RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Fire Elements, Kitchen Add-Ons Heat Up Outdoor Living

January 21, 2016 1:03 am

More homeowners than ever are incorporating outdoor living spaces into the design of their homes—and with the outdoor living market expected to top $5.7 billion this year, it’s safe to say the trend isn’t fading any time soon.

“The trend used to be toward bringing the outdoors in, but many people today are doing the opposite—bringing traditionally indoor comforts out to the deck, porch or patio,” says Paul Lafrance, host of HGTV Canada’s “Decked Out” and “Disaster Decks,” and a “Trexpert” for Trex Company, a leader in outdoor living. “Thanks to advances in all-weather materials, furnishings and accessories, you can outfit an outdoor living space in much the same way that you would any room in the home.”

The most popular indoor-turned-outdoor room? The kitchen, says Lafrance—this time with cooking apparatus that can handle anything from whole turkeys to smoked meats, and even pizzas.

“The whole concept of outdoor cooking has grown far beyond a backyard barbecue,” Lafrance says. “Homeowners are hungry for fully-appointed kitchens with features like integrated trash bins, ice chests and cabinetry that add convenience and luxury. They also help to keep an outdoor space organized and reduce all those pesky trips back and forth into the house."

A similarly hot trend is warming features, including candles, tiki torches and fireplaces—accents that lend physical and ambient warmth, says Lafrance’s television counterpart Kate Campbell.

“Fire features not only add ambiance to an outdoor space, but also provide heat and light that allows you to use your deck later into the evening and into the year,” says Campbell. “Fire pits and fireplaces also provide great focal points and natural gathering spots for conversation and, of course, s'mores!

Campbell also notes a growing demand for deck features like integrated benches, privacy walls, and ornamental post caps and railings with decorative balusters, similar to those found inside the home.

“One of my favorite things to do with an outdoor space is to create a comfort zone, such as a hammock area or a conversation nook with built-in lounges—somewhere cozy with lots of pillows where you can curl up with a good book, or a good friend,” Campbell says. “I also am a fan of defining different functional spaces outdoors. Weather-proof draperies are a great way to inject color and pattern and create distinct spaces. Another option is adding a pergola.”

To make an outdoor space truly feel like an extension of the home, Campbell suggests mixing in interior-inspired accents, like decorative outdoor area rugs, cushions, pillows and throw blankets made of weather-resistant materials. "Add personality and color with plants, flowers, artwork and whimsical accessories, just as you would inside,” says Campbell.

Source: Trex Company, Inc.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Survey: Volunteerism Sparks Improved Well-Being

January 20, 2016 1:00 am

Volunteering has countless benefits for both underserved communities and the individuals who devote time to bettering them. “Giving and Getting Back: Volunteering in America,” a recent survey, pinpoints what those mutual benefits are, as well as the patterns that shape volunteerism today.

And the findings may surprise you! Survey results suggest, for example, that volunteering may be the new Match.com. (Really!) Eighty (80) percent of respondents to the survey say they’re more willing to date a person they met volunteering than through an online dating site—and nearly 85 percent of respondents report feeling more comfortable going on a date with a fellow volunteer than being set up on a blind date by a relative or friend.

Volunteering may also give your career a boost. Survey results show that volunteering, a valuable addition to a resume, has led to increased networking opportunities and improved job skills for approximately one-third of respondents. What’s more, 10 percent of respondents received new employment offers while volunteering, and 8 percent changed careers altogether as a result of their volunteering efforts!

Volunteering can whip you into shape, too. In fact, nearly one in four respondents to the survey believes volunteering helped them become more physically active. Nearly half of respondents would consider volunteering for a challenging physical activity in the future, as well, such as runs, cycling or triathlons, to raise funds for a cause.

Above all, volunteering leads to a heightened sense of purpose. Survey respondents report a tangible increase in their overall sense of happiness, accomplishment and spiritual fulfillment when volunteering. Who can argue with those benefits?

Source: LLS.org

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags: