by guest blogger Tallen Hughes
Tackling a project like the HGTV® Dream Home 2022 takes refined skills that can only be cultivated from years of experience. 2022 marks Belgard’s seventh year of being the exclusive hardscape sponsor of the HGTV® Dream Home program. Cohesive work between the HGTV® team, the Belgard Design Studio (BDS) and local dealers and contractors is critical in creating an awe-inspiring outdoor living build. This year, the local team sought out a contractor that is well-suited to handle a project of this rigor.
A DREAM TEAM FOR A DREAM HOME
Nestled in between the ranges of the Green Mountains, you will find Warren, Vermont, a small town of roughly 2,000 people and home of the HGTV® Dream Home 2022. CG Hardscapes, a Belgard Master Craftsman, completed this large and challenging outdoor living project. The Belgard team endorsed CG Hardscapes as an Advisory Council Member and encouraged them to bid on the project.
“We reached out to the CG Hardscapes team in upstate NY. They jumped at the opportunity and rearranged their schedule so they could start a month later,” said Joe Raboine, Belgard Director of Hardscapes, and project manager for the outdoor design and installation.
Brandon Smith and Cory Frank of CG Hardscapes are a prime example of how hard work can pay off. CG started with the two enthusiastic friends that had the eye and skill for outdoor living. During college, the friends worked for themselves and began to grow CG into what it is today. Through intensive training over the years, Brandon and Cory have created a company that is built on education and hands-on training. Challenging themselves by taking on larger and more complex projects has given CG a well deserved reputation. The company is involved in groups such as the Rochester Home-Builders Association and the Better Contractors Bureau. Based out of Webster, New York, CG has won numerous awards from Home and Garden shows and is proudly featured in various Belgard catalogs.
“After taking the call from Joe and the network and realizing the timeline for the project, there was definitely an internal struggle given our current situation with jobs booked at the time. The team was excited to hear about the project at first word, as the anticipation grew over the next month, I think we all had some serious butterflies,” explained Brandon Smith of CG Hardscapes.
Prior to breaking ground, it was critical that all parties were on the same page about the installation and outcome of the home. Together, the Belgard Design Studio, CG Hardscapes, and the Discovery team worked closely to create a design that best represented Belgard products and the natural elements of the home. Pulling inspiration from the Belgard Rooms portfolio, design renderings created by BDS made it possible to determine what products were best suited for the modern and contemporary design of the dream home.
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SITE AND LOCATION CHALLENGES
When working on a build in remote locations like this, consistent communication between all parties is decisive in the outcome of the home.
The high demand of contractors across the nation makes on-the-fly changes difficult to attain, especially with strict timelines. The Discovery team reached out to the BDS crew to locate an installer that could tackle the job and were immediately routed to CG Hardscapes. With a few scheduling changes, CG made themselves available to break ground on the project just a month later. Based out of upstate New York, the CG team was located about six hours from the build. The team rented a condo in Warren, VT and were able to begin installation the first week of August and finish up just after Labor Day.
“One of our biggest project challenges is that we had never built the Melville™ Wall before using the grey block center (Tandem® Modular Block),” Brandon said. In addition to the product learning curve, part of the wall design included a tight curve radius which added to the number of cuts and amount of grinding needed to keep a tight visual tolerance, all of which slowed the installation speed initially until the team got into a rhythm. In addition, with the HGTV® Dream Home 2022 being in a remote location, product delivery had to arrive in small quantities. Working on an extremely tight timeline with limited product delivery challenged CG to pace themselves and fall into a routine that was in uniform with the deliveries.
“All nearly 140 pallets were shipped to Kingsberry Construction. I would go to the yard to take inventory of the material, and I came up with a numbering system so that I was able to call in material for the next day,” explained Cory Frank of CG Hardscapes. “We are grateful for our relationship with the Belgard team because we were able to have materials leave Chicago on a Thursday at 9pm, and they would be in Vermont by 9am on Saturday.”
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BELGARD PRODUCTS IN ACTION
A total of 13 products were carefully selected when designing this installation. Belgard sales representative Jerome Edmunds worked efficiently to make sure that the appropriate product was available and satisfactory for the style of the home, as well as endure the elements. The CG Hardscapes team was able to utilize their expertise and the Belgard team’s recommendations to create an outdoor living area that has texture, depth and elegance. Taking into account that Vermont experiences all four seasons, the space was configured to offer comfort for any time of the year.
When you arrive at the home, you are greeted by 968 square feet of Belgard Dimensions™ pavers in a herringbone pattern. The smooth face with clean, crisp lines offers uniformity that enhances the modern, luxury cabin feel of the residence. The Dimensions pavers connect you to the detached garage which is just steps away from the mudroom of the home. Continuous movement of the Dimension pavers ties in the two separate areas, making them feel like one.
During the build, the BDS team arrived with the team from Pavetool to assist with the installations of the Artforms™ panel system and some of the large-format pavers. This teamwork can be seen around the perimeter of the pool as well as the outdoor kitchen. The Artforms resulted in bold lines that established focal points of the outdoor living area while simultaneously enhancing the surrounding natural colors. “It was a great collaboration, and we were able to test our mechanically installed procedures,” said Joe Raboine.
FROM RENDER TO REALITY
“I am a firm believer of the visualization and 3D renderings, as I am also the one who does the design work for our company,” said Brandon Smith. “The imagery helps the team to envision the look, but more so the construction process of how we are going to bring the project to life. The modern design elements in this project are nothing new to us — we actually prefer this style to some of the more traditional patio styles. A cool design always gives a more entertaining install.”
The assimilation of the Artforms, Mirage® Porcelain Pavers, Dimensions pavers, and Melville Wall created a modern, seamless transition between the swimming pool, fire pit and seating area. CG Hardscapes was able to take these hues of gray and design-forward looks to install a space that amplifies the contrast of the home and the surrounding scenery. The combination of these paver and wall techniques flow from the home with ease and compliment the unique architecture.
“The pool area was larger than we originally anticipated, which left us short on material. We ended up bringing in Mirage porcelain pavers from our local dealer in Rochester. This last-minute change ended up being a blessing in disguise as the porcelain complimented the home and the other products that we were using,” said Cory.
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A DREAM HOME, PERFECTED
CG Hardscapes certainly wrapped the year up with an extraordinary project. Although challenges arose, teamwork across the board left the HGTV® Dream Home 2022 one to remember.
“Having the opportunity to work with Joe and his team at Belgard helped to complete, in my opinion, the best and largest outdoor living space any HGTV® Dream Home has ever had was an honor,” said Brandon.
“Working on the HGTV® Dream Home 2022 this year was definitely one for the books. Being a Belgard Master Craftsman allowed us to overcome challenges and build camaraderie for our team. We all feel triumphant with an installation like this under our belts,” echoed Cory.
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About the Author
Guest blogger Tallen Hughes is an unmanned aircraft pilot who has been flying drones for photography, videography, land surveying and real estate for 5 years. He grew up in the hardscape industry in Spokane, Washington where he learned all about the joys of outdoor living spaces. Tallen currently resides in San Diego, California and has a passion for the great outdoors. If you can’t find him flying drones and editing on his laptop, you’ll likely find him hiking, camping, or at the beach.
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