Designing an Outdoor Kitchen on Your Virginia Deck

Filed Under: Deck    by: Steve Kayhill

outdoor_kitchen_virginia_deckAs the summer season approaches you’re sure to feel the call to spend more time outdoors in the warmth and sunshine. But life is full of tasks and necessary jobs that keep us tied up inside, unless we can move the workspace outside. That’s the beauty of outdoor kitchens – they allow you to spend time on your Virginia deck whether you’re cooking up dinner for the family or preparing a feast for the neighborhood party.

Essentials for the Patio Kitchen

The benefits of using an outdoor kitchen include more fresh air, the tang of grilled food and a cool breeze you just can’t get while cooped up in the house. But you need the space to be fully equipped to enjoy all of these advantages. Otherwise the experience will be dampened by your need to travel in and out those patio doors.

Invest in a stainless steel built in grill that with provide counter space for easy prep and maybe even cabinetry for storage of charcoal and other BBQ essentials. Think about including a side burner as well, to quickly boil, steam or warm your side dishes. These can be wired in, but a natural gas burner paired with a gas grill is a more popular and efficient set up.

Some people include a small sink for wash downs (fully plumbed in) and a bar fridge to keep things cool. Lighting is another important element that will allow you to use the kitchen space at any time of day or night, whipping up a gourmet grilled meal or snack.

Virginia Deck Designs That Make For Great Kitchens

It’s a wise idea to include multiple levels when designing a patio kitchen. Put the grill and other kitchen elements on the level closest to your sliding doors. Leave plenty of room for traffic over or through this level, as well as room to move around at the grill and the immediate area.

One step down from the grill level, design another for the dining furniture. This space should be at least 144 square feet in size (12 foot x 12 foot) to allow space for a full table of diners, but a little more room is desirable for traffic flow and aesthetics. Consider wrap-around stairs from this level to keep it open or possibly an overhead feature to provide shade and visual interest.

Be sure any steps are low rise so that the risk of stumbling with a full tray of food is minimized. Also be sure that any railings are built to code and installed where necessary for safety.

It’s a nice touch to finish the area around your wood deck with a stone patio and incorporate that same stone into the built in kitchen. A slate countertop will look stunning with composite or cedar decking dressed up with a slate pathway or edging around the lower level. Stone can also be used under and around the grill if a fire resistant surface is needed or desired.

Installing an outdoor kitchen onto your Virginia deck is a fantastic way to enjoy more of the coming season. Get outside and get your work done at the same time. You’ll be saving energy, enjoying freshly grilled meals and likely spending more time with the family. Who could ask for anything more?

Five Most Popular Northern Virginia Home Improvement Projects

Filed Under: Virginia Home Remodeling    by: Steve Kayhill

northern_virginia_home_improvement2Investing your hard earned money in your home is a wise move. Although the real estate market is still uncertain, putting your money into Northern Virginia home improvement projects will allow you to reap the benefits every day (as well as increasing the value of your home). Sounds good? Think about tackling one of these popular projects this season.

1 – Finish the Basement

Replace that dark, dusty area downstairs with a bright and useable living space. Neutral colors and low maintenance finishes will help this area to become a favorite hang out spot. Put in a home theater room, a work out gym or the ever popular billiard table – whatever your family likes to do while relaxing, the basement is an ideal place for casual living.

2 – Kitchen Renovation

Real estate experts state that a kitchen renovation is the wisest home improvement Northern Virginia homeowners can invest in. Not only will this project make your quality of life better, but it will also boost the overall value of your home for years to come. Updated appliances, cabinetry and design allow kitchen renos to affect a major transformation in your home.

3 – Replace the Flooring

This area of your house gets the most abuse, for sure. But it’s also the area that stands out in the overall impression of your home. Upgrading or replacing the flooring can be a major undertaking (some homeowners opt for a room by room schedule; others go all out and replace the floor across the entire house) but the end result is well worth it. Think about hardwood or laminate for an old world feel that’s also highly durable and classy. Or look at the wide selection of plush and comfy carpets out there. A trip to the flooring retailer will give you an idea of what choices you have.

4 – Decking For Outdoor Life

Great for your health and the perfect way to enjoy summer, building a deck or patio in your backyard also adds value to your property. Combine it with a swimming pool, gardens or unique backyard features and you can have a personalized oasis that is just steps from your patio door. The price of a deck ranges from the affordable to the extravagant, so think about how much you will use the space and invest accordingly.

5 – Energy Efficient Windows

Updating your current windows to the latest styles in double or triple glazed energy efficient replacement windows is just plain smart. Bound to increase the value and attractiveness of your home, this home improvement project will also decrease heating and cooling bills from day one. Think about making small windows large or adding patio doors, bay windows and transoms for more natural light. Look for low maintenance products that will maintain the look of your home faithfully. There are wood windows, composite and vinyl products out there in all different shapes and sizes. Find something that suits your home.

Investing in your house is like investing in your lifestyle. These Northern Virginia home improvement projects add convenience, comfort and efficiency to your daily life all while improving the value of the property. It’s a win-win situation that you can take advantage of with one phone call to your local contractor.

Choosing Trim to Compliment Your Northern Virginia Siding

Filed Under: Siding    by: Steve Kayhill

northern_virginia_siding_trim1The exterior of your home is what will make a lasting impression on visitors and neighbors alike. While the design and elevation of the structure is important, it’s the style and color of your siding that will have an impact first. And one of the best ways to dress up your Northern Virginia siding is with trim that is both complimentary and durable.

Sizes and Shapes of Trim

No matter what type of siding you choose – whether it’s wood shiplap siding, vinyl, composite or even stucco – your house will also need trim. Around windows and doorframes, within the soffits and incorporating the porch railing and posts, trim plays a major role in the exterior look of your home. It’s important that you choose a size and shape that will compliment the architecture of your home and create the overall look you want.

Wide trim will lend your home a flavor of mid-century American architecture, perfect for Northern Virginia. But it also has a modern finish and contemporary boldness that suits today’s homes. Think of wide trim as an addition that demands notice, an accent that frames your siding choice instead of fading into the background.

You could also go with something more subtle. A thinner profile on your house trim will help the edges to be less defined, resulting in a more minimalistic, linear look. This can work very well on ultra modern stucco homes, but may be out of place with a house that leans toward a heritage look.

Trim of a Different Color

The color of your Northern Virginia siding should be chosen wisely. Whether you are building a new home or replacing the existing siding, the choice of color is a big one. Will you opt for something light to help make a smaller home seem expansive? Or are you drawn to a medium tone that allows your landscape to stand out? The most current trends are seeing the return of fairly dark siding colors including deep steel blue and dark browns.

Trim color will depend on the hue you have chosen for the siding, which in turn takes into account the roof color. All of these major elements play on each other and the colors need to work together to display a picture of overall charm. If the siding color is lighter you can get away with a dark tone in the trim, but be aware that other accents like shutters, railings and porch posts should be on the darker side as well for good balance. And if this look is not for you, try the same color of trim in a slightly darker shade to create interesting depths on your home’s exterior.

An experienced installer or the sales staff at the building supply store should be able to show you samples of both siding and trim, which will help you make the best decision. It’s important to see the actual products together, as opposed to just a color swatch. This will give you a genuine representation and allow you to make an informed choice.

Your Northern Virginia siding and trim are what allow your house to stand out. The size and shape of the trim, as well as the color combination, are a big decision so take your time and choose wisely. A gorgeous finished look will make it worthwhile.

What Kind of Advice Can You Expect From Your Washington DC Realtor?

Filed Under: Washington DC Real Estate    by: Steve Kayhill

washington_dc_realtors4Whether you are moving into the area or moving around it, the services of a Washington DC realtor will be indispensible during the process. As a guide, a source of information and a person to bounce ideas, opinions and problems off of, these real estate professionals will have a major impact on your home buying experience.

So what can you expect from your realtor? And what are the advantages of hiring one, as opposed to going at it alone and saving some money?

A Second Set of Eyes

As small as it may seem, the unbiased and detached viewpoint of a realtor is invaluable. This professional will take your list of must-haves and any specifications of the transaction and go to work finding properties or buyers that fit them. The information and insight that a real estate professional gives will not be colored with the emotion or biases that your family, friends or co-workers can have.

You may love a specific house, but a realtor can see things that will become a challenge after moving day. Or maybe you balk at the sight of a property and the agent can help you unearth the potential for your very own dream home. In either case they offer another set of eyes that can look at the homes (or at the potential buyers of your DC home) with care and intelligence.

An Insider’s View

Those working within the profession will see things differently. That perspective can be helpful to the overall deal. They see property as an asset and can value things based on what is going on within the Washington DC market, something that homeowners and even investors cannot do.

A realtor’s guidance through the often complicated world of real estate is helpful. When you are the seller having a pro on side will make the sale move faster and smoother. From the initial marketing of your property through to the legal procedures and closing costs, they are ready to walk with you every step of the way. Without their advice and experience you are very likely to miss something, make a wrong move or lose out on an opportunity that could have  made the sales process easier or more profitable.

On the other side, the services of real estate agent are almost priceless when buying a house in Washington DC. Do you want to know what the beltway is or which neighborhood has good schools and gourmet grocery stores? Anxious about the commute from Great Falls or the congestion in McLean? How about information on property taxes, transit or the churches in the area? Washington DC realtors have all of this information at hand and ready to share based on your own circumstances and needs. It’s personalized service that is much faster and more tailored to your family than spending a few hours on a search engine.

Finding an experienced professional to help you out with your real estate transaction is essential. Not only will it be worth the investment, but a Washington DC realtor can open up the door to many different situations you never thought possible. Find a better home, secure a sale quicker and actually enjoy this process with the advice and guidance of a professional.