So it was on the heels of this particularly harsh winter that I declared 2014 would be "The Year of the Patio." I promptly set up a Pinterest board, pinning all kinds of ideas I was sure I would never be able to execute. I called upon my brother-in-law to help me with my quest to find new patio furniture. After considerable research on his part (that's how he rolls), we set out for a day-long adventure that resulted in absolute success - at a 20% discount, no less. (That is also how he rolls.) I contacted the landscaper and told him to give me something with strong visual appeal and exceedingly low maintenance requirements on my part. (He delivered on both counts.) I spent several weeks in search of all of the perfect flower pots and lanterns and doo-dads to give the patio just the right amount of Jen flair. And today, on this very day, I think my patio has achieved near perfection by my standards. If we only get 14 weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day (a depressing thought if I think about it too much), I am going to enjoy every possible minute I can out there. Until a mosquito bites me. Then all bets are off.
I am a firm believer that every project in your home needs an inspiration piece. Maybe it's a vase or a framed print or a pillow. But something must center you and be the guide for your design. In the case of my patio, it is my grill that takes center stage. A grill, you ask? Why yes, a grill. For I have the most lovely, whimsical, fun, and yet utilitarian grill I have ever seen. I am not a material girl, and I don't get too excited about "stuff." But I am telling you, I love this grill like it is a person. I mean, really. It is a charcoal grill with a propane start. It has a built-in thermometer gauge. It has a special side container to hold the charcoal. It has all the bells and whistles!
In 2005, I moved into this lovely little house of mine and almost immediately started prepping for the party to end all parties - a co-ed wedding shower for my sister and her husband-to-be. Plans were well underway when my sister emailed me an advertisement for a lime green Weber grill, exclusively available at Crate and Barrel. Now mind you, I have an affinity for all things lime green and this grill was clearly something special. But as a new homeowner, I took one look at the price tag and could not justify it. I sent my sister a polite "thanks for the heads up" and assured her it just wasn't in the stars for me at the time.
|I love you, grill.|
That's why I love the spirit of my sister and brother-in-law more than words can really say. They took one look at this grill and decided I needed it. It didn't matter that it wasn't Christmas or my birthday. It didn't matter that it had a $400 price tag. What mattered was that it is okay to be ridiculously, over-the-top, crazy generous with the people you love every once in a while. What mattered was that it felt right to do something really, really nice for the sister who had experienced a rough couple of years and was just finding her way out of it. What mattered was that life is about celebrating, and this grill would be the center of celebrations - large and small - for years to come.
So here it is...my beautiful patio in all its glory, inspired by a grill. Cocktails and grilled meats, anyone?