Outdoor Gatherings Have Never Been Better
by Cassidy Mantor
Outdoor gatherings have never been more popular than in recent years. Combined with the natural inclination of people in Central Oregon to want to be outside, it’s no surprise that outdoor living spaces are a huge component of homeownership in and around Bend. With tight city and community restrictions, outdoor living areas sometimes are easier options to bring to life than renovations or other square footage add-ons that take more time and require multiple regulatory approvals.
A good outdoor living area in Central Oregon can be used all year. It should be warm, dry, well-lit, private, and spacious enough to have fun with guests. We’ve scoured our town and are excited to bring you these local businesses that will help you build your dream outdoor living space:
-Grills, kegerators, and outdoor beverage options from Johnson Brothers Appliances
-Decks, gazebos, pergolas, and garden beds from Parr Lumber
-Firepits, architectural landscapes, and custom metalwork from Simply Fabricated
Taking the Party Outside
Johnson Brothers Appliances
Replacing a broken dishwasher is more of a distress purchase. You don’t want to live without it, but it’s not a particularly enjoyable purchase compared to building your dream outdoor kitchen.”
A pizza party is one of Dave Johnson’s favorite memories of cooking outside. Everyone made their own personal pizzas and they baked them in the pizza oven. It was close to Thanksgiving and kids ran around playing while the adults socialized under heaters.
“There’s more excitement for a lot of people when they’re purchasing grills,” says Dave Johnson, third-generation owner of Johnson Brothers Appliances in Bend, Oregon. “Replacing a broken dishwasher is more of a distress purchase. You don’t want to live without it, but it’s not a particularly enjoyable purchase compared to building your dream outdoor kitchen.”
Having an outdoor living space at home is something people enjoy, and Central Oregon lends itself to socializing outside. This sentiment has been heightened in recent years where people are more comfortable spending time outside. As a local, family-owned business operating for over 70 years, Johnson Brothers understands the culture and has the product assortment and knowledge to help create spaces that allow for the most fulfilling Bend experiences. Dave is a 20-year United States Air Force veteran and sees his work in the family business as the natural evolution of his career serving others.
“It’s enjoyable helping people realize their dreams of building an outdoor space,” he says. “We discuss outdoor pizza ovens and built-in kegerators with our customers. Heaters too – even though they’re not cooking appliances, they go a long way with making outdoor spaces pleasant in the shoulder seasons and more enjoyable throughout the year.”
Dining alfresco might inspire images of sitting in a street cafe in Europe or of a past trip to the tropics, but Johnson Brothers is extremely skilled at helping shape clients’ visions into functional and fun outdoor spaces. The business’ core values embrace positivity, respect, integrity, diligence, and excellence. They strive to cultivate long-term customer relationships, professional growth, and teamwork by prioritizing these core values in everything they do.
Starting with gas, charcoal, or electric, Johnson Brothers will educate clients as they help them visualize their dream outdoor cooking space. Dave points out that every customer is different, so the company looks to find the best solution for each situation, which could mean a different product for everyone. “If space is limited, we’ll look at versatile grill units that have some flexibility such as also having a sear station, additional burners, a slow cooker, or a smoking option with a wood chip insert.”
Conversely, when a customer has more space, Johnson Brothers will help lay out a solution that might include a Kamado egg or pellet and gas grills. Dave points out that with that setup, a person could slow cook a protein on one unit while firing burgers and dogs on the gas grill. “Some people add ventilation,” Dave says, explaining that there are outdoor-rated hoods that go over the grills to help divert smoke so that it doesn’t impede the experience. The consistent theme is the team showcases options and offers expertise on how to manage the space for maximum enjoyment.
While the cooking part is central to any kitchen, beverage serving is another consideration. Dave offers, “A dual tap kegerator is a great way to keep a few of your favorite drinks, as are outdoor refrigerators where you can keep cold beers and outdoor wine storage.” He mentions the sleek Plum wine dispenser that decants wine and keeps two bottles fresh for up to 120 days. The pressurized system makes each glass taste like a brand-new pour. It’s a great addition that lets people self-serve, alleviating a bit of pressure on the host or hostess during a party.
Ice basins and sinks are optional stations Johnson Brothers likes to add to make outdoor kitchens even more functional. Hors d’oeuvres can be chilled in a convenient and presentable manner. When the party’s over, a stainless lid covers them up to keep pine needles and bugs out.
Power burners– with large 60,000-70,000 BTU outputs – are another feature Johnson Brothers frequently adds in its dream outdoor spaces. They work well for a variety of cuisines including cooking with big woks and teppanyaki as well as crab boils. They’re versatile and are great for cooking bacon and pancakes on the griddle in the morning. They can also be used for canning.
“The burner gets the odor out of the house and also generates a tremendous amount of heat,” Dave explains. “Due to federal regulations on manufacturers, electric ranges and even some basic coil top ranges have sensors that make them shut off after a certain time or temperature so they no longer function well for canning.”
In addition to using pizza ovens for their eponymous use, Dave has also used his pizza oven to bake certain desserts. “Depending on the season, I’ve baked a pie in the pizza oven,” he says. “The pie took about an hour to cook, so I slow-cooked it while we ate dinner. It was ready to go when we were done with our main course.” Johnson Brothers carries several gas pizza ovens that are much quicker to operate compared to the traditional process of building a fire and waiting three hours for the coals to develop. Dave explains they can be preheated and operate in a similar manner as an indoor bake oven.
A great outdoor living area is built with a full social experience in mind. That includes not just food, but also beverage stations and amenities that increase the convenience and enjoyment of the space. Johnson Brothers helps put together that experience with appliances that function from the first moments of a gathering through dessert, whether that is a barista-quality coffee, a glass of wine, or a freshly baked pie from the pizza oven.
Johnson shares another favorite grilling memory relating to a particular tri-tip steak that he and a group of friends slow-cooked one afternoon. Dave says it was brined and that it marinated for 24 hours prior to putting it on the grill. “We used mesquite wood in the smoking process,” he recalls. “The marinades pick up that flavor and it smelled so good. It was great weather and we all hung out while it cooked.” When they sat down to dinner the taste was amazing. He laughs, “It makes me want to go fire up the grill.”
Your Outdoor Materials
Parr is family-owned. We opened in 1930 and have been in business for over 90 years. We take care of our people and, being in an industry steeped in tradition, Parr is known for its adaptability and innovation.”
–Tony Cookston, Manager, Parr Lumber, Newberg
Lumber may not be the first thing that comes to mind when envisioning a dream outdoor living space, but the choice of materials and expertise that comes from working with Parr Lumber is an avenue to such luxury. As Tony Cookston, manager of Parr Lumber Newberg, OR, one of Parr’s 24 hardware and lumber facilities throughout Oregon and Washington, explains, “Luxury in outdoor living to me means using the best looking, best performing materials with the lowest maintenance that you can get.”
Parr Lumber offers a full range of materials from entry-level to high-end. Tony adds, “The difference with many of our products comes down to personal preference. For example, our composite decking comes in various price points and they all include at least a 25-year fade and stain warranty. These composite lines all excel at performance but there is a price difference between selections. The luxury is exercising one’s choice from a variety of options to achieve a particular aesthetic.”
The same abundance of choice exists with Parr Lumber’s wood decking, railing, lighting, and accessories. When considering the experience for a space, there are many options including installing lighting on the surface of a deck, on handrail posts, or on stairs so that each stair is individually illuminated. With an average tenure of five years, the Parr Lumber staff is well versed in outdoor living space planning. They can help answer questions about material options and decking components. If a client brings in a photo of a gazebo, pergola, or porch cover, Parr can break down the project into a list of supplies needed and then provide the materials to build it.
Parr Lumber can also help with additional outdoor living applications including hardscapes and gardening. Unless there’s already a dedicated garden area that’s been tilled, having a garden requires a raised bed and fencing. Parr Lumber offers materials for DIY planter boxes as well as pre-assembled kits that require no tools. They also offer paver options for patios, walkways, sitting walls, and firepits.
“Parr is family-owned,” Tony says. “We opened in 1930 and have been in business for over 90 years. We take care of our people and, being in an industry steeped in tradition, Parr is known for its adaptability and innovation.”
The company’s origins trace back to when Dwight Parr, Sr., an accountant by trade, lost his job during the stock market crash. Parr found a small lumberyard in Vancouver, Washington, and believed that with enough personal effort and dedication he could make it succeed. Along with that passion for hard work and commitment to customer service, he tapped into his savings and brought Parr Lumber to life.
An example of how this legacy has evolved is the Weekend Warriors Home Improvement Show, a radio show and podcast that Tony co-hosts to empower people with the confidence to take on home improvement projects. “No other building supply store has a show like this. When it’s relevant, we feature products that Parr Lumber sells, but we’ve had episodes where we discuss how to replace a furnace filter – a must for any home with a furnace and maintenance that should be done every three months – we don’t sell those, but it’s a critical bit of maintenance that keeps your home in top condition.”
Tony has been one of Parr’s Weekend Warriors for 10 years, and has been with Parr since he took a part-time job after school when he was 16 years old. Over his 32-year-long career with Parr, he has developed the point of view that homes are significant investments and that it’s a good idea to learn what needs to be done to protect that value as well as what can be done to potentially increase it.
“Our design center makes it easier to make potentially difficult decisions.”
–Tony Cookston, Manager, Parr Lumber, Newberg
Spending time outside is part of life in Central Oregon and in recent years it’s not surprising that there’s been an increased demand for building outdoor living spaces. Adding square footage to a home may not always be an option depending on covenants and other restrictions, but there is potential in converting the outside into a more functional living space. Working with Parr is convenient and enjoyable. In addition to being able to source all the materials to build an outdoor space from one location, their large network also means easy and quick delivery.
Parr’s Bend location has an in-house design center that provides an added layer of confidence before beginning any home improvement project. Their showroom displays a collection of cabinets, countertops, windows, doors, and hardware for material selections. The design center produces multiple renderings from different angles, costs out the project based on the materials needed, and helps bring the vision to life. “Our design center makes it easier to make potentially difficult decisions,” Tony explains. Parr Lumber’s goal is to bring the same quality of product and level of service directly to homeowners as it brings to its partners in the trade. Whether working with a professional or a homeowner, Parr is a hometown store that gives 100% to every customer on every project.
Around the Fire
Simply Fabricated’s Custom Metal Art
“Our execution of each project is as much an art form as the creative component of designing the piece.”
–Cody Hawes, Simply Fabricated
Cody Hawes does not profess to be a party guy. Instead, he loves celebrating more understated personal connections with friends and family. A welder and the owner of Bend’s Simply Fabricated, he points out that a firepit helps build those moments to savor. Moments like gathering around for the first snow of the year, whisky and cigar in hand, warming up to new people, and celebrating the abundance of friendship and one’s community.
While welding is generally thought of as functional, Simply Fabricated elevates it to an art form. After attending the Art Institute in Portland, Cody founded the company in 2016. It has become known among homeowners and trade professionals alike for its craftsmanship of custom metalwork including fireplaces, architectural landscaping, lighting, awnings, pergolas, privacy walls, structural steel, stair stringers, fireplace cladding, and railings for all. Each project melds their artistic perspective with the functionality required of outdoor living for exquisite statement pieces.
Cody’s creative eye gravitates toward geometric compositions. He loves the challenge of connecting various shapes and mediums into a cohesive piece. He leads Simply Fabricated to explore the art of the possible in every step along the way, from a client’s initial idea through completion. The company takes its time to make sure each piece is perfect and the results are beautiful. “From a distance, our work might look like any other fabricator’s work, but there’s a subtlety that is revealed when you look at the details,” Cody says. “Our execution of each project is as much an art form as the creative component of designing the piece.”
SimFab’s slogan is, “Your Dream, My Design, Our Creation” and it’s why clients reach out to Cody – to explore what’s possible. His voicemail recording affirms this openness to ideas. His message asks clients to leave their info and to share a little more about what they envision for their project so that he can start generating ideas too. Cody’s creativity is fueled by the belief that ideas are possible until they aren’t. His portfolio justifies this optimism.
Simply Fabricated works on a full range of pieces and enjoys partnering with landscapers to do complete backyard remodels. One backyard that they worked on began with a custom lamp for a modern home in downtown Bend. It had a stainless-steel double-arched topper bolted to a powder-coated base with contrasting pendulum lights. Cody introduced artistic curvatures and tapers that combined elements of the home’s style. Landscapers did an entire overhaul of the backyard and Simply Fabricated added in a firepit, more lamps in a dramatically circuitous framework, an awning that arched off a wall and housed patio dining lights and infrared heaters, a railing on a new deck, and a privacy wall with decorative lattice that would eventually become a living wall. They capped off the new backyard with two barndoor-style sliding entry gates that had a complementary style with the rest of the metalwork.
“A lot went into that backyard,” Cody recalls. “It was exciting to have the combination of creative freedom from the landscapers and the willingness on the part of the homeowner to be different and want to stand out from a traditional wood pergola, wood gates, or a boring brick firepit.”
Cody recalls another instance when collaboration between creative teams led to a great finished product – an underground wine cellar with a custom wine rack that filled an entire wall that concealed within it a hidden door. “I’d worked with the designer on another occasion, and she mentioned a client who wanted to create a wine storage space,” he says. “Originally, the wine rack was going to have a collapsed mine look and was going to just be built on both sides of the existing doorway. After thinking about it, I suggested we make a secret door within the rack itself.” And so they did.
Fireplaces are one of Cody’s favorite elements to work on because they’re a natural symbol of community and friendship. “They’re the place you come and talk,” he says. “It’s inspiring to design that hub where people gather, especially in our climate. If you don’t have a fireplace here – especially during the winter nights – you’re not enjoying the outdoors much.”
“It’s inspiring to design that hub where people gather, especially in our climate. If you don’t have a fireplace here – especially during the winter nights – you’re not enjoying the outdoors much.”
–Cody Hawes, Simply Fabricated
Cody recounts one fireplace that Simply Fabricated completed last year was a 10-foot-long gas fireplace, Made from Corten weathering steel with a glass wind block and an automatic starter. Another fireplace had a tapered geometry and a slightly larger trim that allowed the homeowners to set their drinks on a ledge. While Simply Fabricated receives many requests for fireplaces with natural patinas, this one was powder coated to match what they had done for the home’s rails. “It was clean and the scale was so magnified that it almost didn’t look like it should function – it was more like a piece of art,” Cody says.
Cody’s work ethic stems from his formative years when he grew up on a farm and developed an understanding of the value of hard work. He began welding and found a natural transition in his professional career to manufacturing and fabrication. Cody always knew he had a creative instinct, but qualifies that it wasn’t in the form of a traditional pen-and-paper style of art. When he started Simply Fabricated, he rediscovered his artistic side through the medium of steel and building. “Getting to take a pile of steel and transform it into something unique is extremely rewarding,” he says. “I learn and strive to do better each day. One of the most exciting parts of my job is when a client has something in mind that I’ve never done, and I’m challenged to figure out how to do it. Learning and doing a good job are powerful driving factors.”