Outdoor Living

What types components do people select for their outdoor kitchen spaces?

Most of the time you’re going to have a gas grill or egg cooker, which is a now popular, basically a trendy barbecue pit. Other items include a sink and refrigerator, TV. Usually they have a fire pit or a fire place, either gas or log. And then for seating, a couple of couches, plus a table & chairs. Most of the time these outdoor living areas are enjoyed in the evenings, with family & friends.

Do most people do a covering or some sort roof?

Yes, yes. Most of the time, at least half of the section is covered. We’re building one that’s right now that’s designed for half of it as a sitting area with the TV and the other half is exposed. A granite counter top with a gas grill and a steaming cooker round that one out.

Do some people extend their house roof?

Yes, when possible we’re going to aim to use these. Most of the time we do them, we tie into the house, add on matching trim boards and painting to make it look like it was there originally, perfectly cohesive with the existing appearance. Some other structures are basically freestanding. They may be away from the house side, near the swimming pool or on another side of the court yard. We’ve completed every possible outdoor construction variation.

When a outdoor living area is far from the house or detached, is it difficult to extend electricity, gas lines? Is that something your company does?

Extending these lines is not a problem to reach outdoor environments almost anywhere on your property . One significant caution, in many subdivisions, the back 10 feet off of the fence contains an easement for utilities. So we have to stay off of there, but we can build up to that point. We definitely avoid getting into the utilities and having to go in there and dig them up. If a home owner builds something in the way they have the right just to destroy it to get to their utility. Once our team is out there on your property, it’s pretty easy to figure out for all that is. .

How long does an outdoor kitchen build take?

The typical kitchen, full blown with complete features, would be fully finished in approximately four weeks (w/o any serious weather or permitting delays). A simpler kitchen can be knocked out in around two weeks! Most outdoor living projects usually really take about three weeks of construction time. Because there are different trades coming in, we’ve got a licensed plumber, licensed electrician etc. So the job may be opened up and waiting for a trade to come in and perform their portion. But they may be running a day or two behind on one of their other projects. So the coordination has to fall in line correctly and we work hard at this aspect for our clients!

Do you create water elements like fountains, other displays like that as a part of outdoor living?

Yes, we can. Usually the customer will buy the fountain or water element in order to pick exactly what they want and then we’ll install it for them. This install would include the plumbing, and with most of them a power plug for your fountains and then you fill it up full of water and it just recirculates that water.

How do you work with subcontractors? Do you have some people in house some and then you sub out the plumbing and electrical elements?

Yes. And most of the year you’re permitted project. We bet we pull the structure permit and the subs will pull off of our permit. But, but an electrician has to be a licensed electrician to pull a permit. And most of your towns, we carry the big insurance policy, which are everybody’s umbrella underneath. And the same thing with the plumber. You know, you have to have a licensed plumber to go to any city and pull any kind of plumbing. Okay. Once this is installed, the plumber will call for his inspection. So give you usually a 24 hour window. They’ll come and inspect the project, usually their a check sheet. We keep it in a bag there. The the inspector will pull it out, check off whatever inspections we’ve called for, and then we can call a one 800 number to make sure that we pass and then we can proceed, you know, with whatever’s next on the project, whether it’s, you know, they inspect, inspect the the slab before it’s poured. They inspect the frame, they inspect the hurricane clips and tie, you know, inspect the the, the electrical though, inspect the end ground plumbing.And then they’ll do, when it’s all said and done, you’ll call in a, a final inspection and they’ll just come and and sign off on everything.

On a typical outdoor living project, how many inspection visits?

For a normal outdoor build, the inspection sequence is first your framing, then your slab and then the underground inspection for the plumbing and electrical efforts. If it’s a wood structure then it will have hurricane clips and ties. These basically keep everything in place it was to blow down or blow over in a tornado or tropical storm. These keeps the pieces tied together even in terrible Houston weather. That way everything just doesn’t fly in different directions. It keeps it all mangled up in one pile. This is basically what hurricane clips & ties are designed for. After the electrician’s done, they’ll come and check that all the fans and lights and switches and plugs are installed. And same thing with the plumbing. And then I’m usually the final inspection as the project manager. It’s done in the sign off.

What about permitting for people who live in Fort bend County? Are there areas that don’t require building permits?

We handle permitting for Fort Bend County, plus most city municipalities as required. The contractor has to be registered the city, which means they register and pay a fee per year. Plus they also have to have a copy of business insurance in their name and they’ll place it in their municipal system. It’s just the hassle of having to deal with one, getting your permit from the get go and then to waiting on inspectors. You may have a project ready to be closed in and with a forecast of rain coming. But you’re not able to close the area in due to waiting on an inspector. Sometimes we’ve nailed the roof on, following the inspector’s visit right before a storm!

What’s the average cost range of appliances?

Usually on a basic shell customers always supply their own gas grills and their liner. We align the gas grill so that nothing can catch on fire. The customers usually like to pick out their own gas grill, like the sinks, and we can give them options. Refrigerators, wine coolers, kegerators, they can truly pick out whatever they envision for their outdoor living environment. Usually that’s all up front. The customer says, I’m going to buy this and that and y’all supply everything else. When they ask us to, we’ll give them some options. And then everything depends on what they pick, they can pick up a hundred dollar gas grill or $1,000 gas grill, and then either way it costs the same amount to install it. We build around it. So a basic shell, could be just the cover. A basic cover with minimum size would start probably about 10,000. We’re building one now that’s around 37,000 half covered, half open. It’s got about a big, 10 foot bar, featuring fully loaded TVs. It is tied to a vaulted ceiling with candlelights in it beams, cedar beams running across the columns including stonework halfway up. A setup with a super high end kitchen would cost $20,000 total. That would be with an included amount for appliance calls. We’ve done some outdoor living spaces with a pizza oven. Every customer usually has their own idea and we simply take their vision and go with all the way with it!

How many outdoor living projects would you estimate you’ve been a part of?

We usually do an average of a eight year and we’ve been doing it for for 15 years plus. That means Hathorn Repair has completed in the neighborhood of 150 or so. Wow.Yeah, I would guess right around there. Some of them are compromised minimally of a patio cover with their own freestanding gas grill and a covered sitting area. Of course many are much more grand is scale & scope!

Outdoor Living Style Consultations

We hang swings, from the wall to put beams in the framing so they can hang their own decorative swings. We can give them suggestions during a consult. Most customer come to us with a readymade idea or maybe pictures or something they’ve seen online or in a magazine for their design. We love visited with anyone interested!

How does the payment process work for a $20,000 project?

Well, some of the smaller products or the, you know, the smaller jobs we do, some of them go small and a repeat customer. Sometimes they don’t even ask anything to the end. If it’s a bigger project you know, we try to use the customer’s money to purchase what we need them purchase. But most of them is either three payments, four payments or two payments. Okay. And we just kind of write up a totally separate sheet with that. And every time the customer pay, we update it and give them a copy. That way everybody knows where they’re at. Most of the time our projects, everything is in the original estimate. Some of your contractors, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll leave out several items to sell to sell it and then see why I wanted to know and then start at the net.And by the time, you know, to get to the end of the project, they’re over what they had budgeted you know, they thought that they were going to be, so we try to put everything in the basket at one time, put a price on it and present it that way to too big of a project, you know, see where we can safely cut corners. And sometimes you just can’t. And you know, it has to be, has to be built correctly. Something you’re going to be able to stand behind for years and years.But we, we do take credit card payment. We do also have a couple financing places where we can just send them a link off of our phone. They can fill it out on their phone and get it, you know, get a, get a little loan. Lower interest actually found a new place recently. So there’s still that option too.Okay. All right. That makes sense. So what do, what happens when, if a project exceeds the estimate from the contractor side?Well, you know, and I ran the whole time if, if, if you find something that’s done the scene you know, and usually that’s not on kitchens, that’s other, you know, demolition products projects or, or, or, or you know, other, other than being on storm jobs or such. You would come across something on scene, but if they want to add, you know, so they want to add some extra fluff that they thought they needed more. Now, you know what we do is make a another sheet totally separate that has an extras on it. So when they add it before they say, yes, go ahead and do it. They know what that cost is. And then we have a separate sheet with the extras on it and maybe they want a couple of extra lights or they want to add some decorative and some extra beans in there. I mean, I mean they, you know, there’s all kind of extras you can add. Maybe they want to add gutters at the end. So that’s all, nothing, nothing’s done till it’s approved. And most of the time we actually get them to initial, you know, the sheet and say, yes, go ahead and add that or no, we’ll just do it later, you know? Cause a lot of stuff can be done later.A lot of times we’ll build a shell, we’ll build a shell and stuff up, everything for gas and electric and water, and then the customer will order in their own prefab you know, unit like you can get from home Depot and Lowe’s and they’ll just set it right on there and then we’ll come back and plumb everything in. We’ve done them every different kind of way.

What would you say makes Hathorn Repair distinct from other builders?

Well, we’re pretty much all in house. You know, everybody’s been, all of my crew’s been together for 10 to 15 years. We work, we work. You know, our, our plumber is, is, is who we use. If he’s busy, we wait for him. If the electrician is tied up you know, we let them know we need them. Everybody knows ahead of time when the projects are startling and, and, and ahead of time of when we’re gonna need them. So it flows pretty well, but we don’t just call anybody off the street and have them come in. It’s just not, not comfortable. Most of them, most of the guys have each other’s number in their phone and if the electrician needs to move something out of the plumber’s way, he can call them directly and get ’em over there. You know, maybe that afternoon, maybe first thing the next morning, something, you know, to keep the ball rolling. That way, you know, somebody is not blaming somebody else for this and blaming somebody for that. It’s just a lot easier when everybody is working together and they’re friends as well!

What is Hathorn Repair’s service area range?

Most of our jobs are probably 20 to 30 minutes, you know, outset 20, 30 miles as well. Away. We focus mostly on Fort bend County on we do a lot in Katy. We do a lot in, in Simonton ward. Victoria actually is about the limit. We’ll go North. Houston is about the limit. We’ll go. We’ve done a bunch of medical ward on the coast, Freeport. So we like to stay 20, 30 minutes away, but you know, 45 minutes or so, or an hour is probably be about maxed out. Usually when I get called and ask the customer to see if they can find anybody a little bit closer, if they have any questions on their bid after they get into call me. You know, I just let them know that they can find somebody closer. We appreciate your call.But, and if they have any, any questions or they feel like something’s not being done right, feel free to call me back and I’ll help you, you know, through it and give you my opinion of it, of how they’re doing it for you and, or, you know, how they’re presenting themselves to you, you I, you know, I just, I don’t like telling them, I don’t know to, to go the other direction. I, you know, once I do call and, and give us the opportunity and they have problems in the row, if they did go with somebody else, call him, you know, we’ll try to answer any question we can. If they have new words. So they, I’ve had a lot of callbacks and wonder about the pricing from the get go and then they may be in the middle of it and, you know, say to the guy that’s doing it this way, but they don’t feel comfortable and they’ll explain it to me and I will say, well, yeah, you know, he’s right or no, you know, maybe you suggest yes, yes to him and see what he thinks, you know, and, and, and they appreciate that.

Does your company construct decks & seal them?

Yeah, we do a lot of, a lot of custom decks and shade arbors multilayer layered decks. You know, we don’t do square boxes. If we do a square box, we’ll make them kind of a pattern out of the deck boards. Some kind of pattern where we don’t have a bunch of wasted material. So, you know, we can do, do them different ways and whatever part of the port we cut off, we’re able to use it somewhere else on the project. We do a lot of circles, different layers. The stairs, we always put a back to the stairs, a kick, so you don’t look through it. A lot of times we’ll use the leftover cut up material. We use it for a skirting and use that decorate the skirting and the design handrails.

Do many of the customs deck have patio covers?

You know, simple patio covers, shade arbors are good. We’re doing one now we’re putting a decorative irregular shade Arbor, but we’re putting it at candidate smoke a plastic roof on top. Just to help a little bit with the sun. Mostly rain you know, on a light little rain or something. It’s great on a heavy, it’d be crazy rain. Obviously you wouldn’t even be outside, but but yeah, no, those are nice too. A lot of them. Just another little sitting area. Some of them we do them away from the outdoor living area. That way if somebody can go over there, sit and talk in a private area or just get away from everybody. Yes, yes. We do a lot of a lot of staining.We’ve done Painting designs on, on concreteHe knows usually we do it to it new and existing. If we’re pouring it and if we’re pouring it, then we like, like kind of know what we’re going to do at the Indian. If it’s something, you know, that’s already there, then you know, we haven’t to add cleaning it with acid and then you know, whichever occasions, you know, they paySame thing with the garage floors, do a lot of garage floor coating which most of those, you know, are, you know, [inaudible] been there forever and go in there and clean it and and then prime it and then usually put a two part epoxy have multiple colors to choose and then they eat. A lot of them have apps. Yep. Yep. He sprinkled some shifts in their different colored chips. And then we put a clear sealer on top and then the customer can’t park in there for a couple of days. You know, and everything’s done off of manufacturer instructions. That way we don’t ever have any problems. If we need to go back after the manufacturer other products that way if you do it in the way you’re supposed to then, then we’re good.

What’s your experience with resale of with added outdoor environments?

Yes. Yes. Because a lot of times that’s really the enjoyment of, of, of the customer. You know, they get home from work and you know, they may change clothes, change shoes and, and you know, grab a beverage or you know, a glass of wine or whatever they choose in a book or, or the TV remote and, you know, go outside and, and, and get some fresh air. You know, and in a lot of them, you know, they, they myself as well, a lot of times I’ll come home and, and like lad and I went go today because outside made the mess outside, cleaned it up, went inside and the kitchen was cleanly.And, and so, you know, it’s a lot easier, but you got to have company coming over. It’s just a different setting. You know, as far as that just you know, we, we use ours also to cook beaches outside for the kids when they get out of the pool. Instead of ordering pizza, we just, you know, throw a couple in the oven and let them cook and say a bunch of money.

Tell us about your own outdoor living environment?

About mine? Yeah. Simple. we just have a, you know, a TV and a couch. Three cats sitting there. Yeah. actually have satellite TV that runs, runs out there. We watched the super bowl last weekend. I had had friends over having regular frigerators that keeps, you know, good strengths and waters and that in it and have a regular oven with the, you know, regular gas, gas top, yes. Oven. I have a oversize scene so we can watch, you know, big pots and pans or fish fryers, you know, that we may use or product box have a countertop that has a room. We have company that come over and they have their stuff in a crockpot. All they gotta do is set it on the counter, plug it in, and whatever they brought is ready to go. It’s easy for the, for the company that comes have a little bitty eight gallon hot water heater that goes underneath the the countertop. That way it doesn’t, you know, don’t have to replumb anything from the house for that saves money. Eight gallons is plenty to wash any dishes or hands or anything. You may have. Mine’s madness is simple. Then the floor is just the stained concrete. It’s got a straight cover. It’s not tied into that. Mine’s on the back side of the swimming pool. So it’s kind of separate from the house. Try to keep it as easy as possible.

How long did your construction processes take?

We built ours and we throw them out in about a week.One last question. Are there particular brands of appliances or televisions or other outdoor elements that you really have had good experience with?Yes, there is a, there’s several of them. I can’t think of all the names right now. We have a book that we like, we can give the customer some referrals on them. Some of them actually have a lifetime warranty. A lot of them, the customers will read your reviews if they’re buying it and so, and get you know what they want. Most of the time. Again, you know, the customers will supply you know, what they want. There’s just so many options. Some of them have rotisseries you know, most, most of all of our kitchens, outdoor or gas very few of them are all electric. You know, except for you know, your outlets. But cooking, cooking wise it’s usually gas. Okay. Whether it’s propane and or natural gas and a lot of you get your your, your built in gas grills.The hose they come with is actually ready to go on a propane bottle. So some of them if it’s, if it’s the best thing to do is we set a profane bottle underneath the cabinet that’s supporting the grill and plug it in and it’s easy for the customer to whenever they run out of gas they just run down to, to the, to the store down there and swap out their tank and put the new one in and go some, some of them on your newer homes. The back patio actually already had tickets ready to tie in gas and water. So we’ll, we’ll, there’ll be the sticking out of the wall with a cap on them. We undo the cap, put our valve on there and Fleming to wherever it needs to be, plus 90, 99% of your new homes and your subdivisions will have that. They’re already okay. Which is great. Right? We’re tying in one next week where everything is right there and we’ll just tie into it and and, and go, go whichever direction we need to.

Anything else about outdoor living that we should know?

One of the easiest things is a lot of your, pretty much all of your satellite and, or you know, in ground cable boxes are wireless, so that’s one less cable we have to worry about. Most of them will have some kind of a hopper or a, a, a wireless system where they just add another box. Usually it’s like another $10 a month to their existing program. So they can add another TV outside in their outdoor living. And it only cost them another $10 or so. A, a, a month.There you go.And a lot and a lot of ’em will actually come and install it and everything for free, you know, just by you adding it to your plan.So that’s another good service. You know, we’ve done we did one last week with direct TV and they came out with the customer called them. They came out the next day, put it on for free and they, they paid, they programmed their remote, the third TV and he got him set up and you know, we didn’t have to do anything. So all we had to deal with, we put a plug out there for him and hung there. Their TV, you know, most people like to pick their own TV, they like, and then, and then we didn’t have to charge for a cable line or anything like that.

What about scheduling these home improvements?

We usually balance, even in the busy time, we’re two to three weeks is a comfortable schedule. Sometimes we sell a job and can do it the next, you know. But usually those are little one day job. Some of your bigger projects, you know, flood jobs or full remodels, those may take two to three months to completely. And then in the, in the meantime we’re doing and working on other projects. Once we start one, we’ll stay on it until we’re done. We, we may have to pull out a day because we’re waiting on somebody to do, to do something. And then, you know, when they’re completely, we can go back and cover up whatever they did or, you know, finish putting everything together.But, you know, holiday season always slows down as far as our interior painting because they have company in the house or you know, re-roofing or guttering or siding exteriors. Somebody, some that slowed down around Christmas cause they have Christmas lights on the house. So it’s just different times of the year. Usually Springs out fix it up busy because everybody comes outside, they get their big tax refund check and then they start looking at stuff that needed to be done. And then, so they start you know, repairing and, or you know, they’re ready to start, start staying outside now that the temperatures just feel better. So they wanted one to build outdoor living, you know, or some decks or burglars or shade arbors you know