Energy-efficient Guitar House embraces indoor-outdoor living in Calgary

outdoor living

Near downtown Calgary, the Guitar House is a compact modern home that celebrates music, family and the natural environment. Designed by local architecture practice Alloy Homes, the family residence emphasizes indoor-outdoor living with a natural materials palette and ample triple-glazed windows and doors that provide a seamless connection with the landscape. Its small footprint on a tight, urban site was also informed by the clients’ desires to preserve the property’s existing wild hops, which are regularly harvested by a local brewery.

Completed in 2015, the Guitar House takes its name from the clients’ collection of guitars displayed in a custom storage wall. Since music is an important aspect of the owners’ lives, the house was designed around a family-oriented performance space at the heart of the property that takes the form of a light-filled open plan living room, kitchen and dining area. This dramatic great room opens up to the outdoors at both ends with a covered porch in the front and backyard terrace in the rear — these outdoor spaces help make the home inviting for neighbors to stop by and chat.

A key element of the open-concept great room is a full-width custom entertainment unit with custom built-in . “It’s a bit of a jigsaw puzzle and can be reconfigured many ways depending upon the family’s requirements,” the architects wrote. The firm also made sure to meet the family’s need for plenty of outdoor gear storage.

To minimize the home’s energy footprint, the architects installed a high-efficiency HVAC system, large overhanging eaves, triple-glazed windows and a highly efficient insulation. Natural light and cross ventilation are considered throughout the design. Moreover, the floor plan is highly flexible and can adapt to the family’s needs.

+ Alloy Homes

Images via Alloy Homes Incorporated

This content was originally published here.

How We’re Updating Our Outdoor Living Space

outdoor living

Outdoor Living Improvement

Are you thinking of “remodeling” your second living room – the one outside in your backyard?

Then you’re possibly planning to add new furniture, install a fire pit, and maybe set up a big-screen TV on the patio as well; according to a recent online survey of homeowners by Houzz, the home improvement Web site.

That survey coincides with what Mark Wentland of CYC Landscaping, also told us about the outdoor living trend in Arizona. “People are definitely using their backyards in many new ways from what they did 10 years ago,” according to Wentland. “The backyard always used to be considered a nice amenity for your home, but now homeowners expect to have an outdoor area where family and friends can gather, entertain and cook dinner.”

Here are some changes homeowners request when CYC remodels their yards. Wentland, whose office is in the southeast valley, also suggested what might work and what might not:

1 | An outdoor kitchen with dining or seating areas nearby

Kitchens have gone from being simply an area with a barbecue grill to an entertainment island. There are often counters with bar stools sheltered under umbrellas or ramadas. Free-standing barbecues have been replaced with permanent grill structures with a barbecue fitted inside. If the grill should get old and decrepit, you can take out the old and replace with a new grill. They can be powered with a propane tank or natural gas from a line that also supplies the house. Grills can be located on the edge of a ramada but not under covered patios attached to a home.

2 | Fire features

Fire pits tend to be more popular than fireplaces. Although fireplaces can be a beautiful focal point for a yard, fire pits are usually less costly and allow more people to gather around the flames. “Years ago, we built a lot of fire pits surrounded by concrete benches,” Wentland said, “but people weren’t comfortable sitting on benches. They prefer seating with cushions on the back. Outdoor furniture is much better looking and well-built now, and most homeowners prefer to buy that.”

Fire features are generally powered by natural gas or propane as are barbecues. No one is building wood-burning units anymore because of no-burn restrictions. Newer fire pits are linear shaped or curved and are much bigger than in the past, according to Wentland. They are also built so that they can be viewed from inside the house as well to add a festive note for special events.

3 | New choices underfoot

Concrete pavers and/or travertine tiles are often used to replace the old decking around swimming pools and the paving under covered patio areas.

4 | Shade structures, including ramadas and patio covers

Wentland also suggested that sometimes homeowners don’t need something as large as a ramada and might just prefer to plant a good shade tree.

5 | Electronic entertainment

Installation of outdoor television sets has become almost a necessity. There is also big demand for speakers outdoors to provide background music for entertaining and dining.

6 | Improved lighting

Good outdoor lighting is a must for outdoor living. New systems of LED lighting will use far less power than the old lighting you might already have.

7 | Outdoor misting systems

“They’re still a big thing for summertime enjoyment of your patio,” he said. “But buy commercial grade misters. The ones that hook up to the garden hose won’t work.”

Wentland recommended having a master plan before a backyard remodel begins. He also advised homeowners to be just as careful about hiring a landscaper or backyard remodeler as they are about hiring a remodeler to do work inside a home.

“Make sure that the landscaper/contractor has a physical address,” he said. “Check out their license on the Arizona Registrar of Contractors Website. Be careful about the contractor’s promises. Lots of the contracts that we see given to homeowners are poorly and vaguely worded. There should be no doubt about what you buying.”

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This content was originally published here.

Top Designers Create Sophisticated Outdoor Living Spaces

outdoor living

Thanks to the growing popularity of sliding glass wall systems, innovative pools, outdoor fireplaces, stylish patio furniture, durable fabrics, and high-tech outdoor televisions, architects and interior designers are doing more than just designing coastal homes—they’re designing outdoor spaces too.

“These spaces now rival interiors for their amenities and the detail that goes into their planning,” says Tom Stringer, founder and president of Tom Stringer Design Partners.

Homeowners are approaching swimming pools in a similar manner. “Technology is allowing pools to accommodate more than just swimming,” says Alley Daniel, a project manager with OBM International. She points to companies like Akvo Spiralift and AGOR Engineering Enterprises, both of which specialize in movable pool floors. Homeowners can change the depth to create shallow wading pools, for example, for sunbathing on chaises, or completely conceal the pool’s existence altogether.

In other instances, designers are positioning swimming pools in less prominent locations. As Stringer explains, rather than placing a pool at the edge of a property overlooking the ocean, he lets the ocean view take center stage and sites the pool in an interior courtyard. Or, if it’s positioned prominently, designers will often disguise it with water features, like fountains. “When it’s not being used, a pool doubles as a beautiful water element,” Stringer says. “It’s now part of the landscape.”

“You end up making a list of the things you want to see and the things you want to shelter from view,” Stringer continues. Tennis courts, for example, are an amenity he often attempts to conceal. “They’re cooler when they’re hidden throughout the landscape,” he explains. “It’s exciting to feel like you’re playing in a secret space.”

These masking efforts often improve an outdoor space’s aesthetics. “At the end of the day, your outdoor space is your oasis,” says Daniel. “People are looking for a tranquil environment, and water features have a calming effect in and around your home. The sound of falling water with the right lighting in the evening encourages a feeling of tranquility.”

Water features can also elevate the traditional use of a swimming pool. “The idea of jumping into a fountain is awesome,” Stringer says, “because you’re not supposed to do that.”

Fire, like water, is another element that defines almost every outdoor living space. “There’s something magical about sitting around a fire on a chilly night,” says Erik Evens, a partner with KAA Design and principal of his own design firm, Evens Architects. “It’s an elemental, human thing to gather around a fire.”

When incorporating outdoor fireplaces into semi-enclosed spaces, Grant Kirkpatrick, the founding partner of KAA Design, and Duan Tran, another partner in the firm, like to use Rumford Fireplaces, which are tall and shallow and designed to expel more heat into an open space.
Fire pits remain popular as well; however, Stringer purposefully avoids fire pit/coffee table combos. “We’re trying to work with themes, ideas, and materials that I think are more or less timeless. Once things get too trendy, I feel like they’re too hot to touch,” he says.

As a solution, Stringer urges clients to incorporate a traditional coffee table and a separate linear fire element set in a low wall. “The fire becomes part of the scene,” he explains, “but not the entire focus of the scene.”

Stringer also routinely equips his outdoor living spaces with sculptural products made by Fire Features, a division of Brooklyn-based Colombo Construction Corp. These products introduce fire—and sometimes water, too—in artistic and untraditional forms. “It looks like abstract reeds coming out of a reflecting pond,” he says of a recently installed fountain. “It weeps water by day and shoots fire by night.”

Advancements in outdoor furniture by companies like Tidelli, Janus et Cie, and McKinnon and Harris, not to mention improvements in outdoor fabrics courtesy of suppliers like David Sutherland and Perennials, play a role in evolving outdoor spaces. Technologically advanced outdoor televisions built by companies like Sunbrite and Seura do too. These luxurious accoutrements, when combined with the aforementioned design philosophies, are inspiring homeowners and architects to reimagine where and how an outdoor space fits into a home’s overall layout and functionality.

Evens points to a residential project in Malibu, completed a year ago, which offers a dramatic view of Santa Monica Bay. “We started with the grand loggia of the house facing that beautiful vista; then designed and clustered the rest of the spaces around it. That loggia is really the center of the family life,” he relates.

For a recent South Florida project, Todd Davis and Rob Brown, co-founders of Brown Davis Interiors, maximized the benefit of a sliding glass wall system in the family room by designing an angular, double-sided sofa. One side faces the fireplace and mounted television; the other side provides comfortable seating only a few feet away from the outdoor space beyond the sliding wall.

“It was the ultimate in how you do indoor-outdoor living,” Davis says. “We always consider the outdoors as another room. The space is there, so why not turn it into a room? That’s always been our philosophy.”

Kirkpatrick and Tran take a counterintuitive approach, especially along the California coast where gusty winds are a factor. They often position an outdoor space on the backside of a home—away from the shoreline—and then outfit and arrange the interior to provide unobstructed ocean views. Kirkpatrick likens it to the layout of a yacht, where the primary relaxing and entertaining areas are at the stern.
“The way that outdoor living spaces are being used is seamless,” adds Tran. “Clients are now using indoor-outdoor spaces at the same time, not just one or the other, so they have to work in tandem.”

Similarly, Stringer utilizes a trick that he learned from a landscape architect. He approaches the design of an outdoor space by first looking at it from inside. “It starts with the interior floorplan—you understand how traffic will flow in and out and how exterior development will impact the view,” he says. “Any great outdoor living space starts with what you see outside the window.”

The post Top Designers Create Sophisticated Outdoor Living Spaces appeared first on Ocean Home magazine.

This content was originally published here.

Outdoor Living Space Updates For Summer

outdoor living

Summer is almost here so it’s time to freshen up your outdoor living space. With Memorial Day kicking off our summer entertaining season, we though it might be prudent to talk about easy and cost effective updates. Let’s tackle the outdoor living space first!

When I saw this set was on sale I knew I had to show it to you guys. It’s prefect for a small space or easily doubled for a larger space. I have sat in this set at my local Target and it’s pretty comfortable and sturdy for the price. If you’ve got a small space, order now before they run out!

Love the look of Teak but can’t afford it? That’s where this set comes in! Made of durable Eucalyptus wood it’s a cost effective alternative!

St. Martin Dining Collection $64 to $199 (30% Off)

The same great look as the lounge set with room for 6 dinner guests.

These are unbelievable deals! Patio furnishings are often so expensive that they are prohibitive but I can wholeheartedly recommend these sets because I’ve seen them in person and sat on them. If you’ve already got a set or are looking to fill one of these lovely options in with some color, look no further! This summer I’m loving both the brights trend and the classic nautical look. First, we’ll cover the brights.

Threshold Indoor Outdoor Rug in Turquoise $54 – $180 (Sale)

I absolutely love this rug and almost bought it for my own kitchen. It’s very soft and the color is very bright but not tacky!

World Market Orange & Pink Border Rug $99 to $199 (Sale)

Want just a little bit of the bright trend? Pick up this classic with a twist!

Lattice Tassel Rug $149 -$299

Here is another great classic that’s been updated into the perfect bright green!

Now that we’ve covered the bright trend we will look at how to give the outdoor living space a classic nautical feel without the kitsch!

Threshold Chevron Stripe Rug $30 to $120

Nothing says nautical quite like blue and white. This rug is a classic that lends a subtle nautical feel.

This transitional rug looks like natural dyed fibers and will add texture to the space like a Jute or Sisal rug without the upkeep.

You get two pillows and they have an array of options that would work for a nautical themed outdoor living space!

West Elm Shell & Pebble Pillows $28 – $31 (Sale)

I absolutely love these graphic pillows from West Elm. They are modern and referential to the sea without looking kitschy!

I absolutely love the watercolor effect on the navy!

Now that we have looked at the foundation pieces that set the tone of the space you may need a few additional items to really make the space come to life!

Threshold Rattan Lanterns $ 10 – $30

These rattan lanterns will match a variety of outdoor living spaces.

Easy coastal vibe that will stand up to the elements.

Garden stools provide extra seating or a side table equally well. This one also comes in navy!

This great stool comes in deep orange and white. It’s perfectly at home indoors or out!

A perfect way to compliment your brights or add in just a little bit of the trend to a neutral space!

A nod to nautical with rustic charm too!

I hope you’ve found something here to inspire you to make your outdoor living space seem new again! Step away from the computer or mobile device and enjoy the great outdoors!

Have a favorite look for an outdoor living space? Want to share it with the other readers? let us know in the comments below!

This content was originally published here.

Outdoor living with Unopiu furniture • Passion Shake

outdoor living

How are you doing friends? How is the weather where you live?

It is incredible but it is still sunny and warm here in Italy so I’ve been lucky to enjoy the first days of Autumn, hanging out in the garden. I love days when I can bring my laptop outdoor, enjoy the fresh air and singing of birds while working (unless the singing turns into a grand opera! It happens, but not in the Autumn season, thankfully!)

The outdoor bliss, brings me to the topic of outdoor furniture. I don’t know about you but, having tested many outdoor chairs and tables, I must admit one of the important factors in choosing them is durability (except style of course!). Recently I came across new Italian brand – UNOPIU which I have teamed up with today, to show you my favourite designs made with teak material. Have you heard of it yet?

If you are not familiar with teak – it is a superman in the world of outdoor furniture materials. A type of wood renowned for its incredible strength, durability and beautiful, golden-brown appearance. It is also one of those furniture materials which goes on for generations so if your grandma wants to give you a set of wooden, garden chairs she got on her wedding day, most likely they will be made of teak! Now that we established that it is investment worth making in terms of quality, let me show you a few of my favourite designs from the UNOPIU selection:

1/  M I L T O N W I L L I  A M  – classic, timeless combo made entirely of teak. Table comes in two versions: rectangular but also oval shape. The set is great for those Sunday barbeques!

2/  I N D O B R I T T A N Indobrittan armchairs combine the warmth of natural teak with the practicality of the polyolefin rope that wraps around seats and backrests. I like the combination of black and natural wood, it creates stylish yet relaxed mood.

 3/  T I T A N I C – Inspired by the armchairs of the first transatlantic cruise liners, the Titanic chaise longue is foldable, adjustable in three positions and equipped with a removable footrest. A touch of elegance for those hot summer dreams, don’t you think?

Do you spot your favourite design for the next summer?

To see all the collection and possible variations (different colors, shapes), visit UNOPIU page. I’m wishing you great start of October and I hope the sun will still shine for a while.

*This post has been written in collaboration with Unopiu. All opinions expressed are my own.

This content was originally published here.

Outdoor Living: What’s New for 2019

outdoor living

We’re excited to announce the new options and accents we’re debuting in 2019. One will even be making a special appearance at this year’s FENCETECH in Indianapolis! Will we see you there?

New in Fence

First, the Bufftech® Chesterfield with CertaGrain® texture fence will now have the option of a spindle accent, which will offer a modern aesthetic accent option to the Chesterfield CertaGrain 5+1 collection. The offering will include top and accent rails routed to accept 3/4″ round aluminum spindles in a matte black, powder-coated finish. The spindle accent will be available for Chesterfield CertaGrain Texture in 6′ x 8′ sections (4’10” plus 1’2″ accent) and six colors including four blends.

New in Railing

On the railing front, market feedback has led to the development of a new baluster/infill option for the Kingston and Oxford Vinyl Railing Systems. The 3/4″ round aluminum balusters in a matte black, powder-coated finish will be available for all six EverNew Vinyl rail colors in 3′ and 3.5′ tall, and flat or stair applications in either 6′ or 8′ lengths.

The EverNew Oxford vinyl railing will also have a design change on one baluster option. The Colonial style baluster will be replaced by the Classic style baluster. This change features only subtle design differences.

CertainTeed at FenceTech

Attending FENCETECH this year in Indy? We’ll have the new spindle accent on display in booth 1665 on March 15-16, along with all of the newest molded and vinyl fence products included in the Bufftech product line expansion. We hope you’ll stop by and see us! Register here.

For more information and to see photos of the new options and accents, view the product page in the 2019 catalogs:

Have a question about these or any of our new products? Give us a call. We’re here to help.

Plus, new fence tool helps homeowners shape their yard.

This content was originally published here.

Homecrest Outdoor Living | 3 Reasons to Buy American-Made Outdoor Furniture

outdoor living

Following the economic turmoil of the late 2000s, it is refreshing to see a rebirth in domestic manufacturing across a wide variety of industries.

While many outdoor furniture suppliers have moved their manufacturing out of the United States, there continue to be a number of excellent manufacturers, like Homecrest Outdoor Living, who are committed to making furniture in the United States using American materials and employing talented and hard-working American citizens.

There are some real benefits to patio furniture shoppers when they choose to buy American.

Reason #1: The Specialty Store Shopping Experience

American-made outdoor furniture manufacturers normally sell through authorized specialty retailers who specialize in high-quality custom products while offering outstanding service. These shops are usually owned and operated by families in our hometowns, and they take great care to offer both a product selection and a consumer experience that is uniquely different from what you’ll find at the mass merchants.

Besides the great economic benefits that come with shopping local and investing into our communities, shopping in a specialty store really is a treat. One of the best parts about buying American-made outdoor furniture at a specialty store is that you really can order just about anything you can dream up, in any color and configuration that suits your space.

Reason #2: Custom Ordering for American-Made Outdoor Furniture

High-end outdoor furniture manufacturers pride themselves in producing made-to-order furniture in reasonably short lead times (the best companies tend to run at four weeks or less). These suppliers offer a full complement of patio furniture options, from dining and deep seating furniture to unique tables, fire pits and accessories. The best part is, every item these suppliers sell is typically available in a myriad of frame color and fabric options, tailor-made to your specifications.

Since the furniture is made from American materials by American people at an American facility, there aren’t any of the challenges that come with buying furniture made by an offshore furniture manufacturer. You’re not going to find that a table is back-ordered because it didn’t ship on the last container from China or that the extra chair that you ordered won’t be in for 14 weeks because the warehouse is out of stock. When you place a patio furniture order with an American manufacturer like Homecrest, the company will already have the materials on hand and have systems in place to make sure every piece you’ve ordered is tailored to your exact specifications.

Reason #3: Easy Post-Purchase Care

Almost everyone has had or has known someone who has had a miserable “tail-light” warranty experience with an import product from a mass merchant. When it comes to furniture, even if there is a one-year warranty on a set that came from offshore:

1) It’s going to be difficult to get service.

2) That warranty won’t cover freight from overseas, which likely costs more than the replacement value of the chair!

When you buy a set of American-made outdoor furniture, not only are you going to have a great warranty, but you’ll have the care of both the specialty store you bought the set from, as well as the supplier, as long as you own the furniture. Whether you’re looking to add on a couple of pieces a few years down the road, or if you need some touch-up paint or replacement cushions, you’re going to be taken care of years after you’ve made your purchase!

When it comes to American-made outdoor furniture, Homecrest has you covered!

All Homecrest outdoor patio furniture products are proudly manufactured in the United States and offers specialty, seasonal and furniture retailers across North America. 

This content was originally published here.

Indoor-Outdoor Living: Creating Outdoor Rooms for Gardens, Patios, Backyards – Urban Gardens

outdoor living

Many of my favorite spaces reflect a stylistic blurring of the boundaries between indoors and out–gardens with outdoor rooms designed to replicate indoor spaces and interiors that merge with the exterior.

Outdoor rooms incorporate pieces traditionally considered for indoors: comfy sofas and sectionals upholstered in weather-resistant fabrics, indoor-outdoor rugs, chandeliers, wall mirrors, and entire outdoor kitchens that would look equally at home indoors.

Inside-Out Design
With complete walls spilling out onto a patio by way of sliding or pocket doors, many interior spaces merge directly into the garden. Indoor-outdoor furniture functions inside or out and lush living walls bring nature directly inside.

Structural, Attached, Freestanding Outdoor Rooms 
Loggias, verandas,  covered terraces and patios are built-in outdoor spaces
designated for a particular use such as lounging with family and friends, relaxing in privacy, or cooking and entertaining. 

By contrast, pergolas and gazebos are freestanding structures, not attached to the main building. they can be placed anywhere on the property where there is room to accommodate them. 

Loggia or Lanai? Verandah or Porch? Terrace or Patio?
Sometimes just subtle differences distinguish these spaces, depending also on geographical location. Each generally includes at least one open side, with or without a roof. What are the differences?

Loggia: Kind of an antiquated term originating from Italian design, a loggia is an architectural feature on the facade of a building open on one side, supported by columns or openings in a wall, and often at ground level.

Porch: Also attached to the outside walls of a structure, a porch is generally open on three sides with a covered entrance to a doorway. It’s often enclosed by a screen, wide windows, latticework, or other screening.

Verandah: Also a covered open area or porch, it’s generally an open pillared space with a roof, sometimes partially enclosed by a railing, frequently built across the rear and sides of the structure.

Lanai: A Hawaiian word for patio or balcony, Lanai is usually describes one of those outdoor living areas, generally covered and enclosed by a large screened structure, often alongside a pool. It’s an outdoor living areas that may include a fireplace or outdoor kitchen.   

Pergola or Gazebo, Trellis or Lattice?
Pergolas or gazebos outdoors are instant outdoor spaces, but what makes them rooms is how you use them. What’s the difference?

Either freestanding or attached to a structure, a pergola is an outdoor garden shelter open on all sides with a closed or slatted grid roof supported by columns or other types vertical posts. Also an open structure, a gazebo always has a closed roof, is raised off the ground, and is generally circular.

Like arbors and trellises, pergolas and gazebos may also support climbing vines. Trellises are wooden, metal or vinyl frameworks for climbing plants. A trellis may be arched, triangular, or rectangular, usually with horizontal and vertical crossed lines, whereas a lattice generally, but not always, features a crisscrossed pattern. And you will also variations of each. I designed a simple latticework for the top of my little garden fence that may be both a lattice and trellis.

Ideas for Designing Outdoor Rooms
Most urban gardens are too small for traditionally sized pergolas or gazebos, however, there are many creative ways to design outdoor rooms without these structures:

1. Screen for Privacy and To Delineate Spaces
Beside fencing, block out neighbors or street noise with tall hedges or rows of trees, freestanding or permanent vertical gardens, and planted walls. You can use the same types of screening to partition off and delineate outdoor rooms. Hanging tied-back curtains on two sides of a porch will offer privacy and also to give the space the look and feel of an indoor room.

2. Arrange Conversation Nooks
Configure furnishings around a fire pit or large coffee table. If you are like me and want to change things around every now and then, using modular seating or sectionals can offer design flexibility.

Built-in banquettes or benches with soft cushions make great seating but aren’t the best choice for apartment dwellers as you can’t take them with you when you move. For small spaces, some furniture can do double duty with storage space under the seat or table.

3. Get Cookin’ With Outdoor Kitchens
Some fortunate residents need hardly step inside the house, as they have complete outdoor kitchens that include a cooktop/grill and oven, sink, refrigerator, and plenty of working surfaces. Simpler cooking areas may feature just a portable grill and jury-rigged prep area using a table or console. 

4. Dining al Fresco
It may be enclosed, but an outdoor dining area can become a room by defining the space by hardscaping, borders, draping tenting above, hanging string lights to cover the particular spot, or by placing other “dining room” furniture close by. 

5. Relax and Repose in An Outdoor Bedroom
At his client’s request, a designer friend in Spain designed an entire outdoor bedroom complete with a king size bed covered in a weather-resistant duvet and copious numbers of pillows. A day bed can double for lounging or napping, and with a decorative metal headboard, will be both decorative and practical.

6. Use Plants a Million Ways
Place containers of varying heights and widths to establish a border for an outdoor room. On one side or more, cultivate a vertical garden to function as screening to define the space.

With a trellis, a contiguous row of low rectangular containers with climbing vines will form a planted wall for an outdoor room. Anything you plant needs care and attention–proper irrigation, light, and a don’t forget a high quality all natural potting soil and organic fertilizer to keep them healthy and beautiful.

7. Create Focal Points
Use a fire or water feature, living wall, outdoor sculpture, or “plant paintings” overflowing with succulents and herbs to create a focal point, around which any room can be designed.

This post was sponsored by Kellogg Garden Products, where “organic” is more than a word on a label. Unless otherwise noted, all photos by Robin Plaskoff Horton.

This content was originally published here.

Nirau House: Outdoor Living Coupled with Smart, Green Design

outdoor living

When you live in a city where you can enjoy the weather outside almost all year long, it does makes sense to design a home that seamlessly blends the interior with the outdoors. Nestled in a lovely little neighborhood of Mexico City , the Nirau House designed by Paul Cremoux Studio is a wonderful example of a flowing design where the exterior and interior become one. A large wooden deck terrace that sits right outside the open living area becomes the heart of this energy-efficient Mexican home where smart corner windows and sliding glass doors create a fabulous indoor-outdoor interplay.
The lower-level living area of the house seems a lot larger than it really is, as it flows into the outdoor social zone that is surrounded by a blanket of greenery. On the inside one sees a neutral color scheme, with skylights and large windows bringing in an abundance of sunlight, adding to the cheerful ambiance. A sculptural staircase that leads to the top floor is surrounded by a wall of books, with the vertical space on offer being utilized completely.
Despite its seemingly unassuming appearance, this ingenious home does all it can to keep energy consumption down to a bare minimum, with the architects estimating no more than $15 worth of electricity and natural gas being utilized each month by the homeowners. Cutting back on its carbon footprint by utilizing passive cooling techniques, a rainwater filtering system further enhances the green credentials of this ergonomic residence.
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This content was originally published here.

The Suburban Indy Home & Outdoor Living Fall Show

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Are you looking for some home and garden inspiration?

Then head to Grand Park Events Center in Westfield for the Suburban Indy Home & Outdoor Living Fall Show, which is happening now through Sunday, September 23. Whether you’re planning to hire an expert or just DIY, the Suburban Indy Home & Outdoor Living Fall Show is a good place to BYOD (bring your own dreams, that is!).

Browse from over 200 exhibitors and connect with local business to discuss landscape, home improvements and home building needs, as well as sample and purchase local food and shop from local artists. You can also check out some local garden businesses to get ideas for your garden and see what the trends are for the fall.

New this year is the Plant Market, with hundreds of beautiful indoor and outdoor plants and garden accoutrements for sale. In this lush area of the event center, you’ll find lots of indoor plants, including succulents, orchids, cactus, air plants, trees and many other house plants to build your own indoor jungle.

Stop by the Showcase Stage through Saturday to learn hands-on tips from experts, who will be discussing and giving demonstrations on topics ranging from creating a living wall, choosing landscaping, organizing garage spaces, grilling with a Big Green Egg, fall container planning and more.

Sunday is Kid’s Day, and will include an all-day schedule of fun for little ones.

Although kids are welcome every day of the show, Kid’s Day is when families can enjoy performances and meet-and-greets by superheroes and princesses (think Batman, Wonder Woman and Ariel from The Little Mermaid). There will also be magic shows, crafts, glitter tattoos and NinjaZone Academy activities. Kids 12 and under are free on all days of the show, including on Kid’s Day.

The Suburban Indy Home & Outdoor Living Fall Show is held at Grand Park Events Center (19000 Grand Park Blvd., Westfield). The show runs from Sept. 20-23, 2018, and show hours are Thursday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 when purchased at the door or $5 when purchased online. Kids 12 and under are free. For more info and to purchase tickets, visit https://suburbanindyshows.com/fall

The post The Suburban Indy Home & Outdoor Living Fall Show appeared first on Indy’s Child Magazine.

This content was originally published here.

40 vintage backyard ideas so fab, you’ll want to re-create this relaxing sixties-style outdoor living vibe – Click Americana

outdoor living

If you love the mid-century retro style, and want to get into that groove to create a gorgeous and peaceful vintage backyard feel, look no further! We have 40 of the best ideas for fantastic classic patios, creative decks and cool backyard living spaces that you’re going to love.

And because homes and gardens come in all different shapes and sizes, you’ll find a range of features — like enclosed porches, redwood decking, brickwork, gazebos, swimming pools, outdoor kitchens, trellises and lots more great ideas from the sixties.

So start here if you want to get some retro inspo for the kind of backyard oasis you won’t ever want to leave.

And because homes and gardens come in all different shapes and sizes, you’ll find a range of features — like enclosed porches, redwood decking, brickwork, gazebos, swimming pools, outdoor kitchens, trellises and lots more great ideas from the sixties.

So start here if you want to get some retro inspo for the kind of backyard oasis you won’t ever want to leave.

Favorite outdoor rooms: Decks and patios (article from 1964)

With a growing emphasis on outdoor living, the areas that serve this way of life are becoming increasingly important.

Not too long ago, outdoor living meant a front or side porch. But the porch is rapidly disappearing from the scene, since nowadays, the porch is often enclosed for year round living and called a family room.

The popular outdoor living rooms are now patios and decks. The patio has come to mean any outdoor living area within prescribed boundaries, The deck is a variation of the patio — really a wooden-floored patio — which may be as simple or elaborate as a family’s need and pocketbook dictates.

1. A vintage wooden deck built around a tree (1966)

These may be merely open areas exposed to the sun completely. However, an overhead sunshade of wood can be designed to seem an extension from the house roof. This provides an area both shaded and secure from showers for added patio or deck pleasure.

Adjacent areas can then be covered with an open sunshade that consists of a decorative wood pattern. Or, a vertical sun-shade such as a fence or a louvered baffle (fan shutters) can set off one area from another.

A deck need not be adjacent to a house level, although it adds convenience to have a dining deck near the kitchen, or a deck for entertaining as an extension of the living room to facilitate the flow of traffic and conversation.

Any site in the garden that appeals to the individual family may be chosen for a deck — a private sunning corner, on top of the garage, or adjacent to the garage or carport. You could even build a deck on stilts — tree house fashion but without the tree.

2. Wooden tent shade (1960)

One reason for the growing popularity of these wood decks is the trend toward building houses on sloping tracts of land. A deck is an easy way of providing a flat surface where there is none naturally. Such a deck can be easily constructed of Western Pine region lumber.

Trellises, sun shades and sun screens lend height and give the garden an added dimension it would otherwise lack, and also serve as framework over which flowers and vines can climb.

In addition to flowers and shrubs, another way of giving individuality to the outdoor living area is by fencing or fence panels.

Vintage backyard ideas: Outside, the living is easy (1964)

The living’s easy for families who are at-home both in and out of doors. Gone for good are the days when people lived their home life within four walls.

Today’s trend calls for total development of a property, and outdoor areas are being put to full use in supplementing indoor living and entertaining space, and as “built-in playground and sports arenas.

In order to make maximum use of your available space, first assess the family needs and functions you wish your outdoor area to fulfill. Consideration should be given to the existing landscaping, sun and wind exposure, and the size and relationship of structure to surroundings.

Add on outdoor “rooms”

If you need more space in your house, why not add on rooms by means of porches, sun decks, terraces or patios.

For example, a deck or porch near the kitchen might substitute as a dining room.

Your addition doesn’t necessarily have to be attached to the house. A gazebo, tea house or sun deck in the yard or by the barbecue pit, or pool will provide plenty of space and. all the privacy you need to entertain without disturbing the rest of your household.

3. Gorgeous garden gazebo

Vintage backyard ideas

The trend to outdoor living has made many people realize that there’s no place like home for leisure-time fun. Many a backyard now serves as a playground for both adults and children.

Families are leading the sporting life in concrete and grassy game areas that provide full backyard facilities for a variety of individual and team sports, ranging all the way from lawn tennis, basketball and badminton to shuffleboard and horseshoes.

Before constructing your own game area, it is important to consider its location in relationship to the sun. (This is especially important for tennis and badminton courts.) Check the velocity of prevailing winds, and, as a good neighbor, take into account how the play areas will affect the appearance of surround properties.

The most tempting addition to a private playground is the backyard swimming pool with its many advantages of privacy, convenience and recreation every member of the family can enjoy.

4. Pretty brick patio deck around a circular pool (1966)

For families living in rented homes, or not yet ready to invest in a permanent pool, the above-ground pool provides the perfect way to get in the swim during warm weather without driving through heavy traffic to the nearest beach or lake.

These pools are ideal for the youngsters and can be easily dismantled and stored when not in use, And. of course, if you move. ben can take your pool along with you.

In your design for outdoor living, there should be provision made for the children as well as adults. Reserve an area for swings, slides, sandbox or wading pool. For safety’s sake, consider fencing in the childrens’ section of the yard.

Although people enjoy the casualness of outdoor living, they also want the conveniences of indoors, such as comfortable furniture, adequate lighting and a measure of privacy.

Lighting up your backyard

Today’s lawn furniture is lightweight and imaginatively styled in a variety of decors. The backward can be lit effectively by a combination of ground lights and hidden “spots” in trees.

For privacy, plant “screens” of shrubs, or put up panels or fencing. Game areas can be defined and sheltered by means of shrubs and trees arranged so that a portion of the open area is concealed.

Modern backyard gardening makes extensive use of portable planters and terrace tubs.

Another easy and interesting possibility for the homeowner who wants decoration without drudgery is the Oriental-style garden, consisting largely of stones and statues.

5. Small deck with built-in bench seating

Vintage outdoor ideas: Backyards geared toward family fun (1963)

Since World War II, more and more families have been proving that there’s no place like home for outdoor living!

What started with Saturday night cookouts at a backyard grill has progressed to the point where today, many people don’t have to go any further than their own property to enjoy favorite sports of a swim In order to make maximum use of outdoor areas, it’s important to first assess the family needs and the functions each area is to fulfill.

Ideally, a backyard is broken up into ‘living’ and game areas

In planning outdoor projects, careful consideration should be given to existing landscaping, and sun and wind exposure.

6. Outdoor “living room”

Many families have extended their ‘living room’ outdoors by means of decks, terraces, patios and porches of flagstone, concrete, tile or wood. These sunning, dining and entertaining areas may be enclosed and protected by screening or fencing. Ideally, the barbecue pit should be located nearby.

Today’s backyard is also a recreation ‘room’, where the family keeps fit by having fun. Although each outdoor game has its own requirements as to space, with a little thought, play areas for several sports can be included on the home property.

Careful planning can turn a concrete patio or driveway into a family sports area with a shuffleboard court, a basketball hoop and deck tennis provisions. Grassy areas of the backyard are ideal for volleyball, deck tennis, badminton, croquet, golf putting, etc. 

When many families feel like a swim, they head for their own backyard instead of the nearest lake or shore area. The swimming pool, once a luxury for a privileged few, is now priced within reach of the average homeowner.

7 & 8: Swimming pool with decking and trellis

For the family without a conventional swimming pool, there are plastic wading pools, many of them large enough to permit adults, as well as youngsters, to keep cool in warmer weather.

The modern concept of total development of property has led to today’s practice of utilizing the entire backyard space to meet the specific needs of every member of the family.

Make a backyard children’s haven

Although the back-yard has become a play area for adults, children have not been forgotten. Many yards have areas enclosed with bullt-in ‘babysitter’ fences for complete protection from neighborhood hazards.

Youngsters play on outdoor ‘kiddle gyms,’ slides, swings, and sandboxes made of modern “‘safety-first’ materials in imaginative shapes and colors.

Families can enjoy outdoor living more with ‘indoor’ conveniences. Modern lawn furniture is as good-looking and comfortable as it is durable. Back-yard lighting arrangements extend game-time and permit eventing use of outdoor living ‘rooms.’

Today’s home-owner relies on portable planters to keep his backyard as pretty as it is practical. Plant boxes and tubs mounted on casters or dollies are easily moved and maintained, and are colorful additions to terraces, patios and sun decks. Even small trees and shrubs will thrive in terrace tubs.

9. A round vintage outdoor living area (1966)

In St Petersburg, Florida, architect Randolph Wedding made this circular outdoor living room. Below the circular rim is a sitting area with fireplace and built-in benches. Glazed roof lets plenty of sunshine in.

10. Vintage backyard decor & patio made of wrought iron (1960)

11. A sheltered porch with fireplace, and small reflecting pool

12. Vintage backyard ideas: Quiet courtyard with tile features (1960)

A serene “courtyard by noted architect Paul Rudolph. Look from the living room out on the graceful tile deck, the flanking tile walls, and the tiled sun screens in the background. The screens (tile set of sheet glass) cut down sun glare and filter light pleasingly into the courtyard.”

13. Secluded redwood and brick deck

14. Retro backyard deck design ideas (1966)

A series of platforms made of exterior-grade plywood, protected by plastic-based roofing material, set on 2×8 framing. On top is Ozite’s Town ‘n’ Terrace indoor-outdoor carpeting, which is unaffected by rain, and can easily be vacuum cleaned. (From American Home magazine)

15. Backyard decor: A beautiful vintage covered indoor/outdoor open-air patio with trellis-style doors and trim (1965)

16. Covered deck with water feature in a quiet vintage backyard (1965)

17. Country-club style vintage backyard pool and cabana house in a lush garden (1967)

18. Out in the garden, a vintage outdoor living and dining room (1962)

19. A retro outdoor kitchen at poolside, under the tall trees (1967)

20. Secluded vintage backyard patio with an amazing view (1969)

21. A dream patio-terrace (1964)

22. Backyard pools with a large covered patio area (1960)

23. Simple private backyard design (1962)

24. Flat 1960s patio decking on a desert home

25. Vintage 1960s backyard patio with wide natural stone pavers

26. A classic American trellis and fence design from the ’60s

27, 28 & 29: Vintage deck ideas for the backyard (from 1960)

30. Simple classic deck design, complete with a wide railing

We’re guessing this one wasn’t finished yet, as there’s a kind of scary lack of railing on the deck area beyond the model.

31. Wooden deck & walkways surrounded by a lush garden

32. Retro style narrow wood deck in a backyard from 1960

33 & 34: Vintage fence designs for mid-century backyards (from 1960)

35. Vintage backyard with wooden fence panels

36 & 37: Low railings and fences for separation in mid-century backyards

38. Mid-century retro wooden fence design from 1960

39 & 40: Creative feature fencing & a privacy screen fence

This content was originally published here.

Trex Offers the Ultimate Outdoor Living Experience

outdoor living

Trex Elevations Steel Framing



ELEVATIONS STEEL FRAMING MEANS PERFECTION FROM THE GROUND UP
When planning a new deck, it’s important to ensure that its substructure can guarantee safety and lasting beauty through decades of outdoor conditions. Where other deck framing systems may seem sturdy and supportive, only Elevations® can stand the test of time without shifting, splitting, warping, rotting or rusting. Our durable triple-coated steel beams, joists and tracks create the strongest, straightest and, yes, greenest structures down below.

ADD LIVING SPACE UNDER THE DECK WITH RAIN ESCAPE
Trex RainEscape is a unique under-deck drainage system–a network of troughs and gutters–keeps rain, spills and snow melt from dripping through elevated deck boards, creating a dry patio area on the ground level below. It can even be installed on an existing deck by removing the flooring before installation. Once the Trex RainEscape deck drainage system is installed, utilities can be added then covered with the soffit or ceiling of your choice.

DECK LIGHTING THAT’S DESIGNED TO SHINE
Easy to build into a new or existing deck, sophisticated Trex Deck Lighting is even easier to set up with the Trex LightHub connection system. To take the look up another notch, try the optional timer and dimmer for total lighting control. Whether safely illuminating stairways with LED step lights or highlighting the deck perimeter with deck post lighting, Trex lighting offers a long-lasting glow that never fails to enhance the beauty of a Trex deck.

This content was originally published here.

Create a Compelling Outdoor Living Space on a Budget

outdoor living

Who Says a Pretty Patio Has to Cost a Pretty Penny?

As summer swelters on, you may be dreaming about how nice it would be to have an in-ground pool, a cabana, or a few chaise lounge chairs to stretch out on as you enjoy an ice-cold beverage in the sweltering heat. Fortunately for you, we’ve rounded up a few budget-friendly tricks for transforming your outdoor living space into a relaxing oasis.

Don’t worry about dipping into your vacation funds in order to spruce up the backyard for summer—these affordable backyard hacks will have you feeling like you’re on vacation every time you step outside, without breaking the bank.

Find Shade Under a Canopy

Pool cabanas aren’t solely reserved for the rich and famous at luxury Vegas hotels. You can create your own DIY shady cabana space using posts and 2x4s. Check out this simple DIY tutorial from Elizabeth Burns Design. Once the frame is built, you can decide to use curtain sheers or mildew-resistant shower curtains to get that cozy, cabana-room feel.

Fill your cabana space with lounge chairs or a picnic table so that you can enjoy the space with the whole family. Add some color and life to the space with hanging potters and potted plants to really get that summer atmosphere that you crave.

Invite the Birds, the Bees, and the Butterflies

Breathe life into your outdoor space by cultivating an area that invites some tame wildlife. You will love gazing at the birds that a hummingbird feeder or birdhouse brings into your yard. Situate your hummingbird feeder amongst some colorful plants and flowers, like bee balm and columbine. This article from Farmers Almanaclists more colorful flowers and plants that will attract hummingbirds to your outdoor space.

Attract beautiful butterflies to your garden by situating potted flowers that are rich in pollen. Butterflies love zinnias, nasturtiums, cardinal vines, and cosmos. Flower seeds are generally inexpensive and you’ll love watching the little seedlings bloom into gorgeous flowers.

Update the Front Porch

If you don’t have a massive backyard space to work with, have no fear. You can transform your front porch into an outdoor room that you’ll enjoy with family and friends all summer long. Give the front door a fresh coat of paint in a color that pops, and consider adding a festive wreath to the door. Healthy plants in a brightly colored pot will also bring extra energy to your porch area.

Finish it off with a thrifted rocking chair or wooden bench, and choose an outdoor rug or welcome mat that will let your personality shine. If you went with a neutral color for your front door, add some color when it comes to flowers and accessories like window boxes and rugs.

Budget-Friendly Seating

The best way to make your outdoor space inviting is to provide plenty of space for people to sit back, relax, and enjoy the great outdoors. Budget-friendly seating is a great way to bring family and friends together. As you think about what kind of seating you want to incorporate into your outdoor space, think about providing a focal point. A thrifted outdoor coffee table, a water feature, or a fireplace or firepit are all excellent centerpieces for your seating area.

Keep the seating options varied by using a combination of some traditional outdoor chairs, a chair that allows you to recline, and a loveseat or bench that can accommodate more than one person at a time. Patio Productions advises against using so much patio furniture that your outdoor space feels crowded, but don’t be afraid to accessorize with colorful cushions and throw pillows.

Create Boundaries

Turn your backyard or patio into a multidimensional, multi-use space by creating boundaries that will make it feel like your space has multiple rooms. HGTV uses a crisp white lattice as a grill screen in order to help define a patio space.

Retaining walls and fences will also help to increase privacy if your backyard shares boundaries with other properties in the neighborhood. An outdoor grill island is another great way to bring structure into your space without blocking views or making the space feel clunky. You’ll notice that having some counter space outside will make barbecue nights that much more enjoyable.

Outdoor Spaces on a Budget? Easy.

As you begin to work on your budget-friendly outdoor space this summer, keep in mind that the point of your patio, backyard, or other outdoor space is to relax and spend time with friends and family outside. Try to design your space with this in mind, and you’ll quickly see how these small, affordable changes will make entertaining and spending time in the yard easier and more enjoyable!

This content was originally published here.

Patio Furniture: 10 Favorite Teak Sofas for Outdoor Living Spaces

Raise your hand if you’d like an extra room of living space? The teak sofa is here to make that dream a reality. Outfit the outdoors with comfortable furniture and suddenly, you have a second living room.

When it comes to an outdoor sofa, choose a simple, classic style made of long-lasting materials and it will serve you well year after year. As trends come and go, change the cushions, and even the coffee table. But consider a well-made teak sofa a friend for life.

Here are 10 of our favorite teak sofas—constructed of weather-resistant, durable hardwood and, accompanied by cushions covered in outdoor fabric.

A teak Lounge Sofa from Italy-based Unopiù’s Serene/Synthesis Collection (also shown in the top photo) measures 82.5 inches wide and is 28.75 inches tall. It is available from Henry Hall Designs in the US. For information and pricing, see Henry Hall Designs and Unopiù.

Above: A teak Lounge Sofa from Italy-based Unopiù’s Serene/Synthesis Collection (also shown in the top photo) measures 82.5 inches wide and is 28.75 inches tall. It is available from Henry Hall Designs in the US. For information and pricing, see Henry Hall Designs and Unopiù.

A architects’ favorite outdoor furniture line, the Unopiù collection is made of sustainable teak harvested in Indonesia. Read more about the collection in Favorite Furniture: Sustainable Teak from an Italian Designer.

A Teak Wood Frame Outdoor 3-Seater Sofa has UV-resistant and water-repellent cushions and is 105.5 inches wide and 24.5 inches high. It is $2,999 at west Elm.

Above: A Teak Wood Frame Outdoor 3-Seater Sofa has UV-resistant and water-repellent cushions and is 105.5 inches wide and 24.5 inches high. It is $2,999 at west Elm.
With a frame made of “slender teak bars joined with charcoal-coated aluminum,” a Barra Sofa has a graceful silhouette. It is 60.25 inches wide and 26 inches high. Shown here with Sunbrella cushions (available either in charcoal or silver fabric), it is $1,799 from Crate & Barrel.

Above: With a frame made of “slender teak bars joined with charcoal-coated aluminum,” a Barra Sofa has a graceful silhouette. It is 60.25 inches wide and 26 inches high. Shown here with Sunbrella cushions (available either in charcoal or silver fabric), it is $1,799 from Crate & Barrel.
A a 76.5-inch-long Finn Three-Seater Sofa from Danish design house Norm has a teak frame and mildew-resistant Sunbrella cushions (available in white or black); $2,795 at Design Within Reach.

Above: A a 76.5-inch-long Finn Three-Seater Sofa from Danish design house Norm has a teak frame and mildew-resistant Sunbrella cushions (available in white or black); $2,795 at Design Within Reach.
A teak Montecito Daybed from James Perse Furniture has weather resistant cushions and is manufactured in the US. For more information and pricing, see James Perse.

Above: A teak Montecito Daybed from James Perse Furniture has weather resistant cushions and is manufactured in the US. For more information and pricing, see James Perse.
An Arca teak sofa requires assembly comes with onyx black cushions is 75.5 inches wide and 31 inches high. It is $1,299 from Article.

Above: An Arca teak sofa requires assembly comes with onyx black cushions is 75.5 inches wide and 31 inches high. It is $1,299 from Article.
A Skanor 3-Seater Sofa by Scandinavian designer Skargaarden “has been designed with a relatively tall back rest to maximize comfort. The cushions are filled with foam encased in polyester and covered with outdoor Sunbrella fabric” It measures 91 inches wide and 29 inches high; $7,200 at Curran Home.

Above: A Skanor 3-Seater Sofa by Scandinavian designer Skargaarden “has been designed with a relatively tall back rest to maximize comfort. The cushions are filled with foam encased in polyester and covered with outdoor Sunbrella fabric” It measures 91 inches wide and 29 inches high; $7,200 at Curran Home.
A Cliffside Teak Sofa made of weather-resistant, unfinished Grade A teak has tufted Sunbrella canvas cushions. It is 77.5 inches wide and 30.5 inches high; $2,898 from Serena & Lily.

Above: A Cliffside Teak Sofa made of weather-resistant, unfinished Grade A teak has tufted Sunbrella canvas cushions. It is 77.5 inches wide and 30.5 inches high; $2,898 from Serena & Lily.
Madi in Indonesia, an 84-inch-wide Ojai Outdoor Sofa frame is $1,995. Sold separately, a set of four cushions upholstered in Sunbrella fabric available in several colors are from $895 to $1,095 depending on the fabric at Williams-Sonoma.

Above: Madi in Indonesia, an 84-inch-wide Ojai Outdoor Sofa frame is $1,995. Sold separately, a set of four cushions upholstered in Sunbrella fabric available in several colors are from $895 to $1,095 depending on the fabric at Williams-Sonoma.
A 90-inch slatted Horizon Teak Three Seat Sofa comes with cushions covered in Olefin outdoor fabric is $2,498 from Terrain.

Above: A 90-inch slatted Horizon Teak Three Seat Sofa comes with cushions covered in Olefin outdoor fabric is $2,498 from Terrain.

Design a patio or outfitting an outdoor space with furniture? See our guide to Decks & Patios 101 in our curated guides to Hardscape 101. See more of our favorite furniture:

This content was originally published here.

3 ‘Sure-fire’ Ways to Add Appeal to Outdoor Living Spaces – Napoleon Fireplaces

Written by Wayne Visbeen, AIA, IIDA, principal & founder of Visbeen Architects, Inc.

Home builders, home buyers, kids, adults and everyone in between have one thing in common: they could use more vacations. Busy schedules and demanding jobs tend to leave people with fewer reprieves than they deserve. As a home designer, I find it’s both desirable and valuable to create spaces that feel like a vacation right in our own backyards—literally.

Outdoor spaces are hot in today’s home design market. Once reserved for the rich and famous, luxurious outdoor living spaces don’t have to break the bank. For homeowners, these spaces are great for entertaining and for creating the day-to-day memories with family. I find that adding elements of fire ensures my clients can make the most out of their new outdoor spaces because they can use them earlier in the spring, later into the fall and long after the sun goes down. Here are three ways I like to add fire to my outdoor living space designs.

1. Built-in Fireplaces

Careful planning and design go into each room of the home, and a backyard is no exception. A beautifully built-in fireplace is the star of many of my outdoor living designs. It adds a focal point to the backyard and makes it a great place to socialize and relax. The integration from indoors to outdoors is very important. When possible, I like the patio to cascade from the back of the home making the transition from inside to outside fairly seamless. When the design allows, bi-fold glass doors can even combine these two living spaces into one.

2. Flame Tables

Flame tables are an easy way to add elegance to any outdoor living space. I like flame tables because I’m able to incorporate them into spaces where wood-burning fireplaces may not be compatible. For example, adding a flame table to a rooftop oasis or a smaller urban space. The surround on a flame table provides a place to set down drinks or appetizers. Sort of like a high-end coffee table but, ya know, safely on fire. Flame tables can run off the home’s gas line or a more portable propane tank. They are fuel efficient while acting as the anchor to any outdoor living space.

3. Torches

Torches are modern yet classic. Slim in design, a torch can be built into pillars or corners, making them a great option for smaller spaces, or bigger spaces that require more lighting. Napoleon’s GSST8 Outdoor Gas Torch is an ideal accent piece for any outdoor living space.

Outdoor spaces act as a buffer between inside and outside. My clients continue to request outdoor living spaces to both entertain and relax. By using fire in an outdoor living space’s design, it not only adds a beautiful focal point, but also enables the space to be used for more months out of the year. With fireplaces offered in so many shapes and sizes, incorporating fire into an outdoor living space is easier than ever before.

Wayne Visbeen, AIA, IIDA, principal and founder of Visbeen Architects, Inc., is known for his one-of-a-kind home designs. Visbeen works with clients to understand the important aspects of their vision and then transforms these into a conceptual sketch right before their eyes. Winner of more than 100 Residential Design Awards and dozens of Best in American Living Awards, Visbeen incorporates these themes and more into his designs and his own home, located in Grand Rapids, Mich.

This content was originally published here.

Build Your Dream Outdoor Living Space On a Budget By Building in Phases

Sometimes, it’s just not feasible to build your dream outdoor living space all at once. When building one phase at a time, proper upfront planning can save time, money and headaches.

Tip #1:  Choose a qualified design/build contractor

A large outdoor living build-out is an important investment in your home. Don’t trust that investment to just anyone. With a smaller job, an installation contractor is fine, but in order to properly plan a job that will be built in phases, you’ll need someone with design skills. For more information, read our Tips for Choosing a Hardscape Contractor blog.

Tip #2:  Design your complete dream outdoor space upfront

You can always scale it back, but it can be much less costly to design something that is never built than to retrofit a space later. This is especially true if future footings or underground utilities will be required. Many contractors will charge a fee for the design, but often credit that back to you when the work is done. For a realistic vision of how your dream space would look in your backyard, Belgard Authorized Contractors can utilize the Belgard Design Studio to import architectural plans or photos of your home to create 3-D renderings of their outdoor living designs that include furniture placement and potential landscaping. Fly-through animation will allow you to virtually walk through the design so you can truly get a feel for how you would live in that space. This can help you catch potential issues with the layout prior to construction.

Sample Belgard Design Studio 3-D rendering of an outdoor living area that could be built out in phases.

Tip#3:  Preplan for future phases

When you’re planning an outdoor living space, think of what you would plan for an indoor living space. Think lighting, music, televisions, cooking needs, and gas or electric appliances. Consider your local climate and think about ways of keeping warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Running utilities all at once, including those that you won’t need until later, can be a huge cost savings in the end.  And if you plan to install heavy elements in a later phase, such as a pavilion or an outdoor fireplace, be sure to plan where any footings will be needed and install them prior to laying any hardscapes in those areas.

Tip #4:  Consider your lifestyle

When planning out the phases, discuss your lifestyle with your contractor so that you can plan the phases that will work best with your budget and how you would like to live in the space. A typical scenario would be to install the flat surfaces first, then build up, then embellish. For example, if a design includes a patio with an outdoor kitchen, a fireplace, and seat walls, the phases of the plan may look like this:  1) patio  2) kitchen  3) fireplace  4) seat walls, lighting, and sound.  However, depending upon your lifestyle, you may want to rearrange the order of the phases or build in sections instead.

Tip #5:  Look for opportunities to reduce the number of phases

Construction economies can be achieved by building in fewer phases. Many Belgard Authorized Contractors offer the Belgard Preferred Payment program, which can help you build more at one time and spread the cost out over several months with same-as-cash financing options for loan amounts up to $55,000 that can include labor, materials, furniture, appliance, landscaping and more.

Coming up next week:

National S’mores Day is Thursday, August 10. Come back to the Outdoor Living Blog next week to learn how you can submit your favorite s’mores memory or recipe for a chance to win a Belgard fire pit!

This content was originally published here.

Affordable Luxury Meets Outdoor Living

outdoor living


Summer’s almost over, but there’s still time to reap the benefits of the investments you’ve made to your outdoor living spaces. Love splashing in the pool, cranking up the tunes or watching baseball on an outdoor TV? Enjoy creating al fresco meals, pizza dinners or craft cocktails in the outdoor kitchen? Maybe the highlight of your summer has been hosting outdoor game nights or soirees around the firepit. No matter your favorite outdoor summer activity, every upgrade you make to your outdoor space translates into increased enjoyment during the outdoor living season.

Of course, you’ve probably noticed fall is just around the corner. But you can extend the season by three additional months in a temperate climate or year-round in a mild one, thanks to our budget-friendly heating systems. Our heaters adds affordable luxury to your outdoor space by offering a unique combination of low initial setup and maintenance costs — and there’s a high payoff when it comes to enhancing your lifestyle.

Here’s what we mean when we pair the word “affordable” with the word “luxury.”

1. A typical Infratech heating system installation costs approximately 5% of the total average cost for an outdoor living room or outdoor kitchen remodel. It’s an affordable initial investment that adds lasting comfort and convenience.

2. Our heating systems are also cost-effective over the long term, with straightforward installation, virtually zero maintenance, and operation for only pennies per hour.

3. Our heaters provide eco-friendly, customized climate control with zero negative emissions, generating comfort heat via a pleasing glow with no harsh odors or sounds to detract from the ambience of your gatherings.

4. We’ve got a range of colors and mounting options to choose from, including our best-selling flush mount option. Our heaters were specifically designed to blend seamlessly into any surrounding décor, letting your style take center stage.

If you want to spend more time outdoors with family and friends as summer segues into fall, our heaters can make cool nights cozy.

This content was originally published here.

One Cool Outdoor Living Space For The Farm!

outdoor living

So if you have never heard of a Grain BinZebo – you are about to now!

A Grain BinZebo is an outdoor living space constructed from a recycled grain bin or corn crib. Not only do they look incredibly unique, they are an excellent way to re-purpose old farm structures that are no longer in use.

And after doing a little research, we have decided to make it our next big project at the farm.

Grain BinZebo
Jeb Clark used this old grain bin to create his outdoor structure.

The Grain BinZebo

One of our favorite things to do is draw inspiration from other people and their projects. Especially when it involves recycling and re-purposing old structures for a whole new second life.

Our farm was built on recycling and re-purposing. It all began with the recycled barn project, creating our new barn from two old barn structures.  See : Our “new” Old Barn

From there, it continued on with our recycled chicken coop, compost bins, brick patio and more.

Recycling was not only a way to find new life for old things and help the environment – it was a way for us to build the entire farm on a shoestring budget.

Grain BinZebo
Jeb Clark’s grain bin transforming into his poolside pavilion.

The 24 x 32′ recycled barn was built for less than a thousand dollars. The 12 x 8′ chicken coop for only a few hundred.  And the list could go on and on.

But beyond the incredible savings, we also simply love the rustic charm these projects give to the farm.

The Grain BinZebo –  The Next Recycled Project At The Farm.

With more farm to table dinners and events hopefully coming to the farm in the years ahead, we needed additional sheltered space to entertain. The barn is the perfect start, but it is always nice to have an extra area where people can gather to escape the hot sun or rain.

Grain BinZebo
The recycled barn and outdoor kitchen area at the farm. Much of what we build outdoors comes from second life materials.

So when we happened upon an article about a man in Stanton, Iowa who transformed a neighbor’s old grain bin into his own poolside outdoor pavilion, we instantly became interested.

Jeb Clark definitely gets re-purposing. Piece by piece, he deconstructed his neighbors old grain bin. Then, fashioned it into his own unique outdoor living room, calling it Binzilla.

After reading the article, we instantly became inspired to make it our next project at the farm. We reached out to Jeb, and he graciously shared the detailed of his project to help us plan ours

The Old Word Garden Grain BinZebo Project

First and foremost, the search is on for an old corn crib or grain bin to dismantle and bring to the farm.

Sadly, there are so many barn and outdoor farm structures that sit abandoned today. Grain bins, corn cribs and silos that once served farms all across the nation – now sit empty, slowly deteriorating and crumbling to the ground.

Grain BinZebo
One quick internet search will reveal all kinds of grain bin and corn bin recycling projects.

It is our hope to rescue one of these and give it a great new re-purposed life at the farm.

Our plan is to level out an area near the barn, pour a concrete foundation, and reconstruct it into an outdoor entertaining area.

For our Grain Binzebo, we will cut out the entire mid-section, leaving the bottom portion in tact. This will give the area a more enclosed look and feel. We are also hoping to create a curved concrete countertop area around most of the structure for serving and seating.

It should make the perfect place to entertain, and make for an interesting conversation piece too! If nothing else, it should be one fun project to undertake!

Grain BinZebo
The search is on for an old grain bin

Much like with the outdoor cabin project, we will keep you updated on the plans and the progress of the Grain BinZebo project in the coming months.

Hopefully, by mid-summer of next year, we can be enjoying a night with friends and family at the farm underneath our newest recycled structure.

Happy Building! Jim and Mary. Sign up to follow our blog via email in the right hand column to get all of our DIY, Gardening, and Recipe articles. You can also “like” and follow us on Facebook to stay in on the action there too!

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