Joe and Mary Geraghty’s home is the place to be, but their small, square patio didn’t live up to their requirements for entertaining.
Born and raised two blocks from each other in Dayton, Joe and Mary have a combined 13 siblings between the two of them as well as active children, one in college at Notre Dame and two still in high school at Chaminade Julienne. With all the graduation parties, school sports parties and Derby Days, they needed to maximize their space.
“We’re the only remaining family members [in Dayton] so this is the gathering spot,” says Joe.
The Geraghtys contacted Erich Eggers, president of Remodeling Designs, Inc. The couple already knew Eggers because he had remodeled their kitchen, bathrooms and utility room.
“You have a concept … and then you bring in Erich and his team. They bring really good ideas to the table,” says Joe. “We wanted to maximize the current landscape. Erich and I talked about contouring the patio where we could eliminate the squareness and maximize the space.”
Although Eggers and the Geraghtys have known each other for at least 10 years, Eggers still worked with them to figure out what they really wanted and needed.
“We ask a lot of questions about how they want to use the space. When I talked to Mary and Joe, it was primarily an entertaining space. I knew it was going to be for large groups of people,” says Eggers.
In particular, the couple always wanted a fire pit and the ability to cook outdoors. The idea expanded to include counter space, storage, a refrigerator for beverages, a grill, a cooktop stove and a bar space.
“To entertain, you have to have people sitting around the bar,” adds Eggers. “That’s the bottom line: to have a good time.”
Eggers designed the space and designer Beth Spegal helped with all the finishes—the granite, color scheme and stone—to have the new and improved outdoor entertainment area match the 1960s home.
“When you walk into the backyard, it looks like that patio was done with the original house,” says Eggers.
The patio’s redesign and renovation took around two months. It roughly tripled the size of the patio from the original 1,500 square feet. Since 2011, the Geraghtys and nearly 70 guests have been able to enjoy the soothing, curvy lines of the patio, a cold brew from the Kitchen Aid refrigerator during Sunday football, and fresh-cooked and grilled fare, all at the same time.
The Geraghtys, whose daughter is on the high school rowing team, recently had a pasta party before the boys’ and girls’ teams headed to nationals.
“We cooked the pasta out there. The boys were using the fire pit outside. ‘Pyro Joe’ had a fire. It was nice,” says Mary. “It gave us another room to put people.”
Although the outdoor area functions as an indoor kitchen, the rich brown and neutral hues, speckled granite, and cultured stone from local company Snyder Brick & Block complement the Geraghty’s trees and landscaping. The benches around the fire pit create a natural barrier.
The stamped concrete stonework, from W. T. Sowder Construction in Centerville, that comprises the patio floor looks real but is easier to maintain than separate stones. Joe and Mary just hose it down along with the cast aluminum tables and chairs, which they picked out themselves. The stamped concrete also provides a run off away from the house when it rains, and it’s less bumpy and safer for elderly relatives and friends.
“I was a little leery at first,” says Mary. “I was afraid of the look, but the practicality of it is awesome.”
Joe and Mary also use the stainless steel, two-burner cooktop and huge grill on a regular basis and not just during parties. On Saturdays and Sundays, Joe reads the paper while drinking coffee out on the patio.
“Sometimes he goes out there and fries bacon. You know how sometimes it stinks up your house?” laughs Mary.
“We tried to maximize cooking outside,” adds Joe. “If we’re eating out there, it comes off hot and ready to go.”