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Consider These Trends In Your Outdoor Living Space Design

Put the land around your home to good use by designing an ideal outdoor living space just for you and your family. Know your end goal when starting your design process. The typical dining set and barbecue may not be the relaxing ultra comfort outdoor living you want. Cooking and eating outside may just seem like a lot of work and mess to you. Consider if some of these trends fit your end goal.

The Wet Bar

Nothing new here but as mentioned above, if you think an outdoor kitchen just means a lot of work and mess, consider a wet bar. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres on the patio are easy and a lot less messy. The word hors d’oeuvre means outside the work, which illustrates this idea perfectly. We have seen beautiful, shiny, and inviting outdoor kitchens in magazines and home shows. Just picture that same space after a dinner party.

A wet bar should include a sink, a refrigerator, and, of course, a bar. Include extra electrical receptors for blenders, ice makers, lighting, and your sound system.

Portable Ice Machine

No more lugging bags of ice. No more running out of ice. Portable ice machines can produce new ice every 10 minutes. No need for plumbing. Just fill the reservoir. Portable means you can move it to your other fabulous living spaces to use.

Cocktail Railing

If you need to incorporate railing into your outdoor living space how about cocktail railing? Just top your railing with material wide enough to be able to set down your drinks or plates. A valuable function for your outdoor parties.

Outdoor TV

Outdoor tvs are made to be outdoors. Models should be weather resistant and withstand extreme temperatures. It must be able to keep moisture and dust out of the interior. They also need to be brighter than indoor tv’s to ensure a vivid picture in outdoor lighting. Consult your outdoor tv dealer for specifics and considerations for installation.

Gas Tiki Torches

Include this feature in your lighting design. Tiki torches create a romantic island feeling. The height and flame adjustment ability keep the heat away from you, unlike a fire pit. A way to have a fire feature on a hot night.

Outdoor Pizza Oven

You sure want your pizza oven outside because these ovens can reach 700 degrees. Gas fueled pizza ovens can be portable. Wood fueled pizza ovens can be a nice fixture in your outdoor kitchen. Imagine having piping hot pizza baked to perfection in as little as five minutes. And you don’t heat up the kitchen.

The outdoor space you design with the right features for you can make you not want to come back indoors.

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Where To Begin Home Renovation

Whether you are renovating a home to sell or to live in longer, the best place to begin is by fixing anything broken or inefficient. This adds the most integrity and value to the home with the least amount of resources you have. Aesthetics can wait! The first thing you should do is call a licensed home inspector to evaluate water damage, leaks, the efficiency of your heating and air conditioning units, examine the roof, plumbing, and electrical and give you their expert opinion on upgrades that comparable homes are making. A local licensed home inspection costs 315.00 on average, small homes can cost 200.00 and large home upwards of 400.00.

Repairs and Replacements

Based on your home inspection you can evaluate which things to repair and which to replace. If you find any reason a system might be causing mold in the home, replace it! The health risks are not worth masking this problem. Whole home renovations are down since the mid-2000s when they peaked, and more homeowners are making repairs instead of replacements.

Bathroom Upgrades

Faulty ventilation and inefficient plumbing in bathrooms is the first room renovations to consider because this is where the most water and money are lost. If you don’t address the bathrooms and you are selling a home, the buyer’s inspector will likely make a point of it. Fun fact: bathroom remodeling projects were the most popular home upgrades in the year 2011.

Energy Efficiency

Homeowners are driven by efficiency and keeping monthly bills down far more than they ever were. A buyer is more likely to purchase a home if they see high Energy Star rated appliances in a kitchen, even if the countertops and cabinets are yucky. Many buyers will oversee an outdated kitchen’s aesthetics and welcome the opportunity to make it their own upon moving in. Immediate livability, however, is important to them and they want to see that the “guts” of the home are solid. The next likely important energy efficient piece of the home are windows and doors.

Easy Face Lifts

After you’ve addressed the home’s “guts”, you can reward yourself by giving the home inexpensive face lifts. Improving the landscaping and curb appeal of the front and/or back yard, painting the inside or outside of the home, replacing flooring, light fixtures and kitchen/bathroom hardware are all popular choices.

Hopefully after reading this, you feel better about how to tackle your home’s renovation if it’s a big project. You can start as small as you like, appreciating each accomplishment as you go. Renovating can be fun and easy, if taken in small chunks. As long as you plan well before starting a large renovation, take it in stride, and delegate funds to the proper professionals when you can’t do something yourself, you won’t regret investing in your home.


5 Easy Ways To Increase Your Curb Appeal

Whether you want to improve the look of the front or backyard of your home to improve your chances of selling for a good price to a owner you’ll like, or improve the aesthetic for your neighborhood, deter crime, and decrease the likelihood of burglary, the task doesn’t have to be overwhelming or costly. Here are 5 easy ways to increase the curb appeal of your home.

Paint your trim

Painting your trim can make your home look polished. Be sure to choose a quality paint and use primer to insure it’s a lasting job. White is a popular color, but you can work with the color scheme of your home to choose the right color to provide the pop you want. If you live in a homeowner’s association or want to comply with city ordinances, acquire the approval from them to paint your home.

Install a bright colored door

Another way to give your home more personality is to buy a new door. Red is often a door color that makes magazine covers, but you can choose another and still get the results you’re looking for. Not only are colors a choice to make, windows, door knockers, and handles are all other points of interest you can add to. You can also add peep holes and mail slots, decorative wreaths or door bells to add charm and security.

Upgrade your mailbox

Mailboxes run in the range of about 20.00 and can be the first thing a passerby sees. Before upgrading your mailbox, be sure to know the codes you need to follow to be in line with your city or state ordinance such as how it must be secured in the ground and how far from the street it must be.

Install visible house numbers

Having visible house numbers makes it easier for guests to find your home, and can also add more charm and personality. Choose a placement that is highly visible such as down a support beam of the porch, the side or middle of the garage, on the mailbox, or inlaid in the brick of the garage.

Install new exterior lights

You can install ground lights through out your yard, either horizontally through out the garden beds surrounding the home or on both sides of the walk up to the house. Other options include replacing porch lights with bright, charming fixtures of your choice or a censor activity light on your garage/backyard. Lighting will deter crime more than any other feature.

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8 Popular Countertop Materials

When choosing kitchen countertops it’s important to factor your bathroom countertops and the ability to match countertops throughout the home, your lifestyle and design aesthetic. What is your budget? Are you willing to do any of the work yourself? Do you care about sustainability when choosing your materials? How much maintenance are you willing to keep up? How important is hygiene to you in your kitchen? After you’ve answered these questions for yourself, you can view the following options and consider which ones fall in line.

Polished Granite/Marble

Granite is the most popular choice for a luxurious looking kitchen or bathroom countertop. Its popularity is due to price and its natural beauty. The stone comes in various beautiful colors and patterns, but can be tricky to match pieces together. Granite requires some care; sealing once per year and paying special attention to wiping up any spills before they stain. Other popular granite finished are honed granite which looks more matte than the traditional granite.


Quartz is about 20-40% more expensive than granite and for good reason. It requires the least amount of maintenance of all countertop materials because it is non-porous. The engineered quartz countertop is acid, scratch, stain, and heat resistant and obviously, being non-porous, does not need to be sealed like other materials do. A wide variety of colors and patterns are available. Soapstone is another non-porous material that has high resistance to stains and scratches as well.


Laminate is making a comeback because of its cost effectiveness and the cool patterns manufacturers are coming up with. Popular choices are wood grain and faux granite. Other laminate trends are bright colors and the 50s diner boomerang design. This option is extremely budget friendly but is not ideal for cutting on or placing hot pots and pans and can ruin quite easily if not careful.

Butcher Block Wood

Having countertops that look like cutting board can add to a cottage feeling home and is an ideal work space for a cook. When sealed properly the surface is an ideal one for cutting meat and is a very heat resistant material you can place hot pots and pans on all you want.

Stainless Steel

If homeowners don’t opt for the popular stainless steel appliances, they can go black appliances with stainless steel countertops. It doesn’t get any more modern and futuristic looking than that! It is the most hygienic countertop material on the market, comparable to the stainless steel used in medical atmospheres for its anti-bacterial properties.


Recycled counters can be made of various materials such as resin, glass, concrete, paper, plastic and more. They are available in many designs that mimic the look of previous design choices, so if you are one to look for the most sustainable options for everything you do- this might be an option you want to research.


Concrete is a really interesting option. It is soft and pleasing to the eye because of its usual neutral color palette and natural rock appearance. It’s also an energy efficient option because it absorbs heat when your home temperature rises and releases the heat once it cools down.


Tile is one of the easiest and most affordable options because it can be done yourself over a long weekend and you won’t have to pay a laborer to do it. It can have a really expensive look depending on the tile chosen and you can feel good about the job you’ve done every time you use and entertain in the kitchen.

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Maintenance Tasks to Prepare Your Home for Winter 

prepare-home-for-winter-2When the warm season has ended and you’ve already enjoyed your outdoor escapades, it’s now time to stay at home and arrange your home for the impending nippy climate. Winter could turn very hard-hitting so you have to check that the house will be a true refuge when the first snow appears. Protect your abode with these guidelines and live through snug and worry-free moments in this time of the year.

Prepare an entrance shoe storage.

Since there is a lot of snow winter, a place to drop your shoes will be necessary so as to keep your floor clean and water free. You should consider investing in boot trays, cubes or hooks.

Check your smoke detectors and fire extinguishers

Be sure to check if your smoke detector system is still functional. Switch to another battery in preparation for the cold weather. If the fire extinguisher is above 10 years old, change it immediately.

Mount storm windows and doors

Recent models for storm doors and windows appear with a multi-sheet glass that holds an insulating air in between. If these are set up, the warmth that you need will be kept inside your house for as long as you want.

Perform an HVAC evaluation

HVAC signifies “Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning”. An HVAC inspection is performed through examining ducts, heating supply, and ventilation in the home. This assessment will ensure that your residence has fitting air flow structure that can endure the wintry weather. The chimney must also be looked over for blockades that can begin to flames and inadequate air supply.

Shield the water heater and tubes

Water heaters expend more power than any other piece of equipment at home and it becomes worse in the winter time when the climate gets really bitter. The water heater acts harder to maintain the warmth of the water and your electricity costs can increase just for the utilization of this appliance. Shielding a thermal insulating blanket for the water heater would protect it from the freezing temperature in the air. This is also true for the water channels; they will ice up in the winter and could come apart if not appropriately insulated.

Insulate your garage and attic

The scarcely visited areas in the house such as the attic and garage require adequate insulation, especially on the floor parts. To hold the icy air outdoors and the hot air inside, the floors in these areas should be insulated as well.

Inspect the waterways and roof

Don’t forget to look for broken pipes and roofs; take out all fragments so that snow can go without restraint. Close any cracks in the roof and substitute parts that are irreparable. If you cannot do the climbing, you could always request a contractor to do the task.

Fend off pests.

Spiders and bugs are more likely to enter your home during winter due to the cold weather outside. Consider spraying your home with a critter repellant product.

Protect outdoor furniture.

Patio furniture and outdoor heaters should be protected from the elements of winter. If it is not possible to bring them inside, they should be covered. Also, don’t forget to clean the children’s sand table and the grill.

Empty plant pots.

Leave pots filled with clay outside during winter may crack due to a drop in temperatures. They should be taken inside to prevent this but if live in a warmer climate, you can just empty the pots and leave them outside.