Welcome to “At Home With Tom and Sandy.” As I like to say, “sit back, relax and enjoy.” Starting four months ago, Tom and I began to introduce you to our community/industry partners so you could get to know them better, and what fun that has been. You have met Steve Simpson of Blue Line Designs, Jim Reed of Reed Brothers Construction, Christie Board, our local certified kitchen & bath designer with Board By Board Design, and most recently, Tom Liuzzo, a registered land surveyor for Granite Basin Engineering.
Sandy: Hi Tom, I thought this month we would refer back to our conversational format just to let folks know we are still really here and we have construction stuff to talk about. Although, I must admit, I totally loved the interview sessions with our community partners. I can hardly wait to get you in the interview booth!
Tom: One of these days, Sandy, I promise, I will jump into the interview booth with you. So, how is your summer going? Are you social distancing?
Sandy: I am and staying closer to home than I ever did before. With the weather being so nice and the start of monsoon season, I am even spending time in my yard pulling those pesky weeds. I am wearing my facemask and still managing to give a hug now and then. What about you, Tom?
Tom: Me too. If just to get outside for a few minutes… or an hour… usually with a glass of wine.
Sandy: LOL, I get it. I bet with your new digs, you and your wife probably have a great outdoor space. I love my backyard and just sitting, watching the clouds drift by, the birds tweeting and the bees buzzing. I know there are many folks who probably do not know where to start in creating a sense of balance in their outdoor space. There is something I just love about sitting outside on my patio that can’t be beat.
Tom: A common comment. I congratulate you for saying that, and I know there are lots of folks we can help to get started in creating their Zen backyard space. So, let’s get started with a few questions.
Sandy: I am ready! Fire away, Mr. Renovations!
Tom: Do you cook outside?
Sandy: I have a BBQ and have used it more this year than ever before. I am a real pro with chicken!
Tom: Excellent. When you cook outside on your BBQ, do you have enough space for plates, utensils or even spices you use on your food?
Sandy: Are you kidding me – NEVER! There is never enough space on the bbq top and I usually use a small table that is too low, but it helps.
Tom: You might want to think about getting a rolling tray or small counter to hold your items. These can often be purchased for less than $100.
Sandy: Good idea. And here I was, expecting you to tell me to build a counter with cabinets, spending thousands of dollars.
Tom: Well, sure, you could do that, too!
Sandy: I like the simple approach.
Tom: Always the best approach, as I say. I know you have told your constituents that this might be a time to look around at what needs doing, you know, those things we normally put off “’til we have time.” With COVID-19, our readers have been taking the time at home to look around and see what needs doing on the homefront.
Sandy: Holy Moly Macaroni, as I say – that is absolutely for sure. My phone has been ringing a lot with folks wanting a referral for all manner of home repairs and improvements, from flooring to outside space to bath and kitchen remodels.
Tom: So, back to your outdoor space. Do you have furniture for your outdoor living?
Sandy: Yes, I do have a nice dining table and chairs under cover and then a seating area.
Tom: Would you like to spend more time outside? Also, what might it take for you to do that?
Sandy: In the early morning hours and late evenings is the best time to be in the Zen patio and relax. Let’s help our readers create a livable and relaxing outdoor space.
So, Tom, from your point of view, where should someone start to enjoy the outside space?
Tom: There should always be an area for shade. Whether under a tree or a roof, there should be a portion of a deck or patio in the shade.
Sandy: What do you think about privacy?
Tom: For sure, you do not need to build a brick wall or a tall fence, but creating some privacy will make your outdoor room feel more intimate and inviting and this can be done with trees and shrubs.
Sandy: How about lighting? I installed a nice simple ceiling light in the covered porch and then soft down lights in the yard as well.
Tom: Besides being functional, lighting at night adds a magical feel to your outdoor room. And now with solar lights, it is really simple and easy to create lighting ambiance.
Sandy: OK Tom, here is the big one – how do you control the bugs?
Tom: Sandy, you are right, that is the big difference between indoor space and outdoor space. The bugs!
Sandy: I know we have bugs, but I honestly do not feel they are all that bad in our climate.
Tom: In our yard, we use Citronella candles and they work quite well.
Tom: Another feature for creating outdoor relaxation would be to install a water fountain in the garden. The sound of water is a great way to create a relaxing environment in your outdoor room.
Sandy: Our local landscapers have created the coolest water foundations out of boulders. They are magical. I do believe that is going to be my next purchase.
Tom: Sandy, we are forgetting one thing about creating outdoor space and that is to have comfortable furniture – outdoor chairs with outdoor tables and an outdoor sectional sofa.
Sandy: I have a rocker that I just love. And I would say do not forget the color in the outside space. I have fallen in love with outdoor rugs. Oh my gosh – so cool and nice.
Tom: And, let’s not forget flowers and plants to provide color and a place for the bees. Plants, plants, plants.
Sandy: And the birdbath! And the colorful flower pots! And the yard ornaments! And and and….
Tom: Sandy, I hope your readers can see that outdoor space can be created on a budget and made to feel comfortable and relaxing. I would encourage our readers to look at Pinterest, and Instagram for images that inspire them. That is a starting point.
Sandy: So, remember readers, decide if you want a seating area, a dining area, a firepit area, an outdoor kitchen, working space, etc. Think about the size of your space and what you want to achieve. And, I am sure Tom will agree, be realistic about what purpose you want your outdoor space to serve.
And remember, you do not have to purchase “new.” Second-hand shops are great for locating lanterns, plant pots, and even some fake plants.
Together, Tom and I say, “Happy Summer to you. Happy outdoor enjoyment to you. Happy relaxation to you.”
Until next month. Thanks for stopping in to read At Home with Tom and Sandy. QCBN
By Sandy Griffis and Tom Reilly
Tom Reilly, Architect, Contractor, Renovations 928-445-8506, renovationsaz.com
Sandy Griffis, Executive Director, Yavapai County Contractors Association, 928-778-0040.