Recreating Outdoor Spaces: #2 Accessorizing Your Space

Now that you have your Deck all spruced up and clean, it is time to accessorize the space before all the family and friends show up!

I want to give you a shopping list of sorts. You can pick and choose the things that interest you, do more research and then head out and purchase the items that will complete the picture perfect environment that you are trying to create.

Lighting

    1. Path Lighting – make sure visitors can safely find their way to and from your outdoor space
    2. Landscape Lighting – this is the cat’s meow when it comes to creating a mood or an environment. Up-lighting trees, plants and shrubbery as well as wall washing the house and out buildings, gives the impression that you want people there.
    3. Deck Lighting
        1. Tread Lights – Light fixtures that are installed in or around the stairs leading to the Deck surfaces. Provides safe access.
        2. Under Railing Lights – These light fixtures, individual fixtures or rope lighting, can be installed at the bottom or top of the railing system to give a low laying glow to the Deck space
        3. Newel Post Lights – These fixtures can be hoisted atop a tall post or incorporated into the newel post at the railing height. Either location serves to shed accent lighting or flood the space with light.   

Seating

    1. Table and Chairs – This is where most time is spent on a deck, so choose wisely. Tables should be as large as the space allows and stable enough to handle food, drink and elbows. Chairs should be stable and comfy, nothing is worse than sitting down in a chair and having it collapse on you.
    2. Built-in Benches – These are very useful in providing a large number of seating choices, but sometimes they can be very utilitarian. Also, once they are installed that is what you have, so be careful. You may be restricting the use of your space if you have a lot of stationary, built-in benches.
    3. Varying Spaces and Uses – Remember you want to create spaces that are of interest to many different people. So providing seating of varying heights and styles around different tables and spaces will go a long way in creating an interesting and welcoming entertainment area.

 Music

    1. Speakers – This item can be as fun as it is useful. Speakers run the gamut when it comes to what they look like and how they function. If you are going to spend the money and try to provide your guests with ambiance, then don’t waste your money by going cheap. Remember, people live with enough noise. Sometimes it’s just nice to be able to sit and talk without anything else going on.
        1. Coverage – Think in triangles. Wherever you place a speaker, visualize a triangle going out from the face of it. Whether it is a basic square unit placed on the side of the house or a fun unit that looks like a rock placed in the garden next to the Deck, you need to make sure that there is not too much overlap or dead spaces. A good layout allows everyone to hear without working too hard.

One thing to keep in mind is that sometimes less is more. Don’t clutter your space with stuff. Don’t fill your space with things so much that your guests feel like they are in the way or can’t move around.

Happy Remodeling!

Next Time… Recreating Outdoor Spaces: #3 MORE Accessorizing Your Space

NOTE: Administrator is on vacation next week so the next installment will be during the first full week of July! Check back soon, check back often and tell your friends about our blog, we appreciate your blogship.

Q&A&CQuestions and Answers and Comments are expected and welcomed.

YOUR STORY – Tell us about your remodeling experiences, good or bad. We all have had them and perhaps you can help someone else have a great remodeling experience or avoid the issues that you encountered. Remember…keep it clean and civil or we can’t publish it.

Recreating Outdoor Spaces: #1 Tired Old Decks/Patios

Many times we get so used to our surroundings that we don’t realize what we have or that things have fallen into disrepair. This state of affairs doesn’t necessarily demand the creation of new spaces. Often we can remedy the situation by “re-creating” our outdoor spaces.

Tired Old Decks/Patios

Pressure Washing. You would be surprised what a good pressure washing will do for old Deck/Patio surfaces. This can be a good DIY weekend project or there are good, reputable companies that specialize in Deck/Patio cleaning and renewal services. Be sure to use an eco-friendly detergent as some detergents, while very effective at cleaning your Deck/Patio surface, will be very harmful to your plants and grass. You also need to be very careful with the amount of pressure you use and how close you hold the hose nozzle to the Deck/Patio surface. Too much pressure at a close proximity to the Deck surface will destroy your Deck boards or Patio surface. A weekend Deck cleaning project could turn into a nightmare replacement project real quick if you are not careful.

It is a good idea to test on an inconspicuous area before going too wild with the cleaning. You want to make sure that the pressure you are using will not be chewing out bits and pieces of the Deck boards or the Patio bricks/pavers or concrete surface. Depending on the age and condition of the Deck/Patio material, it is a real possibility that there could be damage from the cleaning process. Work slowly across the area and adjust the level of pressure and closeness of the nozzle as you go; each area may vary in its tolerance for pressure.

If you do not own a pressure washing machine, you can easily rent one from your local tool rental store. Make sure you know how to operate the machine before leaving the store, especially how to regulate the pressure. Most places also will have the detergent available for you as well.

If you don’t feel that this is something you want to tackle alone, please don’t hesitate to contact a professional Deck renewal service. They have the tools and the experience to give your tired old Deck/Patio that new feel without the major investment of replacement.

Happy Remodeling!

Next Time… Recreating Outdoor Spaces: #2 Accessorizing Your Space

Q&A&CQuestions and Answers and Comments are expected and welcomed.

YOUR STORY – Tell us about your remodeling experiences, good or bad. We all have had them and perhaps you can help someone else have a great remodeling experience or avoid the issues that you encountered. Remember…keep it clean and civil or we can’t publish it.

Moving to the Outside

Living greener may be as easy as spending more time outside. And spending more time outside may be as easy installing a new patio or deck or remodeling an existing outdoor space.

Creating New Space

If you are looking out your back door and you cannot think of any possibilities for expanding your usable space…think again. Think of it this way; if your home is 2,500 SF and you add a 250 SF patio or deck, you have just expanded your usable space by 10%! 250 square feet is 10’x25’, 12’x21’, 14’x18’; these are very workable sizes for either a new deck or patio. Who could not use 10% more entertainment space or 10% more seating area at parties? This type of expansion is not out of the question.

Start your planning by making a list of essentials. What are the priorities? Seating, grilling, hot tub, access, socializing, these are some common areas of concern that drive the overall design of an outdoor space. I suggest that you write the important components down and then prioritize them so if you need to adjust because of size or budget you can start eliminating from the bottom up.

You do not have to limit yourself what your neighbors have done or what your Uncle Lewis said he could do for you on a month of Saturdays.

Look around, collect ideas and do your “home work”. The options are limitless when it comes to the configuration, the usage, the materials and the colors of your new outdoor space. 

Happy Remodeling!

Next Time…Recreating Outdoor Spaces

Q&A&CQuestions and Answers and Comments are expected and welcomed.

YOUR STORY – Tell us about your remodeling experiences, good or bad. We all have had them and perhaps you can help someone else have a great remodeling experience or avoid the issues that you encountered. Remember…keep it clean and civil or we can’t publish it.

Practice What You Preach

Remodeled, organized and cleaned; what more could you want? How about sustained organization and cleanliness?

Just the daily routines of life can throw our homes into a cycle of disarray. The hectic schedules that we keep seem to give us license to drop, throw and leave our stuff all over the house. It is not until we can open the door to the house or someone trips and falls over a pile of junk, do we sit up and take notice that something has to be done about the clutter and mess.

Well, you have taken major steps towards seizing control of the situation by remodeling what needed to be changed, organizing the new and existing spaces and vowing to clean on a daily basis so that you don’t get overwhelmed by the cleaning monster.

Here are a few easy steps to realizing the dream of an uncluttered and clean environment in your home.

    1. Establish Boundaries – In a home there are private spaces and public spaces. Review the difference between the two with your family. In doing this, you can hold each other accountable for private things being left in public places. This should help in ridding the Living Room of junior’s shoes and socks, book bags and backpacks should have a designated area, not on the Kitchen floor, coats should be hung in the closet, not thrown over the Dining Room chairs. Rules like, “if it is yours, it should be in your room,” will help to clarify where things belong and keep you from being the bad guy when it comes to straightening up the house.
    2. Create Spaces – If you constantly are hearing, “I don’t know where it goes,” perhaps it is time to create specific spaces so that everyone knows where things belong. This is not a new concept. Almost everyone knows that if you say, “put the lawn mower away”; it would go in either the Garage or the Shed. Not too hard. It should be the same throughout the house. If something looks out of place, it probably is and you should be able to identify the owner and then it should find its proper place.
    3. Set an Example – How easy is it to throw your keys and the mail on the island when you walk through the Kitchen? Do you ever drop your purse just inside the door to free up a hand to do something else, and never get back to pick it up? Well, just so you know, there are eyes watching your every move. You are setting precedence with your every action. Even if you have a good reason for leaving your things out, you need to lead by example and clean up after yourself. If they see you doing it, it will encourage everyone else to take responsibility for their things.

So remember, establish boundaries, public and private spaces and things; create spaces, a place for everything and everything has a place; and most of all set an example or simply stated: Practice what you preach!

Happy Remodeling!

Next Time…Move to the Outside

Q&A&CQuestions and Answers and Comments are expected and welcomed.

YOUR STORY – Tell us about your remodeling experiences, good or bad. We all have had them and perhaps you can help someone else have a great remodeling experience or avoid the issues that you encountered. Remember…keep it clean and civil or we can’t publish it.

Keeping It Clean

Now that you have remodeled and/or organized your space, here are some ways to keep it neat and tidy. You don’t need to spend all day being bogged down with cleaning chores. All it takes is about 20 minutes a day!

Kitchen (4 ½ minutes daily)

Always start with the sink. “Keep it empty and shining,” says Marla Cilley, author of Sink Reflections (Bantam, $15) and creator of www.FlyLady.net, a housekeeping Web site. A sparkling sink becomes your Kitchen’s benchmark for hygiene and tidiness, inspiring you to load the dishwasher immediately and keep counters, refrigerator doors, and the stovetop spick-and-span, too.

• Wipe down the sink after doing the dishes or loading the dishwasher (30 seconds).
• Wipe down the stove top (1 minute).
• Wipe down the counters (1 minute).
• Sweep, Swiffer®, or mop the floor (2 minutes).

Bathroom (2 minutes daily)
Make cleaning the sink as routine as washing your hands. But don’t stop there. Get the most out of your pre-moistened wipe by using it to clean around the edges of the tub and then the toilet before tossing it.

• Wipe out the sink (30 seconds).
• Wipe the toilet seat and rim (15 seconds).
• Swoosh the toilet bowl with a brush (15 seconds).
• Wipe the mirror and faucet (15 seconds).
• Squeegee the shower door (30 seconds).
• Spray the entire shower and the curtain liner with shower mist after every use (15 seconds).

Bedroom (6 ½ minutes daily)
Make your bed right before or after your morning shower. A neat bed will inspire you to deal with other messes immediately. Although smoothing sheets and plumping pillows might not seen like a high priority as you’re rushing to work, the payoff comes at the end of the day, when you slip back under the unruffled covers.

• Make the bed (2 minutes).
• Fold or hang clothing and put away jewelry (4 minutes).
• Straighten out the night-table surface (30 seconds).

Family Room, Living Room, Foyer (6 minutes daily)
Start with the sofa – as long as it’s in disarray, your living room will never look tidy. Once you’ve fluffed the pillows and folded the throws, you’re halfway home. If you pop in a CD while you dust, you should be able cover the whole room by the end of the third track.

• Pick up crumbs and dust bunnies with a handheld vacuum (2 minutes).
• Fluff the cushions and fold throws after use (1 minute).
• Wipe tabletops and spot-clean cabinets when you see fingerprints (1 minute).
• Straighten coffee-table books and magazines, recycle unwanted issues, put away CDs and videos (2 minutes).

Walla! Taking these 20 minutes daily will make your regular cleaning day go so much quicker, you might even have time for that afternoon tea, walk or even finish that book you started in 2006.

Happy Remodeling!

Next Time…Practice What You Preach

Q&A&CQuestions and Answers and Comments are expected and welcomed.

YOUR STORY – Tell us about your remodeling experiences, good or bad. We all have had them and perhaps you can help someone else have a great remodeling experience or avoid the issues that you encountered. Remember…keep it clean and civil or we can’t publish it.

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