accessories were recently joined by updated landscape items from Calscapes. "When we first moved in, I hired a contractor to landscape the backyard, but I didn't do any maintenance our updates since. Calscapes completely retooled our yard, adding topiaries, potted plants, trees and more. It's amazing what a few landscape and fabric additions can do to improve the look of a yard. I think our backyard looks like a vacation home now. The look is totally different," she says.
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