Thursday, December 27 2018
2018 is quickly coming to a close, with just five days left in the year. As you prepare for the new year, and map out your resolutions and goals, a home remodel may be on your to-do list. A great way to tackle your goals is by creating a plan to follow. We want to help you plan out a home remodel, so you can achieve your home design goals in 2019!
Budget & Plan
The first step to take when planning a remodel is to decide on budget and size of the project. Budget and size of remodels are dependent on each other, so it’s very important to begin the project with solid guidelines in mind. You should determine what your overall budget is, and what you want to accomplish. Maybe you want to focus on major kitchen and bath upgrades, while dedicating smaller improvements to the rest of the home, like new paint and flooring.
Do some research and find inspiration on websites like Houzz and Pinterest, so you can create a wish list with must-have features and model your budget around this. Keep in mind that kitchen and bath remodels are more costly than other areas of the home—according to HomeAdvisor.com, the average kitchen remodel costs around $23,000, or $150 per square foot; the average bathroom remodel costs around $10,000. Of course, costs also fluctuate with size of the space and materials used. Setting a budget and sticking to it can be difficult but having a plan can help you maintain a budget and achieve your design goals!
Now that you have a clear vision and budget, you can take the next step and hire professionals who will execute the project. Find a few local, experienced contractors and reach out for a project quote. Determine who best fits within your needs and budget and hire them for the project! If you need some design help, most contractors are happy to assist with creating a functional layout and including your must-haves in the design—don’t hesitate to ask for their input and suggestions because they may have good insights and ideas that you’ll love! A great resource for finding professionals in your area is the “Pros” search tool on Houzz.com. Another way to find reputable contractors and builders is by asking around—ask neighbors, coworkers, and the community for recommendations.
With a solid plan, and a team to execute it, you are now ready to establish a schedule for your project. You can ask your contractor for a time estimate, and plan accordingly—normally the contractor will suggest which room to start the project in and can give you a timeline and steps involved in each project. Give yourself plenty of time for the project, so you are prepared for any unexpected delays!
Consider the timeless design trend of indoor-outdoor living spaces. This modern, ongoing design trend can increase the value of your home as homebuyers desire indoor spaces that can be expanded to their outdoor entertainment areas. The design is great for homeowners who enjoy entertaining guests, who enjoy nature and fresh air, and who want to expand their views. Indoor-outdoor living can be achieved by including innovative, custom patio doors in your home remodel—Bi-Fold Patio Doors and Multi-Slide Patio Doors can eliminate entire walls and open the room to the outdoors. Using a Folding Door System in your living room, dining room, and kitchen will create open-air living throughout your home! You might also consider using a Bi-Fold Window to create a kitchen passthrough window from kitchen to patio.
Tuesday, December 25 2018
The holiday season is the season of giving. After you’ve spent time with friends and family, given and received thoughtfully picked out gifts, and indulged in countless meals full of rich foods and sweet treats, you may feel a desire to do something more this Christmas. This is a nice time to think about others who are less fortunate, and to give back to the community. Below are some ways that you can make a difference and do some good this holiday season.
Donate to Charities
One way you can give back this Christmas is by donating money to a charity. Maybe you already have a charity you support, or maybe you need to do some research to find one you are passionate about—whatever charity you choose, you can donate a small or large amount of money and know that your donation will be used for an important cause that you want to help. When you research a charity to support, you can narrow it down by causes that interest you; are you passionate about helping children, the homeless, the environment, animals, etc.? Check out relevant charities and choose one whose administrative costs are reasonable, so the largest possible percentage of your donation actually reaches recipients. Then you can be sure that any donation you make will go to a great cause!
Help a Family in Need
Reach out to local community agencies that organize assistance for the less fortunate—there may be a family going through a hard time who could use help this Christmas. You could graciously provide gifts, Christmas decorations, and a meal to this family so they can celebrate the holiday. Small gestures like this could change a family’s life and spread the Christmas cheer to a family who really needs it!
Create Gift Bags
Another way to give back to the community is by creating gift bags for the homeless. You can find inexpensive backpacks and bags at discount stores like Ross and the 99 Cent Store, and you can fill them with items that they will need. Things to include are toiletries like toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, lotion, sunscreen, deodorant, etc. You should also include items like new socks, gloves, sunglasses, underwear, an emergency blanket, and poncho. This is a nice way to help provide people with basic supplies that everyone needs.
Donate to a Food Bank
You can buy some nonperishable foods, or empty out your cupboard, and donate to a local food bank. Food banks are often in need of extra food during the holidays, so this is the perfect way to help local families in need. You can call your local food bank and ask which foods they most need, or use this list to help you pick some out!
Sing Christmas Carols
Visit a nursing home and bring Christmas cards to pass out. Go as a group and sing Christmas carols to spread cheer among the residents. Many of the people living in nursing homes don’t have family or regular visitors, so spending an hour or two visiting and celebrating the holiday with nursing home residents can bring them happiness and joy and make them feel less lonely during the holiday season.
Merry Christmas from all of us here at AG Millworks!
Thursday, December 20 2018
Tomorrow, December 21st, winter officially begins with the Winter Solstice! Can you believe that Christmas is in just five days, and 2019 is right around the corner? Winter is beginning, so we should be ready to expect colder days and nights, more rain or snow, and frosty windshields. Are you ready for this change in weather? There are things you can do to make this harsh weather more bearable while, day by day, we slowly get closer to Springtime and warmer weather!
Being cold is an uncomfortable feeling and can make any outing miserable. Now that it’s extra chilly outside, be sure to bundle up and wear layers to keep warm. Scarves, hats, gloves, and coats are great protection from the cold weather! Layers are perfect because if you get a little too warm, you can remove a layer or two. You should also invest in a great pair of rain or snow boots to keep your feet warm and dry this winter. Keep an umbrella in your car just in case you get caught in a storm!
Use hot drinks to warm up when it’s especially cold outside. Grab a coffee, tea, or hot chocolate from your local coffee shop and sip on it to keep you warm on your morning commute. Because hot beverages are warmer than your body temperature, they help make your body warmer, even when it’s cold out! Not only will these yummy refreshments keep you nice and toasty, but they are delicious, and could even soothe a lingering cough or sore throat—opt for teas with lemon and honey to achieve the latter.
Break the Chill
Run your fireplace and heater to break the chill in your home. Keep cozy throws and pillows out so it’s easy to cover up on the couch when it’s chilly. Once your home is nice and warm, keep your Bi-Fold Patio Doors closed to preserve the warmth— Energy Solutions Bi-Folds are energy efficient doors that can keep the heat from escaping your home. For those times when no matter how high you raise the thermostat, you just can’t seem to warm up, put on cozy pajamas and fuzzy socks, and turn on your heated blanket to help combat the cold!
Now that you’re ready to fight the cold, here are some interesting facts about this year’s Winter Solstice:
1 | Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year—this means that Friday will have the least number of daylight minutes out of all 365 days of the year. The farther North you are from the equator, the less sunlight you’ll get during the solstice, and the longer the night will be (in the Northern hemisphere).
2 | All the planets in our solar system have solstices too—any planet that rotates on a tilted axis will have seasons, solstices, and equinoxes.
3 | There will be a full moon, called the “Long Night’s Moon,” on the Winter Solstice—the full moon hasn’t fallen on the solstice since 2010, and won’t again until 2094.
4 | The word “solstice” translates to “sun stands still.”
5 | The primary axis of the Stonehenge monument is aligned to the sunset on Winter Solstice.
Tuesday, December 18 2018
Christmas is one week away and its about that time to watch all your favorite holiday movies, so you can really get into the Christmas spirit. Spending a day (or two) bingeing all the best Christmas movies and indulging in tasty holiday treats is one of the best parts about Christmas! We want to help you plan the ultimate Christmas movie binge party that you can enjoy with your friends and family.
Plan to start the event first thing in the morning, to maximize viewing time! Inform attendees that the first movie will begin promptly at 10 am (or whenever you choose) and everyone should arrive early to claim their seats and get situated. You should create a movie lineup with all the movies you plan to show throughout the day, so people know what to expect.
Supply some snacks and holiday treats for the occasion, but also request that guests come with a snack or two to contribute to the snack table! You should include some movie watching staples like popcorn, candy, and chips. It also doesn’t hurt to have a few healthier options like veggies and dip and cheese and crackers. And don’t forget the holiday refreshments like hot cocoa and eggnog (click here for recipes of holiday favorites).
Have plenty of soft blankets on hand for viewers to curl up and get cozy with. Make sure your couch is ready for tons of people and bring in some extra seating like chairs and bean bags, so everyone has a comfy seat. You can even start a fire in the fireplace to keep your home warm and add to the aesthetic! Tell everyone to show up wearing Christmas sweaters and pajamas or loungewear so they are both festive and comfortable for the long movie day that lies ahead. If the room gets a little stuffy, open your Bi-Fold Doors or Multi-Slide Doors and let in the fresh December air.
You might consider scheduling a break from movie watching, to chat, mingle, refuel, and play games. Fun classics like Yahtzee, Cards Against Humanity, Charades, and Pictionary are great for large groups! An hour is the perfect break from the movie marathon, and then you can move on to the next one in the lineup.
The most important thing to plan is your movie lineup. You can opt for all your own personal favorites or conduct a poll amongst your friends and family to conclude which movies will be shown. You can never go wrong with the major classics like A Christmas Story, The Santa Clause Trilogy, Home Alone and Home Alone 2, The Grinch, Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Everyone enjoys Christmas movies, so whichever movies you choose are bound to be a hit.
Planning to watch all the best Christmas movies in just one day can be difficult, especially with scheduled times for games, snacking, and bathroom breaks, so why not make it a two-day marathon event! Not only does this give you more time to check off the best movies from your list, but it allows people who may not be able to make it to the party on one day a chance to join in on the next one.
Happy bingeing from AG Millworks!
Thursday, December 13 2018
There’s less than two weeks until Christmas, so it’s time to start planning for your Christmas Day meal. You can create a unique and memorable Christmas brunch for your family by opening your folding patio doors and hosting the event outside on the patio! Use the following tips to ensure your Christmas Day brunch turns out perfectly!
Before the big day, you’ll want to make sure the patio is swept and free of leaves, dust, and cobwebs. Give your outdoor dining set a good wipe down so it is nice and clean and ready to serve its purpose. Check that your outdoor heaters are functioning and have plenty of propane to keep them running throughout the occasion. If you haven’t already, put out some holiday decorations so family and guests can enjoy their meal in a cheery, festive environment! Plan for a way to play classic Christmas music outdoors while the meal commences!
Set up a hot cocoa bar in a nook on the patio so everyone can warm up with the tasty beverage while they wait for brunch to be served. Ingredients for the perfect hot cocoa bar include hot chocolate mix, marshmallows, candy canes, and whipped cream. You can also include small bites like pastries and fruit for your friends and family to snack on before the main meal.
Prepare the table with your favorite table cloth, settings, and holiday center pieces. Don’t forget to include plenty of napkins, and salt and pepper to prevent diners from getting up during the meal. You can keep a basket close by with a stack of cozy blankets, just in case it’s a particularly chilly day.
Keep your Bi-Fold Doors or Multi-Slide Doors open and set up a buffet in the kitchen for guests to serve themselves (if you have a Bi-Fold Kitchen Passthrough Window, you may choose to set up the buffet here). Picking the right brunch food is tricky—you can never go wrong with the basic dishes like eggs, oven-cooked bacon, toast, and pancakes. If you feel like going all out with your meal preparation, check out these tasty and unique brunch ideas from Delish.com. Remember that your family will be happy and grateful for any meal you prepare!
When you guys sit down to eat, make an effort to go around in a circle and take turns saying what you are grateful for this Christmas. It will be a good reminder for everyone that Christmas is more than just gifts and treats, it’s about spending time with the ones you love and enjoying their company! When everyone’s bellies are full, make cleanup a team effort so the job is done in record time. Spend the rest of the day watching movies, telling stories, playing games, and snacking on leftover holiday treats as a family. When the sun begins set, close up your folding doors and light a fire in the fireplace; finish off the day by roasting marshmallows on the fire and making s’mores. There’s no better way to spend the holiday than with Christmas brunch on the patio surrounded by your friends and family!
Tuesday, December 11 2018
Impress family and guests this holiday season by making everyone’s favorite holiday drink from scratch! Below are delicious recipes for some of the most popular holiday drinks. They are easy to follow and taste so much better than store bought mixes!
Of course, hot cocoa is high up on the list—it is a fan favorite every holiday season. Who can resist the sweet, chocolatey flavor that is hot cocoa? Hot chocolate is so easy to make from scratch and tastes 100 times better than the store-bought packets! For the creamiest, chocolatiest recipe, you need: whole milk, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, vanilla extract, whipped cream, and chocolate shavings. In 5 or 10 minutes you will be drinking the best hot chocolate you’ve ever had! Click here for step by step instructions. You can always add your own twist to this recipe with extra ingredients, like marshmallows or cinnamon!
Eggnog is up there with hot cocoa on the list of holiday favorites, and for good reason. The thick, creamy, cinnamon flavor is so unique and delicious, making it a holiday season staple for many. Eggnog is slightly more difficult to make than hot chocolate, however after you do it once, you’ll realize just how easy it is! To make eggnog you need milk, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, eggs, granulated sugar, and heavy cream (and bourbon or rum if you want to make it boozy). This recipe from Delish.com is easy to follow and will leave you with creamy, rich eggnog for you and your family to enjoy!
Hot Apple Cider
Hot apple cider is another popular drink that surrounds Thanksgiving and Christmastime. It’s the perfect libation for a chilly night spent walking the boardwalk, looking at Christmas lights, or sitting at home on the patio by the fire, Bi-Fold Doors open. This is one of the easier recipes on this list because most of the cook time is spent letting the ingredients mix and mingle on the stove to ensure maximum flavor is released from the spices. Ingredients for hot apple cider include: whole cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, orange peel, apple cider, and orange juice! Follow this recipe from The Food Network to create a tasty cider to warm you up on a cold night!
The hot toddy is a classic beverage perfect for the holidays (and this ongoing cold and flu season). Whether you need it just to warm up and have a nightcap, or to remedy a sore throat, the hot toddy is the ultimate choice for a warm and refreshing holiday treat. A very simple recipe, the hot toddy calls for water, honey, whiskey, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, lemon, and nutmeg. You’re ready to whip up some hot toddies, open up your Multi-Slide Patio Doors, and cozy up on the patio with the family! For step by step instructions, click here.
Everyone loves a peppermint mocha from Starbucks, but you can save money and add flavor by making your own! This recipe calls for just four ingredients: milk, coffee, bittersweet chocolate, and peppermint extract. In minutes, you can have peppermint mochas prepared for the whole family! Follow this peppermint mocha recipe.
Hot Buttered Rum
If you haven’t tried a hot buttered rum before, now is the time! This is the most difficult recipe on the list to master and requires an electric hand mixer to blend the ingredients. Though there is a little more work involved in this drink, a hot buttered rum is worth the extra effort. This drink is full of sugar and spice (and butter) and topped off with rum! Once you try it, it just may be your favorite holiday drink. When you are more familiar with the flavors and recipe, you can customize the recipe to appeal to your own tastes! Click here for the full recipe.
Horchata with Mint & Cocoa
One of our tastiest recipes on this list: Horchata with a twist! This recipe has Mexican roots, and uses mint and cocoa to create a unique twist on the standard horchata. If you're craving a sweet, creamy, cinnamon drink, this is the perfect horchata recipe for you! To master this special Horchata with Mint & Cocoa recipe, developed by the recipe specialiasts at JenReviews.com, visit the Jen Reviews Website here.
Thursday, December 06 2018
With just a few short weeks left before Christmas, you might be feeling the pressure that surrounds such an important holiday. If you’ll be hosting guests for Christmas this year, make their stay more comfortable and lessen the stress that comes with being a host with these tips!
Preparing the guest bedroom should be the first item on your list. Make sure the room is clean and dust free, and all lights are functional. Dress the bed with fresh linens and comfy pillows and leave a supply of cozy blankets in the room, in case your guests get cold. You might even add a scented candle and matches to their room for a warm, relaxing touch. Be sure to let them know the candle is theirs to keep! Consider providing water bottles or a carafe of fresh water and glasses on the dresser or nightstand, so they won’t have to stumble around in the middle of the night in search of the kitchen.
Next you can tackle the guest bathroom. Have the bathroom deep cleaned so it is prepared for guests. Check that there are plenty of fresh and fluffy bath towels and wash cloths available for your guests to use. Have shampoo, conditioner, and soap readily available in the shower nook so your guests don’t have to request any. Don’t forget to supply enough toilet paper in the cupboard or basket for easy access!
If the rest of your home has been cleaned recently, simple spot cleaning will suffice for key areas of the home. Dust and wipe down surfaces and spruce up the powder room to prepare the rest of your home for guests.
Before their arrival, ask guests what tea, coffee, and meals they enjoy so you can better prepare for their stay. Make sure your bar is stocked and ready for entertaining. Have a few different liquors, mixers, beer, and wine on hand to accommodate a variety of tastes—research some fun holiday coctail recipes beforehand and impress guests with a unique and tasty concoction. Offer guests full use of the bar during their stay so they can indulge in their favorite drinks. Don’t forget to pick up some non-acholic beverages for children and non-drinkers. Lay out a spread of holiday snacks, like nuts, popcorn, and other treats for guests to help themselves throughout their stay!
Plan a welcome dinner for their arrival. Find out when guests will be arriving, or if they need a ride from the airport, and make your dinner plans accordingly. This is a busy time of year, so opt for one of these easy crock pot meals to lessen the burden of cooking a large meal—we suggest the Slow Coocker Pot Roast! Throw together a salad, and some garlic bread to include as sides and you’re all set! Open your Bi-Fold Patio Doors and set up the meal on the outdoor dining table where everyone can enjoy your festive patio décor. Your guests will be so grateful to come home to a warm, homemade meal after a busy day of traveling. After the meal, let guests get settled into their guest room and have an early night to relax and recover from the chaotic day.
Tuesday, December 04 2018
December has arrived, which means the next few weeks will be full of holiday planning, baking, and gift wrapping! A fun holiday event that everyone will enjoy is a holiday cookie decorating party! This get-together is super easy to plan and host, so what are you waiting for? Use this guide to plan your cookie decorating party this holiday season!
Now that you’ve decided to host a cookie decorating party, you need to make sure your house is festive and ready to host guests for the occasion. If you haven’t already, begin putting out your holiday décor and make your home feel extra cozy and cheery! Next, pick a day for the party and send out invites—this can be a phone call, text, e-vite, or mailed invitation. You can easily create your electronic invitations on Evite.com and have them sent out immediately. Another great program for invitation design is Canva.com. Canva has hundreds of templates and streamlines the design process! Make sure to create the ultimate holiday music playlist that will last the entire party and put guests in the holiday mood—we suggest you include “Jingle Bell Rock” and “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” as they are guaranteed to get your friends and family on their feet dancing and singing along!
Now that you have a set day and guest list, you’ll want to gather supplies! You can specify on the invitation that guests bring some sprinkles, frosting, candy, and any other cookie decorations to contribute so there is an abundant assortment of decorations. Colorful sprinkles, lots of frosting, food coloring, plates, Ziploc baggies, and other edible décor are a good starting point! You may also need some Christmas cookie cutters. Decide if you want to bake the cookies in advance or wait until the day of to get baking. This sugar cookie recipe from allrecipes.com is the best for cookie cutting and decorating! If you need additional space to set up decorating stations, don't hesitate to open your large Bi-Fold Patio Door and set up on the patio!
Turn the decorating into a contest! Give everyone plenty of time to get creative and decorate their cookies, and when the time has come, guests should submit their favorite design into the contest. Guests can then vote for their favorite cookie to elect a winner! You might consider purchasing some fun prizes to give out to the first, second, and third place winners of the contest. If you want to make it even more fun, you can have categories like “Most Festive,” “Most Unique,” “Cutest Snowman,” and “Ugliest Sweater.” (Photo from willbakeforbooks.com)
Step up your holiday game by doubling your cookie decorating party as an ugly holiday sweater party! Mention on the invite that everyone should attend the party wearing an ugly holiday sweater. This is a fun and silly way to make sure everyone is festive and in a cheery holiday spirit! You can turn this into a contest as well and vote for the best dressed guest!
Don’t forget to have plenty of snacks and refreshments on hand—people will be craving a salty snack after snacking on cookies and frosting while they’re busy decorating. Chips and dip, veggies and hummus, and cheese and crackers are tasty and affordable snacks you can provide at the party!
Thursday, November 29 2018
Thanksgiving is over, and Christmas is less than four weeks away. The days are quickly dwindling away, and before you know it, it will be Christmas Eve. You may have already begun your holiday decorating, but oftentimes the back patio is neglected. There are cute and cozy ways to liven up your patio and get it ready for the holidays!
Before you begin decorating the patio, give it a quick cleaning to make sure your décor stays clean and protected. Dust off the patio furniture, sweep up the leaves, clean you Bi-Fold Patio Doors, and wash your outdoor seat cushions. Prepare the space for chilly nights spent on the patio with a warm blanket and a good book!
Now that the patio is squeaky clean, you can begin decorating! Hang stockings by your outdoor fireplace to dress up the mantel. Invest in cute, decorative Christmas throw pillow covers to put on existing pillows and create a cozy, Christmas-themed space. Don’t forget the soft, fluffy Christmas throw blanket to complete your holiday-themed furniture decor!
Set up a Christmas tree outside on the patio and decorate it with all your favorite ornaments! Place the tree near your Multi-Slide Patio Door so you can enjoy the twinkling lights from inside and out.
Go crazy with Christmas lights! Hang lights all around the patio and wrap lights around trees and shrubs. This will help to create a festive and cheerful patio for the whole family to enjoy!
Hang mistletoe above your folding patio doors—and anywhere else you can—and watch as people get caught under the mistletoe! You can also use fresh wreaths to decorate your patio. Hang fresh wreaths on open walls and on the backs of chairs to create a classy holiday look that smells good too!
These stick-on snowflakes from Amazon are perfect for adding some wintry décor to your large sliding glass patio door. The snowflakes cling to the glass and easily peel off when the holidays are over! This will allow you to enjoy the beauty of snowflakes even though you may not live in a snowy climate. Have your kids help you stick on the window clings in unique patterns to create a beautiful design.
If you have some open space on a wall, set up an outdoor holiday photobooth for family and friends to enjoy. Use wrapping paper, streamers, or anything else you can find to create a beautiful holiday backdrop. Be sure to make or buy some photo props to make it a fun and entertaining experience!
When decorating is complete, light the fireplace and gather on the patio. Set up a hot chocolate and s’mores bar, and spend time indulging in some holiday treats and enjoying your newly decorated patio by the fire! Dim the lights so your family can fully enjoy the colorful, twinkling lights that cover the space. With a cozy outdoor space like this one, you’ll want to spend the entirety of this holiday season curled up on your patio reading a good book and enjoying the indoor-outdoor lifestyle with the whole family!
Tuesday, November 27 2018
You have probably seen divided lite doors and windows on many homes and buildings in your area, but you may not have known what they are called. Doors and windows can be custom made with decorative grids to create multi-lite doors and windows. There are two different types of lites: true divided lites and simulated divided lites.
True Divided Lites
True divided lite doors and windows, available only in all-wood doors, have multiple panes of glass that are separated by actual wood bars, called mullions. The AG Multi-Slide Door pictured above has eighteen true divided lites in each door panel. This means that each door panel consists of eighteen small pieces of glass held together by wood mullions. At AG Millworks, solid wood Bi-Fold Patio Doors, Multi-Slide Patio Doors, and French Swing Patio Doors are available with custom true divided lite configurations. AG Millworks can create almost any true divided lite pattern, adding character and uniqueness to any home design!
Simulated Divided Lites
Simulated divided lite doors and windows have one pane of glass with grilles attached to the interior and exterior of the glass to simulate the look of true divided lites. The AG Bi-Fold Door pictured above has ten simulated divided lites on each panel. This means that each window consists of vertical and horizontal grilles the create the appearance of ten divided lites on the door panels. At AG Millworks, all-wood or aluminum clad Bi-Fold Patio Doors, Multi-Slide Patio Doors, and French Swing Patio Doors are available with custom simulated divided lite configurations. With three bar widths (5/8”, 7/8”, and 1-1/8”) offered, and the option of ovolo, bevel, or square shaped lites for the interior wood bar surface, AG Millworks offers the most divided lite options in the industry! AG can build patio doors with lite configurations that match existing windows and doors already installed in the home.
Why Divided Lites?
Divided lites are mainly a design feature. They have a historical aesthetic reminiscent of the colonial time period. Many people opt for divided lites to personalize the home design and make it more unique. Different home styles will use different lite patterns to accentuate a theme. Some of the most common lite patterns are listed below.
Cottage Style Lites
Pictured above is a AG Folding Patio Door with cottage style divided lites. This lite pattern is popular on beach, cottage, and craftsman style homes. Designers often match doors and windows with the same lite pattern to keep a consistent look throughout the home.
Pictured above is an AG Bi-Fold Door with an equal lite pattern. Equal lite patterns are commonly used on modern and contemporary style homes. This pattern often features three or four equal divided lites, created by horizontal grilles.
Thursday, November 22 2018
Happy Thanksgiving! Many of you probably procrastinated and are searching for a quick and easy recipe to make for your Thanksgiving potluck this afternoon. We’ve created a list of quick dishes you can whip up that are tasty and will impress guests—all recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less! So pick a recipe, grab the ingredients, open the Bi-Fold Doors in the kitchen for air ventilation, and get to cooking!
1 | Cheese Ball
A cheese ball is a classic dish that take less than 15 minutes to make. This recipe is an easy way to bring something homemade while saving time and money! All you need is cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and chopped pecans to make a cheese ball. If you want to include additional ingredients, we suggest chopped green onions and bacon bits. Pair the cheese ball with crackers or slices of fresh baguette. To spice up the recipe a bit, swap out plain cream cheese for flavored cream cheese like Philadelphia’s “Chive & Onion” or “Garden Vegetable.” Click here for a step-by-step recipe.
2 | Fresh Fruit Platter
Fruit platters are always a favorite dish at potlucks, and Thanksgiving is no different. People will appreciate having fresh fruit to snack on and use as a healthy alternative to other desserts. When gathering fruit for your tray, choose ones that are easy to wash and serve with little peeling or slicing required (think berries and grapes). You can dress up your platter with a fruit dip—mix one pack of vanilla pudding with one container of Kool Whip to create a light and sweet dip everyone will love!
3 | Creamy Mac & Cheese
Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food and everyone at Thanksgiving will be happy to indulge. This is another easy and affordable dish to make at the last minute. There are so many different mac and cheese recipes, but we like this one: Rachel Ray's Macaroni and Cheddar Cheese. You can also include bacon bits to add more texture and flavor.
4 | Homemade Cornbread
You can easily make homemade cornbread for your potluck in just 30 minutes! Cornbread goes perfectly with all the other Thanksgiving dishes and this recipe from Delish.com will have everyone begging you for the recipe! Don’t forget to bring the butter for spreading on the cornbread.
5 | Sweet Potato Bites
Another recipe from Delish.com, these sweet potato bites look absolutely delicious! All you need are sweet potatoes, butter, marshmallows, and pecans— in 20-30 minutes you’ll have tons of sweet potato bites baked and ready to eat. It’s a new twist on a classic Thanksgiving recipe that guests will enjoy. For the full recipe and instructions, click here.
6 | Pumpkin Mousse
This pumpkin mousse recipe is an easy, festive dessert to bring to your Thanksgiving potluck! With just a few ingredients required, you can create a tasty, rich dessert in only 10 minutes. How you present the mousse is up to you—you can fill individual jars or bowls or use one large serving bowl and let people serve themselves. Don’t forget the whip cream to top it off! Click here for step-by-step instructions for this recipe.
7 | Fresh Salad
Salad is the perfect pairing to any meal, and throwing one together is super easy and requires little prep time. Purchase some prewashed spring mix and all your favorite salad ingredients—like tomatoes, red onions, mushrooms, slivered almonds, and croutons! Toss all your ingredients in a salad bowl, grab the dressings, and head to your potluck!
Tuesday, November 20 2018
Your kids are on Thanksgiving break and are probably getting a little stir crazy by now. Preparing Thanksgiving Dinner is hard enough without children running rampant! Keeping track of all the cooking while chasing your kids around the house making sure they aren’t getting into trouble is just asking for a scorched turkey. You can keep your kids busy, and out of the kitchen, with some of these super cute activities and crafts for kids! It will keep them entertained, get them into the Thanksgiving spirit and remind them to be thankful on this holiday.
Thankful Pumpkins are a great way to remind kids what this holiday is all about and how much they have to be thankful for. The concept is simple—have kids take turns writing what they are thankful for on the pumpkin. You can also forgo the pumpkin and use a large poster board. Turn it into a craft project where they write, draw, and collage the things they are most thankful for this year. After dinner, enjoy dessert and listen to the kids present their pumpkin or poster to the family! Don’t forget to sneak away from the kitchen for a minute to add some of your own things to the list.
This is an easy craft that your kids can do while waiting for Thanksgiving dinner. Send kids to the back yard to collect leaves, sticks, branches, petals, and more to create their own turkey! Running around outside searching for the perfect items for their craft will tire them out and build up their appetites! Be sure to remind them if any plant or area is off limits so you won’t end up regretting this project when you realize your flower bed is destroyed. Have supplies ready on the patio so they can begin crafting and so you can keep an eye on them through your large glass Bi-Fold Patio Doors!
These turkey gingerbread kits from Trader Joe's are the ultimate Thanksgiving activity for kids (or adults)! Invest in a kit for each of your children, and let the kids go all out decorating their turkey! Turn it into a contest and tell them the whole family will be picking a winner! The kit comes with all the supplies, however if you want to get some extra frosting and candy it could make the decorating more exciting.
We are obsessed with this painted pinecone turkey craft from Live, Craft, Eat. Set kids up with paint and pinecones and let them use their imagination when creating their pinecone turkey! Show them this photo for inspiration so they can get an idea of how to create a cute and colorful bird! You can also swap out the paint for feathers, paper, or fallen leaves! CLICK HERE for a step-by-step tutorial.
It’s likely that people attending your Thanksgiving will bring their children, and this is an activity for all the kids. Send the kids outside to go “Turkey Hunting.” One kid is the turkey and goes to hide while all the other children are inside, counting to 30 or 60 with their eyes closed. The key is for the “turkey” to remain hidden, and for the other children to find him. Once you find the turkey, you go into hiding with him until there is only one kid who is still looking! The person who found the turkey first will be the next turkey who hides. This is a fun version of hide-and-seek that any kid will enjoy and it’s the perfect pastime on Thanksgiving!
Thursday, November 15 2018
Sometimes, life gets busy, and when life gets busy, we tend to ignore our refrigerator. Chances are, your fridge could use a good cleaning and organization session—especially with the holidays coming up, where you will need to store tons of leftover turkey and mashed potatoes! Use these tips to revive your messy fridge into what it once was: a clean, organized, and functional refrigerator.
The first step towards creating a clean and organized fridge and freezer is removing everything—throw away expired food and store the rest of it in your spare fridge or ice chest! While you’re doing this, open your Bi-Fold Patio Doors to air out the kitchen from any funky smells escaping from your open fridge. Once your fridge is completely empty, you can begin the deep cleaning stage!
The best way to deep clean a fridge is to remove all the drawers and shelves. Soak and scrub the removable parts to ensure they are clean and odorless. Scrub down the entire fridge and make sure to get all the nooks and crannies! According to Martha Stewart, creating a solution of two tablespoons baking soda and one quart of hot water is best to clean refrigerators—the baking soda will remove any lasting odors. Use the same solution to scrub your freezer and soak your ice cube bin! Be sure to dry off the inside of the fridge and freezer when cleaning is complete.
Your fridge is now squeaky clean, and to make the cleaning process easier for next time, you can line your fridge shelves with Glad Press'n Seal. Now that your fridge is clean, and your shelves are lined, you can begin placing food back where it belongs. This is your opportunity to create an organization system inside your fridge.
A great way to better organize your fridge is by investing in plastic bins to store different food products in. There are tons of different sizes and specialty products that will help keep things in your fridge organized and in their place! You can find some on Amazon, or go to your local Dollar Tree and check out their bin selection—the latter usually has plenty of size and color options, and who can argue with the low price of $1.00?
Take your organization game up a notch by adding labels to your bins and organizers—a few common labels you can make are “snacks,” “fruit,” “veggies,” “meat,” and “cheese.”
To better organize your built-in produce drawers, purchase some expandable drawer dividers like these ones from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, to separate the space. This will allow you to keep produce sorted and easily accessible—no more digging through produce drawers to find the tomatoes!
Don’t neglect the outside of the appliance! Wipe down the exterior with a damp rag and mild soap to remove any dust, grime, and fingerprints. You should also clean the condenser coils on the back of the fridge to ensure proper functioning of your appliance—you can do this by unplugging your fridge and using the vacuum hose to suck the dust and debris from the coils. Cleaning of coils only needs to be done once or twice a year, and it is an important task for proper fridge maintenance.
Now that your fridge is clean and organized, try to maintain your success by regularly throwing away any expired food and spot cleaning if there is a leak or spill! If you’re feeling super ambitious, why not go tackle your spare fridge in the garage and make it shine?!
Tuesday, November 13 2018
Today, November 13th, is World Kindness Day. The world could use a little more kindness, and this holiday is the perfect excuse to spread some kindness around your community. Below are 8 ways you can spread some kindness today (and every day)!
1 | Treat A Stranger
An easy way to spread a little kindness is by paying for someone’s order behind you in line at the drive thru or coffee shop. When it’s your turn to pay, simply let the cashier know you’d like to cover the cost of the next person’s order as well! This will be a pleasant surprise to the lucky benefactor and will instantly brighten their day!
2 | Friendly Greetings
When you are out and about, spread kindness by greeting people with a friendly smile and “hello.” Kind greetings go a long way and you could make someone’s day better with such little effort! Smiling is contagious, so if everyone smiled at each other in passing, the world would be a slightly better and happier place!
3 | Lend A Helping Hand
If you see someone struggling with a task, be it carrying groceries to their car, or reaching something from a high shelf at the store, be a good Samaritan and lend a helping hand! People will be grateful for the help you provided, and you will feel good about doing small things to help others!
4 | Pick Up Trash
Anytime you see litter on the ground, you can show kindness to your community by picking it up and throwing it in the trash. If everyone picked up trash and threw it away whenever they saw it, think how clean the streets and promenades would be. Doing your part to help keep your community clean and beautiful will help make it a better place for you and your neighbors!
5 | Teach Your Kids
Teach your kids the importance of being kind to others, and kind to the earth. By teaching your kids a lesson about kindness, you are raising a human who will cherish and spread kindness in the world, and pass on the lesson of kindness to future generations!
6 | Be Understanding
Be kind and understanding of others. You probably know the saying which goes something like “kill them with kindness”—this statement couldn’t be truer. When people are less than kind to you, be understanding and remind yourself there may be reasons for their behavior that you don’t know about (these are the people who need kindness the most). Showing kindness to someone can go a long way in changing someone’s mood and attitude.
7 | Tip Well
If you go out to eat, or order something from the local coffee shop, treat your server to a good tip. Service industry workers can be some of the most hardworking people, and a great tip will make their night!
8 | Buy A Hot Meal
Be generous and buy a homeless person a hot meal—this doesn’t have to be anything expensive; you can go into a nearby grocery store and buy food from the deli or order an extra sandwich at In N Out or Jersey Mike's Subs and pass it on to the homeless person sitting outside; or buy some dog food for their canine companion! They will be happy to have a warm meal to enjoy!
At the end of the day, you will feel good about doing your part to spread kindness in the world. There are so many nice things you can do to make the world a kinder place—open your folding doors or sliding doors and relax on the patio while you brainstorm more ways to be kind to others on World Kindness Day, and every other day as well!
Thursday, November 08 2018
Holiday season is officially here and that means millions of people around the country will be hopping in cars, trains, and planes to travel home for the holidays! Everyone loves the holidays, but no one enjoys the difficulty that comes with traveling during such a crazy time of the year. If you’re one of the many who will be traveling during the holidays this year, there are steps you can take to ensure stress-free travel.
The most important thing to do when traveling during the holidays is to plan ahead. Book tickets in advance, plan out your transportation, and create a schedule to follow on days of travel. Having things planned out will keep you organized amidst the chaos of airports and train stations. If possible, you should avoid traveling on peak travel days—the day before Thanksgiving, and Christmas Eve tend to be the busiest each year. Consider booking your travel for early or late in the day to avoid the mid-day crowds. It is essential to leave early and give yourself plenty of time when traveling—you never know what unexpected delays you might face.
When traveling home for the holidays, it is best to pack light and take only the essentials. If you are flying to your destination, reducing your luggage to a small carryon will save you time at the airport—you won’t need to check your bag, risk lost luggage, or wait at the luggage carousel to collect your bags. If you fly home for Christmas, be sure to ship any Christmas gifts to your destination so you won’t have to carry extra luggage around the airport. The sooner you ship the packages the better to guarantee gifts arrive on time and ready to be opened on Christmas day.
If you will be leaving your home unattended during the holidays, it’s a good idea to create a check list of everything you need to take care of before you leave. Make sure your front door, windows, and Bi-Fold Patio Doors and Multi-Slide Doors are locked and secure. Arrange for someone to collect the mail and newspaper, water the plants, and feed the pets! Triple-check that the thermostat, lights, and tv are off before leaving. If you are worried about burglaries, set up automatic timer lights as a safety precaution. Let your neighbors know you will be traveling for the holidays and ask them to keep an eye on the place.
Traveling with children can be an additional challenge, but with proper planning, it can be a breeze. Use one suitcase to pack all the children’s things—this will make carrying and keeping track of bags a lot easier. For ease and comfort, dress kids in layers and lace-free shoes. The key to stress-free travel with children is keeping them entertained and engaged. Bring your children’s favorite toy and a tablet loaded up with all their favorite games and movies so they can stay busy throughout the trip. Kids get cranky when they’re tired and hungry, so don’t forget to let them rest and pack plenty of snacks. Keeping your children happy and sane will ensure your travel day is stress-free. For tips on traveling with babies and toddlers, check out this blog.
Planning ahead, packing light, making household arrangements, and keeping kids happy will contribute to a stress-free holiday travel season. Remember that things sometimes don’t go as planned, and if this happens, stay calm and create a plan B. If you start to get lost in the chaos, remind yourself the holidays are a time for family, celebration, and thankfulness.
Tuesday, November 06 2018
Fall is halfway over, and the weather is beginning to cool down. With the change in seasons comes change in weather. It is a smart idea to prepare your home for weather changes and the storm season that is approaching! With these tips, your home will be ready for storm season in no time!
To prepare for storm season, the rain gutters on your home need to be swept free of leaves and debris. This is one of the most important steps in getting ready for rain—upkept rain gutters direct water flow from the roof away from the home to protect the foundation. Clogged gutters combined with an unexpected rainstorm can lead to flooding and settling of the home’s foundation. Prevent major water damage by keeping gutters clean and clear for excess water to flow freely! This handy tool will help make the gutter cleaning process easier and more efficient. Make sure to inspect gutters while you’re cleaning to ensure any damage gets repaired as soon as possible.
Hire a tree trimming service to have any trees surrounding your home inspected and trimmed. Eliminate any weak or diseased branches that hang over you home—excessive rain fall can cause branches and trees to come down during a storm, so it is important to have your trees properly inspected. Not only is tree trimming a preventative safety measure, it keeps the tree healthy and flourishing and should be done regularly, according to tree species.
Take down any temporary gazebos and awnings, or make sure they are secured to the ground. A large gust of wind during a storm can blow around unsecure gazebos and cause damage to the canopy, as well as nearby furniture, fences, windows, etc. Canopies should be properly weighted or bolted to ensure they stay in place! Don’t forget to put away other outdoor furniture and accessories like seat cushions, small tables, lanterns, and other décor.
If you enjoy burning a fire on those chilly, rainy nights, it is smart to have some firewood accessible and protected from the rain. Stack wood on the back porch, or any place that is dry and close by, so you can easily start a fire in the fireplace. Make sure you check storm conditions and aren’t burning a fire when it’s extremely windy outside—the wind can force smoke back down the chimney and into your home. For more fireplace safety tips, click here.
An emergency preparedness kit is essential for every home. You will hopefully never need to use it, but it is better to be well-prepared for unexpected disasters! Creating your emergency kit is easy and inexpensive. You need water, nonperishable food, a first aid kit, flashlights, and more! For a full list of what to include in your emergency preparedness kit, visit the American Red Cross Website.
Last but certainly not least, check that your windows, folding doors or sliding doors are properly sealed and weather stripping is fully functional! Once your home is ready for storm season, it’s time to cozy up on the couch, enjoy the warmth from the fire, and watch the rain fall through your Bi-Fold Doors or Multi-Slide Doors!
Thursday, November 01 2018
Today is November 1st, which means it is officially holiday season! The countdown to Thanksgiving and Christmas has begun—21 days and 54 days, respectively. You may not have realized how close the holidays are, and you’re probably freaking out right now, but there’s no need—with these tips you can have your home clean, organized, and ready for all your holiday parties!
The holidays can be a stressful time with so many things to check off your list—cleaning, food preparation, entertainment, out-of-town guests, children, seating, and more. The best way to make this holiday season stress-free is by making an action plan and tackling your list early! To prepare for the holiday season, your home could use a deep cleaning. Hire a cleaning service to help make your home spotless!
Extra attention should be paid to the living spaces where guests will be spending time hanging out, mingling, and dining. In the living room, the couches and lounge chairs should be deep cleaned, and don’t forget underneath the couch cushions! Make sure your fireplaces and chimneys are clean and soot free, and ready for the first fire of the season!
Don’t neglect your Folding Patio Doors during your deep home cleaning! Have the glass panes cleaned with window cleaner (but don’t get any on the wood!) and the interior wood surface cleaned with a damp cloth to remove dust. Don’t wait until the holidays to clean your patio doors—the interior wood surface should be cleaned about once a month! To learn more about maintaining the interior and exterior of your patio doors, click here.
The kitchen is the heart of every home—even if you don’t plan on having guests in the kitchen, you better believe the whole party will end up here at some point. Extra cleaning time should be spent in the kitchen to ensure appliances and cabinets are sparkling. Countertops should be shiny and clutter free, and dining tables and bar seating should be ready to serve their purpose.
When all the living spaces have been cleaned, you can tackle the guest bedrooms next. When was the last time the curtains in the guest bedroom were washed? If you can’t answer that question, it’s time to throw those dusty curtains in the washing machine. Have all the dust bunnies vacuumed up and don’t miss deep down under the beds and dressers! Dress the beds with fresh linens and stock the guest bathroom with plenty of clean towels and toilet paper.
If you haven’t already, it is time to add some tasteful fall decor to your home to embrace the season! You don’t have to get too crazy, small touches will go a long way. Now that your home has been deep cleaned and decorated for the holidays, it will be easier to plan for upcoming parties and events. When the parties get closer, your living spaces will only need a quick surface cleaning to prepare it for dozens of visitors—the rest of your home will still be in good shape from the deep cleaning it underwent a few weeks prior.
Tuesday, October 30 2018
The Robert Young Estate Winery builds a new tasting room, “The Scion House,” on its 206-acre estate featuring three AG Bi-Fold Door Systems which create the ultimate indoor-outdoor tasting experience.
The Robert Young Estate Winery is in Geyserville, California, in the Alexander Valley, and has been family owned for six generations. As you approach The Scion House, you begin to see the indoor-outdoor experience this new space offers, and you enter a new world filled with gorgeous views, fresh air, natural light, and delicious wine.
Two AG Bi-Fold Patio Door Systems are parallel to each other on opposite ends of the room, optimizing light and cross-ventilation in the space.
Built on a hilltop, the new tasting room is surrounded by hills, vineyards, and mountains. The AG Bi-Fold Doors create expansive vistas of the estate, visible from every corner of the tasting room.
The high ceilings and farmhouse design create a rustic look in the tasting room. The wood interior, traditional stiles, and simulated divided lites of these Custom Folding Patio Doors perfectly complement the rustic atmosphere of the space.
The Scion House is filled with plenty of cozy nooks and comfy lounge chairs for guests to relax and enjoy their wine tastings and cheese boards—this is every wine lovers dream space! Bring your friends and your favorite boardgames, taste some wine and buy your favorite bottle to share, and spend the day playing games and bonding over good wine.
For larger groups or parties, the Scion House has a private room with tons of seating and more views through the third AG Folding Patio Door. This is the perfect spot to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, or bachelorette party—spend time celebrating while indulging in wine and charcuterie and taking in the lovely views.
The best spot in the house is on the huge back patio where the comfy lounge chairs are especially inviting. You can sit back and relax, enjoy the view, sip on wine, and catch the sunset! The Scion House offers small bites, but you might also consider packing a picnic for an all-day trip.
The Scion House has plenty of seating but be sure to schedule a tasting in advance and arrive early to ensure seats at the outdoor spots. If you’re looking for a shady spot, there are two gazebos on either side of the patio space with plenty of seating in the shade. The expansive lawn surrounding the tasting room is perfect for laying down a blanket and basking in the sunshine while enjoying a tall glass of wine.
The firepit on the back patio is the perfect spot for cozying up with a blanket and a large glass of wine on chilly fall and winter days and evenings.
Design is in the details, and the new tasting room at the Robert Young Estate Winery features the most unique and special design details. From the three AG Bi-Fold Patio Door Systems, to the rustic farmhouse interior design, to the expansive patio, this space was built to create the ultimate indoor-outdoor wine tasting experience. With delicious wines, tasty bites, and breathtaking views, this winery should be on every wine connoisseur’s list. Click here to learn more about visiting The Scion House.
Thursday, October 25 2018
Did you know this Saturday, October 27th is National Make A Difference Day? On this holiday, millions of people across the nation volunteer time and resources to make a difference in their communities. There are so many things you can do to contribute to this holiday and help make a difference! Below are a few ideas to inspire you on how to spend this Saturday (or any other day) giving back to your community.
Organize a Clothing Drive
An easy and awesome way to make a difference and give back is to organize a local clothing drive. Advertise your clothing drive on local Facebook Groups, Craigslist, and in local businesses; tell your friends and family to spread the word and ask them for donations of old clothing they are no longer using. Emphasize coats, pants, and other winter garments in your advertising, because winter is fast approaching, and the homeless, and others in need, may not be able to afford winter clothes. Whether your drive is big or small, this effort will make a difference in people’s lives!
Beach or Park Cleanup
Another way to spend National Make A Difference Day is by organizing a beach or park cleanup. Gather your friends and family and head to your local beach or park! Make sure you bring plenty of trash bags, work gloves, and water to stay hydrated. You can make this a fun way of giving back to the community by challenging your friends to a competition—the person who gathers the most trash wins! To motivate kids, offer a small prize to the winner (like an ice cream cone or milkshake). You’d be surprised at how much trash you’ll find littering the parks, beaches, and streets of your community.
Animal Shelter Volunteer
If you have a soft spot for animals, volunteer your time at the local animal shelter. Bring some old blankets to donate to the animals (they love cozying up on them) and help with anything the shelter needs. You can spend time taking the dogs for walks and playing fetch—the dogs will be so happy to have a friend to play with. If you’re feeling extra charitable and have always dreamt of having a pet, consider adopting one of your furry friends from the shelter and giving him a permanent home!
Visit a Retirement Home
Visiting a local retirement home and hanging out with the residents is an excellent way to make a difference this Saturday. Many retirement home residents don’t have frequent visitors and would be overjoyed to have a visitor to talk to and hang out with. You could be the highlight of someone’s entire week or month, just by spending a few hours chatting about life and playing games with them. Bring the kids along too—children have a way of brightening a room! If you enjoy your time at the nursing home, consider making this a new routine; you could build real connections and bring happiness and companionship to those who no longer have close family or friends in their life.
Remember to include your kids in whatever you decide to do and use this holiday as a teaching moment. Open your Bi-Fold Patio Doors or Multi-Slide Patio Doors and gather on the patio—remind your children how much they have to be thankful for and ask them to help brainstorm ways to make a difference in your community!
Happy National Make A Difference Day!
Tuesday, October 23 2018
It’s officially spooky season, and Halloween is one week away! It’s time to carve those pumpkins you found at the pumpkin patch and spread the Halloween cheer. We made a list of some of our favorite pumpkin carving/decorating ideas for you to try this year.
1 | Cute & Classy Polka Dots
We love the simplicity of this pumpkin carving design! It is easily achieved by carving small holes all over your pumpkin—you can arrange the holes randomly or in lines as shown above. Make sure the holes are big enough for light to flood through and consider thinning out the inside walls of the pumpkin to increase light flow! This carving kit has a handy tool that makes hole-carving effortless.
2 | Festive Succulent Planters
We are obsessed with succulents, so naturally this adorable succulent pumpkin planter made the list. Carve out your pumpkins and create a succulent arrangement for your porch, dining table, or desk. You can use real or fake succulent clippings for this project, whatever is most convenient. You may also use other flowers and plants if succulents aren’t your first choice. You can even purchase a DIY succulent pumpkin planter kit here.
4 | Elegant House Numbers
A fun and welcoming idea is to carve your house numbers into the pumpkin—one number per pumpkin as seen above. You can then add a touch of elegance to the design with unique carvings of your choice (think leaves, patterns, polka dots, etc.). These pumpkins are sure to increase curb appeal and make your home stand out!
5 | No Carve Floral
This is an easy, no carve design to decorate your pumpkin! All you need is artificial flowers of your choice (available at your local craft store or Dollar Tree) and a hot glue gun! Remove flowers from the stem and start gluing! You can arrange the flowers however you want but try to be consistent with flower placement. You may even add some leaves or other greenery to the design. When your decorating is complete, place the pumpkin on your porch and wrap it with wire string lights to illuminate it!
6 | Unique Twist on a Classic
This is a fun and unique twist on a classic jack-o’-lantern. Simply carve out friendly eyes and a goofy grin and cover your pumpkin in glossy black paint. When your pumpkin is lit, it will create an interesting contrast between the paint and the glowing candlelight.
7 | Friendly Owl Family
A friendly owl family is a super cute idea for your pumpkin designs! For this idea, you’ll need two or three different-sized pumpkins. Create a guide by drawing your owl designs directly on the pumpkin with a sharpie, and then begin carving! Get the whole family in on the fun and have everyone contribute an owl to the parliament (Fun Fact: A group of owls is called a parliament). Use the above picture as inspiration but be creative with your owl’s eyes and feathers—make the design your own!
8 | Spooky Button BOOs
This is a clever one you probably haven’t seen before—using buttons to spell out a spooky Halloween phrase on your pumpkin! All you need are buttons and glue for this one! An assortment of buttons can be purchased on Amazon if you don’t have any extras lying around. Decide on a spooky Halloween phrase and start gluing! You can also add a cute bow to the top of your pumpkin for more appeal.
Whatever design you choose, make sure you have all supplies on hand to make the process as smooth as possible. Open your folding glass patio doors or sliding glass patio doors and set up a pumpkin carving station outside on the patio; this will ensure the mess stays in a designated area and make for easier cleanup. Use disposable tablecloths to prevent those gooey, stringy pumpkin guts from destroying your furniture. Spend time with the family decorating your pumpkins and getting in the Halloween spirit! For more pumpkin decorating ideas, visit Pinterest. Happy Halloween!
Thursday, October 18 2018
Halloween is almost here, and we can’t wait! The best part about Halloween is all the salty and savory treats that come with the season. Perfect for Halloween parties at school, work, and home, the following Halloween-themed treats are some of our favorites that we can’t resist!
1 | Rice Krispie Pumpkins
These pumpkin-shaped rice krispie treats are the ultimate Halloween treat. Who doesn’t love a sweet, gooey rice krispie treat?! This sweet treat is super easy to make at home and will leave the crowd impressed wherever you take them. All you need are rice krispies, marshmallows, mini rolos, green M&Ms, and food coloring! For step by step instructions on how to create your own pumpkin rice krispie treats, click here.
2 | Monster Apples
These monster apples are a treat your kids will love—and as a bonus, they are made with nutritious ingredients! Who said Halloween treats can’t be healthy? All you need to make these monster apples are apples, strawberries, peanut butter or almond butter, sunflower seeds, and candy eyes! It will be a refreshing and healthy change from all the sugar-loaded treats that overrun this holiday. Click here for a step by step guide on making these cute, silly treats!
3 | Spooky Spider Cookies
These spooky spider cookies are to die for! They are quick and easy to make, and easy to package and transport. Choose your favorite cookie mix—chocolate chip, oatmeal, sugar, pumpkin spice—and decorate with mini Reese’s peanut butter cups and candy eyes. For exact recipe and ingredients, click here.
4 | Watermelon Jack-O’-Lantern
Another healthy Halloween treat, this watermelon jack-o’-lantern is perfect for those office Halloween potlucks. All you need for this one is a medium sized watermelon and your choice of fruit to include in the dish. Carve out the watermelon as pictured, and chop up fresh fruit to create a silly, fruit spewing jack-o’-lantern, as seen on Hello Fresh!
5 | Creepy Mummy Dogs
A tasty Halloween treat we can’t resist are these creepy mummy dogs! A nice switch from sweet treats to savory, these mummy dogs will have everyone begging for more. Simple and quick to make, all you need is Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, hot dogs, ketchup, mustard, and any other of your favorite condiments. Visit the Pillsbury Website for baking instructions.
6 | Creepy-Crawler Deviled Eggs
Don’t miss out on this savory treat—these creepy-crawler deviled eggs are a perfect Halloween snack! Follow one of your favorite deviled egg recipes, and top with black olives formed as spiders. This is a fun spin on a classic dish and will put everyone in the spooky Halloween spirit!
7 | Ghostly Pizza
One word: PIZZA! Taking pizza to a Halloween party is always a good idea—so showing up with tasty pizza covered with spooky Halloween ghosts will get you some major brownie points. This is so easy to make, and your coworkers and kids will enjoy and appreciate the fresh, home-made pizza It is bound to be one of the party’s biggest hits! Follow this recipe and have a spooky pizza baked in just 30 minutes!
8 | Vampire Donuts
These no-bake vampire donuts will be your saving grace when you need a quick Halloween dish to take to the next Halloween bash. All you need is fresh donuts, vampire teeth, candy eyes, and red and black decorating gel! These are perfect when you’re in a pinch, and such a cute idea kids and adults will love. Get step by step instructions here.
9 | Spiderweb 7 Layer Dip
This spider web dip is delicious! Packed with refried beans, salsa, sour cream, cheese, olives, and tomatoes, this dish is sure to wow your guests. Quick prep time and simple ingredients make this a favorite Halloween treat! For complete preparation instructions, click here.
10 | Spinach Artichoke Graveyard Dip
Last but certainly not least, this spinach artichoke dip is festive and fun—not to mention downright tasty! Follow your favorite spinach artichoke dip recipe, or this slow-cooker recipe, and use pita chips or other crackers to depict gravestones. If you really want to go all out, use veggies and Halloween props to create the ultimate graveyard scene. Don't Forget to open up you Bi-Fold Patio Doors and Multi-Slide Patio Doors and enjoy your yummy Halloween treats on the patio! Happy Halloween!
Tuesday, October 16 2018
Sunlight helps make people more productive, happier, healthier, and calmer. Sunshine is an integral part of people’s health and well-being, and many wish they had more time to spend soaking up the sun. Sunrooms are a special luxury—if your home has a sunroom, you should be taking advantage of this awesome living space that allows you to comfortably embrace the sun from inside! Below are six ways to give your sunroom some much needed attention.
1 | Work
When you have some extra work to take care of at home (or maybe you work from home), consider forgoing your office and spending some time tackling a project or two in your sunroom. The sunlight will keep you alert and productive, helping you check off your to-do list and finish projects in record time!
2 | Dine
Dining in your sunroom is a great way to spend some extra time there. Set up a table and chairs and surprise the family with dinner in the sunroom. The natural light and views out the window will be a refreshing change from the dining room where the family is accustomed to spending dinnertime. Make sure to try this one before the time changes—by mid-November, the sun will be down before it’s time for dinner!
3 | Read
If you have some downtime, pick out a new book that you’ve been wanting to read from your local library or bookstore and spend time reading in your sunroom. Curl up on the couch, or lounge in a comfy chair, and get lost in your book while enjoying the rays of sunlight illuminating the room! If weather permits, open the folding glass patio doors or sliding glass patio doors in your sunroom and let in some fresh air.
4| Meditate & Reflect
Use your sunroom to meditate and relax your mind. The sunlight will put you in a relaxed state where you can reflect on the past days, weeks, or months. Use this time to relax your mind and body and set goals for yourself—think about where you want to go with your career, relationships, and self.
5 | Jacuzzi
You could turn your sunroom into an indoor spa with a jacuzzi, making your jacuzzi easily accessible whenever you need it. Through rain, sleet, or snow, you can relax and soak in the jacuzzi. it will feel like you’re outside without actually having to brave the elements! No need to worry about that moment when you exit the jacuzzi and must endure the freezing cold for a few seconds before running to the warmth inside—you’re already inside the protection of your sunroom!
6 | Storm Watch
Not only are sunrooms perfect for basking in the sun—they are great for storm watching! Hang out in the sunroom during those summer monsoons and watch the rain poor down and the lightning strike and listen to the thunder rumble! Watch the leaves change color and float down to the ground in the fall. Watch the blizzards and snow flurries cover your surroundings in a fluffy white layer of snow during the winter! Make sure your sunroom’s doors and windows are energy efficient to help regulate the indoor temperature during different seasons. Click here to learn more about energy-efficient patio doors and windows.
Thursday, October 11 2018
It’s almost Halloween, which means soon the neighborhood’s trick-or-treaters will be ringing your doorbell expecting candy and Halloween cheer. Why not join in the Halloween fun and decorate your front porch and surrounding yard with fun props! It’s time to get into the fall spirit and create a spooky Halloween façade that everyone will love!
When decorating your porch for Halloween, it is always a good idea to incorporate some monsters to increase the spookiness! Skeletons, mummies, and ghosts are the perfect focal point to center your decorations around. Use these props to create a scene that tells a story when people look at it! Some monsters are scarier than others, so it is important to determine how spooky you want your porch to be in order to choose the right props.
You should utilize props that engage all five of your trick-or-treater’s senses—triggering sight, hearing, and touch with your decorations will take your Halloween decorating game to the next level and make the experience spookier for visitors. Hang clear fishing line so it dangles in the middle of a pathway—when it’s dark outside, the fishing line will mimic the feeling of cobwebs when someone passes through. You can also use a sound machine to play creepy noises, like screams, moans, or music. The lighting you use can also create a spooky effect on your Halloween porch. You may opt for black lights, strobe lights, or colored lights depending on what story you are trying to tell. A fog machine is a nice touch to complete the eerie scene you have created.
Investing in cool and animatronic Halloween decorations can enhance your spooky porch. Decorations that move, make sound, or jump out at you can startle trick-or-treaters and make your house the spookiest on the block! Spirit Halloween sells plenty of animatronic props that will fit in with any Halloween theme. These animatronics will require electricity or batteries and are activated by motion, remote, or via a step-pad. You can count on these creepy theatrical props to give a fright to anyone passing by.
Setting up a cemetery scene is an easy and classic way to decorate your porch/yard. Headstones, skeletons, and ghosts are perfect for this setup. You can even create your own headstones with this DIY guide. You can include spooky signs with phrases like “You’re Next” and “Beware” to add to the spectacle. If your tree’s leaves are falling, consider using them as a decoration to make the cemetery appear more realistic.
No home is ready for Halloween without carved pumpkins depicting creepy Halloween characters. There is something about a jack-o-lantern lit up at night that creates a spooky setting. There are so many creative and unique ideas for pumpkin carving available on Pinterest so you don’t have to repeat your usual Jack-O-Lantern cut-outs.
Don’t stop at the front door, continue your Halloween décor throughout your entire home! Open up you folding glass patio doors or sliding glass patio doors and incorporate the same tips and tricks to create a spooktastic backyard for friends and family to enjoy!
Tuesday, October 09 2018
Fall is in full swing and Halloween is fast approaching, so it’s about time you get your pumpkins ready for a good carving! If you still need a pumpkin, or just want to get into the fall spirit, head on over to your local pumpkin patch and join the festivities. Below are ten reasons anyone should visit a pumpkin patch in October!
1 | The Perfect Pumpkin
A pumpkin patch is the best place to go on a hunt for the perfect pumpkin. There are hundreds of pumpkins spread across fields, and it is your job to find the perfect one to meet your pumpkin carving or decorating (or cooking) needs! Part of the fun is searching through tons of pumpkins to find one you love—it’s like a treasure hunt. Large, round pumpkins with a smooth face are the best for intricate designs.
2 | Hayrides
A fun part about visiting a pumpkin patch is the hayride some patches offer during your visit. Check the website of your local pumpkin patch to make sure they have such an amenity. The hayride will take you on a trip around the patch and farm and is great for kids to enjoy! Sometimes, they will even have a haunted hayride with spooky monsters and Halloween fun.
3| Corn Maze
The larger pumpkin patches will even have corn mazes for you to escape from. Fun for adults and kids alike, corn mazes are intricately designed for a pumpkin patch goer’s entertainment. It’s fun to make your way through the maze and see how fast you can get to the exit! Don’t carry your pumpkin with you through the corn maze; you might regret it after you’ve been wandering through the maze trying to find your way out.
4 | Cute Photo Ops
Pumpkin patches offer many photo opportunities for everyone. Whether you’re trying to get the perfect Instagram photo, or get cute photos of your kid’s first pumpkin patch visit, you’ll find the perfect spot for photos—pose on the tractor, in the corn maze, on bales of hay, or with the scarecrow. This is the perfect place to capture that family photo for your Thanksgiving greeting card to be sent to family and friends!
5 | Delicious Treats
A trip to the pumpkin patch wouldn’t be complete without indulging in some tasty treats. Many places will sell caramel apples, fresh popcorn, glazed almonds, and tons of other treats! This is a great place to get your sweet tooth fix and enjoy treats made with locally grown products.
6 | Animals
Oftentimes, pumpkin patches will have a petting zoo with farm animals. You and the kids can pet and feed donkeys, goats and mini horses and revel in their cuteness! The kids will love interacting with the animals and there may even be a pony ride!
7 | Support Local Farms
Visiting your local pumpkin patch to find pumpkins is a great way to support a local business. Family-run farms are slowly disappearing, so supporting a local farm by purchasing a pumpkin and attending their fall events will contribute to their continued success. Instead of buying your pumpkin at huge retailer like Vons or Trader Joe’s, head to your local pumpkin patch and enjoy unique and fun activities they have to offer.
8 | Fall spirit
Spending time hunting for pumpkins, taking a hayride, and weaving through a corn maze will remind you of all the good things that come with fall. A trip to the pumpkin patch will get you into the fall and Halloween spirit and make you want to do this every year.
9 | Family fun
Pumpkin patches are fun for the whole family, and a great time for you and the kids to bond. Teach them how to find the right pumpkin and let them lead the way through the corn maze!
10 | Establish A Tradition
Make this an annual tradition! A family trip to the pumpkin patch every year is a little treat that your kids can look forward to and count on! Pick out your pumpkins and head home—open your Bi-Fold Patio Doors and set up a pumpkin carving station on the patio. Spend time together carving out your pumpkins and decorating for Halloween!
TIP: Depending on your climate, a carved pumpkin might last only a day or two before beginning to soften and sag, so be sure to time your carving party as close to Halloween as possible.
Thursday, October 04 2018
October is here, and the leaves are beginning to change color. There is a familiar crispness in the air that comes with the change of the season. When the weather cools down, it can be difficult to maintain the routine you’ve been in all summer. When it’s chilly and overcast outside, you and the family may feel unmotivated to leave the coziness of your home and spend time being active. Some lazy, lounging around the house time isn’t a bad thing, but it’s important to keep yourself and the kids active this fall.
An easy way to keep your kids active this fall is by enrolling them in their favorite sports or letting them try out a new one! You should encourage your kids to try out new sports, so they can see which sport they really love—having passion for a sport will make your kids more likely to stick with it throughout childhood and even into high school. An organized sports league is the perfect solution to keeping your kids active on a regular basis because there will be practices throughout the week and designated game days on the weekends!
Extra chilly days can be daunting but scheduling some physical activity doesn’t mean freezing your butt off! On those days you’d rather stay out of the cold, there are many fun indoor activities that will get your kids active and engaged. An indoor swimming pool is a great place to spend a few hours and your kids will love splashing around a heated pool that’s protected from the outdoor elements. You may also want to research children’s gyms in your area where kids can run, jump, swing, and tumble around—releasing tons of energy and getting in a good workout!
You don’t have to leave the house for your kids to get some physical activity. Fold open your Bi-Fold Patio Doors and head for the backyard. Kick or throw a ball around, play tag, or teach your kids how to play hopscotch or jump rope. This will be a nice unwinding time for your kids to release extra energy and bond with you. Just 30 minutes spent playing outside can be beneficial to your child’s growth and development.
Round up the family and take the dog for a nice long walk around the neighborhood. This is a great and easy way to spend time together and get a little exercise. Your dog should be walked almost every day, so turning this into a daily routine will keep everyone healthy and happy! On some days, you can switch it up and turn it into a family bike ride! Ride bikes to the local dog park and let your furry friend run around—don’t forget to take a ball or frisbee so you can play fetch.
As the weather gets cooler and outdoor activities continue, be sure to bundle your kids up properly so they can enjoy their time playing without getting too cold. You can pick up warm sports gear at your local sporting goods store for those early morning soccer games and late evening football games.
Tuesday, October 02 2018
Every year in late-September, millions of people flock to Munich, Germany to celebrate Oktoberfest. According to The Official Oktoberfest Website, Oktoberfest originated in 1810 as a wedding celebration in honor of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Nowadays, Oktoberfest is a two-week festival featuring beer gardens, food, and entertainment. You don’t have to travel all the way to Germany to enjoy Oktoberfest—there are many ways to get into the Oktoberfest spirit without setting foot on an airplane!
First things first, you absolutely need to invest in the proper Oktoberfest attire. Whether you’re hosting your own Oktoberfest, or attending a local event, you should be prepared with the perfect outfit. Women wear dirndls and men wear lederhosen—these traditional German costumes will make you feel like you’re at the real Oktoberfest! If you’re having guests over for an Oktoberfest celebration, remind them to show up in dirndls and lederhosen to keep the theme going!
Everyone celebrating Oktoberfest needs to drink from a beer stein! Beer steins are giant 34-ounce mugs used to consume beer. If you are attending a local Oktoberfest, beer steins are likely to be provided at the event. If you are hosting your own Oktoberfest, invest in some beer steins for the party and ask guests to bring their favorite steins so everyone can endure/enjoy the struggle of drinking 34 ounces of beer before it gets warm!
We have one word: PRETZELS. Pretzels are an essential part of Oktoberfest—you’re re going to need something to soak up all that German beer you drink! The traditional Bavarian pretzels served at Oktoberfest are salted and often times accompanied by Obazda, a popular cheese spread. Pretzels are a part of the tradition, so don’t feel guilty indulging in one or two (or three)!
Bratwurst are another traditional Oktoberfest staple. They are large, German sausages that are grilled and served on a bun with sauerkraut and onions. This is an easy and inexpensive meal to serve at your Oktoberfest party—guests will enjoy the savory flavors of this traditional German dish and prep time and clean up is minimal! Having a substantial meal to counteract the beer helps prevent Oktoberfest attendees from getting too rowdy.
You can host your own party or attend a local Oktoberfest celebration. Many restaurants and bars join in on the festivities and have Oktoberfest themed nights, bar crawls, and tastings. Get a big group together, throw on your dirndls and lederhosen, and head to your local Oktoberfest event and enjoy the Bavarian music, dancing, beer, and food. Many festivals even have family friendly days (usually Sundays) where your kids can partake in this fun and unique cultural ritual—and just think how cute your kiddos will look in dirndl or lederhosen!
Do you love Oktoberfest so much you want to encounter the real thing? Start planning your trip to Munich now so you can experience what a wild and fun festival Oktoberfest is. It is the experience of a lifetime, and anyone would be lucky to attend!
Some Oktoberfest Fun Facts
- Total Area: 420,000 m2
- Number of Tents: 34
- Total Seating: 106,000
- Annual Visitors: 7,200,000
- Beer Consumed: 7,500,000 liters
- Sausages Eaten: 235,356 pairs
- Lost Items: 4,500
Thursday, September 27 2018
Are you considering a mother-in-law suite addition to your home? Mother in-law suites, or granny flats, have become a popular home design trend that aims to create a private living space for aging parents in their adult children’s home. If your parent is considering making a move and you have the space and the budget for such a renovation, you should take the benefits of this type of investment into consideration.
1 | Quality Time with Grandparents
This benefit is HUGE. Having your parents nearby is well-worth the investment of building an in-law suite on your property. When your parents are close by, your kids can spend plenty of time getting to know their grandparents—and your parents will love getting to see the kids more often! You will also be able to strengthen your bond with your parents and reconnect with them. As your parents enter this new stage of their life, having you by their side will be a comfort to them.
2 | Increased Comfort
If your parents have a private space to call their own, they will be happier and more comfortable. Many seniors living alone and away from their children and grandchildren can become lonely and depressed—a private attached or detached in-law-suite is the perfect solution to ensure your parents are living a happy and healthy retirement. Have them help design their new space and include an open floor plan with Bi-Fold Patio Doors to allow maximum light flow and make the space feel and appear larger than it is.
3 | Increased Home Value
An in-law suite, or detached granny flat/guest house can increase the value of your home. According to Pews Research Center, a record 64 million Americans live in multigenerational households—and this number will continue to increase. As more adult Americans open their homes to their aging parents, a home containing an in-law suite is more appealing to home buyers. If parents are not ready to move in with you, this space can be used in the meantime as guest quarters or provide rental income.
4 | Save Money
Assisted living facilities and retirement communities can be pricey, and your parents may feel isolated or alone in these environments. If you bypass retirement communities or assisted living facilities and invest in a private space for your parents in your own home, you both can save a ton of money on rent and fees in the long run! Your parents may even be willing to watch your kids occasionally, saving you additional money on babysitters!
5 | Alternative Use
If your small in-law-suite or granny flat becomes vacant, this could be great living quarters for your recent college grad who just moved home. This will give them their own private space to transition from college student to young working professional. You can stay close with them while they maintain their independence as they save money and plan their next move. When they get on their feet, you may even consider charging them a small rental fee as a way to help them save money. Set it aside and return the accumulated money to them when they are ready to move out—this will provide them with a nice little reserve that they can put towards a rental deposit or down payment!
Tuesday, September 25 2018
Wednesday, September 26th, is National Women’s Health and Fitness Day and women everywhere should be celebrating! Held every year on the last Wednesday of September, this is a day where over 500 groups across the country host health and fitness events for local women in honor of the holiday. National Women’s Health and Fitness Day is the perfect excuse to try new things and develop that healthy lifestyle you’ve been striving for!
This is a great day to drop in on a fitness class at your local gym! Look into your gym’s fitness schedule—they may even be offering free classes for the holiday. Try out a class you’ve always been curious about and you might be pleasantly surprised. Breaking out of your comfort zone from your regular fitness routine can be refreshing and empowering to your mind and body. Maybe it’s spin, Zumba, or yoga that you fall in love with; whatever it is, having a class that you enjoy and go to regularly can improve your overall health and encourage other healthy habits!
Get your whole family involved in the Health and Fitness Day fun! Go for a walk or bike ride and enjoy the crisp fall air—your kids will love spending time outdoors while doing an activity you all can enjoy together. If your kids have a favorite sport, take them to the local soccer field or basketball court and play a pickup game. This is also a good way to teach your kids about staying healthy and instilling life-long habits. Teaching your kids at a young age how important health and fitness is will encourage them to continue their routines into adulthood.
Take some time to learn more about nutrition and healthy foods that will give your body plenty of energy to support your active lifestyle. You could enroll in a nutritional cooking class where you learn about different foods and how they affect your body and how to prepare tasty and healthy meals! If you’re more of a self-taught person, invest in some nutrition books that you can read in your spare time! Nutritious meals will make you happier, more energized, and decrease your risk of many diseases and illnesses.
Health and fitness isn’t just about a healthy body, it’s about a healthy mind. You should develop your own form of meditation to clear your mind and relax. Whether you practice structured meditation, or open your Bi-Fold Patio Doors and relax in the porch swing, or sit on the beach listening to the crashing waves—anything works as long as it’s a relaxing time where you gather your thoughts and become Zen.
You’ve heard it before and we’ll say it again, water and sleep are so incredibly important to your overall health that you can’t live without either! Drink plenty of water every day to stay hydrated. Water has so many health benefits including: increased energy, weight loss and weight management, stronger immune system, headache prevention, and sprain and cramp prevention—not to mention it’s delicious and the only beverage that truly quenches your thirst! Quality and amount of sleep are paramount to your health and wellness; fortunately, healthy meals and moderate exercise increase your quality of sleep, so you are well on your way (if you’re not there already) to a great night’s sleep!
What better day to begin a new healthy habit than Wednesday, September 26th, National Women’s Health and Fitness Day!
Thursday, September 20 2018
Home offices are a great place to manage your household and get work done on the days you work from home. You may think a home office is just another room, but this room has a purpose and can be altered to make you more productive. Follow these 6 tips and you can be more inspired, more efficient, and more productive in your work!
1 | Organization
Invest in a large desk where you can spread out documents when you are working on a big project. Plenty of storage is also essential to file paperwork and store supplies—drawers and cupboards mean your office can remain clutter free! Generous bookshelf space is a must to store your novels and keep some attractive design elements like succulents, photographs, and vases. When you feel like everything is in its place and there is no clutter, you will feel organized and ready to tackle any project.
2 | Increase Lighting
Working in a well-lit space makes your job easier. You can invest in plenty of overhead lighting and a desk lamp. Natural light will make you happier and more productive, so increasing the natural light in your office is paramount. You can achieve this by installing large folding glass patio doors or sliding glass patio doors that will allow an abundance of natural light to flow into your office. When you’re feeling drowsy, open your patio doors and let the fresh air awaken you!
3 | Private Space
Your office should have a door for privacy. Some offices or dens are an open nook off a main hallway—this leads to many distractions from people walking back and forth past your office. With a door that closes off the space, you can shut out noise and distractions when it’s time to concentrate and jump right into work mode. Help your family understand that when the door is shut, you are busy working and are not to be disturbed! It also lets you keep little ones from getting their hands on important files and unknowingly turning them into paper snowflakes.
4 |Paint Color
Believe it or not, certain colors can influence your emotions, and therefore contribute to your creativity and productivity. Blue is a soothing color that helps calm the mind and aid concentration. It also enhances wakefulness and supports clear and easy communication. A shade of blue is the ultimate office color because it will help you focus and keep you awake! If painting the office is not possible, use other design elements to add hints of blue to your work space.
5 | Comfortable Desk Chair
A comfortable desk chair is essential when you spend long hours at your desk working. A proper chair will support your back and neck and relieve tension. If you are uncomfortable in your chair and feel your butt falling asleep, that means it is time for a new chair. No matter how supportive your chair is, don’t forget to get up and walk around every 30 minutes to stimulate blood flow. Studies show that sitting for long periods of time could be just as unhealthy as smoking. Consider investing in an adjustable desk so you can stand up and keep working. Did you know that you can burn a couple hundred calories per day just by standing for part of the day?
6 | Eliminate Distractions
Your office should not hold anything that might be a distraction to you. This means removing televisions and cell phones from your space. Get a land line for your office so you can still conduct business, while eliminating the potential distraction of a phone with tons of tempting apps within arm’s reach.
Tuesday, September 18 2018
The weather is beginning to change, and rainy days will soon be upon us. Going out in the rain can be a struggle, especially with the children in tow, but sometimes it is unavoidable. On the days you can escape the rain and stay at home, follow these tips to keep the children happy and therefore maintain your sanity!
1 | Patio Playtime
Gloomy weather is the perfect time for cozying up on the covered patio with plush blankets and listening to the rain fall. The kids can spend time playing on the patio and releasing some pent-up energy, so they won’t feel like they’ve been cooped up inside all day. Covered patios are the perfect living space that allow you to enjoy the outdoors while still protecting you from the elements. When it gets too chilly outside, or the wind picks up, you can head inside and continue to watch the rain fall through your folding glass patio doors!
2 | Bake the Day Away
Be prepared and have baking ingredients on hand so you can spend the day baking some goodies! Measure out all the ingredients and let the kids pour and mix everything together—that’s their favorite part! The house will feel extra cozy with the warmth from the oven and the sweet smells of baked treats spreading from room to room. Cookies or cupcakes are great so when the baking is done, everyone can decorate the treats with icing, sprinkles and candy. The kids will have a blast and will stay entertained for hours.
3 | Indoor Campout
Rainy days are a great excuse to stay in your pajamas all day long and have an indoor campout with the kids! Move aside the couches and coffee table and pitch a tent in the middle of the living room. Fill the tent with plenty of comfy pillows and blankets and spend the day watching movies from the comfy-coziness of the tent. Setup near your large sliding glass door so you can still hear the rain and watch it pour down!
4 | Play in the Rain
Do you remember being a kid and the excitement that came with a rainstorm? Playing in the rain is a childhood rite of passage! Let your kids spend some time outdoors, dancing in the rain and splashing in puddles. Help them build homemade paper boats to send down the river flowing in the gutter. Make sure you are equipped with rainboots, raincoats, and umbrellas, but know that your kids will still end up soaked when the day is done. Leave towels by the door before you leave, so everyone can dry off at the door and prevent a wet mess!
5 | Cozy Up
Light a fire in the fireplace and cozy up on the couch and enjoy the warmth as it spreads through your home. The kids can roast marshmallows and spend a lazy day at home reading books, watching movies, and playing games. Brew some hot chocolate and pop some popcorn for the ultimate lazy day in!
Thursday, September 13 2018
It’s almost that time of year again—ten days to be exact—when it gets dark earlier, the air gets colder, and the leaves change color. The first day of fall is September 22nd and we couldn’t be more ready! There are so many exciting things that come with the change of the season: comfy sweaters, pumpkin spice everything, Halloween, and Thanksgiving! Is your home ready for all the upcoming fall festivities and weather changes?
In preparation for fall, get your patio cleaned up and ready for entertaining. Illuminate your backyard entertainment space with bulb string lights to create a relaxing, softly lit patio. This is an inexpensive way to liven up your space and create a beautiful and warm atmosphere for all your outdoor gatherings!
Make sure your outdoor firepit is ready to be lit on those cool fall evenings. Take inventory of your firewood or check your propane levels so you won’t have to make a last-minute trip to the hardware store when you want to light your first fire of fall! Have the backyard landscaped and dead plants and leaves removed to prevent fire hazards. If you are thinking about re-doing your firepit for fall, click here.
Are the windows and doors in your home energy efficient? If your windows and doors are ready for replacement, opt for energy efficient windows and patio doors that will keep in the heat during those chilly fall days. Bi-Fold Patio Doors maintain energy efficiency while illuminating your space with plenty of natural light! With fall comes many gloomy, overcast days, but with large folding patio doors installed in your home, you can further appreciate those rare days when the sun peeks through the clouds!
It’s finally time to break out the pumpkins, bales of hay, and sunflowers and recreate your favorite fall porch décor ideas from Pinterest! Start DIYing some new decorations and wow your visitors and passersby with your unique and trendy porch arrangement. This will make your home warm and welcoming and put everyone in the fall spirit!
We mentioned previously that you should get your patio and outdoor spaces cleaned up for the new season. However, don’t overlook the places in your home that are not as obvious but could still use a good cleaning. Your fireplace and chimney should be cleaned—a clean chimney means a safer and more efficient fireplace! Another spot commonly overlooked are the rain gutters; clean gutters are essential for this season, so water can properly drain away from your home during those autumn rainstorms!
Your home is almost ready for fall! More than likely you have not run the heater for the entire summer, so there is a chance something could go wrong. Have your furnace serviced to ensure everything is functioning properly, especially if you live in a very cold climate where the snow starts falling before winter! This is an excellent time to check that your home security system is fully functional—as the holidays approach, there is an increase in burglaries and having a home security system can keep you and your home safe.
Enjoy the few short months of autumn before they fall away!
Tuesday, September 11 2018
It’s that time of year again, NFL Football has finally returned! Back are the days where football lovers everywhere spend hours glued to the TV each week rooting for their favorite team and hoping for a Super Bowl LIII victory! Whether you, your friends, or your family are the biggest fans, here are some tips to get the ultimate enjoyment out of the 2018-2019 NFL Season.
A spacious viewing area with comfortable seating and a large TV is the most important thing you need to enjoy football games. Host members of your Fantasy Football League on game night and watch the competition get real! Open up your Bi-Fold Patio Doors or Multi-Slide Patio Doors and enjoy the fresh air and throw food on the grill while you watch the game. During halftime, herd everyone through your folding patio doors and into the backyard for a quick game of touch football. If your large glass patio doors are letting in too much light during the game, invest in some blackout curtains to ensure a perfect viewing environment.
No football viewing party is complete without snacks! Chips and dip, pretzels, cheese and crackers—all snack foods are delicious, so you really can do no wrong. For quick and easy options, ordering pizza and wings, or other takeout food, will save you the hassle of cooking and cleanup. Whatever you do, don’t forget the beer! Every once in a while, go to your local sports bar to catch the game; it will be a refreshing spot to grab food and watch your team play, and the energy of fellow football fans adds to the fun and excitement!
Get your little ones in on the fun and show them how to love the sport. You can teach them the rules of the game and encourage them to pick a team to root for! Depending on their age, they might not be able to sit through a whole game but instilling the football tradition within them is a good start. As your kids get older, they will enjoy the game more and sitting down for a football game will become a family bonding experience. When they’re old enough, you can even show them how to play Fantasy Football and help them enroll in their first league!
If you’re lucky enough to live near an NFL stadium, you must attend a game this season! Show up early and have a tailgate—take a portable grill and lots of yummy food. You will feel the excitement in the air as you line up to enter the stadium. There is nothing like watching a game live surrounded by thousands of cheering fans. Don’t forget to wear the jersey of your favorite player to show support!
If you can’t make it to a game this year, setting up an outdoor viewing area is a fun way to watch the game. To learn more about creating your own outdoor theater, click here.
We hope you enjoy this football season and may the best team win!
Thursday, September 06 2018
Is it already time for retirement? You’ve spent 30+ years building your career and becoming an expert in your trade, and now the day has come where you go into the office one last time. This can be a happy, exciting, stressful, and confusing time in your life—what will you do with all your free time when you no longer have a job to show up to? The years after your career can be some of the best of your life; you just need to know how to spend your newfound free time!
Now that you’re retired, there is no time like the present to tackle that to-do list of yours. This is a great time to start that home remodel you’ve been planning for years! Upgrade your kitchen with new cabinets, counters, and flooring—include all the unique amenities you want to make it your dream kitchen. A useful guide about quartz versus granite counterops will help you navigate this confusing process. Don’t forget to install a Bi-Fold Passthrough Window for easy serving and entertainment on the patio! When you remodel the living room, keep an open floor plan and consider a folding patio door system to connect your living space to your outdoor entertainment area.
Retirement is the best time to travel the world and see new places. You can take an extended trip and visit cities and monuments on your bucket list. Whether you have a travel buddy, or take a solo trip, you will have the time of your life! If you are a free spirit, don’t make any plans. Book a one-way ticket to a foreign land and take your adventure one day at a time—you never know where you might end up or whom you might meet! Enjoy the sights, the food, and the people, and the lack of responsibility that retirement allows.
If you’re inspired to spend the next year or two traveling, consider downsizing your family home to something a little cozier that requires less maintenance. Now that the kids are grown up and out of the house, and you only plan to be home between vacations, there is no reason to hold on to a large home that you don’t have time to maintain! To learn more about downsizing your home, click here.
A generous and rewarding way to spend some of your free time is by volunteering and giving back to your community. Find a cause you are passionate about—whether it’s cleaning up the beaches, helping the homeless, mentoring children, or spending time at the local humane society, it will be time well spent! You probably have valuable skills and knowledge that you developed throughout your career which could benefit these non-profit programs. Do some research to find your perfect fit and enjoy making the world a better place!
Dedicating plenty of time to staying active will extend your healthy years and give you more energy to enjoy your retirement. Join a gym and take advantage of the classes—this will teach you new exercise routines and give you the opportunity to meet and connect with other retirees! There are classes for every taste so don’t hesitate to try something new, you may find that you love it! Check your community’s city-sponsored recreation programs. Most cities offer affordable senior-focused fitness classes, dance classes, and sports leagues, as well as travel deals.
You now have plenty of free time to work on your favorite hobby. Don’t be afraid to try new hobbies and sign up for a painting, pot throwing, or cooking class. It’s fun to take a class to learn the tricks of the trade and develop your skills further in the company of others. Classes like this are a great place to make new friends and interact with diverse people!
However you spend your free time, be sure you are getting enough exercise, eating healthy, and sleeping well—these are the secrets to living a long and healthy life. Enjoy your retirement!
Wednesday, September 05 2018
“The more that you read, the more that you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go” – Dr. Seuss
Reading is a favorite past time that can expand your mind and create new worlds. Did you know National Read A Book Day is tomorrow, September 6th? What better day is there to lose yourself in that new book that’s been collecting dust on your shelf? We have some tips to help you make this your best National Read A Book Day yet!
Life can sometimes be hectic, and we forget to take time to do the things we love. This holiday is the perfect excuse to take out that new book you’ve been wanting to dive into and fold open your Bi-Fold Patio Doors—curl up in your favorite patio chair and relax and enjoy the fresh air and beautiful weather while you devour your latest read. You don’t have to wait a year for this to happen! Make this a normal part of your routine, and schedule alone time every week to lounge on the patio and read a book. This is a healthy routine that will leave your body and mind rejuvenated.
Remind your kids that it is National Read A Book Day and help them celebrate the joy of reading. If your children are old enough to know how to read, sit down and read with them. Take turns reading pages out of their favorite book and help them along on words they struggle with. They will love spending time with you and this teaches them that reading is fun and easy! For your little ones that can’t read yet, let them choose their favorite story book and read to them. Instilling a habit of reading in your children is important because it improves concentration and language skills, helps develop empathy, and promotes achievement in school. Learn more about the benefits of reading to your children in The New York Times.
Get the kids extra excited about reading and take them to your local bookstore, or Barnes and Noble, and treat them to a brand new book of their choice! You can also download Amazon’s Kindle App on your smartphone or tablet and get many free e-book classics or choose from Amazon’s list of titles available for purchase! Get to your local library and get everyone in your family a free library card. When kids have books to read that peak their interest, it encourages them to spend more time reading. This is also the perfect time to pick up a new book or two that you’ve been dying to read. Don’t wait for this holiday to take your kids on a trip to the bookstore—Barnes and Noble hosts a free weekly story time on Saturday mornings for kids ages 0-8 (check the website of your local Barnes and Noble for times and dates). Your kids will love this event and will look forward to it every week, and it will get them off the couch and away from the TV!
If you feel like you’re in a reading rut and need a good book recommendation, look no further: New York Times #1 Best Seller Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan is an excellent read. You won’t want to put down this hilarious and endearing novel about an average girl who’s thrown into the world of Singapore’s elite (buy it here)! The best part is, once you finish the book, you can head to the movies and watch the story unravel on the big screen!
Thursday, August 30 2018
Open plan dining is one of 2018’s hottest home design trends. This design is suitable for both big and small families and can be accomplished in any sized space! Featured on HGTV.com, Designer, Cynthia Spence, says this floor plan “creates a sense of flow throughout the space, and brings socializing back to the dinner table.” Below are five reasons you should make the conversion to an open plan dining space in your home.
1 | Central Location
As Cynthia Spence said, an open dining floor plan creates a central location where you and your family and friends can gather and enjoy a meal together. In 2018, we all have busy lives—the day is consumed by work, school, sports, volunteering, working out, running errands, and hopefully a little play time. An open plan dining design reminds us to seize the opportunity to sit down, take a moment to forget about our responsibilities, and enjoy some quality bonding time with family and friends. It is also great for entertaining—it creates a flow in your home where guests can mingle in the dining and living spaces, but not feel separated from the party, because both spaces are connected!
2 | Open-Air Dining
An open dining plan creates natural flow inside your home, but it doesn’t have to stop there. With Bi-Fold Patio Doors or Multi-Slide Patio Doors, you can eliminate entire walls and connect your dining and living space to the outdoors. As doors fold or slide open, the line between inside and outside is erased. This creates an alfresco dining experience for you and your family to enjoy. Folding doors or sliding doors can expand your space and create an open and endless atmosphere.
3 | Efficient Use of Space
Smaller spaces can oftentimes feel confined, especially with a boxy, closed-off dining room. Creating an open plan dining design in your home is an efficient use of space that will make your home feel and appear larger than it is! Combining dining and living spaces creates a little extra room that would normally be occupied by walls and doorways. This extra space can be utilized and transformed into a cute seating area, window bench, or reading nook!
4 | Increased Natural Light
Open plan dining can increase the natural light in your multi-use space. Less walls mean more light flow—natural light can illuminate your space and be absorbed into the room when obstacles aren’t blocking the way! Sunlight helps to lighten your mood; it makes you more productive, happier, and healthier. With folding patio doors or sliding patio doors, an abundance of light flows through the large glass panels and further illuminates your home!
5 | Resale Value
Open plan dining is an ongoing trend that will be desirable for years to come. According to Time Magazine, an open floor plan is the number one feature homebuyers want. If you are planning a remodel, open dining is a good investment—if/when you sell your home, it will make your home more appealing to buyers.
Tuesday, August 28 2018
Living rooms are a big deal—they are a central location where you and your family gather and watch movies, play board games, entertain guests, and maybe even eat the occasional meal. This is a space that should offer comfort and accommodate your lifestyle. If your living space isn’t everything you want it to be, there are some things you can do to liven up the space and create a room that you and your family will love spending time in.
1 | Window Bench
You can liven up your space by incorporating a window bench in your living room. Window benches create the perfect reading nook and provide additional seating when you have a house full of people. Add comfy cushions and reading lamps to create a cozy spot for anyone to curl up and read a book! The best part is, you can create additional storage inside the underneath compartment for blankets and board games. This comfy spot can be created with a built-in bench, or you can purchase a bench to achieve the design.
2 | Natural Light
The doors in your living room that lead to your patio can have a huge impact on the look and feel of the room. By installing large Bi-Fold Patio Doors or Multi-Slide Patio Doors, you can expand your living space by connecting it to your outdoor entertainment area. These luxury patio doors will let in an abundance of natural light through the large glass window panes, illuminating the space entirely; and with doors open you can enjoy the beautiful weather and fresh breeze! Doors that slide or fold away are perfect for entertaining because they blur the line between indoors and out.
3 | Bookshelf
A bookshelf is both aesthetic and functional—it creates a unique focal point in the room, and can also be used to store books, games, and other items. Bookshelves are a design element we love, especially those with a matching ladder to safely reach high shelves. If space allows, a built-in bookcase is ideal. However, the look can still be achieved with a smaller, free-standing bookcase.
4 | Tabletops
Your coffee and end tables can dramatically change the style and feel of your living room. It is important to consider what your tables will be used for when choosing a design—will you use this table to play card and board games, build puzzles, and eat meals? Knowing how you will use your table will guide you in selecting a bigger or smaller coffee table, which may have extra storage underneath (hidden storage in your coffee table is great for hiding your 10 different TV remotes)! Your end tables should be large enough for a table lamp, décor, and a glass of wine.
5 | Lighting
Lighting and fixtures contribute to the ambiance of your living space. If your family is big on movies, investing in dimmer lights with a handheld remote is a good idea. You can also liven up the space with interesting and unique light fixtures, chandeliers, and lamps. With plenty of natural light coming in from your Bi-Fold Doors, be sure to hang some thick blackout that will block bright sunlight when you want to watch a movie during the daytime.
6 | Hanging Swing Chair
A fun feature to include in your living space design is a hanging swing chair! It will immediately draw the eye of anyone walking in the room, and swing chairs are fun to lounge in. You can hang the chair from the ceiling, or if you want to keep the ceiling free of holes, you can invest in a free-standing swing chair.
Thursday, August 23 2018
Are you an avid crafter that needs a space of your own where you can let your creativity flow? If you’re serious about crafting and it consumes much of your free time, it is a good idea to designate a place where you can store your materials and tools, and work on your projects. Consider transforming an unused or wasted space to create the ultimate craft studio that will make your life as a crafter easier and more organized. The following are just a few design necessities every craft room should have to be fully functional and comfortable.
Plenty of storage in your craft room is a must! Lots of drawers and shelving will come in handy for storing your glue, glitter, paint, and craft paper. Use glass jars to keep small items like safety pins and buttons organized. Mount some pegboard on your wall to hang your scissors, hammer, pliers, and any other crafting tools to keep them organized and easily accessible! Get creative and utilize all your space—hang ribbon on a wooden dowel, store bins under tables, and use extra wall space to install hooks and baskets for additional storage.
Lighting is very important in your craft room. In a well-lit space you can easily see fine details and maintain accuracy in your work. An abundance of natural light is ideal because it reveals the true colors of all your craft material. The best way to create plenty of natural light in your craft room is by installing folding patio doors or sliding patio doors. These doors have large glass panels that will maximize light flow and expand your space! When the weather is nice, you can open your patio doors and enjoy the fresh air while you get your craft on.
You absolutely need a large work surface in your craft room. Whether you’re sewing, jewelry-making, scrapbooking, etc., having a large table to spread out all your supplies is essential. You can set up everything you need within your reach, so you can work efficiently and not be interrupted to get more materials out of storage. This large workspace is especially useful if you have friends that are fellow crafters—you can invite a few friends over to enjoy a bottle of wine and craft the night away. Invest in the right desk chair so you are comfortable while you craft and won’t be straining your body during those long craft sessions.
Storage and organization are important, but don’t forget to add unique design touches and décor to make your space feel cozy and homey. This is a space where you will spend a lot of time, so include some design elements that make you happy and inspire your creativity. You would be smart to keep a compact hand vacuum and dust pan/brush set nearby and ready to clean up rogue glitter and spilled jewelry beads! Enjoy your new craft room and head over to the DIY Network for some creative and fun craft ideas! For more ideas and craft room inspiration, check out this cool publication whose first issue is on the shelves now: In Her Studio.
Tuesday, August 21 2018
Are you thinking about downsizing your home now that the kids are grown up and you’re enjoying retirement? Downsizing is a step most people make as they enter retirement and become empty nesters. With the kids gone, there is no need to have such a large space and property to maintain—with a smaller home, you can spend less time on cleaning and home maintenance, and more time traveling, playing golf, and lounging at the country club pool. You might even be able to afford a second home or condo in one of your favorite vacation destinations if you downsize.
When making the transition from a large 3000+ square foot home to a smaller, cozier space it is important to understand what you want and need out of your new home. Will you need rooms for your grandkids to visit, or studio space to explore your creative side? What about a pool? You might enjoy going for early morning swims, or maybe you never want to own a home with a pool again because the maintenance is too much of a hassle! Deciding how much space and what amenities you require to live comfortably will make the downsizing transition easier.
Part of downsizing is figuring out what you can and can’t live without. When downsizing, chances are you will need to get rid of some of your furniture and home goods. Use this as a time to declutter your life—get rid of old furniture, clothes you haven’t worn in years, and mismatching Tupperware. Donate everything you don’t want or need, and you will feel organized and ready to tackle the downsizing process!
Downsizing your home doesn’t mean you have to compromise your views. Look for a new home with scenic surroundings—downsize your home but upsize your views! A home with Bi-Fold Patio Doors makes it easy to fold doors open and enjoy the weather on your balcony or deck and get lost in the expansive views. Pocketing Multi-Slide Doors slip into the wall pocket, disappearing completely out of sight, leaving nothing but open views in their wake. A home with such luxury patio doors should be on your wish list—not only do these patio doors maximize the view, folding doors and sliding doors expand your living space which is the perfect solution when you have visitors in your new home and need the extra entertainment space!
Downsizing is a great time for you to redecorate your new space and create a new design scheme for your home. Look for interior design inspiration in Luxe Magazine, Pinterest, and Houzz. Channel your inner interior designer and choose colors, textures, and styles you love, and if you’re feeling risky, go a little bit out of your comfort zone on some design aspects! You don’t have to get rid of all your old décor—choose a new theme that channels elements of your old space. The goal is to create a beautiful living space that you will enjoy spending time in!
Thursday, August 16 2018
Home fitness studios are the ultimate luxury—imagine being able to exercise from the comfort and privacy of your own home. You can work out at anytime of the day and not worry about an overcrowded gym or onlookers watching you break a sweat. Everyone dreads the drive home from the gym after a long, intense workout; with a home fitness studio you’re likely to enjoy your exercise routine because you can jump in your shower post workout and relax. As home fitness studio enthusiasts, we want to help you design (or redesign) your very own private gym that you will love!
One of the most important design aspects to consider when planning your fitness studio is the flooring. Deciding on flooring may be difficult and confusing because there are so many different materials that can be used. To create a luxurious fitness studio environment, we like the idea of using wood floors throughout your space. It is important to use protective gym mats beneath dumbbells and bench presses to protect your floors from dropped equipment. These rubber mats will absorb the shock when heavy weights are accidentally dropped, preserving the floor underneath. If you prefer, another option is to use rubber gym flooring throughout your studio, giving you more freedom to move about the space when exercising with certain equipment.
The next element of your home fitness studio to consider are the doors and windows. We suggest using plenty of doors and windows because they will provide an abundance of natural light. With Bi-Fold Patio Doors in your private gym, you can fold doors open and enjoy the fresh air during your workout routine. Having a wall of glass patio doors will enhance your view and create an indoor-outdoor exercise experience. You can also eliminate the walls of your studio and expand the space with pocketing sliding glass doors, which will completely disappear into the wall when fully opened!
So what type of gym equipment and machines should you include in your studio? You may not be able to fit every machine that a gym normally offers, however you can narrow it down by going with some of your favorite exercise equipment. Including one or two cardio machines and your favorite strength machine is a good start, and you will still have space for smaller equipment like dumbbells, exercise balls, jump ropes, and more!
Though not totally necessary, having a TV and sound system setup in your fitness studio is a plus. On the tv you can watch the news, follow workout videos, or catch up on your favorite tv shows during your exercise time. With a sound system, you can blast your favorite motivational playlist and get lost in your workout.
For the rest of your design elements, choose colors, themes, and décor that you enjoy and will make you more motivated to push yourself. Use indoor plants, peaceful artwork, and flowy window treatments to create a Zen environment that you can relax and destress in. Don’t forget to have a water station so you can stay hydrated without making trips to the kitchen and interrupting your workout!
When your studio is complete, try out these 30-minute at home workouts! Good luck and enjoy your home fitness studio!
Tuesday, August 14 2018
Is it that time of year again already? Time to stock up on pencils, glue sticks, and notebooks because in just a few short weeks, your kiddos will be packing their backpacks, climbing on the bus, and beginning another school year. Heading back to school after a long, fun-filled summer can be a challenge for both you and your kids but we have some tips to make the transition back into the school routine a little easier on everyone!
The best thing you can do is to begin the transition a few weeks before school starts. No more late nights and irregular bed times—the kids should get back to a regular sleep schedule, so they are prepared and well-rested when the early mornings start. Take them back to school shopping and let them pick out some fun school supplies so they get excited to get back into school mode and use their fresh supplies!
Plan out meals for the week so you know exactly what ingredients you need, and you won’t have to make multiple trips to the grocery store throughout the week. Pack lunches the evening before to save time in the morning, so you won’t be stressing out and running late trying to throw a lunch together for your kids. Choose only healthy and nutritious foods to prepare meals with—it will give everyone more energy to make it through the school/work day, after school activities, and homework! Eating Well has plenty of healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack recipes that kids will love!
Designate a spot at home where kids can sit down and focus to get their homework done in a timely manner. We love the idea of opening our Bi-Fold Patio Doors and setting kids up on the patio to complete their reading and homework. The weather is still beautiful, and they get to enjoy indoor-outdoor living while doing something that’s not-so-fun. It helps them to focus and not feel trapped at a desk—they’ve been sitting at a desk at school for 7 hours, give them a break! With no distractions like video games, tablets, phones, etc. on the patio, kids can breeze through their homework and have more time for fun activities and family time.
Opening your sliding glass patio doors and throwing a back to school party in the backyard is a great way to cure the end-of-summer blues and get kids excited for the new school year. Have fun games, tasty food, and give goodie bags with a few school supplies to celebrate the beginning of the school year. Excite your children by talking about how fun this year will be, all the new friends they will make, and all the new things they will learn!
Schedule some family time the evening following the first day of school. Take the kids out to their favorite restaurant and let them order anything they want as a special treat for conquering the first day of school! Head home and spend time together playing games and hanging out, discussing their first day back. As the school year goes on and schedules become jam-packed, continue to have routine family time to stay updated on what’s going on at school and to bond with each other. Your kids are only young for a short time and childhood flies by, so cherish every moment!
Thursday, August 09 2018
With a modern remodel and the use of AG Bi-Fold Patio Doors, these homeowners eliminate an entire wall and maximize their ocean views in their Southern California beachfront home!
This beachfront home has a long “shotgun” floor plan, with the back edge of the home sitting right on the sand. The goal of the remodel was to modernize the home while maintaining some traditional aspects, such as the dark wood grain touches found throughout the home. The entryway features warm hardwood floors that continue all the way up the staircase and through the first story until you reach the kitchen and living room. Though it is a narrow entry, guests get a peek of the natural light, open space, and ocean views created by the Bi-Fold Patio Doors.
The spacious contemporary kitchen transitions from the warm wood floors of the entry into a light ivory tile. The cabinetry is a solid wood with a beautiful textured wood grain finish and modern stainless-steel hardware. A large white quartz island creates contrast from the dark cabinets and adds a modern touch to the space! The kitchen is fully loaded with high-end appliances and a prep sink on the kitchen island. Views of the ocean can be seen from every corner of the kitchen due to its open floor plan.
The ivory tile continues from the kitchen into the living and dining space. A new mantle and electric fireplace were installed, in the same wood grain finish as the kitchen cabinets, front door, and staircase railing. A tv nook with electrical outlets was built into the mantle, making for easy television hookup. The living space is flooded with an abundance of natural light from the custom folding patio doors, but also has plenty of recessed lighting for cloudy days and dark evenings.
The highlight of the remodel is the 8-panel AG Bi-Fold Patio Door that replaced the back wall of the home. This luxury patio door creates resort style living and creates an abundance of natural light pouring into the home. Even with doors closed, residents can enjoy the gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean.
With doors open, the line between indoors and outdoors is erased. The homeowners can enjoy the cool ocean breeze that fills their home and soak in the breathtaking views while relaxing in their indoor-outdoor living space. The living space extends to an outdoor deck, with steps leading down to the sand.
Upstairs, the master bedroom uses the same warm wood flooring as the entryway and features immaculate views of the horizon. Like downstairs, the master has a fireplace and tv hookup on the mantle. This master bedroom is the ultimate escape from reality and when homeowners turn in for the night, they drift away to the sound of soothing ocean waves.
The remodel was a success because it modernized the home, maintained some traditional aspects, and enhanced the homeowners’ indoor-outdoor living experience. With these resort-like views, it was a smart investment to eliminate walls and create the ultimate indoor-outdoor living space with custom folding patio doors.
The homeowners are thrilled with the outcome of their remodel, especially their AG Bi-Fold Patio Doors! On warm summer nights they enjoy folding open the doors, relaxing on the deck, and watching the sunset from the comfort of their indoor-outdoor living space!
Tuesday, August 07 2018
The doors and windows in your home are incredibly important features of the overall home design. Your living space can be completely transformed with the proper doors and windows installed. Windows and doors don’t last forever, however well-maintained products can last 15 to 20 years. Eventually though, all doors and windows in your home will need replacing. How do you know if it’s time to replace your doors and windows? Keep reading to find out!
Broken, Damaged, and Hard to Use
Your doors and windows should open and close with ease, so if they are difficult to use, it might be time to replace them! Broken or damaged windows and doors can sometimes be fixed, but often if the frame or panel is warped, replacement is your best investment. It is so important to have easy to use, functional windows and doors—windows and doors that stick or won’t stay open is not only a nuisance, it is a safety hazard!
Dark and Outdated
If your windows and doors are old and outdated, and are not enhancing your living space, it is time to replace them. If your doors and windows are not providing an abundance of natural light and maximizing your views, then they are not doing their job. Consider replacing small, old windows in the kitchen with Bi-Fold Passthrough Windows. You can also replace doors and windows and eliminate walls by installing a Bi-Fold Patio Door System.
Full Home Remodel
If you are undergoing a full remodel of your home, this is the perfect time to replace your windows and doors. Upgrading the rest of your home but leaving your old doors and windows will create an inconsistent look and ruin your modern home design with outdated products. Since you will be making major upgrades, you have full reign to incorporate beautiful, high-quality patio doors into your redesign. A unique Bi-Fold Window-Door Combination System can completely transform your kitchen and connect it to your outdoor living space. Use large, custom sliding glass doors glass on your upstairs balcony to create the perfect transition from indoors to outdoors. The backyard deck can benefit from a Zero Corner Folding Patio Door Unit and maximize views of your surroundings.
Most likely, your old windows and doors will not fulfill today’s energy efficiency standards, so it is probably time for an upgrade. Our Energy Solutions Bi-Fold Doors and Windows can keep heat in during the winter and deflect unwanted heat gain during the summer. With such energy efficiency, you can save money on heating and cooling bills. Additionally, energy efficient doors and windows raise a home’s value, and increase appeal to potential buyers.
A good reason to replace windows and doors is if you desire an indoor-outdoor living design in your home. Luxury patio doors and windows can create the ultimate indoor-outdoor experience as the perfect transition from your indoor living space to your outdoor patio paradise!
Whether you’re planning a modest remodel, or upgrading every door and window in your home, AG Millworks has you covered. Our custom patio doors are made to order and will blend perfectly with any home design style. Learn more about our patio door features and customization options here.
Thursday, August 02 2018
Curb appeal is the first impression people get of your home. Simple alterations can dramatically change your home’s appearance, value, and character. Whether you plan to sell your home, or just want to make some modest upgrades, there are some easy ways to add instant curb appeal that homebuyers and visitors will love!
1 | Landscape
A fresh and colorful landscape will make your home picturesqe. You can easily make these updates by adding planters along pathways and driveways with colorful flowers and plants that will bloom year round. Shrubs, hedges, and trees are a good option for the perimeter of your property and add privacy to your yard. You can also add potted plants near your doorway for extra greenery. Make sure your lawn and shrubs are always groomed for a neat and orderly yard! If you weren’t blessed with a green thumb, there are plenty of low maintenance landscape options that are just as appealing to the eye.
2 | Patio Doors
Though not always in immediate view, your patio doors contribute to overall curb appeal. With a smart investment, eliminate walls and upgrade your average patio doors to some Bi-Fold, Multi-Slide, or Lift and Slide Doors. These gorgeous patio doors will add instant luxury to your home and increase its value. With large glass folding or sliding doors, more natural light and fresh air flow into the home, creating a relaxing indoor-outdoor environment.
3 | Front Door
The front door is the main entry to your home and it is responsible for much of your home’s curb appeal. Is it time to upgrade your entry door? You can upgrade your front door by painting it a new color and changing the door hardware. If your door is ready for replacement, opt for a high-quality door that will complement your exterior and interior home design. Don’t forget to decorate your porch with outdoor art, potted plants, and a door mat to add a pleasant and warm welcome to visitors.
4 | Windows
Are your windows old and outdated? We can’t emphasize how important windows are in your home. They add natural light and a sense of openness that homebuyers look for when shopping for a house. Consider replacing your windows with new ones that are energy efficient and easy to operate. For something more unique than a standard window, opt for Bi-Fold Windows that fold away and create a sense of indoor-outdoor living! You can also use Bi-Fold windows to create a kitchen passthrough window that will extend your kitchen to the outdoor living space.
5 | Clean the Exterior
Borrow a pressure washer from a friend or rent one at your local hardware store and use it to spray your driveway, walkways, decking and siding of your home, and remove all the dirt and grime that has collected over the years. Though you may not notice how dull these surfaces of your home have become, pressure washing them will bring your home back to life and create a visibly cleaner, brighter appearance. This is an inexpensive way to add curb appeal by making your home sparkle!
6 | Arbor
You can add instant charm to your front entry by placing an arbor at the beginning of your front pathway. This is the perfect way to create an effortless flow from the sidewalk or driveway to your front porch. A tasteful arbor with vines growing in the trellis and eye-catching side-fencing will put your home on any house hunter’s radar!
7 | Mailbox & House Numbers
If there are no HOA restrictions in your neighborhood, replacing your mailbox or giving the old one a makeover is an easy and cost-effective way to add character to your home. Turn your mailbox into a planter, paint it a bright color, mount it in stone—there are hundreds of ways to make it unique to your residence. You can also spruce up your house numbers to increase curb appeal. Give the numbers a good scrub or replace them with a newer, more modern design—like this succulent planter that doubles as an address plaque. Be consistent in the designs you choose to create a universal look throughout the exterior and interior of your home!
8 | Fencing
If your fencing is looking a little grim and didn’t improve with pressure washing or repainting, consider replacing it. There are so many styles and options so be sure to choose a fence style and color that will match the rest of your home—this will create a cohesive look and instantly give your home a new and fresh appeal. If you prefer not to have fencing in the front, you may decide to add short, decorative fencing around planters and along pathways!
9 | Outdoor Lighting
Outdoor lighting can dramatize your home by illuminating focal points around the exterior. Use lights to illuminate the pathway to your front door and to draw attention to unique architectural features, outdoor art, water fountains and ponds, and planters. Not only does this add aesthetic appeal, it also provides safety and security around your home.
10 | Seating
A cute and easy way to enhance your curb appeal is by adding a bench into your landscape. The bench should match your home, fit into its surroundings wherever it is placed, add charm and character to your home, and provide a warm and welcoming touch to the exterior!
Tuesday, July 31 2018
Planning a vacation to the golden state can be overwhelming—there are so many activities and places to visit, it’s hard to decide where you should spend your time. The state is so big, you couldn’t possibly see everything there is to see in one trip. We want to help you plan your summer vacation to California so you can begin living that California lifestyle as soon as possible.
If there is one thing California is known for (besides In N Out Burger), it’s its beautiful coastlines and beaches. It may not be Hawaii, but the beauty of the coastal regions and blue waters do measure up. If you enjoy spending time on the beach, consider planning your vacation to one of California’s many beachside cities or towns. If you want to visit a big city, San Diego should be at the top of your list. There are large beaches with boardwalks with restaurants and shops along the sand, and plenty of activities that appeal to all ages. If you’re searching for a quieter escape, head to Santa Barbara, where you can relax on the beach, hike, and browse the local small-town boutiques. The sleepy, coastal town of Cayucos on California’s central coast is only an hour north of Santa Barbara and is a world away from the crowds. Quirky cafes and cute hotels abound, and without the noise of a larger beach city. You’ll really be able to relax and explore nearby attractions like Hearst Castle and the town of Cambria, an antique paradise.
If lakes are more your style, plan a trip to Lake Tahoe and get a taste of lakeside resort-style living! Enjoy all the amenities of a resort including a pool and spa, private beach, and indoor-outdoor dining made possible with Bi-Fold, Multi-Slide, Lift and Slide, and French Swing Patio Doors.
If you plan your trip to a lakeside resort, it will be a relaxing vacation with time spent by the pool, sailing and kayaking on the lake, and hiking through beautiful alpine scenery. Stop by or stay at The Landing (pictured above), a South Lake Tahoe Resort and Spa that will exceed every one of your vacation expectations.
California’s wine country is a must see for all wine lovers! What many people don’t know is that the wine country spans great distances—from Santa Barbara all the way past San Francisco. Leave the kids at home for this one and stay in one of California’s wine country regions and enjoy winery tours, tastings, and an abundance of charcuterie. Stroll through the vineyards or bike around town and wine and dine your days away!
If you feel like playing tourist, a vacation to San Francisco is the perfect destination. There are so many things to do in San Francisco, your days will be full of sightseeing! You can drive across the famous Golden Gate Bridge, check out the Painted Ladies, and picnic in Golden Gate Park. Don’t forget to visit Fisherman’s Wharf where you can browse the souvenir shops and enjoy a delicious bread bowl filled with clam chowder! Whatever your interests, San Francisco offers activities for every taste.
If you have little ones (or even if you don’t), the happiest place on earth is a crowd favorite. Spending a day or two of your vacation at Disneyland and California Adventure is a guaranteed good time. Spend the day eating yummy treats and reliving your favorite Disney movies, reveling in the magic that is Disney. California Adventures even offers wine tasting and fun, Disney-themed cocktails! The best part is, Disneyland is centrally located in Anaheim, so you can play there for a day or two, and spend the rest of your vacation exploring beaches, museums, and monuments in southern California.
Wherever you go, you will love being in California and will never want to leave. The beauty is endless—it truly is a golden state. Enjoy your vacation!
Thursday, July 26 2018
We are living in the age of experiences. When we go out to eat, we want something more than just food to fill our bellies—we want a genuine experience that will bring value to our lives. Because of this change in how we dine, restaurants are adapting for customers, creating a whole new wave of restaurant design trends! If you own a restaurant or plan to open one, here are some tips to keep customers loyal and happy.
Al Fresco Dining
The hottest restaurant trend by far is the al fresco dining experience. On the patio, guests can enjoy nice weather and fresh air, making it highly desirable seating with the longest wait times. Its growing popularity could partly be because al fresco dining reminds many people of European vacations where every restaurant on the block offers an indoor-outdoor dining experience! This type of dining experience has the feel of a vacation resort at their local eatery.
Although having a large patio may not be possible for every restaurant due to location or lack of space, the design is still easily achievable—restaurants are investing in luxury patio doors. These patio doors can replace entire walls with large glass door panels that will fold or slide open and create the indoor-outdoor dining space that restaurant-goers yearn for.
Décor & Atmosphere
The décor and design of a restaurant is essential in creating the perfect atmosphere. Visitors want to wine and dine in a fun, trendy environment. This type of atmosphere is enhanced with trending décor: succulents are hot right now, in fact any plant related décor is an instant hit. Interesting-looking light fixtures, high table tops, hanging plants, chalkboard paint walls, lots of natural light and plenty of bar seating is also favored among customers. Remember, you’re creating an experience—whatever design or theme you go with, make sure it is consistent, and put your own special touch on the trending design styles. Al fresco dining contributes to your overall atmosphere, so don’t forget to include Bi-Fold Doors and Windows in your design.
Of course, good atmosphere and design are only half the battle—building an amazing menu with high-quality ingredients is what will make you money and ensure a customer’s return. You want your menu to stand out from every other bar and grill. Including some dependable favorites isn’t a bad thing, but make sure you have some drinks, dishes, and desserts that are unique to your restaurant. Being well-known for your signature menu items will get people in the door, and the taste, quality, and magnetic atmosphere will keep them coming back. Make your menu items Instagram-worthy so everyone will want to photograph them and share where they found their latest obsession—more exposure for your growing eatery!
Service & Entertainment
When you have the perfect menu and atmosphere, providing good service and entertainment will complete the venture. Having board games on hand and hosting trivia nights, live bands, and other events will bring in new people and add even more value to guest experiences. Cheers to your success in getting your restaurant up and running and full of hungry people in no time!
Tuesday, July 24 2018
Summer is in full swing and it’s time to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and long summer days and nights. What better way to enjoy the summertime than by hosting outdoor movie nights in the backyard? Opening your Bi-Fold, Multi-Slide, Lift and Slide, and French Swing Patio Doors and setting up an outdoor movie night is an easy and fun activity that the whole family can enjoy! Keep reading to learn how to throw the best cozy backyard movie night for your friends and family this summer.
Now first things first, you can’t have a movie night without the proper equipment. You’ll need a large outdoor movie screen like this one from Target. It’s a 12.5-foot screen and it self-inflates, making setup incredibly easy! You will also need a projector and sound system—a Bluetooth speaker will suffice as long as you have a Bluetooth transmitter to connect to the projector (or laptop if you will be using it to stream a movie from Netflix)! Though the equipment necessary for outdoor movies requires a small investment, this setup can be used for many purposes in addition to movie nights: you can take it on camping trips for evening entertainment and you can use it for birthday parties and other events! The investment is worth it, and you will enjoy the benefits for a long time.
Now that you have the proper gear for movie projecting, you can start planning the event. You will need plenty of blankets, pillows, and comfy chairs for people to lounge in. Bring out some old blankets and pillows that you won’t mind having on the ground. Move your comfy patio furniture to the viewing area for additional seating. Sitting on the ground with no support can be hard on your back, so have extra chairs on hand for anyone who needs one.
We’ve come to the most important item on your outdoor movie night checklist: snacks! Popcorn is essential for any movie night, so be sure to have plenty of it! Having a variety of snacks is great and don’t hesitate to include some real food because people will get hungry for non-snack items. Burgers, sandwiches, and hot dogs are perfect and easy for non-snack foods to serve when your guests get hungry. Don’t forget to provide water and drinks for your guests—they will surely be thirsty after all that salt and sugar! Set up the snack bar on a nearby table or the bar counter of your Bi-Fold Passthrough Window for easy access throughout the night.
You now have the perfect setup for a movie night under the stars! Invite your friends and family and pick a movie to debut at your home theater. If you have neighbors nearby, be considerate about noise, or better yet, invite them over to join in the festivities. Once you use your outdoor theater setup, you’ll never want to go back to watching movies on a screen indoors because outdoor theaters take your viewing experience to a whole new level of entertainment! Have fun and enjoy your movie night!
Thursday, July 19 2018
A 1929 period home receives a modern kitchen upgrade and creates an indoor-outdoor lifestyle with AG Pocketing Multi-Slide Doors.
The spacious kitchen features a large island in the center with a built-in stovetop and bar seating. It received new mahogany cabinets and marble countertops to keep the look classic yet modern. A swing door leads to an enclosed wet bar, just off the dining room.
One amenity the homeowners love about their new kitchen is the indoor grill built into a small nook—it allows them to monitor the food cooking on the stove while working with food on the grill at the same time! The indoor grill is easier to use and clean while yielding the same results as an outdoor grill!
Though a modern upgrade was the goal, the homeowners wanted to maintain the 1929 style and charm of their home. They were hesitant to install a large sliding door because they thought it would look too contemporary among the other French doors and windows with divided lites and shutters.
Architect Kurt Gibbs had the perfect solution—an all-wood AG Multi-Slide Door that pockets into the wall. With the rest of the doors in the home in mind, the Multi-Slide was designed with 18 true divided lites in each sliding panel that were strategically placed to line up with and match the adjacent French doors. The homeowner comments, “The door system, when closed, perfectly complements the surrounding 1929 architectural style, becoming an integral part of our home. When open, it allows our interior space to seamlessly flow outside, enhancing its beauty and functionality.” For maximum light flow, a matching French door-sized fixed window was built and placed in the corner next to the Multi-Slide.
The Multi-Slide opened the kitchen to the outdoor patio area, creating a perfect transition from indoor to outdoor spaces. The homeowner commented that this was the perfect set up for entertaining, and when he hosts parties he opens his pocketing sliders and eliminates the barrier from inside to out. This allows guests to migrate inside and out and enjoy the perks of indoor-outdoor living.
The homeowners are very pleased with the outcome of their remodeled kitchen, and they especially love the new indoor-outdoor lifestyle created by the AG Multi-slide: “In all architectural projects, there is always one feature which provides pizazz -- a magical element that allows the design to come alive. In the case of our recent kitchen remodel, that was the sliding pocket doors provided by AG Millworks.” Their two dogs, a dalmatian and a yellow lab, are also enjoying the luxury of indoor-outdoor living!
Tuesday, July 17 2018
1 | Kitchen Passthrough Window
The number one reason you should install a Bi-Fold Window into your home is because it is the perfect kitchen passthrough window. Also known as a servery window, it is ideal for indoor-outdoor entertaining. Fold open your windows and serve guests outside on the patio. Pass through food and drinks and use the space as a serve yourself buffet during parties and gatherings.
2 | Extra Dining Space
Your home absolutely needs an AG Bi-Fold Window because it will create additional dining space! Continuing the countertop from inside to outside will create an outdoor breakfast bar—just add some barstools and you can enjoy brunch outside on the patio or have more space for guests when entertaining.
3 | Fresh Air
Whether you’re in the mountains, on the beach, or in a valley, who doesn’t like fresh air and a cool breeze? With Bi-Fold Windows, windows fold open and create plenty of air flow for your enjoyment. Perfect for cooling down the house or airing out the kitchen when you’re cooking Brussel sprouts or other stinky foods!
4 | Natural Light
AG Bi-Fold Windows will provide your home with an abundance of natural light. Have you ever noticed that when it’s cloudy and rainy outside your mood is down? We all love natural light and it’s because it helps us be more productive, happier, healthier, and calmer!
5 | Views
Less wall, and more window means more views! Bi-Fold Windows create a large opening and blur the line between indoors and outdoors. Expanding your view into the outdoors can create calming, relaxing feelings and allow you to experience and enjoy nature’s beauty from the comfort of your home.
6 | Energy Efficient
Our Energy Solutions Bi-Fold Windows can keep heat in during the winter and deflect unwanted heat gain during the summer. With such energy efficiency, you can save money on heating and cooling bills. Additionally, energy efficient windows raise a home’s value, and increase appeal to potential buyers.
7 | Screen Options
AG Bi-Fold Windows have a unique screening solution—a retractable accordion screen can be retracted when it is necessary to keep out insects and other unwanted elements. When the screen is not in use, it can pocket into the jamb and out of sight. This is a perfect solution to screening your home while enjoying indoor-outdoor living!
8 | Aesthetic Appeal
Not only are Bi-Fold Windows functional, they are beautiful as well. AG Bi-Fold Window Systems are beautiful, high-quality, handcrafted products that will fit perfectly into your home and increase aesthetic appeal. They are built with luxurious woods and can be stained or painted and provide elegance to your home.
9 | Window-Door Combination
AG Bi-Fold Windows are awesome by themselves, but they can also be combined with a Bi-Fold Door System, creating a Window-Door Combination. Windows and doors connect at the center and will transform an ordinary space into an indoor-outdoor paradise!
10 | Ease of Use
AG Bi-Fold Windows are very simple to use. Simply unlock the window and fold windows to the side! No more fussing with heavy sliding windows that won’t budge under all your strength. Our windows are made with functionality, beauty, and ease of use in mind.
Thursday, July 12 2018
Do you have a fire pit in your backyard? If not, you and your family might be missing out on some great times! There’s nothing better than chilling by the fire on a nice night and spending quality time with the fam. If installing a fire pit on your patio is a project you are considering, there are some important considerations when planning the design.
Do you want a simple or elaborate firepit? If you want to keep it simple, you can purchase a prebuilt fire pit from your local hardware store and place it in a safe spot on your patio (at least 10 feet from your home). Just add some comfy patio chairs around the pit and your fire area is complete! If you want a more elaborate design with a built-in pit, you need to consider if/where there is room to build one and how you will landscape around it. Make sure you match the new space to your current patio design and décor, so the spaces flow together seamlessly.
The next thing to consider is whether you want a wood burning or gas fire pit (or both)! A wood burning pit is easier, cheaper, and faster to install. The wood burns hotter and is cheaper than gas. With a gas pit, the ease of use and low maintenance is quite compelling—no mess of wood and splinters, and no smoke polluting the air around your home! You also won’t have to worry about where to buy and store firewood. There are hybrid pits that burn wood and gas, which is a viable option to consider if you can’t decide on one or the other. If you’re considering the wood burning option, be sure to check your local building/fire code regulations regarding wood fires to be sure you can burn wood in your area.
Installing a fire pit can be completed in a day or two, which means you can have it operational before summer is over! As soon as your pit is ready to light, gather your friends and family and enjoy the first lighting together. Open your Bi-Fold, Multi-Slide, Lift and Slide, or French Swing Patio Doors so guests can effortlessly migrate in and out—they will enjoy the indoor-outdoor lifestyle created by your luxurious patio doors. Fire up the barbecue and feast on some good food while hanging around the fire with good company. Of course, don’t forget the s’mores supplies! Be safe and review these fire safety tips before lighting up.
Tuesday, July 10 2018
If you like piña coladas… get your blender ready because today (July 10) is National Piña Colada Day! What better way to spend the day then by sipping on a delicious piña colada and lazing the day away. Keep reading to learn how to make the most of your National Piña Colada Day and how to celebrate it in style!
First and foremost, this is National Piña Colada Day, so whip out your favorite piña colada recipe and stock up on ingredients! This standard recipe from will make two servings of tasty piña colada for you to enjoy (or share)!
Place all your ingredients in a blender a blender, and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and garnish with a cherry and a wedge of pineapple! Don’t forget some —it really does make it taste that much better!
Now that the piña coladas are flowing, open your Bi-Fold, Multi-Slide, Lift and Slide, or French Swing Patio Doors and head out to the pool! Relax on a comfy lounge chair and let the sun kiss your skin. Make sure you apply plenty of sunscreen and are prepared with a sunhat and sunglasses. Float around the pool and sip down your delicious piña coladas before they melt in the hot July sun. If you have an outdoor kitchen, bring the blender and ingredients outside so you have easy access to refills whenever your cup goes dry!
Don’t forget the snacks! Drinking piña coladas and tanning in the sun all day is hard work and having tasty treats to snack on will give you the energy you need to keep the pool day going strong. You can’t go wrong with chips and lots of guacamole, which will have you feeling like you’re on a tropical Mexican vacation. Make sure you have plenty of snacks on hand to last the entire pool day.
You can’t adequately celebrate National Piña Colada Day without listening to Escape (The Piña Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes at least once or twice (or ten times)! Blast this song by the pool and sing-yell the lyrics as you savor your yummy drinks. This song cannot be overplayed, but on the off chance that your neighbors begin to complain, be sure there are some other fun summer hits on your party playlist!
Cheers to whomever invented this awesome holiday that gives us the perfect excuse to soak up the sun and drink piña coladas all day! Happy National Piña Colada Day!
Thursday, July 05 2018
Vacation homes are your home away from home. There is nothing better than escaping from the hectic, day-to-day grind to an exotic spot that still feels like home. Finding the right vacation home can be tricky and we can’t all get help from HGTV’s House Hunters. There are many things to consider when beginning the search so read on for a check list that will help you navigate your through vacation home hunting.
When searching for a vacation home, location is huge. Do you want a place close enough to drive to for a short weekend getaway? Or a spot further away that will require longer travel time? Think of your favorite places to visit and use that to narrow the search. Whether it’s a big city, a quiet beach town, a tropical oasis, or a mountain cabin, choose a location where you can relax and forget about your responsibilities!
Budget & Size
Before diving into the search, decide on a budget for your second home. Having a price range in mind will narrow your search and, if you are working with a realtor, they will know where to look and will show you properties that are within your range. There are vacation homes for every budget— with budget restrictions, you can opt for a cozier home, a townhome, or a luxury condo! This brings us to another important aspect to consider: size. Will this be a vacation home for the whole family? Or are the kids all grown up and this will be a solitary escape for you and your husband? Think about how many bedrooms and bathrooms are ideal for the number of vacationers visiting your space (don’t forget to account for your furry friends)!
Now that you’ve decided on a location, budget, and size, you can begin looking at homes on the market. Think about the qualities you want in a vacation home. Figure out what home style and design you will be most happy with. Do you want wood or tile floors? Granite or marble counter tops? Do you want a space that perfectly embodies resort style living with Bi-Fold, Multi-Slide, Lift and Slide, or French Swing Patio Doors? The home design should make you feel relaxed, comfortable, and luxurious so you can enjoy your vacation. Unfortunately, you are unlikely to find the perfect home that has every quality you desire. The key is to find a home with most of the features on your checklist, and to make the necessary upgrades that will bring your dream vacation home to completion.
Resist the urge to create an environment that feels exactly like home. If your home and vacation retreat are very similar, you may not feel like you’ve escaped from the usual routine. Remember—you want to feel like you’re away.
Shopping for the perfect vacation home isn’t easy. Even with a realtor, it will take a lot of time to visit your potential homes and narrow down your search. Just know that the time and effort is worth it, and you will ultimately end up with a gorgeous place where you can escape from reality. Enjoy your time away from the busyness of everyday life and use this space to destress and spend quality time with your family. Good luck on your vacation home search!
Tuesday, July 03 2018
Summer is in full swing and there is no better time to take on those home improvement projects you’ve been putting off indefinitely. We’re here to motivate you to start (and finish) a few projects that will transform your home this summer.
Let’s start off with an easy one. A coat of fresh paint in a new shade can completely change the vibe of a room. Choose a shade that will complement your existing furniture and décor and harmonize with the rest of your home. Consider creating an accent wall with a bolder color on the focal wall and the surrounding walls painted a more neutral shade. If you’re feeling ambitious, buy some new throw pillows and a new area rug as an inexpensive way to refresh your furniture and make it feel like a brand-new space!
Updating your kitchen doesn’t require a costly remodel! Swap out your old light fixtures for some interesting pendant lights or a trendy chandelier. Replace your old cabinet knobs and pulls with new, unique ones that will stand out and transform your cabinets. Add some new barstools and an indoor plant (we love succulents) to your island or window sill to complete the fresh look.
To enhance your kitchen even more, replace your standard window with a Bi-Fold Kitchen Passthrough Window. Also known as “servery windows,” these windows create the ultimate entertaining experience. With a wide opening connecting kitchen and outdoor dining spaces, you can serve food and drinks to the patio with ease. Add barstools to the counter and use this space as an outdoor breakfast bar. For parties, set it up as a buffet/food table and let guests help themselves!
Don’t limit the indoor-outdoor lifestyle to just the kitchen—you’ll want this upgrade in your home as soon as possible so you can enjoy it all summer. Install some AG Millworks Bi-Fold, Multi-Slide, Lift and Slide, or French Swing Patio Doors to create a large opening that will seamlessly connect your indoor and outdoor living spaces. With doors like ours, you can enjoy the gorgeous summer weather and live the luxury life. Perfect for connecting home or pool house to patio, you can leave the doors open all summer long and close the retractable accordion screen to keep critters out!
One project that may take a little more effort but will be well worth your while is closet organization. Put on your organization hat and tackle the household closets one at a time. Get rid of things that you don’t need, and make sure everything else has a place. To preserve your organization in the future, invest in some built-in closet organizers from The Container Store. When you finish this project, you will sleep better knowing everything is in its place.
Increase your curb appeal by adding a splash of color and painting your front door. Choose a color that pops and is appealing with your home design. Spruce up your entryway with a doormat and a garden full of flowers to give your home a fresh, welcoming look that passersby will love.
What are you waiting for? Start picking out paint colors and rearranging your furniture; the summer will be gone before you know it, so have fun with a rewarding project you’ll enjoy all year!
Thursday, June 28 2018
Red, White, and Blue; the Stars and the Stripes. The Fourth of July is America’s birthday and we all know how to throw her a fabulous party. While we may not be able to channel Taylor Swift and throw the most epic Fourth of July bash but we’re here to help you get close to T-Swift status.
If you’re having a gathering at your house with friends and family, go all out with the décor. Nothing is too patriotic when it comes to this holiday. Target and Etsy are going to be your friends when it comes to getting themed goods. Open your Bi-Folds, Multi-Slides, Lift and Slides, or French Swing Patio Doors and expand your party space. Leaving the doors open will create a smooth transition between indoors and outdoors and allow guests to mingle with ease.
Don’t just do burgers and hot dogs this year, by adding just a few minor tweaks to your basic favorites, everyone will be vying for the recipes you used. Let’s not forget dessert! Now is your time to channel your inner Martha Stewart and end the meal with a different kind of bang.
Fun Fact: did you know it was almost the Second of July instead of the Fourth? Place small sheets of paper on everyone’s place setting and take turns reading fun facts to each other before eating. Entertain the kids with fun games. They might be too young to know the true meaning of the holiday, but these games let them learn and have fun all at the same time.
While the kids are off having fun, let the adults sit back and enjoy a refreshing coctail. Be the best hostess by also incorporating the red, white, and blue theme into the drinks. The cocktails will be refreshing on a hot day but also totally Instagram worthy—
perfect for your guests.
Spend the rest of the day snacking on food, playing games, and cooling off in the pool, relaxing on a floaty. Wear an American flag bathing suit to express your patriotism and enjoy the summer sunshine.
The fireworks are a wonderful time to gather the whole family and enjoy in the splendor of the colors of the show. Make sure you get good seats whether at the mall, the golf course, or at the beach. Keep little ones in sight and make sure to keep the animals feeling safe.
Tuesday, June 26 2018
A ranch style home in a scenic California Valley is beautifully transformed when two large AG Bi-Fold Patio Doors are installed, creating a new indoor-outdoor lifestyle for the homeowners.
This home has an open floor plan with kitchen, dining, and living spaces all combined. Vaulted ceilings with exposed beams and wood paneling give the space a rustic, farmhouse feel. The backside of the kitchen counter features shelving space perfect for cookbooks, picture frames, and decorative pieces. In search of new doors, the homeowners desired plenty of natural light and an indoor-outdoor living style. Our five-panel Bi-Fold units brighten the large space with an abundance of natural light, fulfilling the homeowners design goals.
On the opposite counter, a spacious breakfast bar is perfectly positioned to create a smooth transition from kitchen to dining room. A large wooden dining table with mismatched wooden chairs adds to the ranch style design. The space is completed with a linear pillar candle chandelier, that you can purchase here.
The Bi-Folds nearest the kitchen fold open to the outdoor kitchen area and patio, allowing the family to barbecue and dine outdoors with ease. While doors are folded open, the opening can be screened to protect the home from bugs or left wide open to enjoy the view of the surrounding mountains.
The other Bi-Fold unit opens to the pool and lounge area, contributing to the indoor-outdoor lifestyle the homeowners desired. The large open space created by the Bi-Folds presents the family with more outstanding views of the greenery, horses, and mountains in the distance.
With five 10-foot-tall panels folding away to leave a 15-foot-wide opening and a striking red exterior, these Bi-Folds are far from ordinary. Color-matched to windows from other manufacturers, the exotic red of the doors creates a seamless design throughout the home. Such a unique project exemplifies the customization capabilities of AG Millworks—every patio door is made to order to ensure project design goals are fulfilled.
In the summer months, the owners enjoy opening their Bi-Folds and letting in the fresh evening air. The residents are quite the entertainers and enjoy having friends and family over to barbecue and swim—the Bi-Folds are perfect for the entertainment lifestyle and create a perfect transition from indoor to outdoor spaces, allowing guests to seamlessly wander around and mingle.
The homeowners are thrilled with the outcome of this project and love how their Bi-Fold Patio Doors completely transform their home. They can now take full advantage of the gorgeous property they reside on and enjoy the views, fresh air, and California sunshine. They love their new indoor-outdoor lifestyle, and their friends and family are impressed with the changes. Improving the quality of life of our customers by providing beautiful, innovative patio doors is the reason we’re in business.
Thursday, June 21 2018
Dogs make the best companions; some would even argue they’re better than humans. More than just a pet, a dog will become a beloved member of your family. Adopting a dog comes with a lot of responsibility—they require an abundance of time, love, and attention. So, you want to adopt a dog, now what? There are many things to take into consideration when adding a furry member to your family, and we’re here to help you navigate your way through the process!
A huge factor to consider when getting a dog is whether to adopt it from a shelter or to purchase a dog from a third party. We highly recommend adopting a dog from a shelter—there are so many dogs in shelters that need a home and loving family. Visit your local humane society and meet all the dogs. At the shelter you will find dogs of every age, size, and breed and you’re bound to find one who will fit in perfectly with you and your family! If you choose to purchase a puppy from a third party, be sure to do your due diligence so you don’t buy from a puppy mill.
What size dog do you want? Want size dog can you handle? Thinking about the size of your furry friend before you adopt is crucial. Will there be room in your home for a huge Saint Bernard? Large dogs require more exercise, which means more time dedicated to walks and playing fetch at the dog park. Smaller dogs mean less maintenance; however, they will still require exercise, playtime, and attention.
If you don’t already have a certain dog breed in mind, research dog breeds that you like and try to narrow down your dream dog. If your pup will spend most of its time indoors, be aware that a dog with long, thick fur will constantly be shedding fur inside your home. This can cause owners a lot of trouble keeping the floors and furniture fur-free. You might consider getting a dog with short hair which will mean less shedding and less cleaning. If you or someone in your family has a dog fur allergy, make sure you adopt a friend with hypoallergenic hair!
Do you have ample outdoor space for your new dog? Make sure your dog has enough space to run around and let out some energy. If there are times when you won’t be able to make it for a walk or a trip to the dog park, it is essential that there is a space that your dog can exercise and answer nature’s call. Dogs can become depressed if they are cooped up indoors all day, so please ensure your backyard is ready for your new furry friend and make it easily accessible with Bi-Fold, Multi-Slide, Lift and Slide, or French Swing Patio Doors. To learn more about creating a dog-friendly yard, click here.
Now is the perfect time to adopt a dog—it’s the peak of summer and you can take him on hikes, to lakes, beaches, and camping, and enjoy the great outdoors with your four-legged companion! Your kids will love having a friend to run around with and it will teach them responsibility. When you finally decide who you’re bringing home, just make sure he receives plenty of love and attention. Enjoy it, dog is a man’s best friend, and their friendship and loyalty are unlike any other!
Tuesday, June 19 2018
Doors and windows are the most important aspect going into your new home or remodel; they are responsible for air flow, natural light, and the transition from indoor to outdoor living spaces. Your choice of door can transform and modernize your home and create a life of luxury. Choosing a new door to replace your outdated patio doors can be difficult. With the many styles and options available, we know it can be intimidating and stressful navigating the world of patio doors! Continue reading to learn more about the styles and options available, and to find the right patio door for your home design project.
Bi-Fold Patio Doors
Bi-Fold Patio Doors are glass doors which fold away accordion style and neatly stack together. With Bi-Fold Doors, you can open entire walls to the outdoors and blur the line between where the living space ends and the view begins. Folding door systems are perfect for those who want to maximize their view and don’t have the space for pocketing doors. Bi-Folds have a unique look that will add instant luxury to your home.
Multi-Slide Patio Doors
Multi-Slide Patio Doors are glass doors which slide open smoothly and stack together. If space allows, the doors can pocket into a wall and completely disappear, leaving a wide-open space in their wake. Multi-Slides have a sleek and modern look and will let an abundance of natural light into your home. If simplicity and innovation is what you seek, investing in automation of your sliding door system is a smart option.
Lift and Slide Patio Doors
Lift and Slide Patio Doors are glass doors which require the rotation of a lever, which lifts the doors and allows for effortless sliding and stacking of panels. Lift and Slides can also pocket into the wall and create the perfect transition from indoors to outdoors. The technology of Lift and Slides has been around for a long time and provides a more classic option while maintaining a similar function and look to Multi-Slides.
French Swing Patio Doors
French Swing Patio Doors are simply your classic and timeless French doors that meet at the middle and swing open and closed. These beauties have an in swing and out swing option and are a great choice for a project with narrow wall space. What you lack in width can be compensated for in height—pictured above are 12-foot French doors that exude luxury and class.
AG Millworks offers many customizable options for Bi-Folds, Multi-Slides, Lift and Slides, and French Swing Doors to fulfill everyone’s design needs. Doors are available in all-wood or aluminum clad/wood. Wood can be painted or stained—whether you want a dramatic stained interior, or a crisp white cottage feel, AG Millworks has the interior wood species that’s right for you. We’ll even make your door with different wood species on inside and outside surfaces! Aluminum clad/wood doors are available in 5 standard colors, with optional custom colors. To learn more about design features, please see the individual product pages here.
Thursday, June 14 2018
It’s almost that Sunday of the year that dads everywhere look forward to. This Father’s Day do something special for dear old dad! What better way to show him you care than by getting the whole family together and enjoying some delicious food out on the patio—no dad can resist a good BBQ. Get your favorite ingredients, open your Bi-Fold Patio Doors, and fire up the grill. Keep reading for some tips and tricks on hosting a barbecue your Dad will never forget!
It’s no secret Dads like to eat. That’s why the food you prepare is the most important aspect of your Father’s Day barbecue. Figure out your Dad’s favorite dishes and include that in the menu! Don’t forget to have lots of goodies to snack on while the main dish cooks. Your usual barbecue snacks like chips and dip, cheese and crackers, veggies, and deviled eggs are crowd favorites. If you want to spice things up or try a unique twist on a classic dish, check out these delicious recipes from The Food Network. Make lunch or dinner more enjoyable with plenty of carb-loaded sides like potato and pasta salad, garlic bread, and mashed potatoes!
Does your Dad have a favorite homemade dessert?... Or maybe he loves the cake from the local bakery—you know him best, so be sure to include some sweet treats that he will love! A variety of desserts to choose from is always the best idea (and then there’s leftover sweets to indulge in all week)! For some fun and tasty desserts check out Delish. We highly recommend the Strawberry Shortcake Lasagna!
One word: BEER. Nothing will make your dad happier than being surrounded by family, except maybe some ice-cold beer. Stock up on his favorite beer and have a koozie on hand to ensure his beverage stays cold. Sunday is his day and you should make sure he always has a beer in hand!
Spend the rest of the evening enjoying each other’s company and sharing stories about your Dad—he will love picturing himself through your eyes. Play card games or board games that everyone can participate in; take pictures and make new memories. Keep your Bi-Fold, Multi-Slide, Lift and Slide, and French Swing Patio Doors open and relax on the patio, soaking in that fresh summer air and enjoying indoor-outdoor living. Cherish this special, care-free moment that your whole family gets to spend together!
Tuesday, June 05 2018
A modern home blurs the line between indoor and outdoor living spaces with luxurious wood* AG Millworks Bi-Fold Doors.
The home owners dreamed of creating a smooth transition from their indoor living space to their outdoor patio and pool area. Their dreams came true when they replaced walls with AG's Bi-Fold Patio Doors and Zero Corner Bi-Fold Unit.
*Accoya Solid Wood doors have a 5 year warranty with no overhang required.
*Warranty on all other species of (1 year) wood doors is overhang-dependent.
AG's Zero Corner Bi-Fold Unit is a combination of two sets of Bi-Fold Doors which meet at the 90-degree corner when closed. When opened, doors fold away and provide a clear view with no obstructions.
When weather permits, doors are folded open, expanding the living spaces and opening the entirety of the home to the outdoors.
On the interior, the luxurious wood of the Bi-Folds brings warmth to the modern and contemporary design. The large Bi-Fold Doors offer an expansive view of the impressive pool and greenery and let in plenty of natural light!
The project is complete with an AG Millworks Lift and Slide Door which creates an effortless connection of the master bedroom to the outdoor entertainment area!
The homeowners love their new AG Millworks Patio Doors and the indoor-outdoor vibes that they provide. The natural light, air flow, and aesthetic appeal are benefits that the homeowners will enjoy for years to come.
Tuesday, May 29 2018
It’s just about summertime, which means hot days and warm nights. As much as we love summer, we don’t love those days of extreme, blistering heat. We know keeping yourself and the kids cool this summer is a priority, so we’ve come up with some creative ways to beat the heat!
Incorporate water activities in your summer plans to cool off on an extra hot day. Spend a day by the pool and enjoy the refreshing water. To switch it up from the usual pool day, whip out the old slip and slide and turn on the sprinklers. Let the kids wreak havoc with squirt guns and water balloon fights! Take a trip to the local water park where you can relax on the lazy river while the kids enjoy the slides and wave pool.
On an especially hot day, ditch the heat and head to the coast (if it’s nearby). The coast is usually about 10 degrees cooler than valleys and inland, and it has that fresh offshore wind. Have lunch at a coastal café or lounge on the beach and enjoy the cooling breeze and soothing salt air.
For those summer days spent at home with the air conditioning on full blast, install energy efficient doors and windows to keep your home extra cool. Our Energy Solutions Euro Clad Bi-Fold Doors can deflect the unwanted heat gain that causes home interior temps to increase on hot, sunny days.
Summer days can be packed full of activities, but don’t forget to stop and rehydrate. Your body loses water throughout the day, so it is important to replenish it. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already on your way to dehydration, so keep sipping! Drinking cold water will give your body the hydration it needs and lower your core temperature. Carry an insulated water bottle with you as a reminder to stay hydrated!
We hate to state the obvious, but we just can’t leave frozen treats off this list because who doesn’t love a juicy popsicle? Ice cream, frozen yogurt, otter pops, we love them all! You can also freeze grapes and snack on those as a healthy alternative. Frozen chocolate covered banana bites from Trader Joe's are one of our favorites!
We hope this helps you keep cool this summer, and if you would like to learn more about our Energy Solutions Euro Clad Bi-Fold, click here.
Tuesday, May 15 2018
It’s that time of year again—millions of twenty-somethings across the nation are graduating college! It seems like every year we have a new friend or family member turning their tassel. This is an exciting milestone, and we know it can be difficult to find the perfect gift to honor your graduate, but we are here to help! You’re bound to find a gift for your grad in the list below.
A dainty, handmade necklace with inspirational packaging is the ideal pick for the trendy, jewelry lover. The arrow necklace featured above comes in silver, gold, and rose gold, and can be found here.
This scratch off water color world map is the ultimate gift for your jet setting graduate. The map is featured in all gold, and with each new place visited, you scratch the gold and beautiful water colors appear beneath.
For the eager businessman or woman, a personalized business card case is a luxurious gift that will be cherished. Whether or not they have already landed their first job, your graduate will be excited to begin their career and fill this case with their business cards!
Gifting a nice watch to the new grad is a more classic option. Now that he’s joining the workforce and starting his career, your graduate will appreciate having a classy timepiece that will be appropriate for both work and happy hour!
If you happen to be one of the lucky parents of a graduate this year, invite all your family and friends and celebrate your son or daughters achievement! Open up your Bi-Fold, Multi-Slide, Lift and Slide, or French Swing Patio Doors and Bi-Fold Passthrough Windows and host a backyard graduation bash! Put up some decorations, fire up the barbecue, and enjoy this time celebrating the completion of one journey and the beginning of another!
Tuesday, May 08 2018
A Spanish style home enjoys a luxurious, resort-style entertainment space with AG Millworks Big Daylight Bi-Fold Doors.
In search of a solution to connect their indoor living space to their outdoor patio, pool, and lounge area, a Santa Barbara County family opted for two AG Millworks Big Daylight Bi-Fold Door Systems.
The owner of this home desired plenty of natural light and the ability to eliminate entire walls. With door panel sizes as large as 4’ wide and 13’ tall, Big Daylight Bi-Folds allow maximum light to flow into this home.
When warm weather arrives, the Big Daylight Doors can be folded away, creating a perfect transition from indoors to outdoors. French Doors on the pool house continue the Spanish villa theme throughout the property, below.
The cozy pool house, which opens to a private patio, offers maximum indoor-outdoor entertainment space and views of the main house and luxurious pool.
Our handcrafted, custom made doors were the obvious choice for a job of this caliber. The owners were thrilled with the outcome of this project and love their AG Millworks Big Daylight Bi-Folds! To learn more about our Bi-Fold Door Systems, click here.
Tuesday, May 01 2018
Have you decided to host an impromptu Cinco de Mayo fiesta? We’re here to help in your planning and make sure you don’t forget any important party elements!
It’s no secret that people show up for the food, so have plenty of delicious Cinco de Mayo treats ready for your guests. You can’t go wrong with serving tacos and providing a salsa bar with savory salsas and guacamole! If you don’t want to worry about cooking, consider having your party catered by a restaurant or taco man!
It wouldn’t be a proper Cinco de Mayo fiesta without tasty margaritas! These Pomegranate Margaritas from The Food Network look and taste exquisite. If you don’t have time to mix margaritas from scratch, you can find a variety of margarita mixes at your local Bevmo. And besides the slushy, blended beauties pictured here, you could offer some tempting shaken libations over ice as an authentic alternative. They taste great, plus, you won’t have the mess and noise of the blender drowning out your music!
Kid or adult, everybody loves piñatas. Pull open your Bi-Fold, Multi-Slide, Lift and Slide, or French Swing Patio Doors and let everyone have a whack at the piñata out on the patio! Let the youngest try first and then proceed by age. Fill the piñata with everyone’s favorite treats and watch as everybody, young and old, scrambles to snag a piece of the pie. Amazon has many different piñatas to choose from!
Have fun and enjoy yourself! Don’t stress too much about throwing the perfect party and know your friends and family will appreciate and enjoy your efforts.
Tuesday, April 24 2018
If you already have a pool house, you know how useful and convenient they are. If you don’t have one and have space for one, you should highly consider adding one to your home. A smart investment on a pool house will allow you to reap the benefits for years to come.
1. Additional Entertainment Space
A pool house will provide additional entertainment space for family and guests. When having a party or barbecue, the pool house can provide more indoor seating and a spot for guests to mingle.
2. Space for Kids
With a pool house comes the benefit of having a space for your kids to hang out. During the summertime this can be a place for kids to use the bathroom or dry off and change out of their swim suits, so they aren’t walking through the house soaking wet and leaving puddles of water in their wake. Towels, sunscreen, and pool toys can all be stored in the pool house for easy access.
3. Extra Kitchen and Bar
Having a pool house kitchen and bar is great for your entertainment needs. You can store snacks and refreshments here for guests to enjoy. The Bi-Fold Windows featured on this pool house create a "passthrough" window—perfect for parties and events which require a bartender!
4. Outdoor Dining
Your new pool house isn’t complete without Bi-Fold Patio Doors creating the ultimate transition from your indoor to outdoor entertainment space. You could also choose Multi-Slide, Lift and Slide, or French Swing Patio Doors to achieve your alfresco living dreams!
Tuesday, April 17 2018
Winter is officially over and it’s time to enjoy the longer days and warmer weather! Time spent by the pool or on the patio can be relaxing, but how about time spent in your very own tranquil secret garden? Creating a secret garden in your outdoor space will give you a peaceful paradise to retreat to when you need a quiet moment alone, a brunch spot, or an outdoor reading nook!
The most important aspect of your secret garden is the flowers. You want your garden to bring you joy, so including your favorite flowers and shrubbery is a must! Whether you love the scent of lavender, the color of snap dragons, or the low-maintenance of succulents, be sure to pick plants based on how they make you feel.
Including a fountain or waterfall in your garden can increase the tranquility of your space—there is nothing more relaxing than the sound of water slowly trickling down into a pool below. If powering a mechanical pump is not practical, utilizing a bird bath is a nice alternative.
Every garden needs a comfy bench to curl up on. Choose a spacious bench that will be comfortable enough to spend hours lounging on while you read your favorite book. Add some cute pillows and a throw to increase coziness and aesthetic. Pair a patio table with your garden seating to create a tea party and outdoor brunch spot all your family and guests will love!
The garden is complete with a special gated entrance. You can easily achieve this by purchasing a gated arbor sold here. Having some form of entrance to your garden will make it feel more secluded and private, providing you with a more tranquil and relaxing experience!
If you could access this paradise by stepping through your Bi-Fold, Multi-Slide, Lift and Slide, or French Swing patio doors, how often would you escape to this quiet hideout with a cup of coffee or tea and a good book?
Tuesday, April 10 2018
We are excited and proud to announce our new product: The Energy Solutions Euro Clad Bi-Fold Patio Door! This product is the ultimate solution to your prescriptive energy needs. Opting for our Energy Solutions Bi-Fold can save you money and help you live an eco-friendly life!
Our Energy Solutions Bi-Fold is NFRC rated and Title 24 prescriptive compliant, with outstanding energy performance ratings—it has a U-Factor of 0.30 and a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient of 0.19*. This means that your Bi-Fold Door System can keep heat in during the winter and resist unwanted heat gain during the summer. Its Euro-Slim stiles and rails, 2 ¼” thick panels, and a minimum 5 5/8” jamb contribute to the overall energy efficiency of the product. Source: NFRC.org
*When Solarban 70 with Argon Gas or Cardinal LoE 366 with Argon Gas are selected.
Because this door is energy efficient, homeowners with the Energy Solutions Euro-Clad Bi-Fold can save money on heating and cooling bills. Additionally, energy efficient doors raise a home’s value, and increase appeal to potential buyers.
Any AG Millworks Bi-Fold sill option may be used with the Energy Solutions Bi-Fold, including the Raised Aluminum Sill, the Ultra Guide Track System, and the ADA Compliant Ultra Guide. This product also has various glass options including Cardinal, Solarban, Guardian, and more.
To learn more about the Energy Solutions Euro Clad Bi-Fold’s options and features, please see our new product page here.
Tuesday, April 03 2018
A ranch style guest house enjoys maximum entertainment space with an AG Millworks Window-Door Combination.
In search of a solution to connect their charming guest house to the beautifully crafted pool and patio space, the owners of this home opted for a window-door combination.
The Bi-Fold Window Unit opens to the outdoor kitchen and entertainment area and creates a passthrough window with additional dining space at the counter.
On this Window-Door System, the window locks to the counter and head jamb, and the door and window lock together without additional framing to impede the view.
The project is complete with AG’s Multi-Slide Door Unit, shown at right elevation of the guest house, expanding the space further. The owners were ecstatic with the outcome—the ultimate indoor-outdoor living experience they can enjoy for years to come!
Request a quote now for the Window-Door Combination of your dreams!
Tuesday, March 27 2018
We can’t believe that Easter is almost upon us—where has the time gone? That means it’s time for Easter baskets, egg hunts, and egg decorating! If you’re tired of the mundane dip-dying routine, we’ve found some cute, fun egg designs that you’ll love.
Using sequins is a beautiful and classy way to decorate your Easter eggs and give them your personal touch. With styrofoam eggs, sequins, and sewing pins, you can achieve this look by pushing the pin through the sequin and into the egg. Additionally, you may use hard-boiled eggs and glue the sequins to the surface! For a complete DIY guide, see this blog on PartyPinching.com.
Washi tape is a cute and easy way to decorate your Easter eggs. Simply cut out different shapes and lines with your washi tape and stick them on your eggs to create unique designs and patterns! More information and pictures can be found here.
Drawing on your eggs with permanent markers is a fun, dye-free way to embellish them. Flowers, geometric shapes, patterns, polka dots, and tribal designs are all easy and creative ways to decorate with this method!
These eggs dressed as fruit by Brit & Co are our absolute favorite! Who would’ve thought that eggs could look this adorable? Please click here for step-by-step instructions on how to create your own fruity Easter eggs.
Well, what are you waiting for? Go open your Bi-Fold, Multi-Slide, Lift and Slide, or French Swing patio doors, and enjoy the fresh Spring air while you decorate your Easter eggs and prepare for another memorable holiday with your family!
Tuesday, March 20 2018
Can you believe that it’s already Springtime! You know what that means… your kids will soon be on Spring Break for an entire week. We know how hard it can be to keep kids entertained for the duration of Spring Break, so we’ve written this guide to provide ideas and suggestions to make the most out of this time off!
One activity you could plan is a vacation to a new place. Be it a tropical beach destination, a snowy ski resort, or a quick ocean cruise, your kids will love traveling to a new location and doing new things. We know traveling with children is challenging, so here are some tips for enjoying your time off with ease, while giving your kids a vacation they will never forget. For additional tips on traveling with babies and toddlers, check out this blog.
If it’s too last minute to plan a travel vacation, how about a staycation! There are many ways to create an awesome and fun Spring Break, maybe even within your own zip code. Embrace and enjoy nature’s beauty and spend some time with the kids outdoors—take them to build sandcastles at the beach, go for a boat ride on the lake, or take a hike in the mountains.
Spending the day with your kids at a museum can be a fun and educational experience for everyone! There are so many different, and interesting museums that kids will love—Natural History, Art, Toy, Train, and Aviation Museums are just a few. Some museums even have special rooms and activities just for kids! To find museums near you, click here.
If you’re embracing the staycation life, there are plenty of fun activities the kids can enjoy from the comfort of your home. Go for walks and bike rides, host a movie night, bake yummy treats with the kids. Here’s an idea the kids will love: let them invite some friends over and have a backyard campout! Open your bi-fold, multi-slide, lift and slide, or French swing patio doors and embrace the fresh Spring air (and keep on eye your little campers). Don’t forget the s’mores!
Tuesday, March 13 2018
March is nearly halfway over, which means St. Patrick’s Day is almost here. March 17 falls on a Saturday this year, and we have some tips on how to throw a fun St. Paddy’s Day celebration that will keep the whole family entertained!
You can’t have a St. Paddy’s Day party without some festive decorations! Get everyone in the Irish spirit with a pot of gold and shamrocks galore. Don’t forget to include a fun photo booth backdrop and props so your guests can take pictures and create lasting memories. Check Pinterest for decoration inspiration!
Having beautiful and delicious food is something all your party attendees will love, so be sure to include a snack and treat table with yummy, St. Paddy’s themed goodies! It’s important to include a variety of sweet, salty, and savory snacks so that there’s something for everyone.
Keep guests entertained with fun and silly games that everyone, young and old, will enjoy! Leprechaun Bingo, Lucky Scavenger Hunt, and Pin the Shamrock on the Leprechaun are some fun and easy games to include at your party! Maximize your entertainment space by opening your bi-fold, multi-slide, lift and slide, or French swing patio doors and hold a St. Patrick's Day Cornhole Tournament on the patio!
No St. Patrick’s Day is complete without some green beer! Adult guests will be expecting it, and fortunately it is incredibly simple to achieve. Add 3-5 drops of green food coloring to a glass, then add the beer of your choice. Click here for more detailed instructions.
HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!
Tuesday, March 06 2018
Our canine companions are like our children, and they deserve to be treated as such. Dogs have special needs and making sure those needs are taken care of is important. Whether you already have a dog, or are planning on adopting one soon, there is one thing all our furry friends need: a dog-friendly, open outdoor space. With these tips, you can create a gorgeous yard that you and your dog will love!
One important element to include when creating a dog-friendly yard is shade. Dogs need a cool place to relax, take a nap, and escape from the hot sun. Planting a large shady tree or investing in a dog house is the perfect solution!
Make sure your dog has enough space to run around and let out some energy. Having enough room to fetch a ball, catch a frisbee, and chase a squirrel is important for your dog’s health and well-being. You can achieve this with a spacious grassy area, or a stone path!
Dogs get thirsty too, and they need water to cool off and stay hydrated, so ensuring there is always fresh water available outside when your furry friends need it is important—especially on hot days! Create a designated area for a water bowl, and always check it when you let your dog out.
Dogs like to stick their nose in everything, so when deciding what plants and flowers to include in your landscaping, be sure to use dog-friendly plants that are not poisonous. In addition, try to avoid thorny plants that would hurt your canine friends! An easy trick to prevent dogs from digging up your newly planted flowers is to put gravel around them.
Dogs will ask you to go outside for many reasons: to use the bathroom, frolic in the grass, sunbathe, take a nap, chase a squirrel, etc. Whatever the reason, you want an easy way for them to enter and exit your home. Utilizing our bi-fold, multi-slide, lift and slide, or French swing patio doors is the best way to complete your dog-friendly space. During the summer months, our patio doors can provide you with the indoor-outdoor living experience that everyone (even your dog) dreams of.
Tuesday, February 27 2018
As February comes to an end, and we transition into March, we can almost taste the first day of spring─ warmer days and floral blooms are on the horizon! At AG, we like to get a head start on our spring cleaning, and with these suggestions, you can too.
Beginning Spring with a fresh, clean home is a great feeling. Having every room deep-cleaned will instantly lift your mood and make the whole family happy! We even found the perfect Spring Cleaning Checklist for you. When you tackle your spring cleaning, don’t forget to give attention to your bi-fold, lift and slide, multi-slide, and French swing patio doors. For more information on maintaining your patio doors, see our Door Care Guide.
Use spring cleaning as an excuse to organize and declutter your home! Going through your drawers, cupboards, closets, and garage, and removing things you don’t use or need, will free your life of clutter and create some storage space for new things. Let the kids in on the fun and have them organize a garage sale or pick a charity to donate to.
Don’t leave your yard and patio out of your spring cleaning! Have the trees and shrubs trimmed, and the gutters cleaned. As the warmer months approach, prepare to return to indoor-outdoor living by washing down the patio and planting a new garden. Consider new patio furniture and bi-fold doors and bi-fold windows to maximize your indoor-outdoor entertainment space.
Tuesday, February 20 2018
Succulents have been trending recently, and for good reason: they’re beautiful, drought tolerant, and low-maintenance! Succulents make great home and patio décor– whether you need a table center piece, a garden, a cute gift, or wall art, succulents can do it all. If you’re just as succulent obsessed as we are, continue reading for some succulent ideas and inspiration!
A succulent wall planter is the perfect addition to your narrow patio or side yard! Mixing a variety of succulents in a wooden frame adds instant style and personality while maximizing the outdoor space, leaving you more room to enjoy the indoor-outdoor lifestyle and entertain guests! To learn how to make your own succulent wall art, click here. If you’re looking to up your indoor-outdoor living game, consider utilizing our bi-fold, multi-slide, or lift and slide doors to create that experience.
Are you looking to add a modern flare to your entryway? Here’s an idea we love from Shanty2Chic blog: a wall-mounted trough planter, with your address plaque! This is a unique way to add your personal touch to the entry of your home and increase curb appeal. Make your own by following the DIY instructions on Shanty2Chic blog, or buy a similar one on Etsy.com!
Hosting a party or event? Skip the floral center pieces and opt for these charming, trendy succulent terrariums. They’re easy to make, and the best part is they’ll last long after the event is over! These terrariums will even look great displayed on an entrance table or kitchen counter. Get your own DIY Succulent Kit, and the terrarium to plant it in.