Utica Man Creates “Backyard Envy” on Bravo TV Show
Utica native James DeSantis was definitely ahead of the curve when he and two friends created the television series Backyard Envy for Bravo last year. They saw the increasing trend of people creating an oasis is their backyard and that was before COVID-19. Now with the pandemic causing social distancing, all eyes are focused on the outdoor space.
Season 2 of Backyard Envy just launched, airing Tuesday nights on Bravo. DeSantis, Melissa Brasier and Garrett Magee make up the team of designers that go into people's outdoor spaces and transform them into their new favorite part of the property.
The whole thing started when DeSantis, Magee and another friend started a company called Manscapers, which worked predominantly in New York City, reinventing city-dweller's outdoor spaces. The idea popped up to turn it all into a television series and the rest is history.
"Homeowners are putting like 60-percent more into their backyard and outdoor spaces," DeSantis told WIBX's Keeler Show on Tuesday. "Because they want to entertain, they want to post about it on Instagram, to have friends over and really live in their home," he said.
The network describes it this way: In each episode, they hatch a plan to do a full outdoor
renovation, from rooftop to backyards. They juggle tight deadlines, multiple clients, and each other as they transform barren spaces into jaw-dropping escapes. When Garrett creates a beach inspired rooftop meadow and Mel and James work on patios, they must adjust for some surprising hiccups that arise.
"We're all designers. Me and Mel actually went to design school together," said DeSantis. "I do deal with the money a lot," he added. The program comes together when homeowners submit their request and and upon selection, the team assesses the project and sets a budget that will work to transform the space. The Network throws in some perks and the Backyard Envy team volunteers their services...and the transformation is taped for a future airdate.
"We all design all the projects and work on everything together. It's very collaborative," said DeStantis.
Season 2 of Backyard Envy airs Tuesday nights at 10 ET/PT on Bravo.
Watch the interview here:
Here's some background bio info on James DeSantis:
James DeSantis grew up in upstate New York in Utica and Sylvan Beach . He knew that there was more to life beyond his small town, and with his larger than life ideas he embarked on a journey to New York City. James studied and attended design school to learn how to bring all his fabulous visions to fruition. Using his innate talents from his designer parents, James honed his blanket throwing and pillow chopping skills and learned to truly express himself. While attending the Fashion Institute of Technology, James met his future business partner Melissa, where they partnered together and learned everything about the design world, eventually concluding that there was more to it than simply interiors. James hustled hard in New York and earned a job with internationally acclaimed retailer Ralph Lauren. While traveling the world he later returned to his home base to create Manscapers with his best friends Melissa and Garrett. James wears many hats, as an interior and home designer, registered yoga instructor and top rate schmoozer. He brings his eclectic upbringing, world travels and over the top personality into all aspects of the business.