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!