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New York fire pit

It’s easy to see Matt Tynan is a guy who knows what he wants — and he isn’t afraid to ask for it. We’d worked with him before as a Christmas décor client, but we got to see his wheels turning big time when we started talking about designing the backyard of his newly constructed home.

We spent the spring and summer of 2011 bringing his ideas to life – from the stonework to a fire pit he first spotted at a favorite vacation spot in Vermont – and everyone involved was thrilled with the results. Here’s a look at what we did.

Matt is a “work hard, play hard” kind of guy — and when he’s not on the job, he loves to entertain. So being able to invite guests over to enjoy the outdoors was priority No. 1.

In addition to a sprawling patio that would accommodate plenty of people, he made a major investment in an outdoor kitchen stocked with Viking appliances including a grill with a rotisserie, smoker, refrigerator and ice maker. There’s also a full bar.

Stonework was a huge part of this project, including a gorgeous polished bluestone countertop that wraps around the entire kitchen and cantilevers out on the other side to accommodate barstools.

viking kitchen appliances

And because he didn’t want to be limited to the few reliably warm months we see every year, we went the extra mile and hired an electrician to hook up radiant-heating coils under the stonework of the patio. So now, any time the temperature falls below 45 ° F and the system senses moisture – snow, ice or even rain – the coils activate to warm the stones and keep the ground walkable and ice free. (Others have done this for their driveways and front walks!)

Moving away from the kitchen, the first thing that’ll catch Matt’s guests’ eyes are the distinctive tables in the middle of the patio. He had them custom made from wood originally found on the Coney Island boardwalk after seeing something similar in a shop in Manhattan. (Did we mention this is a guy who knows what he wants?)

Entertaining really takes center stage here, and there will be plenty of room for chairs and a big crowd.

There are plenty of other features that make up the total picture, from the custom blend of native fieldstone and granite we created to match the stone on the house to the copper night lighting we added around the path to the front yard to complement the copper guttering and other accents around the exterior.

Matt had a hand in the project every step of the way; it was actually great having him as a constant collaborator.

custom wood tables

The other really special addition to this design came from Neave Group. Matt was looking for interesting light fixtures, and we knew just the thing: We helped the FDR Presidential Library redo their lighting a few years back, and we hung on to the lamps that were discarded after being replaced. The 60- to 70-year-old fixtures were a perfect fit for Matt’s individualistic design, and he was delighted when we showed them to him. The big picture is quintessential New York!

Opportunities for more work abound on this beautiful new home, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds with this project. We love a man who knows what he wants.

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