Make Your Patio Into a Living Space

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Spring is in the air, and we’re counting down the days until we can dust off the outdoor patio furniture and start entertaining outside. The beauty of outdoor spaces is not only their ability to bring the gathering out into some fresh air but also the increased amount of living space at your disposal. After all, what’s more fun than having a bonus space for some fun in the sun?

Turn your patio into the outdoor living area you’ve always wanted by creating an inviting scene with patio chairs, furniture, lighting and accessories. By sprucing up your furniture and maximizing livable square footage, you’ll be on your way to the outdoor living space of your dreams.

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 Patio furniture falling apart? Still using your plastic chairs from college? It might be time to invest in some high-quality outdoor furniture. Not only will this bring a fresh breath of air to your space, but it will also be a great jumping-off point for choosing the style and accents you incorporate into your outdoor living area.

Think about how you use your outdoor space, and use it to determine which pieces are necessary for your patio. Is your house a hub for gatherings? Consider an expandable outdoor dining table for when the party grows. Find yourself avoiding your unbearably uncomfortable chairs? Time to snag those beautiful lounge chairs with plush cushions you’ve been eying for ages. Aim to buy pieces you absolutely love, so that you use your patio often and with enjoyment.

 

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If you love to cook, you can turn your outdoor space into an entertainer’s oasis with just a few new introductions. A state-of-the-art grill is an easy way to live the al fresco life, and with compact, portable units becoming more popular than ever, you can bring the party out even in the smallest of urban settings.

Find yourself running inside a lot to serve food and beverages during gatherings? Go for a cute buffet near a dining set just like you would inside. A bar cart is also a perfect addition for spring gatherings in the garden or late-night soirees under the lights.

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One of our favorite things about outdoor living is how much fun you can have with accessories. There are no rules, so have fun with colors and patterns! Bold pillows made of durable outdoor fabric add just the right touch to a lounge area, while an indoor/outdoor rug is the cherry-on-top that will tie together any sitting or dining area. Mirrors or wall art are an unexpected focal point perfect for an exterior wall or a small, intimate garden fence. Decorative planters with a sleek neutral finish or a polished pattern add pop to a yard or patio corner in need of some love.

 

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Entertaining after sunset isn’t possible without sufficient lighting, so gather lanterns, outdoor candles or hire a professional landscape lighting expert to get your patio space ready for the night. A cluster of candles creates an intimate tablescape, while a fun chandelier or string of lights hung from an overhang or gazebo adds a splash of unexpected glamour and ambiance.

What ways are you adding life to your outdoor space this spring?

 

**Kerrie Kelly of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab is an interior designer who writes for The Home Depot. She provides advice on creating beautiful patio spaces. Visit The Home Depot to see a selection of outdoor furniture like those that Kerrie talks about in this article.

 

Home Guide: Choosing the Right Doors for Your Home

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Apart from being the most important part of ensuring privacy, doors can greatly affect the overall style of your home. Whether they are inside or out, your choice and preferences about the door’s materials and design will elevate the looks of your home and affect its energy consumption. When remodeling or creating your home, consider a variety of different doors and their characteristics to decide which ones will fit your home the best.

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Types of Doors

There are plenty of types of doors, and you may think you have to opt for functionality over design. However, several types of doors offer you the best of both worlds by combining both functionality and design!

Sliding doors are most commonly made of wood, glass, or are lined with mirrors. People usually use them for their closets because they don’t occupy too much space. However, glass sliding doors are also used as part of the exterior when it comes to the entrance to the deck or a porch.

Pocket doors are similar to the sliding ones, but they actually slide into the wall, thus saving much more space. These are most commonly used inside the house and can create functional stylish space dividers for your dining room and kitchen.

Panel doors are the simplest and most popular doors for the house. They are usually made of wood or medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and can easily fit any classic style because of their classic patterns of square panels.

French doors fall into the category of elegant internal doors and they usually have a frame around a transparent panel. Also, they can have several such panels, which are usually filled with glass or some foggy translucent material. Besides being great for your kitchen or living room, these doors can make a big entrance into your home if used as the front door.

Barn doors have become a very popular part of the exterior design. They can perfectly fit in your home if its style is rather industrial or rustic. Also, you can use them in the interior if you have big spaces that need to be divided.

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Consider the Materials

The materials will determine the durability and performance of the doors you choose. Additionally, they will affect both exterior and interior design of your home. There are plenty of materials you can choose from, but these several should be considered.

Solid wood is the most common material for the doors and its price and durability depend on the type of wood used. While cherry, mahogany, maple, pine, and other hard and soft woods are rarely used, the most common material is pine with 6 panels. Such doors are generally used on the exterior, but you can use them inside as well. However, they shouldn’t be used for the bathrooms, saunas, and damp spaces, since the wood expands and shrinks with the changes in humidity and temperature.

MDF, the material we mentioned earlier, is an engineered product which is mostly used for internal doors. It is stable and can be used for bathrooms and damp spaces if you purchase the moisture resistant variety; plus it’s smooth and easy to repaint for future renovations!

Metal and glass doors are elegant and can exude modernity. Thus they are often used both for the interior and exterior. However, they tend to be pricey. On the upside, they offer durability and protection for your home!

A photo by James Bates. unsplash.com/photos/ZVYZx4c4abg

Choose Your Style

You should choose the door design according to the overall style of your home. However, you can mix and match a little in order to create a more fun and eclectic look and dynamic atmosphere, but try choosing same elements in order not to disturb the flow. Pay attention to the size of the room – avoid massive doors with plenty of ornaments in small rooms so it wouldn’t be overwhelmed. Also, small doors in big rooms can create a sense of bigger spaces, but the room might feel empty and unfinished.

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Insulation

Apart from elevating the looks of your home, doors can help you conserve energy. Depending on the material and framing, you will affect the amount of energy that is preserved or wasted, so always look for well insulated doors. Also, thick doors can isolate the sounds that enter or exit your house, which can change the atmosphere in your home depending on the amount of noise that is let in.

Even though picking doors seems easy, there are several things to be considered. The right materials, types and sizes of the doors can save you plenty of money and trouble with the noise, while upgrading the style of your home.

Convert Your Garage Into a Bedroom – 12 Creative Ways

In the hope of making every space in your home valuable, garage conversions have become pretty common. Many homeowners convert unused garages to usable spaces like offices or bedrooms.

If you want more living spaces in your home, you might want to toy around with the idea of converting your garage into a bedroom. This bedroom can be a good spare room for guests or a new room for a new member of the family.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Install large windows. The usual mistake made by homeowners converting their garages is keeping the garage look in their new bedroom. To remedy this, install big windows. This gives a roomy and livable kind of feel to your newly converted garage.

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  1. Transform it to a tropical paradise. Your original garage might look dry and sad, but your new bedroom does not have to suffer that same fate! Make your new space sunnier by adding tropical details. Go for pillows with palm trees and furniture that mimics tropical resorts. Wooden and rattan chairs make your space look classy and vacation-esque.

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  1. Turn it into a comfortable guest room. An extra bedroom in your house can be a comfortable guest room if you frequently have family or friends over at home. You can even put two beds to accommodate more people.

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  1. Insulation. This is an absolute necessary if you are converting a garage to a living space. Normally, garages don’t have adequate insulation. Installing insulation during conversion is an absolute necessity to keep guests or your family comfortable during the cold winters or hot summers.

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  1. Add a homey vintage feel. If you are already starting to decorate your new space, you might want to stay away from the old feel of your garage. Create a homey feel to your new living space by utilizing vintage pieces.

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  1. Go for colors. Ditch the dreary colors of your old garage by adding pops of colors all throughout your space. The easiest way to incorporate color in the bedroom is choosing bright sheets and pillowcases. If you are feeling adventurous and want to be bold, a brightly colored wall can add flair as well!

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  1. Change up the door opening. Nothing shouts “I’m an old garage” more than having the usual garage door still in place. When converting your garage, make it a point to replace the doors. You can experiment and go for interesting ones. Large sliding doors can make your bedroom look classy and more spacious. Depending on the look of your home, you can change up your door to match its architecture and design.

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  1. Keep it simple. After doing all the necessary steps in converting your home, the key to finishing it off is keeping things simple. You don’t need to go overboard with your bedroom (save your money for structural changes like larger windows, insulation, and changing your door). Just purchase the basic needs in a bedroom. Make sure you have a bed, mattress, dresser, and a bedside table. Once you get the basic needs covered, you can build on from there.

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  1. Go modular. If you had a small garage and you want to make every inch matter, you can go modular. Incorporate storage spaces under the bed and create multiple uses for some furniture. This ensures that you have everything that you need in one small space.

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  1. Turn it into a master bedroom. Large garages can be great for a master bedroom, especially if you need more space than what your home is already providing you. Transform it into a comfortable haven complete with a king-size bed and a nice dresser.

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  1. Incorporate modern pieces. One way to make your room look like it wasn’t even a garage is to add modern furniture. Industrial and contemporary decorations can make the room feel more current instead of drab.

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  1. Add rooftop elements. If you have money to spend, some rooftop design elements can make a huge difference in your garage conversion. You can add a roof deck or a simple dormer window to really mimic a livable space. This can be a fun addition to your home that your family will enjoy.

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** Written by Kristy Jones,the blog author of A Click Away Remotes – Garage Door Opener and Remotes Blog.

Wood Floors: Light vs. Dark

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Choosing the color and finish of the wood—whether on the floors or furniture—is one of the most important considerations in designing a new space. More so than the many species of wood available, the color of wood alone can make a huge impact. Read on to see some of the pros and cons of both light and dark wood to help you decide between these two stylish options.

Light Wood.

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A breath of fresh air in terms of flooring options, light wood offers airiness and ease with its upbeat and modern look. Some of the reasons to use light wood include:

  • It’s stylish. A simple but important point. Light wood is a chic alternative to other flooring, as it offers a modern, uptown loft feel to a space. It pairs well with several modern fixtures and furnishings.
  • Master of disguise. Contrary to popular belief, light wood flooring is very forgiving. For those with pets or small children, light flooring masks smalls scratches and scuffs. Forgot to sweep last week? That’s alright—light wood takes one for the team by hiding dust bunnies and debris in its light and bright layout.
  • The contemporary option. As mentioned above, light flooring is incredibly attractive in contemporary or modern spaces. It pairs beautifully with most modern design details and gives any room an instantly refreshed look.
  • It adds contrast as needed. One of light wood flooring’s most redeeming qualities is its ability to contrast well with nearly all finishes, especially darker ones. If you’re going for a moody tone, light flooring adds just the right amount of balance to make your space feel inviting but totally masculine.
  • Let the light in. Do you have floor-to-ceiling windows? Lots of natural light? Then light wood flooring might be your best bet. Perfectly accented by floods of light, blonde woods help create added visual interest when paired with dramatic windows.

While there are many reasons to love light wood, buyers should still be cautious of a few points:

  • Hard to choose. A good light wood can be difficult to find if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Our advice? Select a style that doesn’t have any sort of red, orange or yellow undertone for the most refreshed look.
  • Living with it. While this may seem like an obvious point, it’s especially pertinent when it comes to a light wood floor. Unlike dark wood flooring, you will see every grain and rivet clearly, so it’s important that you really love your selection.

Dark Wood.

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A favorite among designers and homeowners everywhere, dark wood is the go-to selection for nearly every home of every style. Most appreciated in a transitional or traditional space, dark wood flooring is sophisticated and timeless. Some of our favorite aspects of dark wood flooring include:

  • Lots of variety. When you think of a dark wood floor, you don’t necessarily think of all of the different options you have. Between all of the types of wood, the grain of the wood, and the coloration, you have plenty of variety to select the perfect shade for your home.
  • It adds dimension. One of our favorite features of dark wood is its ability to create dimension wherever it’s installed. Pair it with a dark wood ceiling or one with beautiful exposed beams and you’ve got yourself a winning design.
  • Easy to match. Have we mentioned how easy it is to work with dark wood flooring? If you aren’t convinced, you should know that dark wood is very easy to match to your existing furniture. Nearly any finish—natural wood, metal, acrylic, glass—looks great atop a dark wood floor.

As you can tell, we’re big fans of dark wood. Some things to keep in mind:

  • You’ll see the mess. Unlike light wood, dark wood is not so forgiving. If sweeping escapes you, you and your guests will be able to notice quickly. This is also true for tiny hand prints or puppy paw prints.
  • Casts a shadow. If light is your problem, don’t go dark. Dark wood tends to make the area around it a bit moodier, and that can be a problem if you love your emerald green walls. If you’re looking to add a touch of brightness, look for medium or light wood tones instead.

Have you installed wood flooring recently? Which team are you on: light wood or dark wood?

**Hardwood flooring is a favorite design element for Kerrie Kelly, who heads up Kerrie Kelly Design Lab in Sacramento, Ca. Kerrie writes on her interior design ideas for The Home Depot. To research both the dark and light wood flooring discussed by Kerrie, you can visit Home Depot’s website.

Happy Homeowners: The Wedemeyer Family

This new “Happy Homeowners Blog” is about Rebeca Wedemeyer, who purchased her new home in our Crown community in Maryland over a year and a half ago. Rebeca’s shared with us some of her thoughts and experiences with M/I’s building process!

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Rebeca and Maxi

M/I HomesIs this your first M/I home? What convinced you to choose M/I over another builder?

Rebeca: This is my first M/I home. The floorplan and layout are what sold me – hands down. It was creative and current and struck the right balance of relaxed and sophisticated.

M/I HomesWhat is your floorplan called and what features of your home do you especially love?

RebecaI have the Picasso plan. There are several features I love. Unlike many townhome layouts, the front door (which is on the ground floor) opens to a spacious and well-lit family room. It’s perfect for inviting neighbors in for a glass of wine at the spur of the moment – which I do often!  Also, the main level has an open floorplan with plenty of windows that are perfect for entertaining and just as perfect for a relaxed night at home. And of course, the rooftop terrace and loft are delightful. Finally, I absolutely love the windows. They are virtually floor to ceiling and there are plenty of them!

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Plenty of windows in this fabulous living room!

M/I HomesOverall, how was your experience with M/I Homes. Did you pick your lot and floor plan to build the home, or was the home already started for you?

RebecaI had a great experience. I moved from across the street and had had my eye on this development and the specific lot I picked. I got to start from scratch and select features to my taste.

M/I HomesDo you have any fun memories from building process?

RebecaLike most of us, I’m busy so I was glad the process was smooth and hassle-free. That said, some of the guys on the job got a big kick of me and Maxi (my 5-pound fox terrier) visiting the site often. I guess that’s the hazard of living across the street. They always seemed to enjoy the break!

M/I HomesWas there something about your home that made you immediately know you wanted to move in?

RebecaThe community itself is very well-designed. But when I saw the M/I Picasso model, I was sold!

M/I HomesWhat do you like about your neighborhood / community?

RebecaThere are several things I like about the community. First, there is plenty of space between homes. We have two-car garages and driveways which means there’s quite a bit of space between you and the neighbors behind you. It’s quite spacious in the front as well which is very unique in a townhome community. Also, they’ve done a great job creating green spaces and meeting places throughout the community. I have an end unit which overlooks a large landscaped brick pathway which leads right downtown. Neighbors and I will often meet on the benches to chat.

M/I HomesAnything you would recommend to someone looking for a new home?

RebecaWell, I would say the old adage – location, location, location – holds true. It’s worth your time to ensure that the location itself meets your lifestyle. Not only the general community but also the lot itself. I chose a “premium” lot with extra charges that were hefty. My friends thought I was nuts! Now that I’ve been here for a year and a half, they all get it. I’ve got the most beautiful views of green spaces and because I’m located literally in the center of the community on the walkway, I know all of my neighbors. I think sometimes people can be penny wise and pound foolish when it comes to buying a house but living space and community are very important to me and there are few investments as reliable as real-estate. So why not live where you want.

M/I HomesWhat is your favorite memory in your new home thus far?

RebecaI have organized three block parties since I’ve lived here. Without a doubt meeting all my wonderful neighbors and helping to build a positive community has been a real blessing.

M/I HomesWhat is your favorite space in your new home?  Do you have any pictures of that space that you would like to share?

RebecaThat’s a tricky one. I have several “favorite spaces” which is one thing I love so much about the home. In the mornings, I love sitting downstairs on the first floor with my morning cup of coffee. The paint colors look beautiful in the morning sun and unlike many ground floors, it is always cozy. On most evenings, I like curling up on the couch in the living room. I can see the entire community and often passing neighbors will look up to see if I’m around and want to come walk dogs together. In the winters, Maxi and I love the family room fireplace (off the kitchen) and we tend to spend a lot of time there. I also often work from home and have built my office right into the main living area. It’s beautiful. Finally, the kitchen is one of my favorite spots. It’s both beautiful and well-designed. I often use the expansive island as my “standup office,” and of course, when I have people over, we rarely make it to any other part of the house!

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Rebeca’s spacious kitchen and large island

M/I HomesWhat was something that surprised you the most with building a new home?

RebecaI’m fairly decisive and have had a new home built before so I didn’t have any surprises. No surprises is a good thing!

M/I HomesAny suggestions you would give for someone building a new home with M/I Homes?

RebecaI’d suggest asking to meet a homeowner or two with your same home plan. Most people are happy to show off their new home and they can often answer simple questions for you and also let you know what they’d do differently, if anything. Also, and this applies to any builder, take a risk and upgrade some features that are important to you. You’d be surprised how much a few key aspects can change the entire feel of your home. For me, I wanted the top of the line hardwood, kitchen cabinets, and iron pickets for my stairs but was just fine with the basics on other options.

**Rebeca lives in the DC area. When she’s not relaxing in her lovely M/I home with her dog Maxi, she can be found socializing with her neighbors.

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