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!