The project was challenging for a few reasons. First of all, we’ve never done anything like it, so while it was a learning experience, there was no room for mistakes. The way the outdoor area attached to the house was challenging because there were different elevations we had to factor into our plans; we had the grill area at one level and an existing patio at the other end along with some new steps. Our clients wanted shutters that could be pushed up and out, which isn’t very common. Not only did they require special hardware, but the shutters had to be custom-made and shipped out from a company in North Carolina.
The shutters gave our conceptual designer, Gary Nance, some difficulty. We had to learn how to operate them and to make sure that, when the winds kicked up, they were sturdy and easy to close. We also had to make sure the shutters were at the right elevation because they were located above the Jacuzzi, and if it wasn’t right, people in the Jacuzzi would get their heads banged every time they got in our out of the tub or every time someone opened the shutters.
The clients had an engineering background and were very specific about what they wanted, but much of the design came back to us. We wanted the design to not just fit their lifestyle but complement their lifestyle and their home. Because the house was white brick, we wanted to complement the exterior colors. For the floors, we used authentic Pennsylvania bluestone that came directly from the mines. The top of the fire pit and the seating walls behind it are two-inch-thick Pennsylvania bluestone with a detailed edge. The stone walls around the grill area, Jacuzzi, and fire pit are tumbled Indiana limestone.
[Matching] the existing structure was also a concern. Too often in this business you can tell when there’s been an addition; something looks sparkling and new, and the rest of the house looks old and tired. Obviously, we were trying to avoid that.
We bring our great attention to detail to every project. The family behind the Outdoor Oasis had this exact Jacuzzi they wanted; they’d made their decision, we’d done the pricing, and it felt set in stone. We noticed, however, that every family member was over six feet tall. We took them to a showroom and had the family climb into the Jacuzzi they wanted, and as we suspected, it was way too small. We had to order a much larger model, but that’s characteristic to the sort of attention to detail we provide. It doesn’t matter if you’re spending $5,000 with our handyman division or $500,000 for a major renovation; we make sure you know what you’re getting before you get it.
We’re very specific in our processes, and we make them known to the client from the start. If it seems like they don’t understand how we work or operate, then they’re not a good fit for us, and it won’t be a project that we pursue. We don’t get excited about the dollar value of a project; we get excited about building long-lasting relationships with our clients. For us, no project is ever a one-time deal. We’re really proud of the Outdoor Oasis, and the best part is that our client is so excited about it. They recently told us that in the past year they’ve spent more time in their backyard than they [had] in the 11 [previous] years they [had] lived in that house. That’s success. ABQ