Thursday, June 27 2019
Can you believe next week is already July? Summer is in full swing and hopefully the June Gloom is over, and the sun is here to stay! If you’re skipping the annual Fourth of July lake or beach camping trip this year and celebrating at home, we know how to throw the ultimate Independence Day party! Use this check list to plan a patriotic pool party that your family and friends will enjoy.
Open Your Bi-Fold or Multi-Slide Patio Doors and Expand Your Party Space
Prepare your indoor-outdoor space for the celebration by cleaning, organizing, and decluttering. Make sure everything is in its’ place, stow away fragile objects, and rearrange furniture that might be obstacles for guests. Leave your accordion or multi-slide door systems open so everyone can easily mingle inside and out.
Spruce Up Your Outdoor Kitchen and Prepare for Barbecuing
Make sure your outdoor kitchen and barbecue area is clean and ready for the party. Check the propane tank, plug in the fridge, and gather the barbecue tools. Don’t forget to clean the grill beforehand—we like these bristle free grill brushes because they eliminate the risk of metal bristles ending up in your food.
Plan a Delicious Snack and Lunch Spread
The best part about any party is enjoying tasty food alongside great company. You should design a food and snack menu so you can head to the grocery store with a complete list of ingredients in hand. Knowing what you need before your trip to the market will save you tons of time and eliminate the need for last-minute trips back to the store. For recipes of Fourth of July favorites, unique twists on the classics, and patriotic dish inspiration, visit Delish’s Fourth of July Recipe Page—we can’t wait to make these red, white, and blue cheesecake strawberries!
Tuesday, June 25 2019
Summer is here, and if you’re in a southern California coastal town, you’re probably counting down the days until the June Gloom is over so you can enjoy some sunny beach days. If you’re making last-minute travel plans for the summer, consider sticking around the Golden State and exploring some new spots. Whether you’re a California native, or visiting from out-of-state, these four towns are hidden gems that you won’t want to miss.
1 | A mountain getaway in Julian, California
Julian is a quaint mountain town located just an hour East of San Diego. Historically, Julian is known as a gold mining town, however more recently it has become famous for its apples and apple pies. Though you’ll need to make a return trip in the fall for apple season, a weekend trip to Julian this summer is a perfect getaway for eating, visiting charming shops, exploring hiking trails, and stargazing. Stay in a cozy bed and breakfast, or check AirBnB for a rental cottage. You might consider planning your visit for the weekend of July 27th, so you can attend “A Sip of Julian.” At this event you can hop around the 10 tasting rooms in Julian and taste samples of their wine, beer, and hard cider, along with small bites. This event requires a ticket, so make sure you plan in advance!
2 | A quiet retreat in Ojai, California
Ojai is a small, peaceful town located just 90 minutes North of Los Angeles. Known for its art galleries, pixie tangerines, and pink moments, Ojai has gained some fame in recent years. Though one weekend isn’t enough time to explore all that Ojai has to offer, you are sure to have a relaxing and tranquil visit. Choose from quaint B&Bs, an Airstream resort, or a luxury resort and spa to book your accommodations. Visit the various wine tasting rooms, explore miles of hiking trails, or wander through Ojai’s unique art galleries. With many spa and health studio options, you can schedule a much-needed massage, or drop in on a yoga class. Be sure you’re around at sunset and look East towards the Topa Topa mountains to catch the famous “Pink Moment,” when the entire valley seems to blush.
3 | Eat your way through a Danish village in Solvang, California
Solvang is a charming Danish village located about an hour away from Santa Barbara and is known for its Danish bakeries and wine tasting. Full of boutiques, restaurants, bakeries, and tasting rooms, Solvang is the ultimate in themed weekend getaway destinations. Enjoy the slow pace of this village as you make your away around town indulging in wine, beer, and bites. Head just 10 minutes up the road to Ostrichland for a one-of-a-kind experience feeding ostriches and emus!
4 | A coastal escape in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
Carmel is a small beach town on California’s Monterey Peninsula. Visit Carmel to experience the gorgeous views, surrounding nature, and delightful boutiques. Explore the shops and cafes on Ocean Avenue, wander the courtyards, and visit the Carmel Mission Basilica Museum. Head down to Carmel Beach, relax in the sun, and take a walk on down the coast—this is the spot to be, come sunset!
Thursday, June 20 2019
If you live near a busy road with lots of traffic, you might be experiencing a lot of street related noise in your outdoor space and inside your home. These sounds can be loud and distracting, especially if you’re trying to take a nap, focus on a work project, or host guests for an outdoor dinner on the patio when the sound of engines and horns keep interrupting the conversation. There are ways to help reduce street noise and make your outdoor space feel a bit more private and serene.
Invest in dual pane windows and doors
Investing in dual pane windows and doors will help to filter the sound of passing cars and provide you with a quieter indoor space. In addition to noise reduction, dual pane windows better insulate your home and will keep it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. If you plan on replacing windows and doors, now is a good time to consider creating a large indoor-outdoor living space with a folding door system.
Hang window treatments
Curtains, blinds, and shutters can also help to reduce loud noises and create a more peaceful living environment. Even with dual pane windows installed, sounds can still travel into your home, so adding another protective layer over the windows to filter the noise is a good tactic. Moondream offers soundproof curtains in a variety of colors and backed by hundreds of great reviews.
Install solid fencing
When installing a fence around your property, it is important to consider a style that will provide a solid barrier between your space and the road. Instead of a chain link fence that has many openings, opt for a solid wood fence or stone wall that can look beautiful and help block some of the noise.
Plant lush greenery
Trees and shrubs significantly reduce noise from traveling into your backyard and home. Some of the best privacy trees are: Giant Green Thujas, Leyland Cypress, and Spartan Junipers. The more barriers between the street and your home, the quieter it will be.
Create water features
Creating a running water feature in your backyard and front yard can help cover up the city noises. You can run your waterfall or fountain to create a tranquil space and eliminate those bothersome sounds. You can check out Home Depot, or your local hardware store to find plenty of fountain designs. You may also consider hiring a landscaping and water feature professional to design a custom water feature for your outdoor space.
Hang bird feeders
If you hang feeders full of seed outside, chances are you’ll have plenty of birds visiting your home. If birds are visiting regularly or nesting in nearby trees, their song calls will help to cover up the sounds of traffic and create a more relaxing indoor and outdoor space. You can find beautiful bird feeders on Wayfair.com
Tuesday, June 18 2019
Vacation: an extended period of leisure and recreation, especially one spent away from home or in traveling.
Everyone loves to go on vacation, and the excitement and anticipation we feel leading up to our much-needed time away from everyday life helps get us through those extra-long workdays. We all look forward to our planned holiday but returning home from a week-long stay on the beach can be tough. If you took an early summer vacation this year and are already feeling those post-vacation blues, there are ways you can create a resort-style experience at home to make reality a little more luxurious and relaxing.
Create Open-Air Spaces with Large Folding or Sliding Door Systems
Most tropical beach resorts have a common theme: indoor-outdoor living. The resorts you’re used to visiting probably connect each hotel experience to the sparkling ocean, blue skies, and flourishing nature using large glass windows and doors. Replicating this indoor-outdoor resort lifestyle in your home is easy with the installation of a large glass Bi-Fold or Multi-Slide Patio Door. With wide-open views and a seamless connection to your outdoor space created by a large door system, you’ll feel like you’re still on a relaxing vacation.
Create Resort-Style Ambiance in Your Outdoor Room
Everything about a resort’s interior design is planned out and calculated to provide the most relaxing and calming experience for guests. You can turn your outdoor space into a quiet oasis that feels just like a 5-star resort with some easy updates.
Create an Indoor-Outdoor Tiki Bar with Folding Windows
What would a resort vacation be without a tiki bar to supply all your cravings for Mai Tais and Piña Coladas? You can create your very own indoor-outdoor tiki bar using a Bi-Fold Passthrough Window that connects your kitchen or bar to your outdoor entertainment space. Store the blender and margarita mix nearby so you can whip up some margs at a moment’s notice. Whether you’re fixing a drink for two, or hosting several guests, this tiki bar will be the perfect addition to your resort-style space!
Once your resort-style living space is complete, prepare for some extra pampering. Schedule an in-home massage and have them set-up outside in your new, relaxing space. Spend the whole day lying by the pool and sipping on blended drinks while you soak up the summer sun. A day like this will feel like a mini-vacation and will help you ease back into everyday life after a long vacation.
Thursday, June 13 2019
If you’ve recently upgraded your outdoor living space, be sure you’re getting your money’s worth from the renovation. Start enjoying everything your new patio has to offer! Your patio is essentially an outdoor room, an extension of your indoor living space, and you should be using it just as much as the rest of your home! It’s easy to overlook your outdoor space, but with minimal effort you can spend more time outside on the patio.
Take Meals Outside
One way you can get more use out of your brand-new outdoor space is by taking your meals outside. Open your folding door system and enjoy your morning coffee and toast outside while you listen to the morning news. Serve your children’s daily snack and lunch outdoors—they will love getting some fresh air and seeing all the birds, bugs, and squirrels poking around the yard. Take advantage of the warm summer nights and serve family dinners outside when it is convenient.
Host Events Outdoors
You can host birthday parties, baby showers, family gatherings, and other celebrations outside in your newly renovated outdoor entertainment space. You can open your multi-slide patio door to connect your indoor and outdoor spaces to accommodate more guests and create a smooth transition between indoor and outdoor rooms.
Cook in Your Outdoor Kitchen
Summer is the best time to start utilizing your outdoor kitchen! Fire up the grill and barbecue different meals that are easy to put together outdoors. Bon Appetit has some tasty grill-only recipes on their website here.
Get Work Done
Open your accordion door and set up your laptop and paperwork outside on the patio and enjoy an open-air office for the day. You might find that your productivity increases because you are surrounded by fresh air, natural light, and less distractions than indoors. Pay bills, write reports, and manage your household from the comfort of your freshly remodeled outdoor space!
Open your multi-slide door system and encourage your children to enjoy the outdoors and play in the backyard. They can do most indoor activities outside like coloring, reading, playing house, building with Legos or blocks—the outdoors is contagious and soon they’ll be running around exploring your yard and getting in some much-needed exercise!
Start spending your evening downtime outside on your patio. Read a book, check Facebook, enjoy a glass of wine, catch up on The Bachelorette, or watch a movie on your outdoor TV. Host family movie nights, cuddle up with blankets, and light the fireplace!
Tuesday, June 11 2019
AG Millworks Euro Multi-Slide Systems are now Title 24 prescriptive compliant and NFRC rated. With super low U-factors and SHGC ratings, the AG Euro Energy Solutions Multi-Slide will outperform other thermally broken systems!
Pair Multi-Slides with Bi-Fold and French Swing Systems for the complete Energy Solutions patio door package! In California, doors and windows installed into homes must meet Energy Commission standards—AG Millworks Energy Solutions door systems can create a large open space while maintaining energy efficiency.
Thermally broken patio doors are an excellent investment that could save you money in the long run. With energy efficient Bi-Folds, Multi-Slides, or French Swing doors, your home will stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter due to thermally broken innovation built into each door system and saving you money on heating and cooling bills. Large glass doors will allow plenty of natural light into your space, eliminating the need for daytime use of lamps and overhead lighting, which could reduce your electricity costs.
Installing energy efficient doors and windows in your home is a step in the right direction. To fully optimize your home and transition into greener living, you might also consider investing in solar panels, take shorter showers, install low-flow showerheads, and switch over to greener light bulbs, like halogen or LED bulbs that will last longer and use less energy.
Thursday, June 06 2019
It’s officially June, and Summer is here. With three long Summer months ahead, it’s time to get your home fully equipped and ready for the best time of year. Below are five ways you can prepare your home for summer and all the festivities that come with it.
1 | Install an Accordion Door System
The sooner you get your home ready for Summer, the sooner you can relax and enjoy the long, sun-filled days. One way you can get your home in Summer mode is by installing an accordion door system. Also known as bi-fold patio doors, accordion door systems allow you to connect your living space to the outdoors and transform it into an indoor-outdoor entertainment space. With a folding door system, entertaining and hosting Summer parties will become easier because the doors create a smooth transition from inside to outside entertainment spaces. With doors folded open, you’ll be able to fully enjoy the beautiful weather each day.
To learn more about installing an accordion patio door in your home, visit our Bi-Fold Patio Door Product Page.
2 | Get the Pool Dialed In
If you haven’t already, it’s time to get the pool in shape for Summer. Clean the pool free of debris and prepare it with the proper amount of chlorine so it is swimmable once more. Temps are starting to rise, and you want to be sure your pool is ready to go for that scorching hot day that’s soon to come. Don’t forget to break out the old pool floaties, or invest in some new ones—like this camel pool float, giant cactus pool float, or the classic swan pool float!
If you are considering building a pool house in your backyard this Summer, find pool house advice and inspiration here.
3 | Prep the Patio
Clean up the patio, bring the summer furniture out of storage, and wash all the outdoor pillows and cushions. Hose down the dusty furniture so you can start the season off with a fresh, clean setup. Stock the outdoor cupboards or pool house with plenty of clean pool towels so you don’t have to worry about soaked swimmers tracking water through the house in search of towels.
4 | HVAC Maintenance Check
It’s a good idea to get your HVAC system checked out by a certified professional to ensure proper functionality. There are some hot days ahead and you’ll want your air conditioning to be in full-working order to keep your home cool and comfortable. You should also check that all ceiling fans are working and clean any dust buildup on the blades—you don’t want to turn on your fan for the first time in months and spread around the dust that has been collecting on it!
5 | Revive Your Outdoor Kitchen
Summer and barbecuing go hand in hand, so it’s time to get your outdoor kitchen ready for the season—clean up the grill, scrub the countertops, and make sure the propane tank is full. Wash your grilling tools so they are ready for last minute afternoon barbecues. You should also stock the outdoor fridge with water and other refreshments in preparation for long pool days.
Tuesday, June 04 2019
A Canadian realtor heads south to buy a second home in the hills of Westlake Village, California. What he loved about this home is the property and surrounding nature that reminds him of Canada, however the layout and traditional design needed an upgrade to better match his tastes. He designed the new space himself and hired contractor-builders to execute his plans.
Before the remodel, the living room featured a radius window wall with 10 individual picture windows. Though the windows let in light and provided a view, the space felt closed off and the homeowner knew there was a better way to maximize his view while connecting the dramatic space to his elevated canyon-view deck.
Through a doorway was the dining room, which felt boxy and closed-off. The dark hardwood floors, exposed beams, and cream-colored walls created a very outdated, traditional look. To the right of the dining room was a smaller archway that led to the kitchen. The homeowner thought that there was wasted space and that the layout didn’t make sense—he wanted to create a great room that connected living, kitchen, and dining spaces.
The homeowner opted to install a large, 16’ wide by 10’ high custom Multi-Slide Door System combined with a matching 16’ wide by 4’ high transom. The new sliding glass door eliminated the back wall and created the seamless transition from inside to outside that the homeowner desired. With doors open wide, plenty of fresh air flows through the space and creates an indoor-outdoor lifestyle. Even more natural light floods the space than before, and the view is maximized.
Eliminating the window wall wasn’t the only big change in this space—the homeowner chose to relocate the kitchen to what was the dining room. The wall with its doorway into the once dining room was also removed to create a smooth transition from the living room to the new eat-in kitchen. The formal dining room was moved to the old kitchen space but remains connected to the new kitchen and living area. Light hardwood floors, a light gray wall color, and a unique light fixture help to transform the space into something more modern. The all-white kitchen features white marble counters and a matching marble tile backsplash.
The homeowner is pleased with his newly remodeled home and loves his large Multi-Slide Patio Door, and the openness it creates in his space. He enjoys sliding doors wide-open and taking in the views and fresh air.