AG MILLWORKS BLOG
Looking for project inspiration, before and afters, FAQs, and expert advice? You've come to the right place! Explore the blog to learn more about our folding, sliding, and swing door systems.
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!