Oudoor Oasis | Details Make the Difference

Creating and completing a custom home renovation project takes great ideas and moreover a great relationship. When Todd and Nancy Hale of Carmel decided it was time to renovate their backyard, they turned to Steve Gray Renovations. The family knew Steve personally because their boys play baseball together.

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Outdoor Oasis Conceptual Sketch“I started talking to Steve during a ball practice,” says Todd Hale. “I knew Steve is a professional remodeler and told him we were thinking about doing a porch setting in the backyard. I explained we wanted to expand the porch, have a grill area and a Jacuzzi. We had no idea on the look and how to get it done. That’s how the whole project started.”

Enter Steve Gray and design partner Gary Nance. The Hales met with Steve and Gary explaining what they wanted for their outdoor porch setting. “We showed them a variety of ideas to create a custom look and complement the house,” said Steve. “The family told us their wish list. They said they wanted to use the grill space year round. They told us what they didn’t like and liked, including a hot tub they had their eye on for the new setting.”

“I wanted to design a setting that isn’t your typical neighborhood outdoor grill/fireplace area”

Gary Nance prepared a conceptual drawing that took about 30-days from start to approval. “I wanted to design a setting that isn’t your typical neighborhood outdoor grill/fireplace area,” says Gary. “The final concept grill area gave credence to feeling that you are in a resort, not a neighborhood backyard.”

Todd, the homeowner and client, says, “We thought the drawing was terrific and exceeded our expectations on the visual of what we were thinking about. We liked it so much we hardly altered it.”

After that Steve and his partners went to work finalizing a project plan and pricing while the Hales chose various elements for the project, which includes:

Outdoor Oasis
A one-of-a-kind Caribbean-style grilling station with plantation shutters that open in the warmer months and close when it’s cold creating a four-season grill station (not to mention a beautiful design element). A ceiling fan in the grilling station cools the area and blows the smoke into the open areas. The interior of the area is stained instead of painted. Stain eliminates the issue of cobwebs and bugs leaving marks behind as they do on painted surfaces.

A strategically selected and positioned whirlpool tub.
During the selection phase of the project, Steve went with the family to look at hot tubs. The Hale family is tall, at more than 6 feet per family member. That hot tub they had their eye on proved too small when they all sat in it in the showroom. They found a better option that fits their height and is comfortable.

Steve’s team found a great non-slip blue stone option for the stairs leading into the hot tub. Lighting was installed into the steps to capture the stone’s beauty at night. The non-slip element and lighting are added safety features, too.

Steve’s team added an access panel to the whirlpool for regular maintenance. The panel design was carefully thought through so it complements the area, but leaves the mechanicals easy to access.

The blue stone tile porch creates a cool look on hot days.
The blue stone also complements the white painted brick home and creates a cool, beach feel.

Fire pit seating wall for entertaining.
“One thing that is really cool is the seat wall by the fire pit,” says Todd. “During the building process, initially, the wrong stone arrived on site. Steve was great with this detail. He stopped the process to be sure the right stone was installed for seating and entertaining.”

Mature landscaping complements the project.
Steve Gray Renovations project partner Sundown Gardens provided larger, more established plant material that was special ordered for this project, including Arborvitae at 11 feet tall and boxwoods at 24 to 30 inches tall. The look around the patio gives a more established feel. During the project, the Sundown Gardens team also provided clean up services on all other beds and plant materials to give all of the landscaping a new feel.

The project was completed in the fall. The warm spring in Indiana has given the Hales a lot of opportunity to use their new space. “I like the grill area with the shutters and the way the station is higher giving a nice view into the yard. My wife and I love the space. Now we can go out a sit down and enjoy the backyard. The privacy is better, too.“

When asked what advice he’d lend to a homeowner thinking about a renovation, Todd says, “I would recommend Steve and his team to anyone. He and his group did a terrific job. Steve is organized and communicates the status of the project continuously. He kept attention to the detail to get it right.”