When you purchase or build a new home, you add special touches to make it your own. When Pierre and Christi Simoneaux bought their new home six years ago in Covington, La., they had renovation plans which included adding hardscapes, gardens, and the piece de resistance, an outdoor entertainment area.
“To keep everything within a budget, the initial plan was to ‘phase out’ the project over years – the patio, then the bar, then a built-in grill,” said Christi Simoneaux. “But Belgard’s Preferred Payment Plan let us spread the payments out over several months with no interest, which allowed us to complete the project all at one time.”
Using Belgard’s website, the Simoneauxs were able to see various options and make initial decisions that fit their style. They loved the look of the Belgard Elements Collection, as well as a variety of pavers. Loaded with an arsenal of ideas, and having located a local Belgard Authorized Dealer from the “dealer locator” on the website, the next step was to design the space.
The couple submitted some photos of their backyard, along with some rough sketches of ideas. Using Belgard’s Design Studio, Mike Miles, designer with the Belgard Elements Collection and Harmony Outdoor Living, was able to provide a 3-D rendering of their plans.
“I honestly couldn’t believe how realistic the drawings looked, down to the color of my shutters and the shape of my pool,” said Simoneaux. “We were able to see exactly how the pavers and Elements would look, and even made a number of changes to the design that we wouldn’t have realized were needed if we hadn’t had these renderings. Some of what we pictured in our heads would not have worked well in real life. Thanks to the 3-D drawings, we saved ourselves a lot of potential heartache.”
Once the design was finalized, Jim Stone Co., the local Belgard dealer, recommended two Authorized Belgard Installers to bid on the job. Their chosen contractor, Rod Trahan with La Pavers, then brought samples to their home to finalize the product selection. “Seeing the product in the environment helped us make final choices,” said Simoneaux. “They took some measurements to plan access and confirm placement of everything, and we were on our way to our new backyard.”
With the finances finalized and the products chosen, the installation is set to begin. The use of Belgard’s Elements reduces the project time-line immensely. It would typically take weeks for a similar installation built from the ground up. By using the Elements Collection, the time-line for the Simoneaux family is reduced to three days. “Belgard Elements are built in modules in the factory and shipped on a pallet, already constructed,” said Trahan. “The first day will be prep work, the second day is installation, and the final day is finishing details.”
Follow the Simoneaux installation on this blog.
A gentle bay breeze beckoned guests to the 2011 Red Cross Show House Preview Party held January 19th in West Palm Beach, FL. The evening was spectacular, as was the view from the pool looking across the water toward Palm Beach. The home’s beautifully landscaped exterior featured Belgard® pavers in a variety of applications.
Today’s creative home designers don’t simply limit their vision to the interior of a home. They’ve turned their talents to creating “outdoor rooms,” backyard gathering places which can be as intimate and stylish as any indoor room, agreed Keith Williams of Mario Nievera Design, Inc., and Daryl McCann of Gregory Lombardi Design.
“You have to form spaces and develop movement through those spaces,” said McCann, who designed much of the rear patio area. McCann incorporated pathways to separate spaces and varying colors to delineate them.
Recently added to the house are the backyard walkway, garden wall and fire pit. Built with Mega Arbel® pavers Mega Arbel in a natural-looking “Amaretto” color, the walkway meanders from the pool area to the secluded fire pit at the water’s edge. Mega Arbel’s scale is similar to that of natural flagstone and installs easily, due to its unique interlocking design. Completing the look is a retaining wall, seat benches, pathway edging, and a large free-standing feature wall constructed with Belgard Highland Stone®.
The West Palm Beach home is open through Saturday, February 19th and tickets are available for purchase. Proceeds support the American Red Cross.
Merlot Pot Roast
from Sunset Magazine, Oct. 2000
The winter months call for comfort foods. Coming home to the smell of a cooked roast makes the mouth water, and this recipe is no exception. With the ease of a crock pot, this dinner finds itself ready when you walk in the door.
Complete the meal with a salad and smashed potatoes. If you don’t have time to smash the potatoes, cut them into chunks, cover with olive oil, salt and pepper (even red pepper for some kick), then set in the broiler until golden brown. Flip for a few more minutes and serve.
Although this recipe calls to brown the meat which adds to its texture, it is not necessary if time does not permit. Just put the raw meat on top of the vegetables. You can substitute mini carrots instead of chopping.
Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings
- 1 tied fat-trimmed boned beef chuck roast (3 to 3 1/2 lb.)
- Fresh-ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
- 3 carrots (about 1/4 lb. each), rinsed and peeled
- 1 onion (1/2 lb.), peeled and chopped
- 2/3 cup chopped celery
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 cup Merlot or other dry red wine
- 1/3 cup canned tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Horseradish smashed potatoes (below)
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley
- 1 to 2 cups watercress sprigs, rinsed and crisped (optional)
1. Rinse beef, pat dry, and sprinkle generously all over with fresh-ground pepper. Melt butter in a 10- to 12-inch nonstick frying pan over high heat. When hot, add beef and brown well on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes total.
2. Meanwhile, cut carrots into sticks about 3/8 inch thick and 2 inches long. In a 4 1/2-quart or larger electric slow-cooker, combine carrots, onion, celery, garlic, thyme, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Set beef on vegetables; add drippings. In a small bowl, mix wine and tomato paste; pour over meat and vegetables.
3. Cover and cook until beef is very tender when pierced, 8 to 9 hours on low, 5 to 6 hours on high. If possible, turn meat over halfway through cooking.
4. With 2 slotted spoons, transfer meat to a platter; keep warm. Skim and discard any fat from cooking liquid. Turn cooker to high. In a small bowl, blend cornstarch with 1 1/2 tablespoons hot water; pour into cooker and stir often until sauce is bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes.
5. With a slotted spoon, lift vegetables from cooker and arrange beside meat. Spoon horseradish smashed potatoes onto platter; sprinkle with parsley. Garnish platter with watercress. Spoon sauce over meat. Slice meat and serve with vegetables, potatoes, and sauce, adding salt to taste.
Horseradish Smashed Potatoes
Yield: Makes 6 to 7 cups (serving size: 6 to 8 servings)
- 3 to 3 1/2 pounds russet
- 2 1/2 quarts water
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups half-and-half or fat-skimmed chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 to 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1. Scrub and peel 3 to 3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes; cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks. Put them in a 4- to 5-quart pan with 2 1/2 quarts water. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat, cover, and simmer until potatoes mash easily when pressed, 20 to 25 minutes.
2. When potatoes are done, heat 1 to 1 1/2 cups half-and-half (light cream) or fat-skimmed chicken broth with 2 tablespoons butter or margarine in a microwave-safe container in a microwave oven at full power (100%) just until steaming (don’t boil), 1 to 3 minutes. Or warm in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart pan over medium heat.
3 .While cream heats, drain potatoes and mash in pan with a mixer or potato masher until almost smooth. Add cream, a portion at a time, and mix until potatoes have the consistency desired. Stir in salt, pepper, and 1 to 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish to taste. Mound beside Merlot pot roast or scrape into a bowl.