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Hearth & Home August 2019

Richard Wright
Hearth & Home Magazine

A Special Issue

In this, our sixth special Outdoor Room issue, we added the element of competition. We felt that the projects we had reviewed over the first five years showed such creativity and professionalism that an Awards Program was called for.

The problem was how to do it. We knew that entries would range from very low to very high dollars spent. So how could a $10,000 project be judged against a $1 million effort? It couldn’t, or at least, not fairly.

As it was, the lowest-priced entry was $5,730, and the highest-priced entry was $65.8 million.

Besides, not all entries arrived with their costs attached. Many architects, designers, and builders, wanted to protect their clients’ privacy.

No, separating groups by costs wouldn’t work.

What about segregating by square feet? What if we carved out three groups based on their size? That would certainly solve the privacy issue, and, anyway, there’s a correlation between square feet and costs.

So that’s what we chose.

The first group is for entries up to 1,000 sq. ft.

The second is from 1,001 to 3,000 sq. ft.

The third is from 3,001 sq. ft. and up.

Next, because this would be our first competitive effort for Outdoor Room design, we wanted to bring some real pros in to judge the contest. Luckily, we have a company right here in our business complex, Belknap Landscape, that creates beautiful outdoor areas, many right on the shores of our gorgeous Lake Winnipesaukee.

Owner Hayden McLaughlin was on board immediately. On his staff is one Landscape Architect and a number of Landscape Designers. We met, decided on a schedule, and also decided that designers on Hearth & Home’s staff would first eliminate those entries that obviously weren’t competitive.

There were 138 entries. When the groupings were handed to the Belknap Landscape designers, each of the three groups had 16 entries, for a total of 48 companies. It was their job to, first, reduce the 16 entries to nine, and those nine became finalists. From those 27 finalists, three winners were selected.

Now, pouring over fat three-ring binders with perhaps an average of 10 photos per project, along with an extensive entry form that included the designer’s words describing the project, materials used, products, and brands, takes time, a lot of time, and requires going over those entries over and over again. The Design Team at Belknap Landscape did just that over the two-week period around Memorial Day.

We hope you enjoy the result of these efforts.

More Stories in this Issue

Living Outside Is In

By Lisa Readie Mayer

Outdoor Rooms, Outdoor Living, what began as a trend in the late ’90s is now firmly embedded in the lifestyles – or the dreams – of most North Americans.

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2019 June Business Climate

In early July, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products asking them to compare June 2019 sales to June 2018. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 204 useable returns.

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